What will tomorrow look like?

A new mural at the Binacrombi Dorm (thank you, Dylan)
Nathan Nicholas and the boys join us for the weekend
The Binacrombi Bush Bash
The Binacrombi Bush Bash
Remodeling the Binacrombi Chapel
The new Binacrombi vehicle is in need of a name

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Hi Fighter,

Once again I start on my newsletter from my cabin in the remote Australian outback.
It’s raining outside.

The weather forecasters have been predicting rain every weekend, and every weekend people cancel their bookings here on account of these dour forecasts. Earlier today I said to one of the two families that did decide to brave it this week, “You were smart. The weather is great!” Mum said, “let’s see what tomorrow looks like”.

I feel in a similar situation when I look out on the country as a whole. Things seem to be brightening up. Lockdown restrictions are gradually loosening. The gloom seems to be lifting, and yet a voice within me says, “Hang on a second. Let’s see what tomorrow looks like”. Will it really be a return to normal, or will there be a ‘new normal’, with severe restrictions on freedom of movement and of speech – where it’s not only illegal to protest government policy, but where even creating a Facebook post proposing a protest will get you arrested.

I was listening to Victorian Premier, Dan Andrews, tonight, talking about the implementation of spy drones across his state, designed to hover over people’s home to ensure that they are in compliance with lockdown procedures. When questioned by the press about this extraordinary measure, Andrews said that he was happy to have drones flying over his house as he was in compliance.

“Those who have nothing to hide have nothing to fear.” Andrews didn’t use those words exactly (normally attributed to Nazi Propaganda Minister, Joseph Goebbels, in 1933) but it is precisely what he meant. Does anyone else find that a little scary?

In truth, I don’t know where our society is heading, but I don’t think we really need to wait until tomorrow either to know what needs to be done. We need to take back our community. We need to stop keeping a ‘safe distance’ from one another. We need to rediscover trust and rebuild community, one embrace at a time. I appreciate that the dominant narrative says that when we embrace, we put each other at risk. I sincerely believe that a community where people no longer embrace is risking a great deal more!

If you need more motivation to get moving on this issue, I recommend this appeal from Robert F. Kennedy Jr. It’s encouraging to see a man of his stature putting his head above the parapet at a time like this. It’s time we all stood up. The world needs us, and make not mistake about it –  we are the ones we have been waiting for.

As I’ve been writing, the intensity of the rain outside has been building, along with ominous sounds of thunder, and then it all suddenly stopped! Who knows what tomorrow will look like?

Preach and Punch Fest

This week I’m sharing the boxing and Bible chat from the October 17 to18 weekend.

My boxing opponent on the Saturday night was the great Nathan Nicholas – soon to be World Middleweight Champion. If it’s not the most entertaining bout you’ve seen, that’s because all the effort is going one way. I’m working crazy hard, trying to land a shot. Nathan, on the other hand, is struggling to stay awake.

Well … maybe it’s not quite that extreme, but I know full well that I wouldn’t last long if Nathan determined to take me out. He is a class athlete. Having said that, he was no match for me in the Bible discussion the following day (which starts at about the half-way point of the video) and that’s because he’d forgotten that Daylight Savings started that Sunday. He and the lads turned up just as I was finishing.

Our Gospel reading is from Matthew 22 – the story where the religious leaders ask Jesus whether they should be paying taxes to the Roman occupying forces. It’s a trick question, of course, but Jesus deftly evades it what’s designed to be a knock-out blow.

“Give to the Emperor what belongs to the Emperor, and to God what belongs to God”. it’s a very clever response, but I believe there’s more to it than just sheer cleverness.

Christians and Muslims can be friends!

The big news in my last newsletter was that initial copies of my new book had arrived. Another fifteen boxes have arrived since, which means I’m now ready to launch!

The official launch of “Christians and Muslims can be friends” will be on Saturday, November 28th. The plan is to begin in the boxing ring in Dulwich Hill, with myself, Anthony Mundine, Billy Dibb and Solomon Haumono – doing a bit of light sparring and chatting in between rounds.

I won’t tell you the full schedule for the evening, but I plan to follow the boxing session with a series of interviews with some of the people who appear in the book. Some of our guests will turn up in person. Others will Skype in from the other side of the planet. Amongst those who have agreed to participate thus far are:

  • Syed Shoaib Naqvi
  • Anne Aly, MP
  • Father Bob Maguire
  • Sheikh Mansour Leghaei

One of the main aims of that evening will be to sell a lot of books on Amazon.com, as we’ll be trying to get “Christians and Muslims can be friends” into the list of Top 100 Bestsellers for that day. If we can achieve this, it could do a lot to bring the book to the world’s attention.

