In an article by Hugh Mackay, psychologist and social researcher titled: "A nation in need of catharsis", his concluding remarks reveal a national revival in people getting on with life regardless of what's happening with threats of one kind or another:
"... your neighbourhood is undergoing a revival. Book clubs, men's sheds, choirs, community gardens, coffee-shop encounters, adult education groups, local library-based activities, increased participation in the creative and performing arts, picnics and street parties. These are heartening signs that, deep down, we know our leaders cannot shape the kind of society we want. We have to do that ourselves."
I remember such events in the fifties and sixties 'Marching Girls' with their very colourful outfits who were getting on with life in this Hugh Mackay spirit.
I recall the excitement of the 1954 Royal visit as a child, along with the Melbourne Olympic Games, when again Herb Elliot won his 1960 Gold Medal in Rome.
These were conservative years followed by the radical 1960's and 70's and I see today that Australia and elsewhere are showing signs of a growing move to conservative values, a back to the values of the fifties. The radicals everywhere have shown us all not how to react.
Some years ago in a Oprah television show where several groups of American young women were moving into Catholic Religious Life (becoming Nuns). In every interview, each young woman spoke of it as a calling, they experienced a peace within their hearts, and almost all of them had relationships with boy friends at one time. This was a calling beyond all that glittered.
Young people today it seems are on a spiritual search and the Church Life Surveys are also indicating this. Many lively Pentecostal and Baptist churches around Australia who are reaching the youth of the nation, are finding this same phenomenon.
Therefore, I ask, would such events as the Marching Girls of the fifties be acceptable to many today, in the light of so many who are against anything that might reflect provocatively? To help answer this question he conducted his own straw survey in Tweed Heads where he lives, 200 metres from the southern Gold Coast's Coolangatta's tourist beaches.
He first spoke to a number of his fellow Tweed Heads Chamber of Commerce members who are retailers. Then he spoke to numbers of the friends of his fourth (their third daughter) some of whom are now in their third year of university or have been working for over two years.
I considered this would provide a good cross section of the community. Hard nosed business people who are out there in the reality of interest rates trying to make a business grow and develop, and then at the same time, a group of young people (twenty year olds) who are beginning to get a sense of responsibility for their own futures.
Our young writers are part of this.
This conservative mood of the nation is certainly a realistic and ongoing experience in Tweed Heads. For the Churches on the move, this is a clear signal of an open door into the community.
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.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html