Inner Circle


Thursday, 5 February 2015

Dear Inner Circle,

In the street this morning a young fellow stopped me for what looked like might be a friendly chat. Quickly he began to give me a sermon on how many ways his fight with addiction has failed. I had things to do and soon tired of hearing so much analysis of circumstances that lead to failure. Several times I actually turned to walk away only to see him walk a half circle so as to keep my attention. This conversation without much dialogue sustained for about 20 minutes when suddenly it occurred to me that this poor fellow had substituted reflection for realisation. He thought that endless analysis was the way to life. For a moment I stopped to gaze at this sincere man who seemed to enjoy finding all the reasons why he couldn’t live to the full just yet. It suddenly struck me how many times I’d heard people analyse the weaknesses of the church and the complexities of the culture that make these days so difficult. Suddenly I heard the echo of many social commentators who make a living from teaching others how hard it is to change culture and create community. I heard the echo of some friends who have explained to me how nothing should ever be done for the first time. Gosh, we’re surrounded by an explanation industry! I told this fellow that he had a good head but that it was of no use to him. It really doesn’t matter what’s going on in his head until there is something going on in his feet. Life is never in explanations; never in reflections; never in formulas; never in cognitive propositions; life must be done.

I’m carrying a heavy lump in my chest for the two young men in Indonesia. I respect the right of states to practice capital punishment even though I’m sure there is not a scrap of evidence to suggest that this practice has any deterrent value. I’m sad for all of humanity for there is nothing but loss for us all in the event of these deaths. I carry some sadness too for our Australian Federal Police who set these Australians on a course that would certainly finish with a firing squad. I doubt that any police officer would have handled this situation this way if one of the young people involved was his own child or even the child of a politician. Everyone loses, there are no winners. My heart is heavy for the young men, their families, for all who are brutalised by actually thinking this is justice and for those Australians who could have prevented this and failed.

At one of the two funerals I did yesterday, tears flowed in a loving and warm atmosphere. We wept for a man who never seemed to get a single break in his life. Although his story will never be fully known, we are better and different people because of the man to whom we said farewell yesterday. His mental illness was probably a courageous way of coping with an impossible story. He thought that he possessed a space ship and it was easy for others to laugh at him. There was a lot of rejoicing in the funeral too because not only did we know him, but we were able to get him a roof over his head. Having lived for longer than anyone can remember under a freeway, the adjustment to life under a roof was harder than you might expect. We located a bed for him which he never used because he, “kept it for visitors”. On the wall in his new home was printed the word, “God” in large letters with a telephone number underneath. None of our Wayside people ever tested the number to see who might answer. One who testified to a long friendship also verified how hard it is to learn to live inside after a lifetime of living rough. “It took me three months to learn not to spit on the floor,” he said.

In two months from now, eight Wayside supporters will embark on a trek in Peru to raise money to fund our programs and services. I am in awe of the dedication of this group of people to not only do the trek but to also throw themselves into the difficult task of fundraising. Two of the participants are hosting fundraisers over the next month - there's a burlesque night on Thursday, 12 February and a movie night at Wayside on Saturday, 28 February. Click here for more details.

Thank you for the socks and undies that are still rolling in the door and thanks for being part of our inner circle,

Rev Graham Long

CEO & Pastor

The Wayside Chapel

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Previous Inner Circles


29 January: Shear joy

22 January 2015: Fully alive

15 January 2015: Blessed interruptions

8 January 2015: A glimpse of glory


18 December 2014: Christmas hat in hand

11 December 2014: A little season of goodwill

4 December 2014: There was nothing silent about that night

27 November 2014: It's not about feeling better

20 November 2014: Gathering Moss

13 November 2014: Love the land, love the people

6 November 2014: The power of presence

30 October 2014: Paralysed by presence

23 October 2014: The joy of sight

16 October 2014: The best medicine

9 October 2014: Who would have guessed?

2 October 2014: There's no such thing as a terrorist

21 August: Saving souls

14 August: Squeaking out

7 August: A time for turning

31 July: You're okay

24 July: Happy tears

17 July: Let's aim higher

10 July: Gristle and good

3 July: The joy of not knowing

26 June: If not now, when? If not me, who?

12 June: Longing for riches

5 June: When you least expect it

22 May: Finding home

15 May: Flying

8 May: Tests, triumps and tissues

1 May: Skuse the French

24 April: Lifting the curtain

17 April: Collective love

10 April: Cardiac arrest

3 April: Awe struck

27 March: You're invited to something special

20 March: Rather a prohet than a loss

13 March: It's all happening at the wayside

6 March: Love makes all the difference

27 February: What goes around

20 February: The joy of being empty handed

13 February: Loving the growth spurts

6 February: Mighty glad to be back by the wayside

23 January: Some criminals have class

16 January: Wonderful surprises

9 January: Ready, set


19 December: Thanks for an awesome year

12 December: Mission and wishin'

5 December: The ups and downs and all is well

28 November: Kissed by the community

21 November: Our cup runneth over

14 November: A revelation from wayside

7 November: When excrement happens

31 October: I am therefore I think

24 October: We are surrounded by heroes

17 October: When you least suspect

26 September: A wayside wobbly

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

20 June: You cannot take what can only be given



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