“You cannot love a car the way you love a horse. The horse brings out human feelings the way machines cannot do. Things like machines may develop or neglect certain things in people ... Machines make our life impersonal and stultify certain elements in us and create an impersonal environment.”

Albert Einstein

This morning, like most mornings, I brought Pacha and Yani to the school bus stop on horse back. On the weekend Pacha, Yani, Ollie and I went for a 4 hour walk through the forest. Bringing a picnic, stopping for munches on juicy grass, sharing Ollie’s back between riding our bikes, playing, breathing, singing, interacting, connecting… everyday I pinch myself to remind myself I’m not dreaming - how lucky we are! Living in paradise in nature, in our simple house, with the freedom to engage with community, express opinions and work to make things better for all.

It does feel indulgent sometimes, and I wonder about people thinking we must be so very rich to be able to afford a horse. Well we are rich, but not so much in money (though this depends on who you compare our income with). In any case, I have figured out that Ollie, our horse, earns his place in our family, this is why:

Ollie keeps the grass down. If he wasn’t here I would have to either buy a ride on mower ($3000 plus ongoing maintenance and petrol), or pay someone else to mow the grass every month or so.

Ollie produces manure. If you buy horse poop for the garden it costs about $3 per bag, and he produces about 2 big bags a day (yes, he poops a lot).

Ollie is our ‘therapist’. He is patient and gentle and always present. He is warm and soft and powerful and teaches about how to respect and behave with one another. He teaches us to see the world through non-human eyes.

The Australian federal election is coming up and to me, the whole thing is a farce. The two main parties are just about the same as each other – and controlled by corporations who are controlled by greed. One of the biggest campaign ‘issues’ now is the so-called ‘boat people’ problem - people risking their lives on leaky boats, fleeing countries of war in order to seek shelter in Australia. The vast majority of illegal immigrants come into Australia by plane – but both big political parties are making a big deal about doing whatever they can to keep the ‘boat people’ out of Australia…how heartless, how cruel – especially when we contribute to the chaos in war torn countries like Afghanistan by sending our military there.

This is a recent letter I wrote to the newspaper regarding the election, in response to a person who basically said that only practicing Christians should be voted in as our leaders.

Dear Sir,

I only have one question for Wendy Boniface: ‘Who would Jesus vote for?’

The Jesus I know would support candidates who are guided by compassion and tolerance, not greed, paranoia and the desire for personal power; those with the courage to tell the truth regardless of being ridiculed or harassed as a result; those whose actions speak louder than words.

I think he’d be backing the Davids against the corporate Goliaths who put profits before people, who ‘prosper’ at the expense of the poor. He’d be taking a good look at policies and supporting parties that do not continuously increase the ‘defence’ budget at the expense of health, housing and education. As a man of peace, Jesus wouldn’t be backing parties who keep sending our young people to misguided wars in foreign lands where the main casualties are invariably women and children. I believe Jesus would be rallying behind the only party whose candidates do not accept political donations by corporations or developers.

And above all, the Jesus I know would support the party that puts the highest priority on caring for the Earth, because there’s not much point in having ‘faith’ on a desecrated, polluted, unliveable planet is there?

I also welcome Mrs Boniface to the Church I go to. It has no walls. It’s the one that was here even before white Christians came to this land with their ‘faith’. It is all around you, connecting you with every breath and with every kind, gentle and respectful interaction with our human and non-human community. The truth I follow is written in the heart, motivated by love – not in a book written by men.

1 comment:

wendy boniface said...

Hi Anja,
Love your comment on the horse! I also believe that we must live simply so others may simply live. I've been an environmentalist for over 30 years now, and always take great care to cover my tracks!
I've also been a Christian for about the same time and found the two go together, though my form of Christianity is relationship with God, not Churchianity.
When I said leaders are better off with God, I was declaring that God's wisdom and help would enable them to negotiate the extremely difficult issues that we face in the modern world. I know it's helped me enormously.
Wendy Boniface