Tracy Bourne’s Backhouse Lecture 2014

A Call to Authenticity: “Our Life is Love, and Peace, and Tenderness”

Children teach us about ourselves, through our presence in our lives as well as the demands they make on us. Children change us, just as the world changes us. Children open us up to love; through their beauty, their vulnerability, their honesty and the incredible love they share.

Children intuitively understand the spirituality of nature through their bodies, and delight in it.

Their joy is infectious and a sign of God’s love.

Children remind us that God is in our bodies. They demonstrate that our flesh is not just a vessel – it is the Spirit, just as all of Nature is Spirit. When we are with children we no longer need to feel ashamed of our physical limitations. Children love us just as we are.

Children are authentic, they call us to be authentic too.

Authenticity means that we are honest with ourselves, even when we don’t like what we see. It means we listen to our own urgings, and through quiet contemplation, discern what we are trying to tell ourselves. It means moving beyond embarrassment for the sake of saying or doing what needs to be said. It means moving beyond a fear that we are not good enough, and trusting that we will find the strength.

Authenticity is about moving beyond our ego, and living in the Spirit so that we can act with love. It means standing apart from our name, our age, our educational background, our public status. It means standing as if naked, just as our children do, ready to take on what is asked of us.

We belong to the world. We belong to God. When we live simply, as children, then we see our true beauty in the world around us.

We are yearning for spiritual renewal. The deep crises in the world are hurting us, and we need to gather together in love. We need it, and the world needs us to get on with it.

 Include reference to Child Protection Policy of AYM

from AYM website Quakers.org.au – under publications Backhouse Lectures