Key Verses 1 Cor. 8: 9,13 Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak... if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.
Australia’s alcohol culture: In Alice Springs, a woman mourns the loss of six of her family members to alcohol related causes. Nearby, alcohol outlets soak up the weekly incomes of whole families.
A young man on his first night out in a state capital is bashed and kicked by a drunken 16 year old for no apparent reason. His face hits the asphalt – hard.
Young boys drink a slab of vodka alcopops, given to them without parental permission or knowledge, unsupervised. One is seriously burned falling into a campfire while intoxicated. At the time, no law had been broken.
A woman and children cower as a drunken partner abuses and assaults them. The woman will seek shelter from The Salvation Army.
Within the space of a few weeks, Police Commissioners in Australia’s two largest states describe our alcohol culture as ‘out of control’, and ‘transforming’ (changing or mutating) towards drinking specifically in order to become drunk. The common elements? Profit for some at the expense of the young, the indigenous & the addicted
Facts: current Australian alcohol harm In addition, a majority of Australians (60.8%) drink at levels in excess of NH&MRS guidelines. (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2008). Just under one in ten drinkers are at risk or high risk of long and short term harm. (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2010) Almost one in eight children (13.2 percent) live at risk of exposure to binge drinking by at least one adult (Dawe et al. 2007. ANCD Research Paper).
Hospital records show an increasing trend towards admission of underage drinkers for alcohol-related problems. (Toumbourou, 2009). Alcohol-related harm costs Australian taxpayers around $36 billion per year (AERF, 2010).
Alcohol marketers are exempted from restrictions on electronic advertising to children during sporting events. Inconsistent state laws allow the provision in homes of virtually any amount of alcohol to children of virtually any age, without parental knowledge or consent.
God’s ‘Good News’ is for the whole person The Incarnation of Jesus … ‘God in the flesh’ … Importance of the whole person: c.f. Gnostic views Spiritual, physical, social & emotional wholeness Some important principles flow from this…
Principle 1 – We work towards health of the whole person William Booth – Salvation is for the whole person. We see the harm done & we want to model wholeness – physical, social, emotional, spiritual.
Principle 2 – We speak and act on behalf of those without power or a voice Who are the ‘least, lowest and lost’ today in terms of alcohol harm in Australia?
These each suffer disproportionately from the alcohol harm which makes others rich. BUT alcohol harm also effects every level of society, people in every walk of life.
Alcohol harm is a social justice issue: there are clear winners & losers. Alcohol related harms are not acceptable or inevitable. Salvationists make a radical commitment to the care, welfare & wholeness of others
Principle 3 – We are actively concerned for our neighbour, even if it costs us something Our motivation for acts of compassion: love. e.g. story of the Good Samaritan We take responsibility for the impact of our actions upon others – even if this means going without something ourselves (1 Cor. 8: 9,13) The Biblical concept of care for the ‘weaker brother’ – should over-ride other considerations (Rom. 14:19-20)
Abuse, moderation & radical commitment to others… The scriptures leave no room for abuse of alcohol (Prov. 23:20-21, 29-32; Rom. 13:11- 14, Gal. 5:19-21; 1 Pet. 4:1-4; Rom. 14:19- 20). ‘Moderation’? Over 60 percent of alcohol consumed is actually consumed in an unsafe manner (Aust. Inst. Health & Welfare 2008). For many moderation is clearly not a real option.
TSA’s abstinence stance on alcohol stems not from a killjoy wowserism – it provides an example of joyous alcohol free life. It is part of a radical commitment to others
So What? Alcohol related harms are not acceptable or inevitable. Much can be done. SACi can assist our Corps to taking action. Alcohol harm is a social justice issue. There are clear winners & losers … in the marketing of alcohol Salvationists make a radical commitment to the care, welfare & wholeness of others Plan to take action!
Alcohol harm: why should I care? We care because the harm is great We care because it does not have to be that way We care because we choose a radical commitment to others – for Jesus’ sake Get informed, pray, & take action!