What makes us tick?
One of Australia’s leading social commentators is Hugh Mackay. Recently he released his latest offering: ‘What Makes us Tick?’ Unlike many social analyses, this one is based on Australian research. Over the years I have found many of Mackay’s insights invaluable as I strive to teach and apply God’s Word to those living within our society.
This latest offering categorises its conclusions into 10 desires that make Australian’s tick:
1. The desire to be taken seriously.
2. The desire for ‘my [physical] place’.
3. The desire for something to believe in.
4. The desire to connect.
5. The desire to be useful.
6. The desire to belong.
7. The desire for more.
8. The desire for control.
9. The desire for something to happen.
10. The desire for love.
No sex? Yes, that’s right. Sex per se is not listed as one of the 10 desires that make us tick. The introduction explains that sex is predominantly used to satisfy other desires.
We know the theory that one needs to engage with the underlying issues as we teach the Word of God, and here is a book that provides all kinds of insights into what they may be. It does not seek to be theologically driven, nor does it necessarily critique what our world has become. However, the points of intersection are intriguing.
While Mackay is not a Christian, even he acknowledges that people desire for something to believe in (we might call this a normal response to General Revelation). It is just one thing that we can tap into as seek to make Jesus known. The book is littered with useful anecdotes, and in a framework that helps us with the contextualisation work that many of us struggle with.
From a strategic point of view, people do not necessarily need convincing as to the need of the Gospel. If Mackay is correct, the desires are already there and we have a powerful opportunity to show people how to Gospel speaks to many of these desires.
Taking the list above, what opportunities do you see where the Word of God speaks into the desires that make us tick? Or, what do you think is missing from Mackay’s list?
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