Yesterday we visited a local centre that specialises in a wide variety of indigenous art from around the world intermixed with some local full size creations of movie creations, such as Transformers. The latter are there to attract for the former and very successful it appears to be, with donations being requested for photos to support local charities, ticking that box as well. It is called ‘Primitive Design’ and doesn’t disappoint. I’ve been worrying about our own primitive design, our boat engine and it has been with some relief that Howard has just relayed the news we do not have a compression problem. This should mean that our only issue is how it is repaired and also, of course, funding that. Our business plan had initially intended to hire both boat and skipper for the voyage leaving Howard and I to both concentrate on where our interest and purpose of the voyage lay. Sadly this was quoted at nearly £60,000 and we couldn’t expect to raise that quickly without some sort of miracle. So instead we accepted the offer of the boat we are using and put in a contingency amount for things failing, including the engine. To this point we have therefore been able to move forward although there has been considerable support behind the scenes from a particular person which has allowed things to progress. They have asked for anonymity but I am quite sure we would not have got here today without them. We will just have to hope and pray we can raise enough to complete our voyage as it seems likely our funds will be exhausted when we set sail on the 16th July.
Coming back to the store, several things hit me quite hard. Firstly it was evident that there were large amounts of shipped goods which could not be produced at those prices locally. This will benefit the local economy shipping them however the level of discounts seemed to indicate the majority of the profit, as is common, is made in Canada. From an ecology perspective the cost of shipping these things is a burden we all share through our environment and the shipping is occurring because locally producing them would reduce the profit. Surely it would make sense for central authorities to seek to offset this via taxes on fuel. Airlines and shipping companies will obviously object and lobby however if our planet is to be safeguarded then reducing our reliance upon them and moving back to strong local business has to make sound ecological sense.
The next thing that I observed was both spirituality and idolatry. The majority of the items had some sort, mostly pagan, of spiritual connection. Thus this successful business has identified a spiritual yearning that people are prepared to pay for and is supplying to it. There appears to be a need within us to want to own and control and by buying something like this people may be paying homage to this. The issue the real God has always had is she is unique. She was never able to be controlled or owned in the way other cultures saw their gods and also, despite the patriarchal imagery, was also beyond human comprehension, thus my deliberate use of ‘she’.
Finally the amount of tattooed forms in the store increased exponentially. I have already been surprised at the sheer number of folk carrying tattoos. That is not intended to be judgemental, it is just for myself I have never had one nor would I ever consider doing so. In the forces, during my time, they prevented people going for commission as they were considered something very much working class. Despite not being that religious for much of my time, I also saw both tattoos and piercings as something that reflected back to primitive culture and slavery, especially nose rings. So I never have and never would. What may be useful, from a Christian perspective, is to identify these adornments as someone crying out. They certainly appear to be crying out for identity, some way of being unique and from the store, they also appear to be seeking to fill that spiritual void through purchasing stuff. We are all of a very primitive design but for me, finding how that interfaces with the divine has offered a contentment not able to be purchased. God being incomprehensible, that contentment on offer, in being found by him, is satisfyingly immeasurable.