They took him on a stretcher
to the Home for the Appalled
where he lay down in a corner
and he bawled and bawled and bawled.
‘There’s nothing wrong with me,’ he wailed,
when asked about his bawling,
‘It’s the world that need attention;
It’s so utterly appalling.’
‘It’s so utterly appalling,’
he sobbed and cried and bawled,
and the chorus rose to join him
at the Home for the Appalled.
– Michael Leunig, Home / Appalled
i braved the 6.30 am icy start to go hear Michael Leunig this morning. Leunig is a Victorian poet, philosopher and cartoonist – though that description doesn’t do him justice at all. He was ‘in conversation’ with the Melbourne Anglican Archbishop at Fed Square in the city. The topic for the conversation was prophetic voices.
Leunig was in fine form, I think the best i’ve heard him. Every sentence felt like a benediction; rich and good and beautiful.
the thought that has resonated over and over through today is Leunig’s comment that the opposite of hope isn’t despair… we have nothing to fear from despair… the opposite of hope is blandness. the prophetic response isn’t always to speak of hope, it’s to not let blandness stand unchallenged, it’s to ‘shine a spotlight on the forgotten and unnamed’.
and the other thought that i find makes me ache… like leunig i’m stunned at the amount of anger people have at the moment. i’m hyper-aware of this at the moment, for a few reasons, but it seems like the world, and especially the church, is full of sharp edges.
[ i love that the Anglicans are offering these opportunities in the city… but there were some incongruous moments afterwards in the question time when the temptation to push a church agenda was obviously just a little too strong for the Archbishop. i felt a bit sad about that. when people ask questions that involve saying [and i paraphrase] ‘where are the places other than the church to find the sacred?’, to respond by saying ‘the church’ only makes it seem that you haven’t listened to the question, and to the search behind the question… ]