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Episode Summary

How do you speak to the unspeakable? How does a people connected to place retain their sense of meaning and time when they are displaced and ignored? Indigenous Australian journalist and public intellectual Stan Grant (Monash University) joins Evan Rosa for a discussion of his experience as an Aboriginal Australian, the son of Wiradjuri and Gamilaraay people in the Outback of New South Wales, Australia. He tells the story of his family’s Christian faith and Aboriginal identity—how the two work together. He shares the sense of aboriginal homelessness and displacement and his efforts to seek justice for Aboriginal people in modern Australia, a place with no memory. He teaches us the meaning of Yindyamarra Winhanganha—which is Wiradjuri concept meaning a life of respect, gentleness, speaking quietly and walking softly, in a world worth living in. He comments on declining democracy, how to live with dignity after catastrophe, what it means to be both nothing and everything—and we learn from Stan about the power of silence to speak to the unspeakable.

How do you speak to the unspeakable? How does a people connected to place retain their sense of meaning and time when they are displaced and ignored? Indigenous Australian journalist and public intellectual Stan Grant (Monash University) joins Evan Rosa for a discussion of his experience as an Aboriginal Australian, the son of Wiradjuri and Gamilaraay people in the Outback of New South Wales, Australia. He tells the story of his family’s Christian faith and Aboriginal identity—how the two work together. He shares the sense of aboriginal homelessness and displacement and his efforts to seek justice for Aboriginal people in modern Australia, a place with no memory. He teaches us the meaning of Yindyamarra Winhanganha—which is Wiradjuri concept meaning a life of respect, gentleness, speaking quietly and walking softly, in a world worth living in. He comments on declining democracy, how to live with dignity after catastrophe, what it means to be both nothing and everything—and we learn from Stan about the power of silence to speak to the unspeakable.

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About Stan Grant

Stan Grant is an indigenous aboriginal Australian journalist, former war correspondent, and an award-winning author of multiple books, including 2023's The Queen Is Dead: Time for a Public Reckoning (Harper Collins). He served in high profile roles in Australia as a current affairs and news presenter with Channel 7, CNN, SBS and the ABC. He was recently appointed inaugural Director of the Constructive Institute Asia Pacific in the Faculty of Arts at Monash University.

Show Notes

  • To learn more about Stan Grant and the Constructive Institute, click here.
  • What is home in a place of exile?
  • Coolah, New South Wales, Australia
  • Entering “Australia”
  • What it means to be an indigenous person—an Indigenous Australian or Aboriginal in particular
  • Australia is a place with no memory.
  • Stan Grant’s Christian faith: “Waiting for God”
  • Simone Weil and giving voice to affliction through silence and waiting
  • What it is to be nothing
  • Suffering and meaninglessness
  • “We find our nothingness, which is everything.”
  • “I don't have to look for the meaning of affliction and I don't have to look for someone to answer for that affliction, because Christ is already there to hold the weight of that affliction.”
  • Biame—Aboriginal Creator God Spirit—Rainbow Serpent
  • Depth of spiritual connection to place
  • “Jesus is a tribal man, living in a place of occupation.”
  • Jesus’s totem: Water
  • Deep time, deep silence
  • A breaking point with modernity
  • “We are, at our essence, spiritual people, poetic people of place. We are not political people of enlightenment, and that, that is a hard weight to bear, to live as poetic people of God in a world of politics that seeks to kill God.”
  • Responsibility
  • Yindyamarra winangana—”respect in a world worth living in”
  • “I am not responsible for what I do. I'm also responsible for what you do. And that is the essence of what it is to be a First Nations person in Australia. That is the essence of It is a respect and a responsibility beyond who we are, but connects us to where we are.”
  • 1 Peter 2:17: “Honor everyone.”
  • Individual identity vs communal belonging
  • Uluru Statement, “Makarrata”
  • Australia is the only Commonwealth country that has not recognized First Nations peoples politically, and given them a voice to Australian Parliament.
  • Secondary citizenship
  • Struggle of Aboriginal Australians
  • What is it to live with catastrophe?
  • “The absence of love makes us know love is real.”
  • The Crow People: Chief Plenty Coups: “After that, nothing happened.”
  • How to live with dignity after catastrophe.
  • Miroslav Volf on remembering rightly
  • “This is my quest to try to understand those things. And it's the quest of an exile. It's, it's exile that I was forced into, that my people were forced into, that I share with others, that I seek to embrace as an exile of silence, an exile of love, and an exile of belonging and not identity. James Joyce, James Baldwin, Tony Morrison, these people have shared this journey, the great poets, the great writers, the great artists who have sought to give expression to that sense of what it is to be exiled from the modernity of who we are, what we all want to be something. And maybe when we are reduced to nothing, we may find what it is to be everything.”
  • After Queen Elizabeth died
  • A people of suffering, but not tragedy
  • What it means to be human: Born from the dust
  • Self-giving and Yindyamarra
  • Weightlessness of liberalism
  • America: Can it hold the weight?
  • Declining democracy around the world
  • “There’s no ancestors in Rawls. There’s no history in Rawls.”
  • “For me, a life worth living is to know where I am.”

Production Notes

  • This podcast featured journalist Stan Grant
  • Edited and Produced by Evan Rosa
  • Hosted by Evan Rosa
  • Production Assistance by Macie Bridge
  • A Production of the Yale Center for Faith & Culture at Yale Divinity School https://faith.yale.edu/about
  • Support For the Life of the World podcast by giving to the Yale Center for Faith & Culture: https://faith.yale.edu/give
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