Where are we going as a society? And will you be happy when we get there? Steve McAlpine is here to help you answer those questions.
If a Delorean time machine pulled up in front of your house - Back To The Future style - and someone offered to show you what the future would be like, would you be content with what you found? And if not, what could you do to change it? Thinking this through is what Steve McAlpine calls Delorean Philosophy.
Steve McAlpine is a well-known social commentator, respected theologian and popular author. Each week, he takes a crucial trend or event that's playing out in society now and asks, "Where is this taking us?"
Rather than just pontificating, Steve then provides practical steps listeners can take if they want to change the future. That's Delorean Philosophy.
Trapped Between Solutions
In 1964, Sam Cooke famously sang this about the direction of the world;
It's been a longA long time coming, but I knowA change gonna comeOh yes, it will
Well, that change is heard.
The way we now communicate has changed forever with the advent of social media.
With this change has come new challenges; we are more polarised than ever before, and the psychological health of the population is stretched - especially among younger people.
As we strap in for the rollercoaster of 2024, what can we expect in an ever-changing, ever-polarised society?
Change is gonna come - but will it be for the better or worse?
Bumbling through Tinder
What if the purpose of marriage is to make us better? What if personal relational choice is a bit of a lie?
For many, a committed marriage may seem “old school”.
What many people expect from relationships is satisfaction and freedom.
So it’s paradoxical then, that once again young people seem to be partnering younger and getting married younger.
Commitment, and casual interest: both are alive and well today.
There’s something about long-term love stories that capture our imaginations - regardless of what culture (and apps) lead us to believe.
Now there are two tribes: one who wants a life companion, the other stoically going forward alone.
Sadly, the truth is, that rates of marriage are now dropping … sharply.
Traditional communities still exist though - they marry younger, in greater numbers, and have more children.
A minority are holding to older ways.
Will everyone return to this? Will everyone turn to marriage again? Of course not!
But it might mean that a correction - however small - might not be far ahead.
Christmas past, present, and future
In a special Christmas episode, Steve takes some time to reflect on how Christmas - an ancient celebration - is changing as fast as the culture itself.
The commercialism and pageantry of Christmas has sucked meaning from this important celebration.
The earliest Christmas memories of ordinary people can be lost in this meaningless procession.
But are we at risk of losing something even more significant? Are we in short supply of joy at Christmas?
It certainly seems to be in short supply at the moment - so what does that mean for Christmas in the years to come?
Peace - where on earth?
In the run up to Christmas, Steve McAlpine looks dubiously at the West's repeated calls for 'peace on earth'.
Could peace - at least as far as the West is concerned - remain beyond reach because of the direction our culture wars have taken?
If calls for tolerance are now viewed suspiciously as a fig leaves for oppressive powers, so much so that we must behave in a violently intolerant way, then what room is there for peace?
Instead, we may find ourselves in a society that is perpetually at war with itself because we haven't learnt the ability to forgive our enemies without requiring their total subjugation.
Lets Hear It For The Boys
What word do you associate with "masculinity"?
Guesses are, 'toxic' is high on the list.
With so many "damaged men" portrayed in our literature - especially in schools - what hope can young boys in the global west have of finding a good role model?
Perhaps it's time we broadened what the typical "man" looked like.
Only when we do that will sayings like "boys will be boys" be a thing of the past.
Worse than you think
However bad you think it is, it seems the younger generation thinks it's even worse.
How about these figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, as reported in The Australian newspaper:
"Just under 40 per cent of 16-24 year-old Australians, 1.1 million people, reported having a mental disorder in 2020-21, That’s far higher than the overall proportions of 21.4 per cent for all Australian adults."
And the figures climb for young females to over 40 per cent. The Australian reports:
"More than four in ten 16-24 year-old females in Australia reported an anxiety condition such as social phobia or panic disorder in that period, around twice the rate as males of the same age."
Australia’s deputy chief medical officer for mental health Ruth Vine says, "There has been increasing levels of distress and anxiety in this cohort that predated Covid, but it has likely been exacerbated by Covid, with issues such as disrupted schooling. Social media is another consideration. It can be good in terms of connection but can also be a harm if it‘s leading to harassing behaviours. And young people are worried about global concerns as well.”
With the world seemingly out to get them, it's time to consider what the youth of this world might actually benefit from experiencing.
An excellent podcast
This is a wonderful podcast. It is short, sharp, and clear.
Stephen always does what he says he will do (in the show) and not only is his content clear, it is immensely thoughtful and practical.
Highly recommended, no matter what your faith background is!
Grace Under Fire
Stephen speaks clearly about the new paradigm Christians find themselves in: rapid social change with bankrupt social capital in the Christianity coffers. He draws upon secular insight to expose that the real deficit is in the wisdom of this age. I’ve appreciated how he calls us to cast our minds afresh at the wonder of the person and work of Jesus…and all in 17 minutes!
The podcast is based on selected anecdotes being used to push an agenda. There is no attempt to lppk at trends statistically. If you like the agenda you may feel it affirming, If you don’t it is tedious