The light shines in the darkness

Celebrating Fran's 10th birthday
Celebrating Fran's 10th birthday
Celebrating Fran's 10th birthday
Our State MP, Jo Haylen, pays us a visit at Holy Trinity
State MP, Jo Haylen, meets our Sunnyfield Disability team
Another great Warrior Weekend at Binacrombi
Another great Warrior Weekend at Binacrombi
Another great Warrior Weekend at Binacrombi
Another great Warrior Weekend at Binacrombi
Another great Warrior Weekend at Binacrombi
Protesting the arrest of Julian Assange
Boxers for Peace preparer for our Syria 2019 mission trip


Hi Fighter,

Here we are, at the end of Holy week. As begin to write, it’s still Friday, and the images of our wonderful Good Friday service are still fresh in my mind. Even so, it’s been a busy and emotionally-draining week for me.

Years ago, what always exhausted me this time of year were the multiple home-communions I’d be doing amongst the elderly in our church. Unfortunately, those old friends have since moved on to a better place. Now the pressures come from multiple directions.

In truth, I’m still feeling weighed down by what happened with my fight two weeks back – cancelled at the last minute for reasons that have still not been explained. Not just me, but my supporters and my opponent were all left out-of-pocket, and I’m still wondering how I’m going to raise any more money through boxing, as no one is going to fork out $200+ per ticket to see me perform again if they know my fight can be pulled minutes before I’m due to go on!

I with our local State MP (Jo Haylen) about this, and she is sympathetic and supportive. She may be able to do something. I’m also exploring the legal route, and I’m planning on sharing my story via social media next week through a quirky video. In the meantime, any and all suggestions are welcome.

The other thing that has really shaken me this last week was the arrest of Julian Assange – a friend, and a man I view as a true brother in the Good Fight.

with Julian Assange 2014
better days – with Julian in the Ecuadorian embassy on Easter Day, 2014 (picture courtesy of Julian)

I know that whenever I mention Julian people tell me I’m defending a rapist. This just shows how successful the character-assassination campaign has been. The truth is:

  1. Assange was never charged with rape and was never wanted for trial.
  2. He has already been cleared, and the woman in the case says that the police made it all up in order to ’get him’ (see more here).

Also, keep in mind that the reason the United States wants to put Julian on trial has nothing to do with rape allegations, and neither does it have anything to do with alleged liaisons with Russia or Hillary Clinton’s emails or anything like that. The US wants to prosecute Julian over the “Collateral Murder” video that he published in 2007, exposing US war crimes in Iraq!

What kind of world do we live in where those who murder the innocent never get called to account but those who expose their crimes face imprisonment and torture?

I view Julian as a modern-day prophet, and before you tell me that he’s a bit too irreligious and eccentric to be a prophet, remember that’s exactly what they said about Jeremiah and John the Baptist. Julian, like the prophets of old, has shone a light of truth into the corridors of power, exposing corruption, and like the prophets of old, he is facing persecution (see Luke 11:48-50).

We held a small rally in support of Julian last Sunday outside the US Embassy in Sydney. At the same time, multiple other protests were being held outside US embassies around the world. You can see my three-minute speech below.

It wasn’t a big turn-out, but I’m not planning on letting it end here. Indeed, I’ve got an idea in my head that we need to start a group called something like “Christians and Muslims supporting Julian Assange”. I think it’s time we tapped into the energy of ordinary people in churches and mosques across our country – people who still believe in a higher authority than our politicians and business leaders.

Julian’s persecution is something that should bring people of all faiths together, but I’ll be happy if I can get our Christian and Muslim communities pulling together on this one. Watch this space!

Sermon Time

I appreciate that we’re in Holy Week, but it’s a bit too early to proclaim the joy of the resurrection. Let me instead share with you the last sermon I gave, which focuses on the dysfunctional family-life of Jesus, and more specifically on Jesus’ relationship with Mary, who anoints Jesus’ feet with costly ointment and wipes them with her hair.

It’s an awkward and embarrassing scene in many ways, and yet the early church clearly considered this to be a very important event in the life of Jesus, as the story turns up in all four of the Gospel accounts! What makes this scene so central to the life of Jesus? Is Mary really a key figure in salvation history?

