Friday, August 16, 2013


Now that’s not a word we’d use in NZ. But on the third Open-Top bus tour of the New Forest yesterday we were reminded how little of the countryside you can see when driving in England. Quite often, all you can see are the dense bushes that lines the roads and the meadows. Hedgerows.

Great stuff, of course, because, as we have been discovering in the last two or three decades in Australia and NZ, the paddocks are actually more productive if not cultivated right to the very edges. In all our countries these days there are dedicated efforts to restoring bush and forest margins to protect moisture and provide environments for insect, bird and animal life.

It’s all very praiseworthy, but outside our bungalow in Ringwood it has all gone mad. Here, carefully protected from gnawing animals, is a line of what were cute little saplings just a year or two ago. Planted less than a foot apart, they were presumably intended to build up a hedge. But besides hawthorns and holly which might grow only a few metres high there are big trees such as oaks, alders and willows.

I suppose 95% of them will never survive. At best, they will make not hedge but a fence of thin sticks. If any survive into maturity there will probably be a law forbidding their removal and they will completely shut the sun out of this pleasant little property. It seems as though a very good idea has been taken up with enthusiasm but has somehow lost some vital concepts along the way.

I wonder how often that happens with changes in church strategy. Could Local Shared Ministry become another really good idea that turns bad because of doctrinaire and mindless, application?

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