The so-called “Lock Out Laws” just passed by the Queensland Parliament may address at some level the consequences of binge drinking and the random violence that has maimed and killed far too many. Yet a question should still linger in all our minds.
Have we addressed the real issue? Have we even asked the question? “Why?” Why is it that people feel the need to drink so heavily? Why is it that ‘fun’ is connected to losing control of our bodies and minds?
As a culture it seems we Australians are prone to drinking excessively for escapism and entertainment.
Maybe this is because we have a deep unease in our culture: a listlessness and lostness! Individuals are searching for meaning, and hope, and connection. These laws might help address the symptom of over indulging in alcohol and the violence that seems to ensue.
However, the question remains: “What can we do to build a more positive culture in which people feel connected and loved enough that they do not feel the need to get ‘wasted’ or express their insecurity through violence?”
And for those of who follow Jesus what might we do to contribute to the building of such a culture?
(Photo Courtesy of Rod Shea)
One of the ways we learn to live and understand our world is through our repeated habits. As Christians rituals like eating bread and wine remind us of Jesus death. In the ancient world the making of tents at the time of tabernacles helped the people remember their time wandering in the wilderness.
These actions involve a process we call anamnesis which involves the act of recalling the past or reminiscing. In this process we as community remember things we may have forgotten and in so doing we are meant to be transformed.
I can’t help but think that maybe as an Australian culture we should engage in some communal acts of anamnesis – like building some tents to remind us of the first settlers who came here from other lands. That we came as strangers into this land with total disregard to the first peoples. That many of us were forced arrivals and as time progressed some of us arrived escaping hardship and seeking a better life.
Maybe if we made some tents and told the stories we would remember how our ancestors treated the first peoples and maybe we would learn a deeper sense of respect and compassion for those who are seeking asylum on our shores now.
As complex as the issue of refugees may be I am yet to find a rationale in which Christ’s words “I was a stranger and you welcomed me” bears any connection to the concept of mandatory detention.
As our President Stuart McMillan has said the idea of returning children to detention is a test of our morality.
Let us pitch some tents and remember our history and exercise some compassion.