MacGyver & Bricolage - #awaf reflections


The french have a word, le bricoleur, for odd job man, and a chain of hardware/building supply companies, called Mr Bricolage. The bricoleur is like MacGyver (for anyone old enough to remember that TV series) who takes whatever is at hand, as a resource to produce complex instruments to deal with immediate problems.

And within french philosophy, there is an understanding of the way human beings construct from the diverse resources around them as 'bricolage'. The nature or bricolage, of using whatever is to hand, has had some resistance from the church at many times, with regards to the formation of the Christian life. The desire to see pure resources, preserved through history, that are liked controlled substances, handled correctly, and in the same way at all times, stands in stark contrast to the bricoleur and handy man who makes do with what is to hand.

It can be argued that in terms of mission, the gospel has more in common with the handy man, making use of what is at hand, within the world, and context and culture that the people of God experience. Paul at Mars Hill (acts 17), reaches for the resources of the location he is in to speak and share the Gospel. A MacGyver moment?

But one problem with bricolage, is that within a consumer culture, that so often collapses everything into lives of isolation, centered around what makes me happy, rather than what is best for us all, it become about the shallow use of resources around us. The church and christians can't resist bricolage, calling people to only use authorized resources, that are pure and timeless. We'll we can but it won't get very far.

But we can call attention to how shallow and superficial our use of resources are. Is this the best we can do with the amazing resources available to us as human beings, and as Christians? Perhaps the problem is not of bricolage, but of the lack of creativity and the self centered inaneness, of so much that passes for 'creativity'.

MacGyver might inspire us, that we live at time with the most amazing access to resources, and that from the things around we could produce the most amazing creations in response to the seemingly impossible problems we face. Taking our bricolage 'deeper', into the nature and mission of Jesus, that knows no limits to it's depths.