Tag Archives: consumerism

getting, giving and church

A Christian (individual, family, couple, etc.) immigrates to a new country for work.  They find a place to live.

  • Trajectory One: They then begin to seek out a church that is right for them.  Using search engines and map apps, they plan out which churches in their new city they will try out.  They enjoy the preaching at some churches and the music at others, they are impressed at the apparent organisation and websites of a few others, and visit several churches that are obviously not what they are looking for.  After a few months of visiting different churches, they visit a large church near the city centre, so the larger size meant that during the sermon as they looked down from the second-story seating area, they could spot plenty of people their own age.  They felt pretty comfortable in the smoothly run service – no awkward pauses – and the church looked to be clearly successful and growing, so after a few weeks they decide to join.  They then begin looking for a life group that is right for them, they find out what the church provides, what their options are, etc…
  • Trajectory Two: They then begin to seek out a church to serve within.  Within the first few days of settling into their house, getting groceries and suchlike, they notice that a church is just a few blocks away, so they go on Sunday morning and introduce themselves.  Being a residentially-based church, it’s not too large, and naturally there aren’t too many people their own age, but they could see no reason why this church would hinder them in their desire to serve the community around where they lived, and after a few weeks, a kind older couple has them around for lunch.  Meanwhile, they already have begun to learn about the surrounding community, not only discovering where the best restaurants and other ‘hot spots’ are, but also its needs and ministry opportunities.  They discover that while the local church has a few ministries that bless the community, there are some needs currently unaddressed.  So, they begin to think, pray and discuss with others what could be done…

If it’s not blatantly obvious, the two trajectories above couldn’t be more different.  One reflects a ‘getting’ consumer-driven approach that seeks to find a church for me, and enjoyable sermons, music, attractive marketing that you can be proud of, a home group with people like me, etc.  The other reflects a ‘giving’ kingdom-driven approach that seeks to find a church for ministry and mission to others.

shoe sheriff

We played ‘mafia’ at youth group Saturday. I don’t think I’ve ever been the sheriff.

Speaking of sheriffs, Di and I drove past ‘The Shoe Sheriff‘ in Newmarket, Auckland, today.  It’s a long-standing shoe repair place.  I used to work1 in the Newmarket area, and I still remember when the big, bad, black hole of a shopping company, two-double-seven was expanding across Broadway street, buying-up-and-tearing-down the old less-than-cared-for buildings that were there, and replacing them with flash, glistening new buildings2.

But ‘The Shoe Sheriff’ would not be bought.

When it was happening, I went in and gave the owner a hearty kiwi “good on ya, mate”, and we talked about the stark contrast between the rapid installation of shoe stores3, and the repairing of good-enough shoes that the Sheriff does.

A stark interruption in a line of expansionist architecture, this small, tin-roofed, neon-signed, shoe repair shop is a veritable icon of all that is restorative, salvific, restorative, just, holy, pure, right, wholesome, fair trade, organic, green, seventy-ish, eco-friendly and cool about the world.

No doubt, the board/owners of two-double-seven probably feel it’s just a matter of time before they can fill in this small bastion of light with another shiny conglomeration of glass and concrete.  I say, “Long live the Shoe Sheriff!”

If you live in Auckland, and ever head past Newmarket, and have shoes that are ‘good enough’ to be repaired, do call in to the Sheriff, won’t ya?

  1. and drink copious amounts of coffee []
  2. which will, of course, in a matter of time, be old and less-than-cared-for themselves – and such are the days of our lives []
  3. hint: not used shoes []

teleology & ethics

The word ‘teleology’ (from Greek τελος ‘telos’ – meaning ‘goal’, ‘end’, ‘purpose’ or ‘that toward which things tend’) is not a street-level term.  However, the concept of a purpose, goal, function or ‘end’ to things most certainly is.  It’s a common as anything.  Teleology is blindingly relevant.

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go bananas

Visit and fill out name/email and the site will send an automatic email on your behalf to progressive grocers – requesting that they stock fair trade bananas.

Now, you’ll also probably get an automatic reply from progressive about their ‘efforts’ – which includes a ‘voluntary code of conduct’, which (found here) initially looks/sounds nice.

However, upon a closer look, it seems like the usual coporate-ish reaction to such things.

