Booze, Loneliness, Mike Pence and Bethlehem College

Monday, June 20, 2022

Categories: Gospel and Culture

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Good Morning and Welcome to this week’s Gospel and Culture update, by Alan Vink
Booze, Loneliness, Mike Pence and Bethlehem College

Monday 20th June 2022


Many of you may have seen this 2-Part documentary on TV3 last week fronted by Patrick Gower. It is well worth a watch. It is an eye opening insight into the drinking culture in NZ and the unbelievable amount of harm it causes.


* Adults who drink have had a drink in the past year
** Hazardous drinkers are those past-year drinkers who scored 8 or more on the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT)

POV. We now know that even so called moderate drinking by teenagers impacts on their brain development. As churches how can we ‘save’ our young people from this harm and the huge risk they expose themselves to, to problem drinking later in life. Maybe all youth pastors need to really get their heads in this space?


A 2021 report from Harvard suggests that 36% of all Americans – including 61% of young adults and 51% of mothers with young children now feel serious loneliness. Even before the pandemic it has been recognized as a problem. In 2017 US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy called loneliness a public health crisis and the following year the British government appointed a Minister for Loneliness.

Loneliness is a distressing experience that occurs when a person’s social relationships are perceived by that person to be less in quantity, and especially in quality, than desired.

POV. Right here is a ministry opportunity for local churches. As we now know loneliness and being alone are two quite different things. Normally we choose to be alone (as in solitude), we very rarely choose loneliness. Here is a really cool organisationin NZ that helps you understand the problem of loneliness and offers heaps of ideas and resources.

Mike Pence and the Christian Conflict on January 6

Here is a very helpful article that David French has just published. It confirms what I felt (though I wasn’t quite sure) about Mike Pence and what he did on that fateful day in January 2020. He did the right thing even though it was the hardest thing.

“First, the right is wrong. It should be thankful that Mike Pence stood firm against a corrupt president and thankful for the profound Christian contrast he offered to a Christian nationalist insurrection. In those moments he demonstrated the difference between the lust for power and the quest for justice and presented a model of what Christian public engagement can and should look like.

My view is different. I know Pence’s history. I disagreed with him frequently. But when a mob howled for an American Barabbas, Mike Pence said no. He relinquished power, saved our nation from a constitutional crisis, and defeated a Christian insurrection. He did his job when his job was hard, and our nation should be grateful for his stand”.

Bethlehem College

POV. I think it would be wise to resist commenting on this specific issue right now . The Ministry of Education (MOE) is legally bound to uphold the Special Character of all Religious Schools that have an Integration Agreement as Bethlehem College does. That said, because Integrated schools (as opposed to private schools) receive substantial funding (up around 90% of their Operating Costs), from the Government it has every right to approve the Special Character and/or to comment on any changes that may have occurred. Let me assure you The MOE recognizes, as we all do, the great job Bethlehem College is doing and will be very careful not to mess with that.

Perhaps a little caution before slam dunking the Government would be wise right now. This isn’t a straightforward issue.

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