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A Woman, a Frog and Fraser Anning

A Woman, a Frog and Fraser Anning

We are going to tell a story. Stories derive their power not from their factual basis, but from their truth. In fact, if we ask for the factual basis, we lose the truth and destroy the story. Let’s tell a story.

There was once a young woman. She was almost an adult. She spent hours around a pond, watching the fish and plants; but she was particularly interested in a frog. It seemed to look at her in a funny way. Sometimes it seemed to talk to her, but in a language that she did not understand. She did not know why the frog was interesting.

She would sit in her garden and imagine a world of great beauty. A natural world that tends and cares for her. She did not understand why this beautiful garden needed a frog in it.

What is with this frog? One day she picked it up and cuddled it. She gave a little kiss. You see the frog was a young man cursed by a witch. The woman’s kiss broke the spell and the frog turned into a young man. They lived happily ever after.

But as a rational society, before we go any further, let’s ask some questions:
- What was the species of the frog?
- What was the woman’s name?
- Can witches really transform men into frogs?
- Are you expecting me to believe in witches?
- When did this happen?
- Is she the daughter of a peasant or a king?

If we hold onto the story, then we can hear its voice. It asserts (and we sort of know) that young men are a little awkward and weird. Young women have to be a little patient. Young women may imagine a world of flowers and gentle breeze blowing around a garden and being swept off their feet, but often it is just a drain inhabited by frogs.

Some men grow out of it, but others of us men still retain some frogness. My brother-in-law always reminds me that he told his sister (my wife) that “she had to fix my fashion”. Not sure this is a complete success, but certainly a valiant attempt has been made.

It is only when you stop asking the question “Is it factual”, that you can start to see the truth. We can then decide this story should be kept in the culture or left behind.

This is much of scripture’s genius, not reporting facts, but gently guiding how we should live. Our scientific, rational culture has succeeded in fantastic technologies, but has often dismissed truth that is not fact. In response, Christians often feel the need to defend as fact that Jesus fed 5,000 people or town walls fall down to the sound of trumpets. I have come to realise that we have to do no such thing. In fact, when we do, we tend destroy the story and are left with pieces of useless, unsubstantiated myth.

So, when you think Jesus is talking about Samaritans; the terrorist leaders of the ancient world or Lepers; sick people that look and smell funny and Legion; a stranger who is a chain - breaking man monster, the real meaning of “you should love different people” might just be getting through our heavily defended façade.

So let’s make it real.

The maiden speech by Fraser Anning . Because we are a scientific, rational culture, we assume he was basing his speech on a set of facts . He was not interested in facts (which infuriated parts of the media and society, but worse, it meant many people did not listen).

He told a story and it is only when we listen to the story that we hear his truth.

His story is he only wants to live with people like him and people different to him should go somewhere else. He is afraid of different people. He is afraid of the world around him. He is afraid about a future he cannot control. To make this fear go away, he bullies minorities. He asserts different people are lazy, violent and steal our stuff (such as welfare, jobs and education). If he can be more afraid of different people then he won’t have time to think about his own fears.

He stands in the line of people privileged by the community, and rather than use their position to enhance the community, they choose to maintain their position by abusing a minority.

Fraser Anning wants Jesus to reverse many of his stories, Jesus should have told the story of the Bad Samaritan, how to avoid Lepers and that Strangers are dangerous. In other words, find an enemy to hate and then form a band of disciples who agree.

Just simple pragmatism leads us to realise that this divisive approach rejects the contribution of vast sections of the world population. It fails to grasp their creativity and humanness. It treats them as animals and permits our abuse of human rights. If you do that given enough, then they will become dangerous.

Fraser Anning is anti-Christ, since he is preaching a gospel of hate and intolerance. Not bad for someone who starts with “we need to return to our European, Christian tradition.”

On Sunday, I will be exploring the Tower of Babel, but this is a little tangent that I wandered through.

What story will you tell?

See you on Sunday (2nd September in Gordon Uniting at 9:30am and 16th September in Pymble Uniting at 9:30am). Lloyd Robinson