Pisa is famous for one special thing. A bell-tower which started to lean by the time the builders reached the third storey.
And I saved £150 on my car insurance renewal today.
Two unconnected facts. Except for this… the tower was a genuine mistake, a miscalculation of the ground strength which meant the foundations were too shallow.
My insurance renewal was the outcome of a bit of sharp practice by the insurance industry. Without naming names, I received my renewal notice (no claims, no changes) which came in at £364, quite a chunk higher than last year. So I did the shopping for quotes, and bought an identical policy from a competitor. It was £150 cheaper for the same cover. Hmmm. I rang the first company to inform them I wouldn’t be renewing my policy, and after a few minutes of conversation they made a revised offer that came in at about £270. Hang on, if that is the real price, why didn’t they offer me that straight away? Sharp practice. They were charging what they thought they might get away with. That isn’t a genuine “mistake” – it’s an ethical failure or a deliberate attempt to treat existing customers as suckers. Why should I be charged unfairly? How many others will be caught out if they simply renew with the same company? Injustice!!!
Doing things RIGHT.
You might say that the Leaning Tower of Pisa is not a good example of doing it right. When you look at it, the fault is plain to see. It is a kind of magnificent blunder! Crowds flock to see it every year, and it raises a fortune in entrance tickets.
The cathedral at Pisa is made of gorgeous marbles in ornate carvings and decoration. Work started in 1063 A.D. It is spectacularly wonderful, and the foundations seem OK – which must have been a relief to the builders – although it DOES lean a little bit. But there is another interesting building on site, with a hidden flaw of its own.
A baptistery was built in 1152 A.D. and took about 200 years to complete. Viewed from the front it is truly lovely, and the internal acoustics are superb.
But if you go round the back, and look at the dome roof… instead of the copper/bronze showing at the front, the rear section of the roof is clad in tile.
Depending on who you speak to, this was either deliberate, or because they ran out of cash and tile was much cheaper! People might not notice… said the architect… Oops. Perhaps I have a suspicious mind. You can guess what I’m thinking!
Humans throughout history have struggled to act with integrity, to do things RIGHT. Individuals may well stand out as good (and honest people are usually respected) but all the time we hear of perks, fiddles, rip-offs, dishonesty and injustice. The 13th Commandment is allegedly “Don’t get caught.” Well, actually, God seems quite keen on honesty, integrity, mercy and justice. It may well be that He is far more accepting of our “accidental leanings” than we realise – and far tougher on the cheats and exploiters. If you want to read about what God says to “sharp practice” and about treating others unfairly: then read the prophecy of Amos in the Old Testament, and the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew’s Gospel.
Now then, how is my conscience? Will I “do it RIGHT” ??? Or just hope nobody notices?
Matthew 5:4-9 God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth. God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied. God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy. God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God. God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.
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