Re-membering those who were so influential…


Arnet Hales                        Dr. Irene Alexander                Raewyn MacKenzie

McLennan (2000) once wrote:   “We are profoundly shaped by and live our lives within an essentially social setting. These social traits actually make us who we are, and they are social rather than individual” (p.54.).  I’d like to speak to you about three (3) very influential people in my life – all of whom have helped ‘shape’ who I am today.  But before I begin, I’d like to tell you a bit about who I am, hopefully so then you may see more clearly how these ones I will mention have contributed to my present state of ‘personhood’.

  • All my life I’ve fancied myself a logical, practical person – a “B & W” person, an evaluator, an analytic type – two central mantras early on in my life were prevalent in my thinking/worldview:  “Just the facts, m’am… just the facts!” and “Knowledge is power”.
  • For those who know the Enneagram, I’m a solid “Type 5” and I’ve been told that I’m an INFP on the MBTI scale (not that I prefer putting me into “boxes”)
  • When I first began counselling, I seemed to warm to the CPT modality, because it struck me initially as resting on very concrete theories which seemed to back up its premises…

Certainly over the past 15+ years, my life has been deeply influenced by three very special souls, and with your permission, I’d like to mention them to you now.  God knew me better than I knew myself, and He placed across my path persons who would not speak only to my head, but also to my heart.  God knew that I needed to progress through James Fowler’s ‘stages of faith’, and that I’d remain stuck in Phase Two if not for some amazing “menschs”…

ARNET HALES:  Arnet brought, along with his fount of wisdom, an incredible sense of balance into my faith life.  He often asked the hard questions, prompting  me to reflect on what it meant to be a “Christ-follower”.  His favourite sayings, “Anyone can claim to be Christian… but to truly follow Christ – well that’s another matter…” and “Alan, I’ll bet we’ll be really surprised at who we meet in heaven!”  Arnet’s amazing prophetic gift astounded me also.  He once said to me, “Alan, God has big things in store for you – who knows, maybe to take you to far-away places to serve him”.  Within seven years of him prophesying, my wife & I shifted to Australia to live and serve our Lord.  When I left Port Hardy, he gave me his most prized possession, his NEW JERUSALEM BIBLE.  Arnet taught me non-judgemental tolerance.

IRENE ALEXANDER:  Irene was my former Dean of SocSci, but soon became my mentor, and my trusted friend.  I reckon in some respects, God sent her across my path to be my “guardian angel”.  Her quiet way and loving gracious manner with everyone was, coming out of a ‘rough as guts’ bush setting, to me like a sweet rain on a parched soul.  Not only was she gracious to all her SocSci students at CHC, she had this gift of nurturing the ‘God-self’ in all of us.  I reckon, without her input into my education and my spiritual life, I wouldn’t have benefited as much as I did during the demanding life of study & working part-time.

RAEWYN:  You are to me a lover, a friend, a life partner, a beautiful soul, an intelligent debater, an understanding mother, an incredible survivor, a struggler in the faith (like me), yet so faithful to God and others.  You love when I find it nearly impossible to.  You see the beauty in life when I’m blind to it.  You recognize God in others when I’m oblivious…  you are to me, the ‘exemplar’ of what I yearn to be.  I know our relationship has had it struggles, but I can say with TOTAL assuredness, that our years together have been the BEST, most wonderful, most amazing, most challenging, most rewarding, happiest , most amazing 15 years of my entire life!  And it’s all due to knowing YOU.  And to our gracious God who brought us together.

These three folk have a special place in my heart and always will.  They’ve modelled to me the Christian walk, and are without doubt represent for me what is at the heart of becoming a true ‘mensch’ (in the Yiddish sense of the word).