Cutting edge?

One of the things that I have to do every time we’re in England is go for a trawl around a few charity shops.  My egalitarian wardrobe mostly costs around three pounds an item.  I have a little image of sweet retired ladies tagging items, with absolutely no idea of the difference in the original prices between the supermarket garments (Tesco and Asda, probably 50p less to buy new than second hand), compared with sportswear brands (Reebok, Salomon, lots of money), compared with designer wear (er… I don’t know any names but I think we’ve got the idea). 

I was thinking maybe it was time that the charity shop sector sophisticated up.  And then I figured that maybe they have.  Certainly they are more closely reflecting the original pricing structure when the clothes left the factories (next door to each other), before someone in the middle invented prices according to brand, and a whole bunch of lemmings thought it was worth paying for the labels.  (We were watching some trash TV the other day in which someone did a bunch of function comparison tests on a pair of Levi jeans vs a generic ten pound pair and discovered that the only difference was in the price tag).  In any case, I’d rather pay three quid to my local hospice than two pounds fifty to Mr Tesco.  So I’m looking at my electric eclectic three pound multi-label wardrobe and smiling. 

Nifty little link needs writing here but I haven’t yet thought of it.  So, changing the subject…  Speaking of aeroplanes… 

How about this for a mission strategy?  Take two struggling church congregations from either side of the world.  Put them in touch with each other.  Encourage them to share their joys and sorrows and to pray for each other. 

That wasn’t my idea.  But I’m loving it for it’s breath-taking simplicity and wisdom.  So we’re working on making it happen.  Being supported by a largish number of smallish UK churches has brought its own challenges.  We have also said many times that the people who we have ended up working with in Argentina would never have had access to receive “overseas missionaries” unless we had accidentally stumbled across them while looking for something else.  So wouldn’t it be great to bring both sides of our wonderfully motley bunch together. 

I like the idea that on both sides it raises awareness of mission, it answers the challenge of how we might be small but we can still do stuff, and also that it puts everyone on the same footing; scrap the “rich to poor”, “west to the rest”, “givers and receivers” and all that rubbish.  We all have needs, and we all can give.  Mission suffers from self-contradictory sillinesses; as mission organisations we say we recognise the interdependence of the global church, and yet at the same time we seem to want to make a goal of independence for the national church with which we are working.  In the end, we all need each other and we’re all dependent on a Big God, so let’s get over it and in doing so, hopefully find ways to encourage each other as fellow human beings and followers of him. 

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