Monday, November 09, 2015

Thought for the Day

As delivered at BBC Radio Bristol this morning, a day when they were discussing a joint meeting of four local councils to consider future housing needs in the area:

The Canadian author Douglas Coupland said:

'When someone tells you they've just bought a house, they might as well tell you they no longer have a personality. You can immediately assume so many things: that they're locked into jobs they hate; that they're broke; that they spend every night watching videos; that they're fifteen pounds overweight, that they no longer listen to new ideas.'

It's amazing, with publicity like that, anyone would want to settle. But we need somewhere to live.

I grew up in a house my parents inherited from my grandfather, a man I never met. He went to prison for business fraud. I was in my mid-forties before I realised I may have benefited from the proceeds of crime. My Dad had never spoken of it.

Jesus, equally down on homes, is reported as saying, 'Foxes have holes and birds have nests but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.' Emphasising that the lot of a travelling preacher is much more about faith in God for food and shelter than about home-owning. Not living the dream but certainly living the message. And he knew - people are more suspicious of travellers than settlers.

Where should we put new homes? I don't know but I'm glad it's being discussed. I was fortunate growing up and feel for those who want a place of their own.

The Bible speaks of welcome, hospitality to the stranger and inclusivity as key Christian values. I commend everyone to drop any knee-jerk opposition to newcomers. Nimbyism is selfish and, just maybe, a sign that Coupland was right. If once we've settled down we become reluctant to invite new people, with new ideas to join us - we shouldn't.

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