I am off work now for a couple of days so as well as spending time with Tanya and the boys and finishing my paper on narrative criticism I will fit in some blogging in the form of my latest reflections from the drivers seat of my taxi.
Today is a public holiday in most of Australia and the day off work on Monday prompted a lot of people to descend on the city for a night of drinking.
Coming, as I do, from a family who have and still do get drunk I am well aware of the dynamics of drinking and do not stand in judgment over the people who come into my cab. It is too easy to sit on the sidelines tut-tutting and pontificating from our pulpits without actually seeking to understand what leads people to binge drink.
The issue of binge drinking is a hot topic in Australia at the moment with various methods employed to try and stem the violence that often accompanies large crowds of drunken young people. What strikes me though is that the percentage of people who cause trouble is very, very small and there are a lot of people who are looking to enjoy themselves. It is this issue that I want to consider briefly.
Again, it is too easy to make simplistic comments from within our Christian enclaves regarding the fact that people work all week, drink on the weekends and save for the summer vacation and this constitutes the basic dynamics for most people. The truth is much more complex as I am finding out as people begin to open up on their taxi journey. The people I meet are, generally speaking, decent people who lack a deeper sense of hope that can lift their sights from the limitations of the 21st century western world.
I recall an old hymn that says "Because He lives I can face tomorrow. Because He lives all fear is gone. Because He lives I can face the future. Life is worth the living just because He lives."
In 1 Cor 15:14 Paul wrote " And if Christ was not raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your trust in God is useless."
The Christian hope rests firmly on the fact that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead. It is this fundamental belief that keeps me striving to help those who have not heard this good news. The people around us are not evil (or, to use the Christian euphemism, "worldly") but simply people who do not have a deep seated hope to even taken them through the working week sometimes so alcohol provides a suitable avenue for relieving tension, relaxing people and opening up conversation but, unfortunately, it is also addictive and insidiously saps any hope that is there.
In summary the Christian hope is vitally important to the Church and something that needs to be taken outside the doors of the church and into a community that, although they do not say in so many words, need and want to hear that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead.