Thursday, 1 August 2013
Dear Inner Circle, On a trip to get some fresh air last week, a couple was staying in a country hotel. The man realised that he'd not seen his partner in a while and walked out the back to find her hanging. Until now I'd never had to think about how difficult it is for one person to get another person down from such a position. He freed the woman and she was still alive but died before he could even call for help. If this story doesn't already sound bad enough, both his family and hers blame him for the death of the woman. He's wandering around here in a daze. For this guy, even the best possible path in front of him is going to be difficult.
Yesterday OneSight came to Wayside to test eyes and to organise glasses for anyone who might need them. When I ducked into our Community Hall, there were people everywhere taking advantage of this extraordinary gift. I saw a guy up the street at about lunch time who I know to be blind as a bat. I told him about the service and encouraged him to save himself hundreds of dollars while getting his sight back. He said, "There's nothing wrong with my eyes. I can see that book you're holding." "Yeah," I said, "but can you read it?" "Why would I want to read a stupid thing like that?" he said. It was my book.
This morning I saw a big booffy bloke unload all his anger on a small timid man. I like the big bloke and perhaps it's not hard to see how the timid bloke could be annoying but without thinking much about it, I found myself saying, "Hey hey, settle settle". The big bloke looked at me and said, "Sorry, Rev but it's how I feel." The blind spot of this generation is that it thinks that authentic expression of feeling somehow gives legitimacy to hurtful acts. I said to the big boof, "If you murder this man, would it be okay because you really felt like it? Your words are killing this bloke." "Sometimes, Rev, you make no sense at all," he said. I admit that perhaps my words don't make much sense at times but I really tire of a world that has become convinced that life resides in feelings and that any immoral act becomes okay if we're being honest at the time. The big boof couldn't see the man in front of him. He didn't know anything about him or who he was and what riches were deposited in him and how he could contribute to the world. All he could see was that he felt something and he saw a place to offload his rubbish. There are none so blind as those who know how they feel about things. I wouldn't mind but such people are usually evangelical too, they're miserable about someone or something and they want to share it. Here's my tip for the day - before you unload on anyone today, stop for just long enough to ask yourself what you see. Are you seeing a person or a problem?
Remember our gathering at the Imperial Hotel at Paddington is happening on Sunday, 11 August at 6pm. No fundraising, no promotions, just community. I'll speak that night on "There is no such thing as a single human person" and there will be Q and A while people consume the local food and drink. I can confirm that the speaker at the following month will be Malcolm Turnbull. I heard Malcolm say to Annabelle Crabb, "I'm more certain of 'Malcolm and Lucy' than I am of 'just Malcolm'" I've asked Malcolm to speak on that topic or at least use that as a starting point. I love that such prominent people have such a solid and loyal relationship. We may be mid election by 8 September and so if he gets political, we'll just have to forgive him. You're invited and we'd like to know you're coming so the pub has adequate service staff ready. Email Guy Cooper and let him know if you're in for August.
My book has been getting heaps of media this week and there's plenty more coming. If you're interested to hear the interviews or read the articles, you'll find them on our Facebook page. There's a media launch tonight and a community book launch at 11.30am this Sunday which I'd love you to come to. If you're interested to come and buy a book, I'd be glad to sign it for you. Actually, why not come at 10am on Sunday and get a taste of the unique Wayside church service. I'll bet you've not been to many church services like a Wayside gathering. We're not much like a church which might work for you if you're not much like a Christian.
Thanks for being part of this 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
Thursday, 25 July: A whole lot going on at wayside
Thursday, 18 July: Kings Cross a place of courage
Thursday, 27 June: Holy ground
Thursday, 20 June: You cannot take what can only be given