Dear Inner Circle,
In the street this morning a young fellow stopped me for what looked like might be a friendly chat. Quickly he began to give me a sermon on how many ways his fight with addiction has failed. I had things to do and soon tired of hearing so much analysis of circumstances that lead to failure. Several times I actually turned to walk away only to see him walk a half circle so as to keep my attention. This conversation without much dialogue sustained for about 20 minutes when suddenly it occurred to me that this poor fellow had substituted reflection for realisation. He thought that endless analysis was the way to life. For a moment I stopped to gaze at this sincere man who seemed to enjoy finding all the reasons why he couldn’t live to the full just yet. It suddenly struck me how many times I’d heard people analyse the weaknesses of the church and the complexities of the culture that make these days so difficult. Suddenly I heard the echo of many social commentators who make a living from teaching others how hard it is to change culture and create community. I heard the echo of some friends who have explained to me how nothing should ever be done for the first time. Gosh, we’re surrounded by an explanation industry! I told this fellow that he had a good head but that it was of no use to him. It really doesn’t matter what’s going on in his head until there is something going on in his feet. Life is never in explanations; never in reflections; never in formulas; never in cognitive propositions; life must be done.
I’m carrying a heavy lump in my chest for the two young men in Indonesia. I respect the right of states to practice capital punishment even though I’m sure there is not a scrap of evidence to suggest that this practice has any deterrent value. I’m sad for all of humanity for there is nothing but loss for us all in the event of these deaths. I carry some sadness too for our Australian Federal Police who set these Australians on a course that would certainly finish with a firing squad. I doubt that any police officer would have handled this situation this way if one of the young people involved was his own child or even the child of a politician. Everyone loses, there are no winners. My heart is heavy for the young men, their families, for all who are brutalised by actually thinking this is justice and for those Australians who could have prevented this and failed.