Inner Circle


Thursday, 11 August 2016

Dear Inner Circle,

At our Sunday service in Bondi this week, for an hour I nursed a little boy who was just seven days old. I’m in love! What an honour! At one point he squirmed a bit and I naturally assumed his Mum would take him back. Instead she produced a little bottle of expressed breast milk and I fed this little man. Mum was pretty laid back for a first-time mum and I was blown away to be absorbed in the mystery and wonder of life. That which is most precious is also most fragile.

A woman sat in front of me this week and asked if I knew a counsellor that would help her sort through some of the issues she’s carried since childhood. This woman is tough enough to make the Bandidos behave at a strip club and yet there has always been something fragile about her. She’s raised a crop of kids who are bright and independent, and she should be proud that she fought hard to educate herself and stay in work. Yet mostly when we talk, she tells me what is wrong with the world and 95% of the time she tells me that people should, “toughen up” and make the most of what they have. But I know that her desperate tears have been heard by no-one. I know that she left home in her early teens, not because she was in love but to escape a pathetic human being that didn’t deserve the title of ‘Dad’. I know that all of her failed relationships happened not because she failed to try with all of her might, but because she seemed destined to be drawn to men who would abuse her. I never thought this day would come, but she realised that all her messages of “toughen up” were really her message to the little girl within. This week, it looks like she’s found a bit of compassion for that little girl and wants to seek help in knowing how to befriend her. Those things that are most precious are also most fragile.

On Friday my three-year-old granddaughter sat next to me and several times pulled out my hearing aids and asked, “Can you hear me now, Papa?” Naturally, I responded with, “What did you say Sweetheart, I can’t hear you?” She thinks old people are a hoot. She worked out that I had a partial denture and to see that come out was the party stopper of her life. Once she’d called all onlookers to witness how old people seem to come with removable bits, I could see her giving me a careful look to see what else on my person might be removable.

A few years ago, I taught a course at Wayside we called, “Gutter Philosophy”. We called it “gutter” because my voice comes from the gutter up rather than from the university down. The aim of the course is to give an overview of the history of philosophy. It was a popular event last time and I’ve been persuaded to do three sessions on evenings in September. Three evenings is a bit ambitious but I expect it will be fun and informative. We’ll do the ancients (Socrates, Aristotle and Plato); we’ll do some medieval (Augustine, Aquinas, Boethius); plus a high level look at the shift from modern to post-modern philosophy. I’ll be teaching at our new Wayside Bondi location on September 6, 13 and 20 from 6:30pm-8pm. If you want to reserve a seat, contact Guy Cooper at

That is about it for now, thanks for being part of our inner circle,


Rev Graham Long AM

CEO & Pastor

The Wayside Chapel

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Previous Inner Circles


4 August: A wave from Wayside

28 July: Understanding bedlam

21 July: Time for some straight talking

14 July: Holy ground

7 July: Sowing in tears, reaping with shouts of joy

30 June: A bit of banter about Bondi

23 June: My cup runneth over

16 June: Injecting some joy

9 June: At the end of the line

2 June: Lots of perspiration and a touch of inspiration

26 May: Swimming against the tide

19 May: Every 7 days but not weakly

12 May: I once was blind

5 May: A place to belong

28 April: Lest we forget

21 April: I've seen into the abyss

14 April: Colourful language

7 April: Poetic licence

31 March: Happy in the Cross

24 March: Easter

17 March: A party mix

10 March: The intimacy of everything

3 March: An unusual look

25 February: He ain't heavy

18 February: Tears of laughter and sadness

11 February: Wisdom is a tricky business

4 February: A wave from The Wayside Chapel

28 January: Some long distance loving

21 January: No time for judgement


17 December: Last note for 2015

10 December: Sanity Clause if coming to town

3 December: It's all about the presence

26 November: The joy of not knowing

19 November: The curse of perfectionism

12 November: To speak is to act

5 November: My cup runneth over

29 October: Prophet and loss

22 October: Finding yourself in a magical team

15 October: A silly question

8 October: Surprised by the joy

1 October: Being dead right

24 September: A day by the Wayside

17 September: It's a gold rush

10 September: The psychology of onions

3 September: Life comes from without

27 August: Surprised by the beautiful

20 August: Light shining through the cracks

13 August: A matter of balance

6 August: Recognising a gift

30 July: Your weakly note

23 July: 'A thing' from the Wayside

16 July: The future is calling

9 July: In love with some Dame

2 July: Better days ahead

25 June: Something funny, something beautiful

18 June: Seeing what's there

11 June: Amazing mates

4 June: There's a time and a place

28 May: The weight and the joy of being a neighbour

21 May: You're invited

14 May: Laughing, lying and loving

7 May: The awesome in the ordinary

30 April: Wayside light

23 April: Priceless gifts, freely given

16 April: Good news from the Wayside is great news

9 April: Awesome

2 April: Easter by the Wayside

26 March: Thankful for little things

19 March: A few minutes in the cross

12 March: Seeing what isn't there

5 March : A tour like no other

26 February: Tough love

19 February: Puffing or building

12 February: The two shall become two

5 February: Chest pains

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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