All posts tagged: humility

Humble as a Lion

I was sitting in my lounge room when I noticed the lions in my front yard. They were padding around on the grass, the sun illuminating velvet ridges of muscle as they half-played, half-prowled before my eyes. With the careless hook of a claw they caught small animals – mice, rabbits and birds – before lazily mincing them through their teeth, sliding the still-warm meat down their gullet. Through my floor-to-ceiling windows I could see that these beasts were males, at their prime, with great woolly manes and energy quivering through their flanks. Still, I felt calm behind the glass, lulled by the awe of their presence. Suddenly one of the lions turned his majestic head and walked up to the house with the gait of one assured of his strength and mission. He slinked through a door I hadn’t noticed was standing ajar and walked straight up to me. He leapt onto the couch beside me, his weight slanting me towards him, and laid his head in my lap. This is the scene that has visited me …

An Easter Question: Who is Greater?

“He saved others, but he can’t save himself!” – one of many taunts that were spat at Jesus while he hung dying on a cross more than 2000 years ago. Limp. Parched. Bleeding. Hurting. The notice describing the charge and basis for Jesus’ death penalty read: “The King of the Jews”. He was the king of an oppressed people, living under the merciless Roman occupation. They mocked him because, what kind of king bows to death? Here was a self-proclaimed king who not only accepted an unfair death sentence but willingly and humbly permitted the torture. When I think of the great warriors and kings of history – Napoleon Bonaparte, Alexander the Great, Richard the Lionheart, the gladiator Spartacus, Genghis Khan – none approached leadership as Jesus did. As far as my limited command of history recalls, not one of the great warriors, leaders and kings of old took their army to the frontline of the battlefield and suddenly cried, “Stop!” and, “I’ll take it from here.” None turned their army back to take on …

Maybe, Just Maybe, the Lord’s Prayer no Longer has a Place in Parliament

Perhaps the Lord’s Prayer should be scrapped from parliament.  This issue rears its head with as much regularity, it seems, as the debate around changing the date of Australia Day.  Acting Greens Leader, Senator Richard de Natale is responsible for the latest call. Personally, I’d like to see the Lord’s Prayer remain. But is the greater evil that a bunch of pollies are paying lip service only to the lines of a prayer that the Christian faith community upholds as a holy blueprint for communication with our Heavenly Father?  Words like sacrilege, hypocrisy and disrespect have been used for lesser offences. And, as author, historian and Centre for Public Christianity director John Dickson wrote recently in an article for ABC’s The Drum, “The Christian love of prayer is more than matched by the Bible’s aversion to hypocrisy” (Letting go of the Lord’s Prayer in Parliament, January 19). The prayer in question goes like this – and I quote from a modern version, the Good News Translation. “Our Father in heaven: 
 May your holy name be honoured; …

He Chose a Donkey, Not an Arab Charger

“I seem to have a gift with donkeys, I can read them no matter how wild they are.” Donkeys? When Gayelene Harrower admitted her donkey-whispering talent, I may have choked back a giggle. But as our conversation continued I became interested and then intrigued at her marvelous breadth of knowledge regarding the humble, big-eared animal, and her donkey pursuits. The wife of Tasmanian Anglican Bishop John Harrower has four donkeys which form the onlyworking herd of donkeys in Tasmania, giving rides and pulling carts at 30 church and community events each year. Gayelene is also an honorary life member, and the Tasmanian representative, of the Good Samaritan Donkey Sanctuary which cares for more than 130 donkeys.  The animal-lover has rescued donkeys from abusive homes – one that was tortured and beaten until it was so wild, it took Gayelene three months before she could touch him and get close to him. She was living in metropolitan Melbourne when she first “felt led” to buy a donkey. Most of us would shake off such an inclination, …

Legacy of a Legend: Bryce Courtenay

Australia lost a man of determination and character when Bryce Courtenay died, aged 79, about 10 days ago. I was saddened to hear of his death, but looking into his life and achievements, you couldn’t wallow for long. This was a life to be celebrated. Something like one in every three Australians have one of Courtenay’s 21 books in their homes. He sold more than 20 million copies of his novels – and he only put pen to paper in his 50s. Courtenay’s strategic approach to writing – churning a new book out every six months, on average – demonstrated an enormous self-discipline that stretched beyond the page. He ran more than 40 marathons, mostly aged 50-plus. When I heard of his death I was immediately reminded of an interview I had with the man they are calling a “latter-day Charles Dickens”. I was a smidge nervous about interviewing such a well-known author, so my questions were ready, voice recorder and notepad at hand. What I wasn’t prepared for was when I had exhausted my questions (with enough material …

Humility. Where it came from and the significance of stinky feet.

PICTURE for a moment the person you most respect. This person inspires you, they are the epitome of human character and embody your goal in life; to attain likeness in word and deed. You’ve invited them over for a dinner party as the special guest. You sit them at the head of the table so that all your friends, who also admire and respect him, can engage in conversation easily. But things don’t transpire as planned. Your special guest has arrived and is seated just a few moments before he grabs a basin of water and a towel and starts washing everyone’s feet. One at a time, tenderly, meticulously. Not what you expected at all. In fact, it’s mortifying! I’m speaking of Jesus, of course, at the last supper. His was a bold statement of humility – one possibly lost in cultural and historical translation. Feet back then weren’t feet if they didn’t have a thick coating of dust or muck from the road. It was usually the job of the house servant to wash …