“Oh, but we are already making every effort to be good, fair, better, nice traders.  No, really.  We’re not just trying to make money and be ‘progressive’… Look at our fancy code-of-conduct website!  It’s a whole 2 years old!  That’s how long our tradition is of caring about ethical business!  All the farmers/producers (in other countries!?) have to do is pay $50, fill out a complicated form, pay travel expenses for a ‘Ombudsman Representative’ to meet with you (no lawyers, sorry), and cut through probably about 16-thousand other pieces of red-tape…” et cetera, ad infinitum

http://www.produceandgrocerycode.com.au/accessmediation.htm (And I quote: “Applying to the Produce and Grocery Industry Ombudsman for mediation is simple.” emphasis mine.  Really!!??)

http://www.produceandgroceryombudsman.com.au/process.html (More quotes: “Once the Ombudsman’s Representative has been appointment, he or she will ask for any travel expenses to be paid in advance and will ask you to sign an appointment agreement which makes your meeting confidential between everyone there.” and on meeting the the ombudsman: “You must make sure that you have authority to make a final agreement without checking with anyone else. If someone else has the final word then that person must attend too. Lawyers are not allowed to attend but you can bring a support person. That person is not an advocate, just someone there to support you.
” Gee… thanks!)

everything is amazing – nobody is happy

Friggin’ hilarious…  and a bit true as well :)

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school, fashion and irony

My wife and I were purchasing shoes at Hannah’s today (don’t ask), and felt empathy for the mother-of-teenaged-daughter, whom we overheard saying, “It’s school, not a fashion show…”

Among the many things no doubt blurring the distinction between the two would be Hannah’s latest catch phrase: “Life is your catwalk.”

buses, religion and life

Prof. John Stackhouse’s post (here) on the recent “bus campaigns” is quite good and balanced I think.

Apparently, the board of a Vancouver bus company has the following regulation on bus ads:

“No advertisement will be accepted which promotes or opposes a specific theology or religious ethic, point of view, policy or action.” Continue reading

american millionaire stimulus?

Recent US stimulus package = nearly a trillion US dollars.

Compare that with a comment I randomly saw on this post:

10% of 10 million US millionaires’ funds = a trillion US dollars.

American millionaires investing in the American economy?  A novel concept indeed.

Full comment quote:

1 trillion is taking 10% of the net worth of ten million millionaires and yes 10 million millionaire households is about what we have in the United States as of 2009.

Oh my gosh, have we accidentally through the magic of math discovered how to stimulate the entire economy without increasing the debt to the tax payer? A one time flat tax, ooops I mean millionaire stimulus to invest in America, the wealthiest are known to spend the least hence lets re-allocate that money where it matters…

lol – now that is a joke, American millionaires investing in America.

((note: the comment below this one links to an article saying there are only 3 million millionaires in the US – but it’s still an interesting thought!))

stinking stimulus

Anyone who has a knee jerk (i.e. less than critical) reaction to political events in general and the recent U.S. stimulus package in particular, should shut up and think before ranting.

That said, I just don’t like the thought (much less the passing) of the new stimulus package (and I’m not at all anti-Obama – to be crystal clear).  $US838 BILLION – on what I can’t help but see as a kind of massively over-sized whallop to a horse that is eventually going to die.  Yes, I’m aware of the complexity to all this, and No, I don’t think there are any quick fixes.  But I still cannot understand or begin to support spending nearly a trillion dollars on trying to preserve the “American Way of Life” ™.

What kind of precedent are we setting for future generations?  What are we saying to the rest of the world – much of which is living in some mild or severe form of poverty; a different kind of poverty indeed to the ‘poverty’ some are facing in ‘developed’ nations around the world.

Some may think, “Oh, but financial prosperity for the ‘rich west’ will enable them to be generous to the ‘poor rest’…”  That kind of capitalistic mentality (a.k.a. ‘the rising tide will lift many small boats’) is utter Bull.  Greed does not engender generosity.

Instead of our bank account levels needing to go ‘up’, we need our standard of living to go ‘down’ to a realistic and sustainable place.  And as long as ‘going out and spending money to stimulate the economy’ is part of doing your ‘patriotic duty’, then I think I want to be unpatriotic.

shortland street publicity costs

I’d absolutely love (or maybe hate?  or both?) to know how much the huge (several ‘windows’ wide and several stories high) ads for shortland street (which I saw today in Auckland city-centre) cost to make, install, display and dispose-of…  It’s a freekin’ TV show…

(on a different tack, the two ‘by-lines’ I remember from the ads were: 1) “Trust no one”, and 2) ‘Lust makes fools of us all”.  Yawn…)