Thursday, 26 September 2013
Dear Inner Circle,
Walking into the building, I was met by an indignant young woman walking the other way. "They've thrown me out," she said. "Why did they do that?" I asked. "Because," and then she raised her hands to indicate quotation marks, 'I'm intoxicated. Do I look 'intoxicated' to you?" "Well," I said, "I would think that if you caught fire, I'm not sure that we'd ever be able to put you out." She waddled past me, I expect to find a drink. This dear woman was much younger than my own daughter. I was left wondering what kind of pain causes such a young woman to be this drunk at this time in the morning. I was left knowing that I'm in no position to judge, as the pain she is trying to dull could well be worse than anyone knows. As she walked away I felt thankful for my own daughter's productive and beautiful life.
Someone told me last night of a decision they had made that will inflict untold misery onto a group of people. While I was still reeling and imagining the impact on some beautiful people, he said, "It's okay, I have inner peace about it." I've been fuming all night and today about a generation that has come to believe that inner peace is an indicator that all is well. I wonder how happy and content was Hitler when he realised a life-long ambition to invade Russia. That decision cost the lives of 22 million Russians but I guess it was okay if Hitler had some kind of inner peace. What a lost generation that decides to break marriages or relationships, ponder the existence or non existence of God, squander money that ought to feed their children or any other action, based on how they feel! Every day of my life I hear people "working through their feelings" or taking "time for reflection" as if integrity was an internal matter.
You'll be familiar with the old philosophical question that asks whether a tree makes a sound when it drops in the forest if there is no one to hear it. What was an entertaining question in philosophy has become a nightmare in 2013. Our new government is wondering if they stop telling anyone about boat arrivals, will that be the same as stopping the boats. What is really sad is that I fear that the tactic will work. My generation took to the streets and demanded that our government got out of Vietnam, mostly because we had a reasonable knowledge of how utterly ugly was the fighting. Governments learned their lesson and now they make sure we get no images of what the fight really looks like. Bradley (or Chelsea) Manning had the audacity to show us a little of what it was like when the Coalition of the Willing let bullets fly into a crowd of unarmed civilians. He'll spend most of his life in prison for the offence of showing us what this looks like. Governments have learned that if the public doesn't see it, perhaps it doesn't exist. We'll just have to trust the government and get on with our real job, to find inner peace.
I switched on the tele the other day and heard the PM say, "We can't build walls around Australia." I thought I was waking from a bad dream but it became obvious that he was talking about money and not people. When I next attend a school assembly for my beautiful grandchildren and I hear them sing as they always do, "for those who come across the seas, we've boundless plains to share", I'll explain that "those" means those dollars not those people. Australia is a place that believes in a fair go for all (dollars).
Maybe I'll die a cranky old man but I'd rather die cranky than to achieve inner peace in a world like this.
Here endeth the rave, thanks for being part of our inner circle,
Rev. Graham Long
Pastor and CEO
The Wayside Chapel
Click here to listen to podcasts of past Inner Circle's, aired on ABC 702's 'Afternoons with James Valentine'
Be sure to follow Graham on Twitter if you have an account; @waysidepastor
Previous Inner Circles
19 September: Knowing a gift
12 September: Advancing at the retreat
5 September: A little dose of good
29 August: Fighting with a feather
22 August: The boom is just beginning
15 August: True riches
8 August: Small is beautiful
1 August: Sensitive people miss all the best views
25 July: A whole lot going on at wayside
18 July: Kings Cross a place of courage
27 June: Holy ground