Yesterday was an amazing experience. In 33 years, I've never presided over a funeral with so many people present. We are talking 400+ here, not big but mega. It was an honour to be asked specially to conduct the ceremony.
Being a 100% guy, Scotty was obviously sucked into the local drug culture here, and he gave that 100% too.
Another young life in the town, in our nation, claimed by drug-misuse, and that is tragic.
Sure, we laughed much yesterday about Scott's antics and business acumen, his determination to be a truly Ecumenical Celtic Supporter, and all the rest, but underneath was a tragic truth. That we had lost yet another youngster to addiction and it's consequences.
For years I've tried to be a voice, and I feel sometimes like a voice in the wilderness, for much much more money being invested in setting up more Treatment Centres in Scotland. We desperately need them. Instead we seem to be hell-bent on a policy of long-term methadone maintenance, which at best keeps folk comfortably numb, and at worst just helps top up the crap that's bought on the street. There is a solution, but it entails total abstention from mind-altering substances.
I'm proud that we boast two Narcotics Anonymous groups, (along with AA), in our Community Hall. NA is for winners, where young people themselves, who are managing to live drug-free lives, mentor and encourage others who want to live that way. Some of these folk even come to our church on Sundays. The fact that they've got there, despite the dearth of proper treatment options outwith the community, is a miracle in itself.
How much does the Church care? Well, it should care a lot, and would be a powerful political voice if it chose to be in this matter. However, all I've heard this last week from the Church is stuff about gay marriage, and some side issues that go along with that.
We wonder how young people don't go to church, and I wonder if it's because we are not engaging with the issues that they are engaged with, addiction, education, joblessness, poverty and all the rest.
In communities all over Scotland, meanwhile, we are losing young folk, not just from our churches, but from life itself. When the dust settles, us oldies will be proud that we have gay bishops and gay marriage, but we'll be missing a generation to celebrate that with us.