Thursday, April 12, 2007

I was thinking, right...

Met up with a couple of my ex-students last night – they happen to be home from their respective universities, Goldsmiths and Nottingham Trent. Great lads – good to see them.

One of them mentioned that he’d found my blog by doing a Google search... which made me wonder how many other people read this without my knowing about it.

This post is dedicated to my anonymous readers (could be thousands or could be one ex-student at Goldsmiths).

I’ll share a few thoughts that I had as I was walking back from town. It started with looking at a few largish houses and thinking, idly (as I often do), “They’d make quite good community houses”. But then I was walking through parallel lines of the semi-detached and detached dwellings of Humphrey Burton’s Road in
Coventry’s suburbia. Which got me thinking about boxes.

Yes, boxes: the boxes that the majority of UK people live in. Boxes with three or four bedrooms in the avenues I was walking through last night. Each box almost inevitably contains a washing machine.

Stay with me (you may wonder where I’m going with this). I could have chosen any number of household appliances – fridges, freezers, microwaves... but we’ll stick to washing machines for the sake of argument.

So Humphrey Burton’s Road must contain, at an estimate, a hundred-odd washing machines.

A hundred-odd washing machines to do the washing of maybe four hundred people.

Then there’s cars. Most of the drives on this fairly well-to-do road had three parked on them. Three hundred cars for the same four hundred people.

Now I’m not good with figures and I’m no environmental expert, but it seems to me that that many washing machines and that many cars (and fridges and freezers and microwaves and... and...) are far more than that many people actually need in terms of a strict ratio of people to resources.

Think about this: each one of those houses will contain two, perhaps three toilets – do people really need to have almost a toilet each.

My point is that UK society, living in its boxes, is grossly wasteful. Why? Because there is no sharing. Not a bit of it. Each box has kit for its inhabitants only. So we live in streets packed with washing machines. And we only actually need about half of them, or less.

Human beings were meant to live in community. They were meant to share the resources of Earth, not horde them in little boxes. And the planet is paying the price, groaning, getting hotter and hotter, heading for melt-down.

I live in community, not, in fact, because of environmental panic. We live for the cause of Jesus. But it’s a noteworthy by-product that we share washing machines at something like a ratio of 8:1 and cars at a ratio of 5:1 (often using a minibus to transport up to 15 people) and toilets at a ratio of 3:1 (actually we’re quite well-off for toilets in our house!)

Sharing. It’s a good idea; it’s how Jesus lived; it’s how the Christian Church started out; it’s not how UK people (in their boxes) live; unlike the boxed-in-life, it doesn’t kill the Earth; it means sacrifice; the Communists weren’t able to force it; I do it because I live for the cause of Jesus.

What’re you doing about it?


dee-braveheart said...

well I moved in..
but James imagine community without grace and the holy spirit imagine community with out God
it would be like living in a war zone
so not only does the uk need community it forst needs Jesus
now how radical to think how it would be if everyone Found saving power of Jesus and then did community
hmmmm you would have to change the words of the song you wrote

normal said...

"Greater than 60 million in community..." Well. it has a certain ring to it. (Actually, Dee, I agree that for true community to ever work, you have to have changed hearts first. That's essentially why political communism was doomed to failure. No-one can really deny that community and sharing makes sense - but to do it... that takes a miracle!