Always have a friend who owns it


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We have just replaced our five–seater car with an eight-seater.  The plan is to be able to house all the grandchildren and (up to) three adults for the summer holidays.  Days out together are great fun AND helps our daughter/mum with bored youngsters.

This particular model fits the bill – enough seats AND room at the back for young-children-on-the-move stuff.

The chap we bought it from spends his life on the road in his one-car car-transporter.  He dropped “ours” off and took ours away.  We have never bought a car this way before.  We always needed to “try before we buy” – to reassure ourselves that we weren’t buying a rip-off (yet – somehow – bought our unfair share along the way).

Always have a friend who owns it.

In the past we would have been his friend, but really his enemy.  We would want him to trust us, but we would never trust him.  He is “a seller” – “a dealer” – a “charming” off-loader-of-soon-to-be-going-wrong vehicles.  We know.  We have bought them before AND paid the consequences.

It’s similar to how I used to see religion and “church”.  Still do on a bad day.

This corporate institution which has sugar-coated the essence of love with rules, hierarchy and correctness.  This body of Christ which isn’t.  Always another meeting, another appointment, another service getting in the way.  Always the panacea of “We will pray for you” which I still think too often means “We have no time for you”.

Always have a friend who owns it.

And now I think people are people.  On a good day.  My journey has been one of casting-off as much as picking-up.  Like this car.  Now the seller no longer an enemy to be duped instead of it being us.  Now another human being journeying the best he knows.  On a good day.

A seller like me.  Doing a job like I do.  No intention to rip-off the world.  Simply wanting to make enough to get by on a good day.  Connecting with buyers – some of whom are the enemy – and some of whom are not.  Selling a used vehicle which has journeyed many miles.  And like anything that has journeyed (and still is) will always need care and tlc – will always have niggles and bits that need fixing.

It doesn’t make this man my enemy.

As we did the paperwork I admitted we had never bought a car this way before – from pictures and conversations – to agreeing a deal and only then seeing the car.  I asked about his background.

He used to have his own business.  Made loads of cash and contacts.  Had loads of people working for him and all the stuff of success.  And then he didn’t.  No details.  Just not a good day.  But he rose again.  This time with just one employee.  And it worked.  And then that employee grew old and died.  So now he drives a one-car car-transporter up and down the country – picks-up a vehicle – drops-off a vehicle – sells a vehicle – buys a vehicle.

And if a friend suggests a boat-trip … he just “takes down” his adverts and goes on a boat-trip.  And if a friend suggests a week or two in a villa – he “takes down” his adverts and …

Which is where his phrase came from: “Always have a friend who owns it.”

Owning stuff is tiring and wearing.  The responsibility of maintaining it – making sure no one else steals it – saying no to others because “stuff” comes first – all that “stuff” stuff that goes with owning more and more stuff.

My journey has also been to cast-off a lot of what the world considers valuable and replacing it with what is important to me.  And that is a personal journey – it may have  overlap with others – but of necessity is a personal journey.

So my gripe with “religion/church” is it encourages journeying BUT without itself journeying.

I think my gripe boils down to just that.

Don’t preach “all are welcome” as policy unless prepared to change when meeting new  oddballs – the “all are welcome” visitors.

Don’t insist on “correctness” that is static – when journeying is not.

Don’t lead from the front – when the manual says the first shall be last and the last first.

Don’t be “corporate” because people are not AND journeys are not – and nor is God Soft Hands Jesus – and never can be.

Always have a friend who owns it.

I have found that friend.

And he needs no worship from me.

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