I came across this little poem some time ago.


I don't mind blokes who digs or stokes,

Who fettle or work on derricks;

I can even stand a German band,

But I draw the line at clerics.

Why, strike me pink, I'd sooner drink

With a cove sent up for arson

Than a rain-beseeching, preaching, teaching,

Blanky, cranky parson.


We Australians have a real problem with authority. That's why many people give clergymen and their Women's Police a wide birth. We don't like people shoving things down our throat. C.J. Dennis defined a Churchman as "An ineffable person who mistakes the world as a penitentiary and himself as a warder."

Of course, as you would expect, people who attend church feel exactly the same way. If a minister comes on heavy with their congregation, they're told where to get off quick smart. Rev. Herbert Hayes of Victoria, Australia, in his book "Centenary Songs and a Parson's Nonsense" published in 1934, wrote a poem about his Bishop which got him into hot water. "Squeeze his mitre tighter and tighter. Burst all his veins, squeeze out his brains."

Yes! we don't like authority. We don't like people telling us what to do. That's why we have problems with the new moral policemen of our age - the pointy-heads, P.C. politician, or media expert. We love the larrikin.

So, criminals sometimes become our heroes. That's why Australians idealize Ned Kelly. This is what Ned had to say about the superintendent of Victorian police. "He knows as much about commanding police as captain Standish does about mustering mosquitoes and boiling them down for their fat on the back blocks of the Lachlan."

Right...... We hate authority.

Mind you, we don't mind a friend telling us what to do, someone who's come up through the ranks; someone we can trust. On the gold fields the Australian diggers used to work in teams of around ten to fifteen. Usually someone emerged as a natural leader, and the boys were quite happy to listen to what he had to say. In the First World War it was the same. A bloke who'd come up through the blood and fire was OK.

God sent his Son Jesus to work up through the ranks. He came to be with us, to share our pains, to cry with us - hated, rejected, spat upon, a real battler. Jesus came as a man of sorrows, not as an authority figure.

They brought a woman to Jesus who was caught committing adultery. He didn't start lecturing her. He looked around at all those blokes and said to them. "He who is without sin let him cast the first stone", and slowly they all walked away. Jesus then looked at the woman and said to her. "Where are your accusers?" She answered "There are none." Then said Jesus, "Neither do I accuse you, go and sin no more."


[Pumpkin Cottage]