Considering the Lumber for 2012

Looking out from a 5* Golf Resort on Lough Erne, (a place I would not normally reside in it has to be said) I read these words from ‘Three Men and a Boat’ by Jerome K. Jerome.
It was an echo of more familiar words from St. Matthew.

George said:

“You know we are on a wrong track altogether. We must not think of the things we could do with, but only of the things that we can’t do without.”

George comes out really quite sensible at times. You’d be surprised. I call that downright wisdom, not merely as regards the present case, but with reference to our trip up the river of life, generally. How many people, on that voyage, load up the boat till it is ever in danger of swamping with a store of foolish things which they think essential to the pleasure and comfort of the trip, but which are really only useless lumber.

How they pile the poor little craft mast-high with fine clothes and big houses; with useless servants, and a host of swell friends that do not care twopence for them, and that they do not care three ha’pence for; with expensive entertainments that nobody enjoys, with formalities and fashions, with pretence and ostentation, and with – oh, heaviest, maddest lumber of all! – the dread of what will my neighbour think, with luxuries that only cloy, with pleasures that bore, with empty show that, like the criminal’s iron crown of yore, makes to bleed and swoon the aching head that wears it!

It is lumber, man – all lumber! Throw it overboard. It makes the boat so heavy to pull, you nearly faint at the oars. It makes it so cumbersome and dangerous to manage, you never know a moment’s freedom from anxiety and care, never gain a moment’s rest for dreamy laziness – no time to watch the windy shadows skimming lightly o’er the shallows, or the glittering sunbeams flitting in and out among the ripples, or the great trees by the margin looking down at their own image, or the woods all green and golden, or the lilies white and yellow, or the sombre- waving rushes, or the sedges, or the orchis, or the blue forget-me-nots.

Throw the lumber over, man! Let your boat of life be light, packed with only what you need – a homely home and simple pleasures, one or two friends, worth the name, someone to love and someone to love you, a cat, a dog, and a pipe or two, enough to eat and enough to wear, and a little more than enough to drink; for thirst is a dangerous thing.

You will find the boat easier to pull then, and it will not be so liable to upset, and it will not matter so much if it does upset; good, plain merchandise will stand water. You will have time to think as well as to work.

blowing a gasket

Proving myself to be a bit of a prophet the Punto decided to die today, just at the crossroads of Finaghy.
Mrs Canalways watching in horror as the water gauge shot up, and as we limped towards the garage we knew that it was the end. The mechanic phoned an hour later to report that it was something to do with the gasket, no water and quoted a price that was a bridge to far for a car that is clearly on its last legs.

Now begins the search for a new car on (very) limited finances.

There is a sense of futility when it comes to things like this.

Here we are on a planet that is choking on exhaust fumes and running out of oil, who people tell us may be at an irreversible tipping point of runaway global climate change and we seem to be totally enslaved to feeding those machines that are killing the planet.

With family spread out in Tyrone and Co Dublin, with public transport so inadequate for life (despite your best efforts to use it), with H___ doing a job that means she has to pastorally visit people in places that can only be reached in a car. Yet these machines are clearly not sustainable.

With the pressure on precious arable land from biofuel crops pushing up grain prices how is an individual (especially a married individual) supposed to navigate this all?
No worry about it?
Worry about it bow to the fact that we all need a car?
Try to live without a car an struggle to fit into society?

Perhaps it is time for Christians to start doing radical things again. If we all clubbed together and thought about stuff like this in a individual church how many cars would we find we really needed to go about our daily business? Would we need a couple of cars in a house or could we somehow share?

It just seems so mad that we’re enslaved to our individual cars with everything we know about how its damaging God’s creation. We maybe forced to think about this sort of thing over the coming years with the price of oil surely set to rise.When poorer families can’t afford to run their cars for instance.

This should be a time to dream about alternatives though, not blowing a gasket over the way things fall apart. We’re building for the New Earth and the church should be offering hopeful alternatives before anyone else instead of playing catch up, wondering if we can get Fairtrade coffee into the bowling club or if we should fit energy saving light bulbs in the hall. Let’s dream a little.