The more that I interact with Indigenous Australians the more my mind and attitude is changing with regard to the dilemma that white settlement has left us with. There is no doubt, that for an ever increasing understanding of what reconciliation really means, there needs to be a renewal of our thinking. Like many whites of my generation, good Christian and upright as we were, we were brought up to believe in a British version of history and lived with a limited and very twisted understanding of the Australian Aboriginal. In order to relate to and trust each other we need to get to know each other. Up until my renewed encounter in 2002, my knowledge of and friendship with Aboriginal people was sitting at around 5%. As I have related closely to many who have now become my friends, I have a new value and a love and trust for these people who are still forced to live in an Australia that was designed outside their planned parameters and cultural framework. Those who now have the privilege of regaining some of their culture in the form of language, dance, story, spirituality and tradition can still be frustrated with the inability of full and free expression of their re-found ways. Indigenous courts that are opening are at least recognizing the need for another cultural way to the former system that courted so many deaths in custody. I have reacted strongly to some adverse and painful press lately and have had my conscience re-tweaked by reading 'Blood on the Wattle' by Bruce Elder, an account of the massacres and maltreatment of Aboriginals in Australia's history.
This is just a start to the expression of my thinking and what I see as my attempt to advocate for a better understanding and conciliation between black and white in this country.
Given Graeme's personal Manifesto for ministry and the general aims and values of the role and ministry of Focal Point, 'justice' will always be a key plank in the pathway trodden.
The Christian Bible will always be the ultimate guidebook.
The following are some important exerts that form this mandate.
"This is what the Lord Almighty says: 'Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor'."
Zechariah 7: 9-10
"Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts."
Amos 5: 15a
"Let justice roll on like a river, rightness like an everlasting stream."
Amos 5: 24
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