Thursday, 29 August 2013
Dear Inner Circle,
The power of our words to create and destroy is astonishing, even in this age of "spin". A couple of weeks ago, I was talking with a man who is coming out of a heroin addiction and making good progress. He told me that his toughest moments come when his dealer rings him and invites him to "get on". He's been attending our little church service each week and I told him he ought to ask his dealer to hang on for a second and then sing to him one of our songs. Yesterday I saw him and he was all smiles. A couple of times his dealer has called and this lovely fellow has said, "Hang on I want to sing something to you". He sang, "You are my strength O God" and only got about two lines in before the dealer started yelling, "What's wrong with you? Have you gone nuts?" The dealer hung up. Mission accomplished. I was surprised that my advice was taken literally but blown away to see my friend fighting with a feather and winning his battle.
One of our more familiar faces was dressed up in a business shirt yesterday, hair done and wearing a tie. "You look like you've just been to court," I said. "Yeah," he replied, "and everyone thought I was there to represent someone."
Another community event in the pub is organised for Sunday, 8 September. Dr Alex Wodak is going to talk on the topic, "Australia's drug policy is insane". Alex is a world leader on this topic and certainly an Australian living treasure. We can be thankful that this country avoided the devastating consequences that swept the world when we were threatened by AIDS, largely because of the work of this one man. Although retired, he continues to work for a better Australia and is giving his time to provoke us to think on this topic. There is no promotion or fundraising on the night. It really is an exercise that aims to promote discussion and community. Arrive around 6pm to organise some food and Alex will talk to us at 7pm, followed by Q and A. The venue is the Imperial pub at Paddington. Please email Guy Cooper if you plan on coming.
Some of you will see that I've given testimony to various candidates in this political race. I have given personal testimony for Malcolm Turnbull (Libs) and for Tanya Plibersek (Labour) because I know both people as leaders of capacity and integrity. We're lucky to have such people in public life. I would have given such testimony to our local Greens candidate too if I had been asked as I know him personally. I've shouted from the rooftops that I hardly know where to park my own vote because the shameful treatment of asylum seekers and the shameful manipulation of the fear of ignorant people. In my view, our public life is at a low ebb. I do however hold hope for us while there are people of the quality of Malcolm Turnbull and Tanya Plibersek in the game. My words clearly testify to the quality of people and not the policy of parties and I apologise to those who read it otherwise.
My dear old Mum got a copy of my book last week and she thought it was thoughtful of me to put a picture of a homeless man on the front cover. There is no point trying to tell her that it's a picture of me because in her memory, I was always a neat looking boy. She's always been cute.
Thanks for being part of our inner circle,
PS. We're holding a SMART Recovery group at Wayside on Tuesday, 10 September at 2pm. The group is aimed at people looking to change problematic behaviours related to alcohol and drugs, gambling, food, shopping and the internet. Everyone is welcome so please come along if this is something you're interested in.
I must run, 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
29 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