When we know better, we do better. To know better we rely on the courage of others to step forward and speak. Are we willing to be challenged as we confront the ways we have previously thought or lived, only now to recognise them as missteps? Surely history can teach us to place a lens of humility on our past in order to guide us more gently into the future. On Sunday a very brave young man stepped up and spoke to us openly about his life. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house, yet as he spoke there was also an element of shame that was on offer. How often do we tend to resist the discomfort, usually through dismissing the storyteller or denying the story? On the streets he reassured us that no matter how much hate he received from by-passers, it in no way could match the hatred he once held for himself. Whack. That hit many of us right in the heart. Who of us hasn’t seen someone and looked at them in judgment? If life by the Wayside teaches me anything, it’s to keep my mouth shut when a pearl of wisdom threatens to escape from me into a situation of which I have no personal experience. In a moving display of love, a few people immediately sprang to their feet to comfort him. This young man has worked hard. He hasn’t so much re-built a life, as that would imply he had something that was once lost. Rather he is slowly learning how to lead a life that is less and less driven by shame and self-loathing towards one that is led by love.
There is an emerging trend in civil discourse, that displays all the hallmarks of being neither civil nor discursive. COVID has accelerated a trend towards rapid tribalism that holds as its mantra “If we don’t agree then you will be cancelled.” There will be no peace without understanding; the assertion of one set of beliefs being right against all others being wrong is something that should deeply concern us all. The only antidote to tribalism is community, and luckily it is available in spades at places like Wayside. As I was eating lunch yesterday in our cafe I fell into conversation with someone about the intricacies of the scrap metal business, he patiently explained it all to me, then he finished with, “You know, I reckon most of the time you talk sh*t, mate, but I do like you.”
Now, that’s a conversation we need more of right?
Thanks for being a part of our community, our precious Inner Circle,
Pastor & CEO