Reluctant heroes are usually the best ones. He was perfect for this job, because he didn’t want it. Erstwhile Qantas pilot Graham Hood shared his life’s story of trauma, loss, salvation, healing and renewal.
Last week my husband and I attended a rally at our local church. It was thrown together with haste, yet with great success. Attended by some 250-plus people on a rainy day, the drawcard was a man, his wife and a story of hope.
Graham (Hoody) Hood rose to prominence during the COVID-19 crisis of lockdowns, coercive vaccination and eroded freedoms that we have all lived under these past couple of years.
Graham Hood was a Qantas pilot, who, after being told that he would lose his job should he not agree to be vaccinated, had the strength and moral character to stand and say “No”. Not just to vaccination, but to government tyranny, corporate self-interest and the sheer bloody-mindedness of bureaucrats falling in line across the world, who made decisions that to this day remain at the very least controversial, at the most unconscionable.
Graham Hood is made of tough stuff. He would not go passively into the darkness, tail between his legs, but chose to stand for the freedom past generations laid down their lives to obtain for us.
So, he made a video, a poem of defiance. He shook his fist and proclaimed, “What are we doing?” That simple video made him a hero to so many people who had no voice and were losing hope quickly.
We listened to his story, the good and the bad, and came away knowing he has been in many ways ‘a man of grief, acquainted with sorrows’. If he reads this, I think he could well bow his head, thinking he was not worthy of those words — I disagree. Jesus said, “Let he who wishes to follow me take up His cross daily.” Graham and Michelle Hood do this, and humbly.
As the rain pelted down on the tin roof, one of Graham’s friends, David Stojcic, explained how it had become necessary to find a new venue or two.
Newcastle City Council, after taking the booking of City Hall — which holds approximately 800 people — cancelled. A spokesperson quoted clause 18-4 of the hire agreement: Newcastle City Hall is an iconic venue and prides itself on welcoming a variety of family-friendly events, promoting the well-being of the community. “We reserve the right to cancel the agreement for any socially harmful activity or activity harmful to the community’s well-being. Graham Hood’s appearance at our venue contravenes the above conditions.”
Newcastle City Council… because of them, Newcastle has become a member of the Smart City initiative. God help us.
It appears Graham Hood is a dangerous man. Dangerous because he speaks the truth, he and his wife are people of integrity. When invited to speak at freedom rallies and events, people have often said, “We really like you, but don’t talk about God.” His response? Stuff it.
Identity in Christ
He spoke about the exhilaration of flying, up there in the rarefied air, coming down to earth. He considers it a stepping-stone to where he is now. At age 70, he graduated recently with a university degree to prepare for what’s happening around us.
People have often described him as clever; he shrugs this off, saying, “We are not defined by how we earn our living, but by who we are in Christ.” For most of his life, he didn’t want to know about Jesus. He came to faith through a corporate denomination, whom he says has for the most part sadly let us all down.
“I put no stock in religion; what God requires is our heart and mind through the cross; without it, we’re nothing. Brothers and sisters, love and compassion wins. Different faiths don’t matter, but bonding and the building of unity in faith in God.”
He then encouraged us to turn around, say hello and give somebody a hug.
“Locked in fake social isolation, we lost this. The atmosphere of fear kept us apart, suspicious and compliant. Tyranny, loss of freedoms, therefore freedom of choice or free will. We were never meant to live like this. Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real. He whom the Son sets free is free indeed. Freedom itself has been persecuted.”
He spoke candidly about his life before coming to Christ, about being stuck in addiction to pornography, which gutted him on the inside. The trappings of success were on display in his life, but he had a gaping hole in his soul. He spoke of his dad being a hard man, and his mum at times being subjugated.
Caught in a desperately unhappy marriage, he was trapped in a cycle, taking his destiny away from him. He had suicidal thoughts and had already penned a day in his diary to end his life, and “get even with those he left behind.”
