Eremos No. 126Editorial:
Those of you who saw the ‘Sculptures by the Sea’ exhibition last year will remember that it featured many striking images reflecting contemporary social, cultural and spiritual concerns. We have chosen one of these for the cover of this issue. Ian Swallow, our production editor and photographer said he liked the old boat ‘as it symbolises the desperation of the asylum seekers, the lengths they go to in order to reach Australia, and, given the current laws, their wrecked dreams, even if they do manage to reach our territorial waters and don't perish in the attempt’.
Siobhan Marren’s article is an impassioned critique of current asylum seeker policies and the ways they prey on fear. Robin Jones’ moving account of what life is like for refugees stems from her own work with refugees in Southern Sudan and on the Thai Burmese border. These articles do not make for comfortable reading.
The plight of refugees is not the only source of grief and trauma in today’s world. Sarah Macneil explores the lament literature in the Hebrew Scriptures for its wisdom and relevance today as we look at so much in the world (or perhaps closer to home) that is in need of healing. She says, ‘Only by facing the truth of what has happened, and by giving voice to the grief, the anger and the sense of loss, are people freed to live and love in community again.’
Most Eremos readers would agree that healing and reconciliation require that we move beyond simplistic notions of right and wrong, them and us. Nikolai Blaskow’s ‘Beyond Good and Evil?’ is a thought provoking look at the way film can enlarge our ethical perspectives. Viewing films, he says, can take us ‘beyond merely academic discussion … to a potentially transformative way of knowing.’ What films have inspired or challenged you in life changing ways?
With Jenny Lyle’s delightful ‘Why do I Swim?’ we move to narratives about practices that renew and refresh the writers so that they can engage in life more effectively. Kate Scholl reminds us that making a retreat can transform our way of being with others by enabling us to listen more deeply to ourselves and others. Jim Taylor tells us what he has learned from indigenous folk about the connection that can be found in silence.
Finally Sue Emeleus’ book review reminds us of the devastating impact on victims of the church’s practice of silence and coverup in the matter of abuse.
As I reflect on the rhythms of this issue’s offerings, I am reminded of those wonderful words from Ecclesiastes 3, beginning with, ‘For everything there is a season’. The contributors remind us that there is indeed ‘a time to keep silence, and a time to speak’. The trick is to discern when, what and how we are to speak.