I’ll fill you in on more details in the days between now and November 28. I’m also going to start to release teaser videos of some of the interviews that appear in the book. These will be released on Facebook and Twitter, and will link back to videos of the complete interviews, which have now been posted to www.christiansandmuslims.com. You can expect to see the first of these teaser videos in the next few days.

I won’t bore you with further details about the book launch now but … watch this space!

I’ll be in touch again soon.

Your brother in the Good Fight,

Dave
www.fatherdave.org
www.fighting-fathers.com
www.holytrinity.org.au
www.binacrombi.com.au
www.israelandpalestine.org
www.prayersforsyria.com
www.dulwichhillgym.com
www.boxersforpeace.com
www.warriorweekends.com

P.S. To financially support our work, please take out a monthly membership at www.fighting-fathers.com. Even a $10/month subscription will make a difference.

 

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Sufficient unto the day

A lovely Fathers Day card
A lovely Fathers Day treat!
At Binacrombi with my old friend, Michael
At Terrigal with my old friend, Steve
Something arrived in the post!
Something arrived in the post!
Something arrived in the post!

A
Hi Fighter,

As ever, I start this newsletter from my cabin in the wilderness. Binacrombi is about as far from human civilization as is imaginable in my context, yet nowadays it feels like an oasis of humanity in a country that feels less and less like home.

Binacrombi helps me live in the present. I think it was Confucius who said that if you’re depressed, you’re living in the past, and if you’re fearful, you’re living in the future. The goal is to live in the present. This very much echoes the teachings of Jesus, who frees us from the past through forgiveness and calls on us to face the future with faith.

“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself”, says Jesus, “Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34), or in the words of the old King James version, “sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof”.

It is hard to be free from the past. It keeps us awake at night, reminding us of what we should have done and could have done. Guilt and regret harass us like twin devils, and are often accompanied by their colleague, bitterness, who reminds us of what others have done (or could have done) for us.

As to the future, there is never a shortage of things to fear. I look around and see a population living in fear. Many fear the virus. Those who have lost their jobs or homes or sanity due to the lockdowns face even more tangible fears.

Is it really possible to live without fear? The Apostle John said that “perfect love casts out all fear” (1 John 4:18) but how does that play out? I think for me it starts with prayer – most obviously in prayer that happens out here in the wilderness.

In prayer I find my silent space, alone with God. There God reminds that I have been blest with excellent health. God then shows me the faces of my many friends. I now feel neither angry nor fearful. I am living in the present.

Praying and Punching

As well as space to pray, the other great gift that the bush gives me each week is an opponent to punch on with! Indeed, while I generally work on lining up one person to fight, I generally end up sparring with three or four people, and thus far it has always been safe and fun.

Two weekends ago I had the privilege of sparring four opponents in a row – the first three of whom were women! Surprisingly perhaps, it was the smallest of those three fighters who posed me the greatest threat – my old friend, Anna Huang.

Anna not only impressed me enormously in the ring. She came back the next day and impressed me again as we engaged in discussion over the Scriptures at our Sunday Eucharist. I thank Anna and the other wonderful women who joined me that weekend. I expect they will impress you too.


The boxing streams live from the Binacrombi Facebook page every Saturday from around 7 pm. The Sunday Eucharist streams from my personal Facebook page every Sunday at Midday. Do join me for both each week if you can. If you miss them, the compilation video will eventually end up on my YouTube channel, like the one above

Christians and Muslims can be friends

The big thing waiting for me when I got back from the bush this week was the preview copy of my new book, “Christians and Muslims can be friends.” I’ve been working on this for at least five years now and it was wonderful to finally hold a physical copy of the published work in my hands. 🙂

The next step is to set a date for the book launch. I’m currently thinking of Saturday, November 14th. That seems far enough away from both the US Presidential election and Christmas to avoid the chaos (in both cases). If any of you guys can think of a reason to avoid that date, please let me know ASAP.

I’d love to have everyone physically with me for the book launch but I recognise, of course, that this would not be possible even if there were no COVID restrictions. I’m thinking now about how best to broadcast the event, how to make it entertaining, and how to sell a lot of books via Amazon.com on launch day.

The goal is not to make money. If I can get the book into the list of Amazon’s Top 100 Bestsellers, even for one day, this can achieve a lot in terms of recognition and impact, and it may help the book achieve its potential in building friendships between faith communities. I’m hoping for a big interfaith team effort that day. 🙂

Expect to hear more from me again soon.

Your brother in the Good Fight,

Dave
www.fatherdave.org
www.fighting-fathers.com
www.holytrinity.org.au
www.binacrombi.com.au
www.israelandpalestine.org
www.prayersforsyria.com
www.dulwichhillgym.com
www.boxersforpeace.com
www.warriorweekends.com

P.S. To financially support our work, please take out a monthly membership at www.fighting-fathers.com. Even a $10/month subscription will make a difference.

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four