At that time, his daughter was a ballerina and lived in Cairo. In a phone conversation, she informed him she was becoming Muslim and marrying. He was pretty much aghast. Her reply was, “Before you criticise me and my choices, what about you? What do you believe in, Dad?”
He thought about it for a week, deeply. At the end of the week, his answer was, “I think there must be a God, but religion is conducted by men who really stink at it.” He then went back to normal.
However, he asserted there must be a God; he argued with himself about it, hands to the sky, saying, ‘I can’t do this anymore.’ He phoned his daughter and she asked if he was OK. He answered, “I have to get out of the marriage, I’m going to get my affairs fixed and in order and build a shack in the bush.” And so, he did. His divorce was painful, and his kids suffered, but it had to be.
Love at First Sight
One day he boarded a flight to Perth. He told an amusing story about waiting in line to go to the toilet. The stewardess told him, “You can’t go in there yet, there’s a lady in here, but she’s worth waiting for.” A few minutes later, a beautiful lady opened the door, smiled and said, “Are you the man who made the announcements?” He smiled and said, ‘Yes, I am.’ She replied, “Well, thanks for making us feel safe.”
They talked for a while and when he went back to the cockpit, his copilot asked what kept him. He answered, “I’ve just fallen in love.” He met her at the 11th hour, and turned his life around: “A life that exploded with relevance and hope for the future.” His wife introduced him to Jesus in 2006.
He likens life to a 10,000-piece jigsaw — you pull the pieces out and try to find the corners and the straight edges, but Jesus is the master puzzler. “We always want to be in control, but Jesus reached in and picked me up. Jesus put me where I fit. When we’re in control, we jam a piece in, and it buckles, all the pieces stress, uncomfortable, and not in the right place. It was like Jesus had said to me, ‘Now can I put you in the right place?’ God lets you go to the edge with free will, then He introduces His will.”
Healing and Renewal
When he and Michelle talked and examined what they wanted out of life, each other’s dreams overlapped. Michelle had been spiritually abused, but part of her healing was that she wanted to return to the church where she sustained that abuse and be baptised there. She asked Graham if he would come. He said he would, if only to be her bodyguard. He recalls how in that service the minister preached to him, specifically for him it seemed. He asked Michelle if she had said anything to the minister about him, and she replied, “No.”
When they were leaving, the minister spoke to him on the way out and asked him a few questions. Hoody was coy and it took a while to actually admit he was a Qantas pilot. Amazingly, the minister said, “Wow, I used to work at the airport in maintenance, do you know such-and-such?”
“I do,” replied Hoody. So began a relationship with the church. Six weeks later they married and were baptised on the same day. Since then, he and Michelle have been involved in lay ministry, counselling broken people involved in addiction, broken relationships and loss of hope. They are servants of God, make no mistake. Their faith is real, and they live it proudly, openly and without apology for who they are and what they believe in.
Brave New World
Graham went on:
“That was the past, but what about now? Freedom, liberty of conscience; 100,000 Aussies died for that freedom. We have a system set up to break down the family unit. Call them the Illuminati, the elite; their purpose is to take men down, it’s their game plan. Political correctness, the definition of a woman; there’s less of God, the darker it’s getting. All allowed to happen on our watch.
“Freedom was eroded for us to comply. We need to be building better communities, connecting together in compassion and in love. Separate what faith is, to corporate religion, because it has let us down. We have the good news of the Gospel; compare religion, denomination, theology to Jesus who came and He’s able to save.
“Our definition of heroes has been redefined into sporting greats and such. The hero is you, standing up for freedom even when you’ve lost family homes, job security; heroes go on regardless defending the defenceless.”
“You see, nowadays men have never been taught, they are criticised and demonised. Most are little boys in grown men’s bodies; it’s a truism, and our system is set up to fail them. Real heroes create an atmosphere where women and children feel safe. Four times more men take their lives compared to women. Seven times more women talk about it. We start broken. God knows howbroken we are, so stop trying to cover it up. We’re all broken.”
