Halloween or Disputat-een?

October 31st: Promises a fun evening of dressing up, trick or treating, gorging on lollies. However, All Hallows’ Eve has a far more significant role to play than what is now essentially an American bun and lolly grab. On October 31st 1517, when Martin Luther nailed his ‘Disputation’ of 95 Theses, grievances against the Church, on the door of the Wittenberg Church, he must have felt both very afraid and terribly proud.

I have recently ‘posted’ my own set of grievances or as Luther then saw it, my list of challenges and provocations; questions posed, those things we need to act on and change if we are to move forward in this world. However, unlike Martin Luther’s overt list swinging precariously on the Church door, mine are perhaps more couched - concealed within the pages of a rollicking good novel, Clarity in Time (Balboa Press). The reader is invited in to the world of Rosie O’Dea, a young woman living in contemporary Melbourne. And yet the story begins with the enigmatic, rousing Nelson Mandela, jailed and isolated in a Robben Island prison cell the size of a boot box. With him sits young Dirk Kortella, security officer. Here are the stirrings of change. Not for Mandela, who has always sought change, but for Kortella, the bystander. In listening to Mandela speak, something new is rankling his heart, reaching his soul; humanity.

My passion has long been teaching social justice. Clarity in Time has been written in response to a number of ‘needs’ I keep hearing repeated throughout our community. The need for more positivity, a call for more altruistic voices in our community and a desire for new conversations in this millennium.

Like Martin Luther’s 95 Theses, my novel forms something of my own private manifesto. Although I am sure a few of mine would have Luther twisting uncomfortably in his grave!

  • Building positive relationships – a demand for better modelling of positive relationships
  • A liberation of constrained Western sexual thinking – Sex can take you to a spiritual dimension
  • Challenging the dominant paradigm of competition, disparity and greed
  • Satyagraha; employing Gandhi’s truth force – taking action, making a difference
  • A search for self emerging as a world beyond self.
  • Theology: Did God invent man or did Man construct God? Or is there another answer altogether?
Life is all about attitudes; how you treat others, how you treat yourself.

Perhaps on All Hallows’ Eve we should invoke the spirit of Martin Luther, the spirit of courage to challenge the system. And as you move from house to house, or live it up at a Halloween party, perhaps you should pause to reflect on building your own manifesto, your own declaration of intentions. Perhaps you should choose not to trick but to treat.

Happy Halloween!


PS: No, I am not Lutheran. Simply someone, like Luther and many others, seeking change. And demanding it now. Clarity, freedom, solutions.