Today, Erin and I went to a bit more of the younger and urban areas of Sydney, namely, Darlinghurst, Surry Hills, and Padington. The regions were a bit less ethnic but remained diverse. It was also much more artsy and "trendy" as one interviewee noted. As we were walking throughout these regions, I had a strong desire to personally begin ministry in one of these regions, actually. All of those to whom we spoke talked about the young, "hip", partying, professional, middle to upper-class population, alongside the poor, "drugged-up", "people with whom life has not dealt fairly", drunks, homeless population. One gentleman said that the dichotomous nature of the region is absolutely astounding to him. When I asked him what he thought to be the biggest need of the community he immediately answered that the area needed more social programs designed for the poor and addicted. I also asked him what the general disposition towards religion was in the region and he responded that "everyone in this area is spiritual, no one is religious." I think that is the general disposition throughout western thought but was well articulated by this insightful and honest man. One of the things I have been thinking and reading about is how the gospel responds and how the church should respond to an egalitarian culture adverse to institutions and especially institutionalized religion. When I return to the States I would love to talk to you about that more.
Just as a bit of a side note, this type of environment is the exact type of place in which I would love to minister. On one end you have the intellectuals, the thinkers, the "arsty", the gay, the professionals, the politically active, the liberals, and the conservatives; while at the other end, you have the "druggies", homeless, marginalized, and poor. I find such an environment to be so stimulating and challenging. Yet, what a gospel we have! Gospel, good news, that Jesus is the answer to the poor and the rich's questions. Jesus is the answer to the homosexual and user's search for pleasure. Jesus is the answer. Truly, it does take time to understand how "we can be all things to all people", but really, Jesus is the answer. If we, as Christians, simply proclaim Jesus the Christ, nothing less and nothing more, we'll faithfully and adequately answer the questions of the world.