From anecdotal evidence, a fascinating aspect of Australian suburban life, is the desire to keep a low profile, regardless of how much or how little one might be involved in community activities.
Australians on the most part are pleased to be part of a group photograph for the local weekly newspaper, yet many will shy away from a feature story about themselves.
This generalisation does not apply to those, who have political ambitions whether that be federal, state or local and those in some professions are not in this category, as whether they like it or not, have a profile: such as Christian ministers, lawyers, doctors or in visible executive positions.
Nonetheless, this shying away from publicity, strangely, is in stark contrast to many Americans in the same situation in suburban United States, where celebrity, is celebrated regardless of how small the pond is. Celebrity is heralded and sought after.
Some literature suggests the Irish distaste for English 'control' has implied it's better not to raise your head. Former convicts who gained their ticket of leave and stayed and were granted land or started businesses didn't want to much publicity about themselves.
There is anecdotal comment of Australian's experience of WWI of keeping your head down as British officers wore red cap bands and targets for the sniper.
Our children and teenagers too play a huge role in ensuring their parents keep a low profile. For them, there is nothing more embarrassing than having one of your parents turn up, doing outrageous things, like "talking to someone!" They soon let their parents know what is considered appropriate don't be seen or heard anywhere near them".
The "tall poppy syndrome" remains alive and well as the perception is that to hold too high a stature brings unwanted "media attention". The nature of celebrity in Australia is not always a good place to be, as the sentiment is that someone will want to bring you down a peg or two.
Is any of this "only" in our imaginations?
Should celebrity come to any one of us, would we in reality run away, or would we take it on board, especially when big dollars come with it.
Look at our champion swimmers: a no-body one day, advertising cereals on television, the next.
But, there is another quite different arena where celebrity status is discouraged, a theological emphasis where every success comes from the Lord. "Never touch the Glory, it belongs exclusively to God" is a popular theological line.
In other words, our good fortune is not something to brag about, rather it is an area of life that brings responsibility.
This responsibility, carries with it an unspoken attitude of helping those who are less fortunate, and contributing to the community's welfare by making positive and well rounded decisions for the benefit of everyone.
It seems therefore that Christians should be part of community committee's and taking on roles such as President, Secretary, Vice President, Treasurer, and the like, where they can help guide and make good decisions for the benefit of that organisation or community group.
We realise, this could unfortunately be construed as big noting oneself, when in reality, it is being Christ's person in your local arena and by seeking the wisdom of the Lord, your advice or comments are well heeded.
Sometimes we shout: "Solomon, where are you when you're needed in this kind of situation?"
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 mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand. Dr Mark Tronson’s Press Service International in 2019 was awarded the Australasian Religious Press Association’s premier award, The Gutenberg.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html