Let me introduce Eddie Pye. Eddie was the driving force behind getting the 'Open Door' church up and running. The church where God's Squad hang out in their leathers and patches and park their Harleys out the front.
Graeme: Eddie, what's with the long hair on a 60 plus year old?
Eddie: It's part of my gimmick I've had all my life.
Graeme: What do you mean?
Eddie: Well, it started when I was stunt riding. I needed a gimmick. In those days my hair was down to my waist.
Graeme: How did you get started?
Eddie: I came to Australia as a speedway rider. I rode a JAP (no brakes and no gears).
Graeme: I saw a picture of you on your wall in army uniform. How come?
Eddie: Funny that - the army was short of stunt riders so my army mate asked me to fill in.
Graeme: Where did you go from there?
Eddie: We formed the only motorbike stunt team in Australia at the time called the Motobats. We travelled all over Australia for 10 years.
Graeme: Ed - I'm dying to know how the switch came from stunt riding to pastor.
Eddie: In Hopetoun in the '60s I was working with earth moving machines. We struck a wet winter which gave me time to be challenged about my restless life. Although I didn't see myself as into religion, I was encouraged to go to a Baptist Church Mission.
Graeme: So what happened?
Eddie: The missioner told a Bible story of a blind man who was healed by Jesus on His last trip down that road. I saw myself in that man's position. As soon as the man was healed he became a follower of Jesus. That day I knew Jesus was calling me to follow Him.
Graeme: Let's skip a few years. I understand you have been associated with the God's Squad Motorcyle Club for about 27 years.
Eddie: Yes, and I was founder and part of the Apostles' Stunt Team which travelled around shows, and spoke about my new-found faith in God.
Graeme: Tell me about this 'Open Door' church up to Yarra Junction.
Eddie: Myself and a few other 'Squad' members saw a need for a church that was different - in which people on the edge could feel more comfortable.
Graeme: Well, it's working - when I visited last week I saw a guy in his white painter's overalls, another with bare feet and a lot of beards and bellies. Eddie, where do you fit?
Eddie: I'm just part of a small group who believe God has brought us together to show what He can do with radical people.
Graeme: How will you help this community?
Eddie: We want to keep doing what I've been doing in the past 10 years - be available to people out on the streets.
Do you remember the old movie 'Unforgiven'? Clint Eastwood starred in it and it was one of those last-man-standing westerns where as a result of unforgiveness, all characters ended up dead.
Last week, I saw an article headed 'The Plague of Unforgiveness', written by Ken McMillan (former moderator of the Canadian Presbyterian Church). Speaking of the war in the Balkans he writes "...the Balkan region is a place where unforgiveness reigns...the Serbs today are simply following the terrible logic of unforgiveness. In World War II, Nazi Germany included Serbs in their ethnic cleansing. The Germans and Croats killed thousands of Serbs. Then in the 1990s the Serbs killed tens of thousands...'
"...there is one major flaw in the law of revenge - it never settles the score..."
The seeds for this process take root in early school days. Action then reaction cycles lead to bitterness. We saw the fruits borne out in the Denver schoolyard massacre. Two twisted teenagers causing so much pain.
Last week the real estate agent's killer was sentenced. The judge said "...You came into that office filled with rage and anger..." He killed the agent because he believed he should have bought a house some $10,000 cheaper. What did he achieve? No, not a cheaper house but along stretch in jail.
McMillan said "...Vengeance is a passion to get even. It is a hot desire to give back as much pain as someone gave you. The problem with revenge is that it never gets what it wants, it never evens the score. Forgiveness may be unfair - it is, by definition - but at least it provides a way to halt the juggernaut of retribution. Only forgiveness frees us from the injustice of others. Ghandi observed that if everyone followed the 'eye for an eye' principle of justice, eventually the whole world could go blind...Politics deals with externals: borders, wealth, and crimes. Authentic forgiveness deals with the evil in a person's heart, something for which politics has no cure..."
The good news is that God offers every person the forgiveness that is found in Jesus. He promises a forgiveness which gives a deep and lasting peace and a hope so assuring that it could change our valley's suicide statistics.
This promise is just one of the tremendous offers found in the Maker's Manual - the Bible.
For help with anger management use the phone number below.