Inner Circle


Thursday, 17 July 2014

Dear Inner Circle,

“I’m not a fruit cake, Rev” said a man that I’ve come to know better in recent weeks. “I have no mental health issues or drug problems but I need Wayside to get me through the day.” He explained how he lived in a boarding house that was a safe bed for night time but had no place to be through the day. He told me that he had so many medical issues that it was almost a full-time job trying to get the treatment he needs for various things. He said that there is nowhere he can afford to eat and nowhere he can sit in peace without having shop owners or police moving him along. “That’s what Wayside does for me,” he said. “Some of the conversations I have around here are a bit crazy but they are conversations and I value them.” He’d called me aside just to thank me for providing a place where he could feel welcome and part of a community.

The correlation between no housing or poor housing and medical issues is clear. It makes me wonder that if serious money spent on providing low cost housing wouldn’t be off set by savings in the public health system. One man this morning told me with big beautiful, water-filled eyes that he has an open, weeping ulcer that won’t heal. It was a difficult discussion because the ulcer is in an embarrassing part of the body. Although I don’t fix anything, this man’s pain reached right into my soul and I wanted to put on a superman cape and force some hospital to admit this guy and, more importantly, keep him until this wound is healed. Another woman today has feet so infected that her socks have imbedded into her wounded feet. I can’t imagine how socks and feet will be separated.

Several times this week, people have looked me in the face and explained how they have pushed the one they love out of their lives. One of these was fearful, narrow and mad at the world. One was convinced in their own magnetism and certain that a better offer will be just around the corner and another was off on some kind of spiritual journey to find himself. There is a way through to life but it is never by allowing fear to win battles. There is a way to new life without the constant need of a new partner. There is a way to discover the self but oddly rarely when the self is the focus of the activity. I’m astonished this week by how often we get that for which we wish.

For this reason I warn Australia that in seeing value and virtue in meanness; meanness is what we’ll get. We voted for stopping the boats as if those boats were carrying something other than good (and desperate) people needing our help. We convinced ourselves that this was all about boating safety and that the drivers of these boats were villains. Both major parties are outdoing each other in a quest for cruelty. Locking up people indefinitely who’ve committed no crime in PNG, on Chritmas Island, Nauru or wherever, is cruel and shameful. I’m happy for a budget that brings pain to manage national debt but we’ve got a budget that leaves middle class welfare alone in favour of targeting the poor. We voted for meanness and that is what we’re getting. This week two outstanding Australians were honoured for achievements made through breathtaking cooperation. Former Labour Health Minister Neal Blewitt and his counterpart Liberal, Dr Peter Baume, (a former Board member of The Wayside Chapel) achieved world attention by acting to protect Australia from the threat of AIDS in the 1980s. Could you see such an achievement to be possible in our day? Not likely! When we voted for empty slogans, meanness is what we got. We’ve got politicians developing policy from slogans instead of the other way around. We’ve got people on massive pay and conditions lecturing the poor about entitlement. We’ve got devastating cuts to overseas aid. Oh poor Australia! We’re getting what we wanted and it's breaking my heart.

Thanks for being part of our inner circle,


Rev. Graham Long
Pastor and CEO
The Wayside Chapel

Order your copy of Graham's bookLove Over Hate: Finding life by the wayside here. 

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


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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