Hoody quoted Galatians 1:10 —
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man?
If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
He and Michelle have a property where they have counselled men, addicts and couples.
He asks a question to the men: “Would you like your daughter to marry a man like you?” Defects are exposed, and healing comes in.
He goes on to explain how we got here — men, in particular.
Men lost their way during the Industrial Revolution. The industrial/military complex, owned by wealthy men sent them off to the coal mines and foundries. Subjected to accidents and ‘dusting’, they often died young.
World War I, with its destruction, shattered families; there were many broken lives due to their father figure being eliminated or scarred deeply. World War II was created by Germany being starved to death by reparations demanded by the League of Nations, the forerunner off the United Nations. The cycle has been repeated in every war since then.
Filling the Breach
Role models must be re-established. Men must be able to say, “It’s okay, son. I’m here.” It must be generational. Broken families and one-parent families are all too common; there is a gaping wound in society. The struggles with the dysfunction of families and marriages must be addressed. God’s grace and mercy fills so many gaping wounds. Love covers a multitude of sins. Reconciliation is never too late, or too early.
Hoody spoke of his oft-troubled relationship with his dad. His parent’s marriage was far from perfect. He recalls the abject horror of witnessing his dad shaving his mother’s hair, with his brother’s help, for the offence of dyeing her hair black. It wounded him deeply.
He became addicted to pornography, when, at the age of twelve he discovered a Playboy magazine in his family caravan. Filled with shame after the encounter, he felt dirty, but had nowhere to turn.
He recalled his father’s expectations and backhanded compliments on his achievements: “I’ll be proud of you when…” Nothing quite lived up to Dad’s measuring stick.
After his father witnessed Hoody’s new life, sustained over many years, they had a father-to-son chat, where Hoody asked his dad if he was ready to accept Jesus. “I reckon I am, son.”
So, dad was born again. About three months later dad slipped into a coma-like state. When Graham and Michelle arrived, they were told he was unresponsive. But Graham saw a reaction when dad heard his voice. Going to his bedside, he took his hand and said, “I know you’re scared, Dad, but just one more sleep and you’ll be at peace. I really love you, Dad. I honour you. You’ve been the best father.” His dad reached up with his hand, and soon after slipped into God’s eternal embrace.
Hoody’s philosophy continues to be God and family-centred.
“Everything needs to be established, said and done when the sons are young. When we are old, if we’ve done our job, we need to hear, ‘Thank you, Dad, you did a great job.’ We need to re-establish the cycle of manhood, being strong and courageous, establishing love and trust in manhood.
“Whether it’s standing against a needle or some other principle, we need to say, ‘We will not be bought or sold.’ The last election showed how we have compromised. The country chose lattes over freedom. Look at the Anzac Day disgrace: cenotaphs were open to politicians and bureaucrats, not the Diggers, to our shame. We have to plant the flag and live by it.
“Our lives are a rich tapestry, but with some dark threads. But God knows and makes beauty from them if we let Him.”
A Question-and-Answer session followed his talk. So did a call for the men present to Stand for Freedom and commitment to family and country. (80% stood and made their way forward in a show of commitment and solidarity.) Then came the call for Salvation. Some 15-20 people came forward and were led in the prayer of salvation by Ps. Col Grigg. Particularly poignant was a little white-haired lady, in her 80s making her way forward to accept Jesus Christ as her Saviour.
There was no shame in Hoody’s words, no weakness. Just his consuming passion for the Amazing Grace of God.
I’m a child of the late 50s and watched Robin Hood as a child. Was he a fictional character, steeped in myth, based on fact? Who knows? One line of the theme song resonates with me after meeting Graham Hood: Feared by the bad, loved by the good.
If you want to bring the Bible into it, think of David, anointed by God, pursued by King Saul. He hid in the cave of Adullam, and there he was joined by a band of disgruntled, disaffected and fed-up people. Out of this bunch came David’s Mighty Men of valour. More than that, they became a community and a family, a band of brothers.
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