Thursday, 5 September 2013
Dear Inner Circle,
"I'll be at Church on Sunday, Farva", called out a woman at the front door this morning. "I'm very religious. I went to church every week when I was in jail." "Well," I said, "you will be most welcome". "Promise you'll preach about the woman caught in adultery," she said. "Um," I said. "Adultery is bad eh?" she asked. "Well…it's not considered much of an achievement," I said. "And Jesus told them all 'who is without sin can throw the first stone'". "That's the story," I said. "He showed those low life sons of b***ches," she said. "Well the point of the story is that we're only truly alive when we are free from the need to judge anyone." I said. "Oh yes, Farva, that's brilliant, I'll be at church this Sunday." I'd be willing to bet $20 that she isn't with us on Sunday but gambling isn't considered to be much of an achievement either.
On my way into Wayside this morning I found myself talking history with a homeless guy. "Do you know how many Russians died in the Second World War?" he asked. I knew the answer to that question (20 plus million people). We allowed ourselves to stop walking to be amazed at this statistic for a while. We also wondered why the extent of this horror is not one of the abiding impressions of that war in the mind of most of us who have studied that war. We then got talking about the Holocaust and by the time we got to Wayside, I had agreed to go with this man to the Jewish Museum in Darlinghurst. How could we have covered such ground in just 10 minutes? It was an honour to learn of this man's passion for history and I will go with him to the Jewish Museum. I don't look forward to making time for this in my diary but I do look forward to watching this man come to life as his love of history animates his lovely old face.
A reminder about our great evening at the Imperial Pub in Paddington this Sunday night. Arrive around 6pm to organise some food and find a good spot and then at 7pm it will be our great honour to hear Dr Alex Wodak speak. Alex is a living legend in the history of this city and a leader today still in the field of drug law reform. He will argue that "Australia's drug policy is insane". Alex will make us think; it will be a stretch in a context where thinking and discussion is encouraged. There is no fundraising and no promotion of any kind. This is an exercise in making community. We've room for a few more if you'd like to be a part of the buzz, email Guy Cooper to let us know you're coming.
There will be no note to the inner circle next week as I'll be at a week-long retreat for Uniting Church ministers. I think it's hilarious that when ministers get together that they call it a "retreat". I'd be more motivated if they'd have invited me to "an attack" or "a manoeuvre" or any thing that suggested a move forward rather than a move backwards. Oh well, it's only a name. I had to promise some of the staff here that I wouldn't catch too many religious germs next week. It's an odd spot I'm in because everyone sees such a clear distinction between what is practical, good, of earthly use and what is religious. I can't see the distinction.
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
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