Some good news

Let me conclude today with two pieces of good news:

Firstly, I am thankful to God for the wonderful Warrior Weekend camp we held at Binacrombi last weekend. The numbers were relatively small but we more than made up for that in enthusiasm. We prayed, we boxed, we ran, we ate and we celebrated. If you weren’t able to make it to this one, we’re planning the Winter camp for early June.

The other piece of good news is that our Boxers for Peace team met for dinner this week and we’ve finally settled on dates for our next mission to Syria – namely, late June to early July. If you want to be a part of the action, let me know ASAP. Either way, please pray that we might make a real difference this time.

That’s all for now. Have a blessed and glorious Easter. May the Lord bless and strengthen you for the work to which  you have been called.

Yours 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

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Not Happy

Making weight for the fight that never happened
Making weight for the fight that never happened
Making weight for the fight that never happened
my darling girl, Imogen, gets through to the finals of Miss World, Australia
my darling girl, Imogen, gets through to the finals of Miss World, Australia
my darling girl, Imogen, gets through to the finals of Miss World, Australia
the boys in black are back!


Hi Fighter,

It’s Dave, touching base again, and this week I’m not happy.

I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, and I know I have a lot to be thankful for – a healthy family, supportive friends, and a wonderful church community. Even so, when my fight was cancelled last Friday night just before I was due to go on, I felt deeply dejected.

For those who don’t know the story, my fight against Jason Mac Gura had been scheduled for about a month. All the paperwork had been completed, medicals done, blood tests, etc. All the I’s were dotted and the T’s crossed.

On Thursday, March 21st, I made weight, coming in at 75.7 kilos, meaning that I’d successfully lost four kilos in the six weeks of training leading up to the fight. I was in great shape! I turned up to the venue on the Friday night feeling confident and ready. Then the promoter told me that he’d just received an email from the Combat Sports Authority (CSA), saying that my fight had been prohibited from going ahead!

I saw the email myself. No explanation was given. The officials at the venue guessed that the prohibition might have been due to the age-gap between myself and my opponent, or it might have had something to do with the head injury I sustained a year ago (from which I was subsequently completely cleared). Either way, the on-site officials were guessing. It wasn’t their call. They and the promoter were apologetic. The responsibility lay solely with the board of the CSA, none of whom were at the event.

Around fifty people had turned up to support me on the night. Many of them had paid more than $200 per ticket. Most were not boxing fans but believed in me and in our work. Understandably, some wanted their money back. I didn’t have the money to refund them with. When you don’t’ fight, you don’t’ get paid. I’d been hoping to raise funds through the fight to fund our next mission to Syria. In the case of my opponent, the fight’s cancellation meant he couldn’t pay his rent!

What were they thinking – the bureaucrats who blocked my fight at the last minute? My guess is that it had something to do with the recent death of an Australian boxer. They were probably worried about the legal ramifications if I got hurt.

In truth, these people had far more reason to be worried about my opponent than about me, and they had medical professionals at the event anyway – there to deal with any problems that might arise. To cancel the event via email, after everybody had paid their money and taken their seats, seems like an act of irresponsible cowardice to me, and I’m not going to simply take this one on the chin (so to speak).

I wrote to the CSA, asking them politely for $20,000 compensation so that I could refund my friends the cost of their tickets, pay my opponent, and put something towards the next Boxers for Peace mission to Syria. They haven’t replied. My guess is that they won’t reply. The next step is to proceed against them legally and/or to get the media involved. I’m open to your advice and support in both of these areas. If you’re a legal person and you’re willing to help, or if you’d like to help me promote this issue in the media, let me know.

In truth, this is not just about me, and I am by no means the only person who has been disenfranchised by the CSA in recent times. Indeed, friends in the industry have been asking me for some time to get involved in order to save our sport.

The problem, as I see it, is that the persons now governing boxing are not boxing experts or necessarily even boxing fans! They are government officials who find themselves on the board of the Combat Sports Authority en route to bigger and better portfolios. I see little to suggest that these people care much about the sport or the people involved.

Perhaps I am being overly harsh? In truth, it’s hard to know what is really going on behind the closed doors of the CSA when they won’t talk to me. My only way forward is to keep agitating until I get some sort of response.

