(For the zealously religious, feel free to substitute the word “God” for “evolution,” but do so knowing that you destroy the haiku.)
simply pause, take a deep breath,
and begin again?
© Ken Rookes 2018
When I was younger
and more polite,
my life was filled with unuttered expletives.
Prime Ministers and other hypocrite politicians,
and other corrupt leaders,
press barons and fascist commentators;
they all provided grounds
for my unspoken ire.
the occasions for outrage have multiplied
and the world of my grandchildren
appears destined for destruction.
Now, old, grumpy,
and unconcerned about causing offence,
I no longer have time
or space in my life
for the unuttered.
© Ken Rookes 2018
After this, a group of politicians brought a family before Jesus to accuse them.
“We caught these foreigners crossing our borders without permission,” their leader said. “How should we deal with them?”
“What do your laws say?” he asked them.
“Our laws permit us to send them far away, where they can be locked up among barbed wire, mosquitoes and despair,” said the leader.
“What have you to say for yourselves?” Jesus asked the family.
The man stepped forward. “Our land was filled with fear and fighting,” he said.
His wife stood at his side, as the children clung to her. “We gathered what we could and fled. We came here hoping to find a place of refuge; where our children could be safe and grow and thrive.”
“There!” exclaimed a woman. “You have heard it from their own lips, they deserve to be sent away. What do you say, Teacher?”
Jesus crouched, and drew with his finger in the dust.
Then he stood, looked about him and spoke.
“Let the one who has never feared an election defeat be the one who turns the key.”
The crowd became enraged. They seized him and handled him roughly.
Their leader spoke. “You are nothing but a bleeding-heart lefty!” he said. “What would you know?”
Then they cast him headlong into a ditch; and dragged the family away.
Some other people saw what happened, and wept for shame. They went looking for Jesus. He was sitting on the side of the ditch, wiping the blood from his face.
“This is all wrong,” they said. “What should we do?”
Jesus stood up. Looking into their eyes he embraced each one, and said, simply, “Everything. We must do everything that we can.”
© Ken Rookes 2016.
For some earlier thoughts on these matters see Haiku of Shame
On the first Good Friday,
so named some years later by people of faith;
the darkness was faced and defied;
and, in the days following, banished.
Well, not quite.
But a candle glimmer was ignited,
a hopeful something
that later torrents of blackness
have never quite extinguished.
Otherwise women and men of faith
could never have survived.
Not the shame of religious wars,
diverse conquests and killing fields,
or clerical abuse of children.
And certainly not
the off-shore detention camps
where human suffering and despair
are made the wretched by-product
of the vile and fearful politics
practised by some for whom Good Friday
pretends to be a sacred day.
And still women and men of faith survive
to maintain their outrageous claim:
that the darkness has somehow been diminished,
at least a little.
© Ken Rookes 2014
Our good friends, John and Joan live in the Federal electorate of Indi, in Victoria’s North-east. Sometimes, when the conversation turns to politics, we chide them on their choice of their local member, Sophie Mirabella. “Not our fault,” they protest.
From time to time Ms Mirabella appears on Q&A, and her appearance elicits much anger and occasional swearing at the television screen. She comes across as rude, opinionated and arrogant, often talking over guests with whose opinions she disagrees. When the apology to the stolen generations was delivered in Parliament by PM Rudd early in 2008, she was among a handful of LNP members who chose to be absent from the chamber. Many in her electorate were outraged. On a motion that had the support of all parties, they felt that she was not properly representing them.
Her seat was safe. The people of Indi are never going to vote Labor. When we visited Joan and John in July, the subject of politics somehow arose, and Joan excitedly informed us that they had found an excellent independent candidate, Cathy McGowan; and there was a lot of grass-roots effort going into her campaign. Good on them; it is nearly impossible to get an independent elected, but they might just give the sitting member a fright.
The election was held last Saturday. I watched with interest as the figures for Indi appeared on screen late in the night, well after Tony Abbott had claimed victory for the LNP. The seat was one of those still in doubt; too close to call. In an election that had a strong overall swing to the LNP, to have an independent go close to unseating a sitting LNP member was a truly remarkable achievement, and restored just a little of my faith in democracy. Well done John and Joan; and all the other grass-roots activists of Indi!
I retired to bed. The next morning the bathroom lights refused to go on. I had replaced the two globes earlier this year; presumably one had failed some time ago, and we hadn’t noticed until the second went. A little later I climbed on a chair and removed the failed objects. I held them up to the window and noted that both filaments were indeed broken. Incandescent, but not much choice in that light fitting.
I’d better make a note of the details. 40 watt, small round, clear, Edison Screw; brand name Mirabella. I laughed out loud, and reported the cause of my mirth to Jane, who shared my amusement.
I tell this story not as proof that God exists, although she may well do so, but simply to share my pleasure that at the time very my bathroom lights went out, they may well have gone on for the people of Indi.
(As I write this, to the best of my knowledge, the seat of Indi is still in doubt. By the time I post it, (not a simple matter), or by the time you read it, it may well be decided.)
Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have,
for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Hebrews 13:16
Everywhere I look
I see words,
hear a voice that calls me
to love my enemies,
to bear fruits of justice,
to live the grace,
to welcome the strangers,
to visit the prisoner,
to forgive without counting,
to have compassion on the wounded,
to care for my neighbour,
to extend generous hospitality,
to not be afraid,
to treat my fellow mortals
with dignity and respect,
to gather treasure in heaven
and not upon earth,
to guard the interests of the weak,
the vulnerable, the widow and the orphan,
to give the cup of cold water to the one who thirsts,
to offer food to the one who hungers,
to be a servant,
to make peace,
to be the least,
to follow Jesus.
Everywhere I look.
And these blaspheming party leaders
who tell me they are Christian,
want me to vote for them
so that they may deal cruelly
with the weeping and broken ones,
in order that boats might be stopped.
© Ken Rookes 2013