all of us, this collection of thoughts and reflections
is in part a way of naming some of the spirit of Ted
Kennedy and his effect on this Redfern community; it
will also say more about us individually and as a community.
Putting pen to paper implies care about what has been,
a desire that future generations have access to contemporary
witness, and perhaps more centrally we are compiling
these stories and reflections at a time in our community
when we are yearning for courage and inspiration. The
paradoxical strength of this community was that Ted
never attempted to forge one; had he done so it may
not have lasted more than a few years. Rather, people
from all walks of life were attracted to a way of being
in and seeing the world.
thank you for your guidance and inspiration
engagement with people
capacity for unconditional love
stupendous and awesome freedom.
might tend to retreat from its thrall
a snail's antenna recoiling to its shell and comfort
zone. In your time at Redfern, you left your shell forever
antennae constantly extended
on every level of being human
and in the world.
say “hallo love”, “how are you?”,
that so?”, “that's great!”.
very real guidance is in not telling, in not being judgmental.
listen, and still love people
and because of the tales that unfold.
struggle with an idea, our hearts or our life,
you listen to and affirm the person,
deeper the listening and stronger the affirmation
quiet celebration of our humanity
experience of revelation of Kingdom.
example, your theology
the beauty and joy of people being who they are.
write letters, sermons, articles and chapters
a passion for justice and for poetry
righteous anger at the misuse of power
infuse poetry and art
the very core
moral, political or theological argument
as mere illustration
a nourishing of the mind
unleashing of the imagination.
were your sermons rhetorical!
wiped the dust of time to unveil historical detail
the self interest of government, of church
the extraordinary courage and goodness
then we faced a test of our integrity and strength as
a community; we were apprehensive, fearful and concerned.
We experienced a mindset that had no place for imagination
and freedom. No laughter. More importantly, we experienced
for the first time, our collective hearts hardening,
our tongues bitter. Yet we choose to stay as a community
and face the disparity between ours words and our deeds,
drawing inspiration from your life and that of Shir1ey
Smith. Today, I have the feeling that we have slid beyond
our collective shell and stand exposed, our antennae
extended; vulnerable yet fearless.
by Elisabeth Burke