“Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God!” – Benjamin Franklin
The transformative story of Jesus’ birth to Mary and Joseph was a massive shift in human faith from a focus on venal squabbling gods to the love and power of family. Helena is a stalwart of Melbourne’s protests against the Socialist Left tyranny of the Andrews State government.
She holds the iconic image of the Mother and Child and wears a Cross with joy, passion and devotion against a government which persecutes Christians and deprives parents of basic family rights.
“THE sun was up so high when I waked that I judged it was after eight o’clock. I laid there in the grass and the cool shade thinking about things, and feeling rested and ruther comfortable and satisfied. I could see the sun out at one or two holes, but mostly it was big trees all about, and gloomy in there amongst them. There was freckled places on the ground where the light sifted down through the leaves, and the freckled places swapped about a little, showing there was a little breeze up there. A couple of squirrels set on a limb and jabbered at me very friendly. ” Huck Finn on Jackson’s Island
On this day in 1861, during the American Civil War, passionate anti slavery campaigner Julia Ward Howe wrote The Battle Hymn Of The Republic. Today I take some of the words of that song, modernising a few of them, and then combine them with images of an Australian Christian woman who regularly stands up against tyranny on the streets of Melbourne.
This anonymous woman is one of the many stalwarts of Melbourne’s freedom movement.
Again and again, I have seen her bring both passionate defiance of tyranny and devotion to Her Lord Jesus Christ to the streets of Melbourne. In this image, she does not look forward to the false promises of a clearway from a Socialist Left police state. She looks to what comes to her from the past, from her faith in Jesus Christ and what He contributed to Western Heritage to give her and so many His followers so much genuine moral strength.
I call on you as a man to use the weapons of your voice, your standing and your integrity to reject both:
A. the demonisation of men in Victoria.
B. the modern persecution and ridiculing of your own profession so that your profession can survive and flourish again.
I also call on you to follow the lead of one of your very best priests and, in conjunction with The Dean, ring the bells of your cathedral nine times every day, for however many days you and The Dean want, for the nine people in Australia a day who take their own lives, 75% of whom are men. Please involve me. As a witness? As voice? As a photographer?
I offer you these four both modern and ancient Latin words, adapted from Vergil and inspired by a recent homily of yours, under a creative commons licence in an attempt at reciprocation for you own generosity in putting your own image out under a creative commons licence.
“Arma virumque se cano.” (I sing of weapons and myself as a man.)
I dont urge you “to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them” because ending these oceans of troubles for priests and men would almost certainly be beyond your capacities as an individual human being.
But it is not beyond your reach and, IMHO, certainly within your responsibilities, for you to denounce modern evils which monstrously hurt men, including me, and your own male priests in particular.
In closely observing the recent, consistently brilliant priestly work of Hugh Kempster and David Farrer, I have seen how both very different men put themselves, indeed put just about the whole of their being, right into the centre of many other people’s lives including mine, to truly live well themselves by living in The Word far more fully than most people can.
The huge challenge for you as an Archbishop is to be even better at your job than those men have been at theirs.
Your job is much bigger and therefore IMHO harder to do really well than theirs.
I am calling on you to show considerable courage.
If you do, I will support and acknowledge that courage as best I can.
If you cant even try, then the wise individual who I am lead to understand told you that you are only doing 50% of your job, might have been right. Or even a little generous.
Archbishop, can you take any of what I have raised here with you for discussion at Lambeth later this month and elsewhere into the future?
St Paul’s Cathedral is one of my favourite sacred places in Melbourne.
But there is a partisan political statement on the front of the cathedral which isn’t a fully lived truth. It offends and hurts me.
This massive poster advocates fully welcoming refugees.
Only God can fully welcome anyone anywhere.
You yourself have acknowledged to me personally that I am a refugee from Australia in Australia.
That means a lot to me.
Yesterday, a wonderful young priest, who is currently regenerating what an Anglican service can be in the cathedral, did fully welcome me at the cathedral, but the number one guy in her mostly male hierarchy advised her to stop fully welcoming a member of the public like me. And she decided to follow his advice. I was personally hurt and to deal with that I am writing this letter.
She was living and breathing what I consider the glorious metaphor of the story of Jesus. This story taught and teaches humanity that God is family and we must follow family. That is very impressive Christian discipleship.
Archbishop, perhaps it’s time for the Dean to take down the banner at the cathedral which seems to me to make a promise that you and your people cannot keep.
If that can’t be done in a hurry, can you give me half an hour of your time to look more fully at my ideas?
I’d call that living in The Word.
Do have 30 minutes to spare to live like that with me?