Pastor's pen 26th July 2020 - Retail Therapy?

I found an anthology in the Salvation Army charity shop today, and here is one of the poemsit contained, something suitable for us as we try to get the measure of the economic, medical and societal crisis of Covid-19, but also speaking to our wider consumer culture:


I am spending my way out of a recession. The road chokes on delivery vans.

I used to be Just Looking Round, I used to be How Much, and Have You Got It in Beige.

Now I devour whole stores - high speed spin; giant size; chunky gold; de luxe springing. Things.

I drag them round me into a stockade. It is dark inside; but my credit cards are incandescent.

Connie Bensley

This got me thinking about 'getting things back to normal' post-Covid. What is now apparent globally, is that humanity is far from getting things back to normal. Bad news - Melbourne and many cities and nations are a long way from getting the Covid virus spread under control. Good news - Scientists at Oxford University are ahead of the game for vaccine development. Time to play the 'commonwealth card' I think?

Is a globalized economy based around constant economic growth and the ongoing cheap transfer of shoddy to average goods what we want to get back to? Are mass tourism and education as commodities even valid and needed by human communities? We want to burn less fossil fuels but so many of our human activities require their vast consumption. The environment got to take a breather during lock-down. Some of us also had time for reflection. I don't have the answers to the questions I posed, nor do I have enough knowledge to be overly strategic in my response.

One thing I do know is that if we return to prayer and biblical reflection with the same vigour with which we returned to retail therapy, we would be a stronger people and a wiser church in the future God has mapped out for us. May we know God's breathed desire for the renewal of the heavens and the earth.

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