It was brought to my attention yesterday that Doncaster has come second in the annual worst places to live survey that newspapers love to quote. Here’s a quote from the survey: “Ahh Donny, famed for not much else other than being the birthplace of Thomas Crapper, the bloke who invented the flushing toilet. According to our contributors, this skidmark of a town seems to be already half way around the U-bend.”
Leaving aside all of the inaccuracies in the way the survey is done, asking people to vote for the place they live to be the worst town inevitably leads to a certain skew to the comments. And the fact that whole towns are lumped together rather than seen as their individual parts, areas, suburbs or villages. I always find those kinds of surveys fascinating for what they reveal about peoples attitudes. I also can’t help but laugh about how other towns and cities (yes Sheffield I’m looking at you) newspapers seem to delight in kicking a town when it’s down. As if somehow crowing about someone else struggle makes your problems seem better by comparison.
But the other interesting thing is how we react to such surveys. Would you move with your family to somewhere on the worst places to live list? What comes across in the comments is the sheer hopelessness of those who filled in the survey. Doncaster has got some huge problems. Problems that won’t be solved by surveys, or even regeneration proposals, or even a better night clubbing seen, better pubs and a clear up of all the spice addicts from the streets.
The only answer to Doncaster’s problems is the gospel of Jesus Christ. But there are so many who do not have opportunity to hear. So many who don’t have the opportunity to see the light in the darkness. What’s your reaction to such a survey? Would you be prepared to move to bring the light of the gospel?