Friday, 19 November 2010

Home sweet

I recently discovered I have some wonderful neighbours thanks to the joys of Streetbank: an online community where you can meet the people who live just round the corner from you. AND if you covet any of their belongings, you can borrow them. Just log on, locate your geographical area and think of something quickly that you'd like to lend... like, um... a, euphonium. In return, you can ask Bob at number 74 for the loan of his Mercedes Benz. It's that simple.*

But do we really need a website to help us do this?

It's incredibly sad, but unfortunately for some of us, we just don't get to meet our own neighbours: the young mum you see every weekday struggling onto the bus every morning with her pram. The man who walks his dog along the tow path every weekend. Our paths, somehow, don't cross. Or perhaps we just don't have the time to cross the road to meet them.

I was introduced to this lovely little film made by Breathe, in partnership with Tearfund and Arocha. There's something that really triggers a reaction in me, but there's also something that holds me back from taking the next step. Perhaps not knowing how to, or perhaps not having the courage to carry it out. Giving away our possessions, as a concept, is relatively counter cultural. And yet, it's not exactly original.

When I struggle with radical life choices, one place to look for answers is the early disciples. Take Acts 2 as an example. Here's a type of lifestyle that makes me think how incredibly altruistic those early followers were, how wonderfully sacrificial, holistic and outward looking. But while it might have worked then, surely it's not for today?

I'm still in a state of pondering. But I have definitely experienced the kindness of neighbours and strangers, so I heartily endorse the community that is Streetbank. So if you're not on, why don't you take a little look around your house and think what you'd like to share with someone else. It might just help you get to know your community a little bit better.

And whilst we're on the subject of radical living, if you really want to serve your community, it's useful to get to know who your neighbours are.

* I might have exagerated the items on offer in south west London.


  1. Streetbank looks good. I was very excited when, on joining, I found I could borrow an Adult Fairy Costume from a neighbour living just 500 yards away. If only I had known before!

  2. Brilliant. That's you sorted for the christmas party then!