CORPORATE IDENTITY OF AUSTRALIA
by: Pieter Bos
The Corporate Identity of Australia: GOOD MATE
Tribes, peoples, states and cities, in general: 'nations', are corporate persons, created by God in his image.
Definition of Corporate Identity (CI):
The Corporate Identity (CI) of a corporate person is a. the expression of God's character in that person,
because of which it contains b. her destiny in God's purposes, and c. her redemptive gift to her fellow nations;
the fall has distorted and corrupted the corporate identity, but it can be redeemed.
The Corporate Identity (CI) of a nation is the creative and liberating truth of God over a nation.
The theology for the understanding of Corporate Identity can be found in chapter 3 of my book
"The Nations Called; A Theology of the Nations and her Redemption."
Each individual person of a certain people group reflects more or less the CI of that group, be it the corrupted
or the redeemed expression of it; a substantial part of his individual personality is rooted in the corporate persons
(!, plural) he is descending from and connected to.
I submit as the Corporate Identity of Australia: GOOD MATE
- God's character: Jesus came along the down trodden, ate with the tax collector, let himself served by a prostitute, defended angrily the children when they were judged unworthy or troublesome; he was a mate to them.
To the "white collar crowd" of the Pharisees and scribes he said: "Learn humility from me,"
and he carried this out, not as a lofty principle but as a down to earth lifestyle to the very end.
- Positive expression, historically and at present, typical persons:
- in the church:
Hang on to (conservative) values, a strong streak of compassion, deep connection to the roots
(in the last a love-hate relationship with British society may play a role). Under the term "civil religion"
("Shared values and structures that are seem fundamental to national life") for Australia these values
are presented: - giving, - parental love and care, and mateship to the point of sacrifice. 1)
Presently the church is marginalised, except the Salvation Army for its good deeds; expressions of mateship.
And the worldwide dominance of Hillsong.
- in society:
An expression is: "being fairdinkum," a mate totally authentic, who will stick with you through thick and thin, who does not take himself too seriously, has a sense of justice and who automatically will support the underdog. Not only the history of former convicts, who were forced to find their way on a vast
island, forged mateship out of early hardships; also the "currency lads and lasses," Australian born illegitimate children, 2) show this character. "Tough it out", "hang in there," "rough
and ready," are the expressions used to typify the down to earth "can-do mentality" of Australians. They work with what is available, are practical; unconventional. They are achieving through being not so much a leader, but a mate, both in industry and in battle; The capacity to adapt to the circumstances and make do is legendary. Besides "Good Mate" also "Tough mate' was suggested.
Australian toughness under pressure squeezes out the unreal and formal, and can become passionate.
This makes him readily come along the underdog in an authentic way.
In the First World War Australia's Mateship was used by the allies, which was a recognition of who they corporately are: This may explain why so many Australian backpackers go to Gallipoli and Tobruk (Turkey) each Anzac Day for the Service of Remembrance and weep so deeply (not without the bitter taste of abuse).
Respect is given to earned leadership, not to position. Informality is chosen over pomp and ceremony. "No tall poppies": they want all to be equal, especially when someone makes good.
If there was ever a 'Good Mate' it was Rev. John Flynn who, at the end of the 19th century, saw what hardship the settlers faced in the enormous Outback. He, with 'a mate,' single-handedly brought Christ in word and deed to an area larger than Europe, invented the pedal radio which gave the vast area 'a voice'. He built hospitals and, with 'another mate,' developed the concept of the Flying Doctor. There are many stories of other pioneer pastors and laymen who were creative and practical in their presentation of the gospel in this very way of Good Mateship.
A popular hero is: Bob Hawke, who identified very strongly with the ordinary person, who was a labor unionist, excelled academically and in sport, and worked himself up to Prime Minister, on first name basis with everyone.
Currently Australia's tough and passionate corporate personality is being evidenced in worldwide and dis-proportionate-to-population success in sport (tennis, rugby, cricket), in Hollywood (Russell Crowe, Mel Gibson, Nicole Kidman, Peter Weir, Phil Noyce), and in global media (Murdoch).
- Negative expression: historically and at present, typical persons:
- in the church:
The Church in Australia has for a long time "represented" the UK-government and the pressure of law enforcement. English sophistication 3) seems far apart from Australian Mateship, and Aussies easily feel, not intimidated, but silenced or at least not valued.
- in society:
Not receiving authority very well; not easy to bend, tending to individualism.
Australians are sensitive when they are looked down upon by "sophisticated" persons, especially when these persons are British. At the same time they have been very harsh towards aboriginals, forcing them into a sophistication which had been forced upon them.
The willingness for native born Australians to believe that they are "no good" until proven otherwise is common and prevalent; "they want to be tried through pressure" is one side of the coin, their feeling inferior because of their history and because they live "down under" is the other side.
Good mateship is a huge 'thing' in Australia, it is mainly a 'man thing' and therefore somewhat derided by some women. In this case mateship then has deteriorated to male and misogynous rudeness, whereas women can be tough and friends-in-hardship very well, in their own female way, and Australian women know that.
- Task for the Church:
The CI is the creative, liberating truth of God over a nation; the church must pray it into reality, must speak it to the heart of the nation.
As far as the Church of Australia struggles with authority, with male chauvinism, with inferiority, with individualism and inflexibility, she cannot be a "model-nation" to Australia. But as the Church makes redeeming steps internally, she has something to show which, without too many words, appeals to Australians (because it is so authentic!).
And it may well be that (soon) the Australian mercy ministries, Christian or not, are reknown all over the world, as the world will need more and more those who in extreme circumstances are able to authentically come along the down trodden of the world.
- Philip Hughes, "Civil and Implicit Religion," in Christian Research Association Bulletin, Vol 13, December 2003. Back to article.
- Mal Garvin, "Us Aussies." Back to article.
- See the CI of England: "Humorous Father," corrupting into Arrogant Empire Builder; "The Nations Called", § 3.3.3. Back to article.