Blog Archive

Thursday, June 14, 2012

From the Wayside Chapel

Dear Inner Circle,
Human beings are hard wired as social. The minimum number in the fundamental
 human unit is two. So, the word "I", which is the smallest word in the English
 language, is also one of the most misleading and the one most in need of review. 
The word "I" could only ever refer to half of something, at most.
Are you still reading? I'm going out of my way today to provoke some
 serious thinking. What I want to say is simple yet counter-cultural. 
In the West, we totally buy the myth of the "power of one". 
This is a powerful and seductive myth. Most of our media, especially 
our movies, presuppose that some hero will fight against the odds to
 bring justice to the world. It makes for good entertainment but it's a 
fairy tale. In reality, every success is a shared success and every 
failure is a shared failure. We belong to one another and we sink or swim,
If you think that I'm saying that most of the enterprise that we know by
 the term "psychology" is based on a fundamental misunderstanding
 of human nature, you're clearly paying attention. Looking for loose
 screws in individual heads is a fairly unfruitful exercise. It is an 
activity that keeps a lot of people employed, but it is an activity 
that is largely blind to the liberating power of belonging. I'm a voice
 crying in the wilderness, proclaiming, "What ever happened to 
normal variation in human nature?" When did everything become
 part of some syndrome that required expert help and often, medication?
 However, I seek to address an issue far deeper than the medicalisation 
of everything.
Deep in our history, assumptions have developed that find their way 
into our foundational belief. In that body of belief by which we judge
 all other belief is "the power of one" and with it, a commitment to loneliness.
 Loneliness is the pandemic of our age. No matter if we survey the top,
 the middle or the bottom of the social pile; isolation is consistently
 the greatest need identified. It is the goal of much of the helping 
profession to help people feel more comfortable in their isolation.
 Not just the helping professions but endless religious experts and 
gurus of all shapes and sizes seek to bring the kind of comfort that 
comforts but leaves people still alone. The medical approach
 requires pills mostly; the counsellors work with feelings; the religious talk 
about experience but it is all variation on the same theme. It's all about the self.
The most urgent need I know of is for us to discover the power of community.
 The power of presence is not a power within but the power of “with”. We need
 to call people out of the familiar spot where they are the ultimate authority
 on all things. The sense of entitlement that I see every day is a feature of
 damage but it is not just with the poor. On my way home last night I saw
 someone sit on their horn for minutes because the car in front refused to turn
 left in a lane where left or straight were permitted. The entitled person on
 the horn was in a Mercedes E class so I expect that they weren't homeless. 
If only we could be called out of the righteous bubbles in which we live to 
the wide open spaces of community. Imagine if every time we heard the word, 
"I", we noted a word of connection; of meeting; of relation.
All of this in order for me to say that the recent announcement by the 
Government, that it is going to screen all three year olds for mental illness,
 sends a cold shudder up my spine. This is searching for lose screws in 
individual heads on a grand scale. Who is going to do this work I wonder? GPs?
 Psychologists? With what acknowledged scale will they measure the mental
 health of a three year old? How many more kids will grow up on medication
 as a result of this initiative? I promise you that a child that grows up in that 
way learns just a few things; there is something wrong; the cause is in my head;
 I am deficient in some way.
I don't often rant in my notes but I don't think I can use words more efficiently 
than this.
Ooops! Our most important appeal of the year is our Winter Appeal which
 is happening right now. I know there are tens of thousands of charities in
 this State and that you are approached by many good causes. If you haven't
 supported a charity this year, I'd love you to consider giving us a hand. 
You can do that right here. In all my notes I never mention money except
 once at Christmas and once at this time of year. I hope you forgive my cheek.
thank you so much for being part of this inner circle,
Rev Graham Long
The Wayside Chapel
Kings Cross
 Donate to our Christmas appeal
 Protecting your privacy and the confidentiality of your personal information
 is important to us, as it is fundamental to the way we operate. 
All information is kept in the strictest confidence and is stored in a 
 password secure database. Levels of access to information are determined
 by an authorised employee's specific need to do their job. Personal information
 collected by The Wayside Chapel is never sold or passed on in any way, shape 
or form to any other organisation or non-authorised person for any purpose. If you
 would like to seek access to, or revise your personal information or feel that the 
information we currently have on record is incorrect or incomplete, or you 
believe that the privacy of your personal information has been interfered with,
 please contact us. Our appointed Privacy Officer is
 Stephanie Guerin  

No comments:

Post a Comment