Attached to this post is a picture of Bar Beach; just one of many fabulous beaches in Newcastle and the surrounding coastline. I live about 30 minutes from the center of Newcastle near Lake Macquarie, the largest coastal lake in Australia.
We have magnificent beaches, a beautiful lake, fishing, surfing, walking etc and yet...and yet I still hear a multitude of complaints in the taxi.
This week we hit over 40 degree temperatures on Saturday which is exceptionally hot in anyone's book especially an ex-pat Englishman like myself. Last summer didn't really happen and people complained about the lack of sunshine but now that we have a hot summer people complain about the heat. And people have the nerve to call English people "whinging poms"!
It appears that it's either too hot or too cold, too wet or too dry. Myself, I look to adjust to whatever temperature comes my way and try and enjoy the day.
It got me thinking about the tendency of some sections of the Australian church to complain. We complain about Hillsong or Sydney Anglicans or the more progressive aspects of the Uniting Church. They're either too literal or not literal enough and all the while the rest of society gets on with their lives and increasingly sees the church as irrelevant and out dated.
The remedy, as I see it, is not to give up critiquing but to look for the positives in our brothers and sisters. I find it difficult to sleep in the hot, humid weather we are having so I get up and try and find some productive way to use my time rather than sweating and complaining. I find some of the preaching of Hillsong is not to my liking but I rejoice that a friend of mine who has been through divorce and depression is an active member of the church and has found a community that has supported and sustained him through the rocky parts of his recent journey.
On Australia Day 2009 I appeal to all of the readers of this blog to put away complaining and bickering and to seek to find the positives in our brothers and sisters. Critique robustly but don't put people down and use your words to hurt people.