It’s a conveyor belt


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Our car is about to be written-off.

We are still driving it – it is still taxed and insured – still roadworthy and safe.  It’s just the cost of repairing the passenger door (which still opens-shuts) will be greater than the book value of the car.  Sixty-percent greater we were told by the insurance company – who were told by their appointed garage – who we have to use to take advantage of being insured for such accidents.

And the appointed garage – because it is appointed – cannot source and use second-hand parts.  And it has an agreed hourly rate for its mechanics.  And there is an imposed “job rate” from the insurance company for each element of work.  It means the appointed garage and insurance company can quickly calculate the worth of repairing our car (or not).  Which means – ahead of the paperwork – the insurance company will be writing-off our vehicle. No repair for them or us.

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We know another garage.  Not appointed.  The chap who runs it uses “fuck” or “fucking” every other word.  He has a unit off the beaten track.  Has a couple of chaps working for him.  Has beaten-up vehicles parked all around.  Been doing bodywork for 37 years.  Knows nothing else.  Does nothing else.  We bumped into him some time ago when I had been told our new (now to be written-off) car needed welding and undersealing.  His verdict?

That was fucking OTT!  No need he said.  Would just be a lot of money for no good reason.  Problem-rust is from the inside out.  Better to leave things alone so we can all see any rust and fix it as needed.

He’s a fucking good guy!  So I ran our car across to him.

His verdict?  No fucking problem.  The biggie would be to find a good second-hand passenger door at a price that made the rest fixable at a total price that was worth it (to us).  We swapped details and pics and he promised to call today after working through the details overnight.

I found a door later in the day.  Somewhere up north.  Let our chap know.

“Order it” was the reply.

So I agreed a price and delivery – £100 total.  That leaves (we think) around £1,200 for bodywork costs once we finalise the “write-off” number and money with the insurance company.  We hope to get some change from that after the work is done (which we expect to cost a lot less that 160% of the book-value of the car).

“No one wants to lie in shit all day. You can make more money as a plumber.”

That is the life of a self-employed bodyshop owner tucked away off the beaten track.

“See the big garages think – “We’ll have the insurance work”- but the price is set based on a nice clean workshop – tools all laid out – brand new motor being dismantled – “That’ll be 1.5 hours all in”.  Four hours later when the mechanic is struggling with seized nuts, a door that is smashed-up – the garage is losing money!  And on top of that they need a nice new reception area, a nice smiling receptionist, a nice clean car park – it all costs.  And that’s why it isn’t worth it for them – that’s why they do bad work – it’s a conveyor belt.”

That is the life an appointed garage.

I wonder if we have come to think of the bible in the same way.  We have “conveyor belt”ed the bible.  Made it inerrant and infallible – inspired by God – made it its own evidence.  No worries now about faith – we have proven the bible to be its own evidence and God is now fact.  Head Office take each verse and strip it down and put it back together.

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“A twelve-week course” … “a 30-minute meeting” … “One-hour gathering each week” … “That’s all we need” – Grab ‘em, show ‘em, convince ‘ em, convert ‘em!  The job’s a good ‘un!

And then this God and then this Jesus fella.

Off the beaten track.  Lying in shit all day.  Taking smashed up stuff – finding second-hand parts – making things new again.

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Do we need these nice new shiny buildings “glorifying God” – these unspoken invoices and charges we call tithing and gifting – isn’t that to pay for the conveyor belt.  The bums-on-seats in this church or abroad (where they listen better, are convinced more easily, come closer to God more readily, and clock up the bums-on-seats global number wonderfully).

“No one wants to lie in shit all day. You can make more money as a plumber.”

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2 thoughts on “It’s a conveyor belt

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