Let’s Build a Rat Park

As the culture clock ticks toward midnight, we read the following headline: Deaths from booze, drugs, suicide could spike 60 percent to 1.6 million over next decade.  Tragically, that dire warning didn’t  surprise me. I bet you could say the same.

We’ve watched the downward skid for quite awhile. Watched. Fretted. Made peace with impotence.

As this blog series has suggested, there’s not much we can do outside the community of Jesus. People gonna do what people gonna do.

What we can do, though, is build a rat park. I could argue that Jesus has commanded us to build a rat park (John 13:34-35). 

In the late 70s, researcher Bruce K. Alexander of Simon Fraser University, used rats to study addiction. [Rather than describe it , let me encourage you to read the details here.] Briefly, he found evidence that addiction (and possibly other social ills?) were strongly related to social connections–community. When the rats in the study lived in a healthy and vibrant community they were less inclined toward addictive behaviors.

What of your community? Does your community of Jesus freaks live together with grace and encouragement? Is is alive with hope? In this world does it reek of life and rumble with anticipation of God’s Kingdom coming? Is it light and love? Moreover, are you and your marvelous comrades visible more than once a week (and then behind closed doors) loving and celebrating the Jesus life?

Seems to me, we don’t need a war on drugs. We need a rat park of Jesus freaks. One with a sign that reads, “Enter and begin the journey to a costly, vibrant kind of life.”

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