Category Archives: Education


Last night’s Four Corners  entitled ‘There is no 3G in heaven’  was an excellent programme about youth suicide, especially in the City of Casey on the outskirts of Melbourne.  If you missed it please take 45 minutes to watch it.  You won’t be sorry.

Sophia Think Tank has been delving into the issues surrounding these tragedies and have come to many of the same conclusions that this programme comes to.  There are such a wide range of themes but one that is constant is the need to take more seriously the care of people suffering mental health problems.  The services need to be high quality, affordable, accessible, respectful, and deeply humane.  All of Community needs to sit up and take notice of this.  All levels of Government need to fund appropriately, training of mental health providers need to be trained in relational skills as well as psychological intervention, young people need to be consulted so we can find out what sort of care they would best respond to, peer support techniques need to become a part of High School education,  and so the list goes on.  It’s a whole of community response that is needed because we are all affected and we are all responsible.  No ducking allowed!

The Bible tells us to look after Society’s most vulnerable.  In the times of Jesus that referred especially to ‘orphans and widows’.  Today it includes young people who are suffering mental health issues.

The question then:  what can I do about it in my areas of influence?



Why does there have to be a choice between a school and a ‘place of worship’?

Surely we have learned over the years that Community Services are best offered from multi-function buildings.  A school during the week in the day time, community activities in the evenings and on weekends, religious events on Sundays or at other designated times.  It could even be built so that different types of activities could go on at the same time.  An auditorium could be used by Docklands businesses at the same time that there are classes going on in the class rooms.  The library could be a public library after school hours, the Gymnasium could be used by the public in the evenings and early mornings and on we go….. The Church that was a part of this type of building would benefit hugely from being immersed in the hurly burly of community life in the Docklands.  When I was a Councillor in the City of Melbourne we had the brief of approving the redevelopment of some of the City’s footy grounds and we made sure that the whole community was going to benefit from such redevelopment.  Surely this is the approach that can be carried out in the Docklands now.  Social infrastructure is just common sense!

David Wilson.



What an incredible song….and a voice to go with it. Sophia Think Tank is currently looking at the problem of youth suicide in Australia in its Hope Talks series. Bullying is one of the major factors behind suicide and suicidal talk. This song packs a punch….and reminds us of the Biblical value of treasuring everyone for who they are.  This is the essence of what the Old Book refers to as agape love, or as Carl Rogers so succinctly put it, ‘unconditional positive regard’.
12 Year Old Girl Who Was Bullied Sings a Beautiful Song – a Must See!
She was the victim of severe bullying, so she sang this song to remind others that they are beautiful….this is awesome and so inspiring. Check it out. 


One of the themes coming out of our research this year (Project 217) on the social environment and young people in Australia today is the loss of a narrative that is big enough to get excited about and to feel a part of.  Surely the loss of Australian history as a dedicated subject in the proposed national curriculum is a step backwards.  See 

I’m reminded of that chapter in the Bible (Deuteronomy 6) where the people of Israel are instructed on the importance of helping their children to remember where they have come from and what they have gone through and to see themselves as a part of the bigger picture.  Surely this is applicable for us today in Australia?

What do you think?


Michael Schluter Video Parts 2 and 3

You can now view Parts 2 and 3 of the Urban Conversations with Michael Schluter on Relational Thinking.  Our apologies that the picture is lost in some places….. technical problems and all that!!  The sound continues all the way through and it is worth listening to.  Enjoy, be challenged, and blog with us…


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Relational Thinking: a vision for engagement in public life

At a recent Urban Conversation, Michael Schluter presented the idea that we should be involved in a new paradigm of thinking and acting that puts relationships at the centre of all we are and do.  He suggested that this is radically Christian in that this is what Christ did and those who profess to follow Him can do nothing other than seek to imitate this lifestyle.

Well, that got some dialogue going….

My question asks what would that look like in each of the Drivers that ST2 talks about.  How would Relatonal Thinking be applied to Media, Arts, Business, Sports, Community Services, Health,Justice, Law, Education, and Politics?  What are the specific challenges and what are the rewards that could be reaped?  For example, I do a fair bit of work in the Justice area.  Schluter mentioned that Relational Thinking would make a big difference in the Prison system.  Yep, it sure would!  But what would that look like?  I wanted to ask him on the night but didn’t get the chance.  What do you think?

I’d love to hear from you if you’re involved in one of the Drivers (and who isn’t in some way or other?) about the application of Relational Thinking in your area of expertise.

Come on, let’s keep the conversation going….


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Thanks to Amy Van Eymeren, Part 1 of the video of the Michael Schluter Urban Conversations can be viewed at

Now’s the time to keep the conversation going.  If you were there on the night you will recall the healthy discussion we had.  If not, have a look at the video and start blogging….


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