I‘m stoked for Patty Mills. He will lead the Australian team as co-flag bearer with Cate Campbell at the Tokyo Olympics. Patty is a sporting superstar and rarely acknowledged for his contributions to community and Australian Basketball.
In Middle and Senior School Assemblies this week, we recognised NAIDOC week through featuring this piece produced by his NBA team, the San Antonio Spurs.
As Patty reflects on his identity in the video, we can see that connection to his people groups, his culture and the land of his ancestors provides him with a spirituality and sense of something beyond himself that gives shape to who he is and to his life.
This set of connections is at the heart of the ancient wisdom of indigenous people.
In indigenous cultures across the world, people find ultimate meaning in history, culture and the land and, like indigenous wisdom, Christians find ultimate meaning in something outside ourselves too – in God‘s love for us and redemption through Jesus.
What both these perspectives have in common is a vision of human identity that is very different from the perspective sold to us by our current culture.
In contrast, today’s culture encourages us to seal ourselves off from the influences of family, peers, community, from God and anything beyond ourselves; and to seek an identity that we construct for ourselves about ourselves.
It’s the result of a very recent cultural shift and the only place it exists is in societies like ours – in the rich, comfortable west. It’s a cultural moment that is forming out students, and influencing all of us.
Its actually presenting you and me with a new religion – a new “good news”. It’s a “good news” that says that you and I can have individual freedom and create ourselves as anyone we want to be. It’s a new religion, but what we are called to worship is nothing more that our personal choice.
This current culture would tell Patty to push away his indigenous heritage and its hold over him and find who he is from within himself.
It would tell you and me to push away ideas of a loving God who yearns for relationship with us.
The current culture tells Patty, you and me to create ourselves as anyone we want to be; and its empty.
In NAIDOC week, we can acknowledge the timelessness of indigenous wisdom that tells us that our identity is grounded in something far more than what our human minds can construct.
Mr Mark Ash / Principal