I was sad to hear of Richard Briers death yesterday. Although I was a bit too young to watch the “Good life” when it first came out I grew up watching some of the latter series and repeats. For our many non-British readers Richard Briers was best known for his role in a sitcom called “The Good life”. In it he played a well off man in a good job called Tom Good who persuaded his wife (Barbara) to give it all up to become self sufficient in their smart suburban house. Their activities were carried out much to the horror of their posh neighbours who were dragged in to helping catch pigs and harvest cabbages.
There was a serious side to what was a well acted, scripted and amusing sitcom. The backdrop was the 1973 oil crisis and a series of economic problems. Food prices shot up due its oil dependency. Apparently inspired by the programme thousands of people really did sell up and try to become self sufficient more plausibly moving to the country to do so (Tom and Barbara could never have grown enough food on the small urban garden they had).
At that time being self sufficient was all the rage. The Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) set up about the same time encouraged this with energy (of which there was no mention in “The Good life”, perhaps because the technology was undeveloped and very expensive). However, since then then CAT and others encourage mutual interdependence. So for example my electricity from my PV systems goes to my immediate neighbours. Survivalism so popular in the US is never going to work. Instead we need to build communities as encouraged in Acts 2v-44-45, something my homegroup has just begun to explore.