The Child World and the Child Within

Monday, 26 January 2009

Sometimes I think the world is like a child who has been hit by a semi trailer and our parent is holding our hand and unable to explain in a way we will understand why it is that the doctor is digging the scalpel in and twisting and causing us even more pain.

Spiderweb thread is very strong indeed. I read ages ago that if it was magnified 10 times it could hold the weight of a jumbo jet. This is how my above perspective on God in a suffering world feels. My faith hangs on it, and I cannot help but believe that, somehow, along with Julian of Norwich, all shall be all and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well. That belief looks so fine, like spiderweb thread. Sometimes it feels like a strong wind could blow it away. It shimmers and threatens to break, but for all of that it has remarkable staying power.

Today is Australia Day. It feels so very, very wrong to be celebrating our country on the anniversary of the day the First Fleet sailed into harbour and displaced the oldest culture in the world. I concur with Mick Dodson, the Australian of the Year, who said yesterday it alienates the indigenous population. Is that what we want to happen, every Australia Day? I agree with Dodson. If we change it to another day, it totally changes everything, gives it a forward-focussing thrust straight away.

Dodson was realistic that any dialogue to change the day would be a long-running one so, despite K-Rudd's emphatic no, hopes that the conversation continues. I do too. It is a worthwhile conversation for us to have, not simply for the leader of a fallible political system to make, but for us, the people, to make. It is an idea whose time has very much come.

From little things big things grow.

(As an aside, I was very pleased to hear that George Schofield, dog chiropractor extraordinaire, was awarded an Order of Australia Medal yesterday for his magical chiropractic skills, for service to the greyhound industry and to the health of dogs in general. Nice one.)

I met up with my mother today for a little musical do in the Treasury Gardens. It was first organised a few years ago by a bunch of Aboriginal artists and musicians. The vast majority of the acts were hip-hop artists, so that is probably the cause of the headache I am nursing right now. But those aside, there was some great stuff too. Archie Roach, the dearly beloved, headlined. There was a reggae band called Soul Nation, and another band whose name escapes me but who began their set playing African drum solos, and who were mighty fine also.

And it was good to be there, where the indigenous people called today Survival Day, and I saw a man wipe a tear away from his eye as Archie sang about the stolen generations.

"It's begun," Archie said, "the change. It began last February with the government's apology to the Stolen Generations. It's continuing with the election of Obama to the White House. Ever so slowly, the change is happening."

The hope and growing confidence and pride of indigenous people is a beautiful thing to watch. One day we will wonder how so many of us ever fell into the blind pit of racism. I reckon too one day we will wonder how so many of us ever had the blindness to not see God in every atom. But that's just my fond, spiderweb hope for a future world that will lose all of its eye-scales. Even the non-trendy ones. 'Cause it's trendy to not be racist anymore, but it's still way, way non-trendy to love the God of the Bible.

Archie's last song was Beautiful Child, about that inner spiritual part of us that sees, that's eternally young, that creates, that loves, and I thought, I don't think I will ever quite, quite be satisfied until the God of the Bible is likened more to that beautiful child than to the God that comes out of Empire religion. Whose outward flow was a generation of well-meaning people who displaced childen from their families and thought they were doing God a favour in the process.

God help us. We always need it, after all.


  1. Go Archie! I really do agree with him about the change coming, it does feel as if something shifted somewhere and trendy or not, lets hope it never shifts back.
    I watched a doco the other night about an indigenous estate in Dubbo that just filled me with despair. Angry, hurt children much like us all in some ways...except they had hope and now they've lost it and we celebrate that loss on Australia Day.
    I keep praying!

  2. I'm hoping this new season in my country will heal centuries of pain as well. While the African slaves were not indigenous here, they have been harmed in the same way.

    I also hope one day soon we would pay the same respects to the first nations who were on this continent way before Europeans were. They seem to be a quieter voice and therefore don't get as much oil. I would love to see us apologize to them.

  3. Andi - Prayer is one of those little oaks from small acorns too, ain't it. I love Archie, he is so cool :)

    Erin - Isn't it amazing how much inherent good there is contained within indigenous cultures that was just missed when the Empire Christianity was going along with the colonial mindset? I hope for healing for your land also.


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