At the 1959 Earls Court (London) Motor Show, a radical new little car was unveiled...
It was designed by former motor racer, engineer, designer and all-round genius Alec Issigonis. Nicknamed 'the Greek god', Issigonis was a master of innovation. He had won numerous track events in the 1930's and 40's with cars modified to his own specifications, experimenting with aluminium bodywork and rubber suspension before anyone else had the ideas. Some of these ideas he would use again in the late 1950's to him develop the amazing mini car.
The first thing everybody noticed about the Mini was that it was just so cool! Everybody wanted one. It symbolised something of a decade about to begin, a decade that would afterwards be remembered as one of the best times to have been alive.
Since the Rock 'n Roll era of the late 1950's, the concept of cool has been important in western culture. We all know what it means, and we all know that the meaning can change to some extent. But some things have been cool, are still cool, and will probably always be cool. The mini is one.
Minis were also classless. Like The Beatles of the same era, everybody liked them. Intellectuals, ordinary simple souls, the rich, the poor, the privileged, the common people, everybody! Beatle Paul McCartney had one, as did movie star Steve McQueen, footballer George Best and Princess Margaret's husband Lord snowdon. But so did thousands of ordinary working men and women of the time. Unlike Aston Martins and Ferraris, Minis were not the preserve of the rich.
By cheap we do not mean they were of poor quality, or else the wealthy and famous would not have wanted them. Minis were affordable. Pretty much everybody on a full time wage could afford one, pre-owned if nothing else.
Yes, cheeky. Bold, brazen, audacious even! Minis were unable to sit there at the kerbside unnoticed. Even when parked between an opulent Rolls Royce and a super fast, super priced E Type Jaguar, the Mini would still make her cheeky presence felt. My wife had a Rover Mini Cooper when my children were young. When we moved to a new area, the children moved schools. It happened to be a school in a pretty affluent area and many of the mothers had expensive cars. Nevertheless, our children were instantly accepted as 'cool'. Why? Because their mother had a Mini Cooper! The Jaguars and BMW's may have drawn glances, but when the 'Cooper came up the road with her characteristic sporty rasping exhaust, every child's head turned and they gazed in awe.
The dictionary definition of certain is able to be firmly relied on. Another great quality of the original mini. Which brings us to another question.
The church was instigated by Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Saviour of mankind. The church was designed to be cool, classless and certain. At times we may need to be cheeky, and we should always be affordable - open to everyone whether rich or poor. If the church has become anything else, then she needs to re-examine herself, her mission and her position in human society. If the church is no longer approachable in every way, loving the unlovely and reaching out to all in need, then need to go back to the Maker and, just like the Mini, we may need to ask for a design update.