The article explained that everything that occurred in the taxi was secretly videoed and then placed on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook and the Prime Minister was dressed in an official taxi cab driver's uniform and a badge. He looked the part,
Norway's general election is two days after ours here in Australia, and the PR has been released in good time for voters to hear what the taxi cab customers had to say. As Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg noted that those who ride in cabs speak about things from the hip. It's seen as a safe place for free speech.
There were illuminating remarks such as customers thinking that he looked like the Prime Minister, others actually recognised him, some criticised the Government and one even said they would change to vote to his Labor Party.
But the purpose of the exercise was to hear what people thought and in this the Prime Minister was not disappointed. The positive outcome for his customers was that no one was required to pay for their taxi journey.
All this reminded me of the innumerable people in Christian ministry roles who have taken to taxi driving as a means of one to one ministry.
In Australia, like Norway, people open up to the taxi driver, not unlike when at the barber, it's a place where open discussion can take place in a sense of release and in a non-committal setting.
The taxi driver is in a unique position as the taxi driver is able to initiate a discussion in a non-threatening way and with some wisdom and experience can draw the passenger out a little, and then let them flow forth with their concerns, heart aches, frustrations, anxieties, fears, worries and a lot more besides.
Those Christians in ministry engaged in taxi driver for this purpose, a calling if you will, find that the late night drive is a very special time wherein passengers start opening up in such manner. A taxi driver responding with some insight is not seen as being unusual as there is perhaps no group of people more exposed to such issues in people's lives. Like most things, passengers as normal human beings would take more notice of a taxi driver's comments than that of a professional.
It is an interesting exercise to Google 'Taxi Driving as Christian Ministry'' to see what pop's up. (www.google.com.au)
Certainly most taxi passengers would not be heading straight for a Minister's door step, but they feel quite satisfied to ride the taxi and let it all hang out and in return have some earthly wisdom from up front – after all the assumption is that he's heard it all before and might know something or other. John Mark Ministry has an article from a Sunshine Coast taxi driver who utilised his job as a Christian Ministry. (www.jmm.org.au)
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html