Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Well, I'm sure some of you know that a little over a week ago I was in Hungary....why Hungary literally a few days after finding my feet back in England from Phnom Penh? Well, my brother was leading a conference for GEM-Ks and he was short staff, the theme of the conference was being taken from a book that I had just read, and I was still unemployed, so it worked out that I was able to go.  And I'm so thankfull that I did, it was such a great week! 

So this was probably my, I don't know, 7th conference....I went I think 5 times as a teenager, and once as a leader 4 years ago literally on the way back from spending the summer in Jordan.

If you want to read more about the week go to another leader's Michaela's blog.  She has a much more in-depth summary of what went on.    

Here's some thoughts of mine that I wrote a couple of days after coming back that is perhaps an example of some of the things we were discussing through the week.  

Wednesday 13-08-08
East Waterloo Train Station, London

-So at conference we were using the book J4P as a basis for our discussions.  Analisa brought up the point about our conflicting values of justice and thrift.  We've been taught so well to buy good deals, when things are on sale, or at discount stores, so that we don't spend more than we should.  But then when we were talking about how often these low prices don't capture the entire cost of their production and often feed our system of oppression and hyper-consumption then we find that we have a system where our values are in conflict.  
I was thinking about thrift.  I truly believe in this value, I buy many of my clothes and possessions cheaply at 2nd hand shops or discount stores.  I never buy things at full price it's just not in my nature.  But does this thrift have a purpose?  I think it was John Wesley who said, "Earn a lot, spend a little, give generously" (or something like that).  We've got perhaps the first two down.  But I really think that at least personally, my thrift only enables me to consume more, rather than give sacrificially.  The money gets spent, I just make it go farther.  So in this instance is my thriftyness really of any value anyway? What is it's kingdom purpose or is this just a relic of calvanistic culture that has been passed on divorced from it's original intentions? 


Is our system of cheap prices for everything from alarm clocks, coffee, t-shirts and throw-away cups at fast food restaurants really capturing the cost of producing them? Or are we actually relying on a system of exploitation (exploiting cheap labour, exploiting the environment) just to feed our consumption?  If we read the section of the bible where the prophets are putting into words God's anger for the stuff that his people are doing, exploitation is one of the biggies. But is it too ingrained in our system for us to truly break out of it?