OK … I had been hoping to share a video with you today of my fight with Mac Gura. Obviously, I can’t do that now. Instead, you’ll find below a video of my last fight in Sydney – ‘Fighting’ Father Dave vs. ‘Wild’ Bill Kinbacher on November 17, 2018.

The video was recorded from the hat-cam of my cornerman (the mighty George Plellis) and has only just been made public. The hat-cam perspective means that you see exactly what George was looking at, and it brings you right up-close to the action.

Sermon Time

If you’re hoping for a bit of light relief at this point, I apologise. It’s Lent, and the theme of our Gospel reading last Sunday was ‘Repent or Die’! Proceed if you dare. The sermon video can be found below the fight video.


Time for another Warriors’ Weekend

If you’re feeling as worked up as I am, you may be glad to know that we have another Warriors’ Weekend scheduled for only a couple of weeks’ time. It’s another bush adventure from April 12 to 14 where we train like Trojans and pray like monks.

If you haven’t seen what we get up to, check out the one-minute video documentary that was done on our Warrior Weekend last year.  We run, box, immerse ourselves in freezing water, and have an all-round good time.

The cost for the weekend is $200 for the rich, $100 for the poor and free for the destitute. If you’re interested, let me know via a comment on this page and I’ll get all the details to you.  If you can afford the full cost, all the better. Funds from the fight might have helped subsidise the camp but … (let’s not go back there …)

Either way, no one has ever been turned away from one of our camps because they couldn’t afford it. If you’d like to come, just let me know. We’d love to have you join us.

That’s all for now. Keep me in your prayers as I do you.

Yours 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

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Christians and Muslims can be friends


Christians and Muslims can be friends
Christians and Muslims can be friends
Christians and Muslims can be friends
Christians and Muslims can be friends
Christians and Muslims can be friends
Christians and Muslims can be friends
Christians and Muslims can be friends
Christians and Muslims can be friends

Hi Fighter,

These are dark days. We’ve seen the most horrible face of bigotry on display, and so close to our own shores. I’m referring, of course, to the terrible massacre of our sisters and brothers at prayer in the Christchurch Mosque. Yes, the crime was committed in Christchurch, New Zealand, and that’s not exactly next door if you live in Sydney. Even so, the massacre was apparently carried out by an Australian, and the location seems to have been chosen both to maximise casualties and to let all of us in this part of the world know that it could have happened in our own backyards.

I dropped in on our friends at the Imam Husain Islamic Centre in Earlwood shortly after the terrible shooting. It’s the first time I can remember where the front door was locked and I that needed to be identified via the video-intercom before being invited in. Those I spoke to were understandably shaken. Who knows what the ramifications of this terrible crime will be?

We need to pray for those who are grieving and for those now struggling with fear. For me personally, this also motivates me to get my “Christians and Muslims can be friends” book published. The pictures you see above are some of those featured in the book. The book is currently in the review stage. I’m listening to the comments of proof-readers and making final updates. Let me know if you’d like to be a part of that review team.

The only positive I can see in this tragedy is that it does present all of us who are long-term residents of my country with an opportunity to get alongside our friends in the Islamic community and various immigrant communities, as this violence seems to have been targeted against all non-white immigrants, and not only against Muslims in particular. Let’s at least take this opportunity to show our sisters and brothers of all races and creeds that maniacs like this shooter do not represent the rest of us – indeed, that we are better than this.

Pray with me that somehow our God will work through this terrible tragedy to build a more compassionate community with greater openness, understanding and unity.

Sermon Time

Last Sunday was the first Sunday in Lent – traditionally, a day of somber reflection, and one that always features the Gospel story of Jesus’ temptations in the wilderness, as recorded this year in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 4.

We tend to see this narrative as Jesus modelling for us how we should deal with temptation. This is almost certainly NOT what the Gospel writer is offering us here. The temptations Jesus deals with are very specific to Jesus and His mission, though that is not to say that they are not relevant to us. Indeed, that may make them more relevant!

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Father Dave vs Jason Mac Gura

The other big thing for me at the moment is my fight next Friday. Things like this shooting put my little projects in perspective. Even so, this is a big event for me.

My opponent is much younger and much more experienced. If you can join me at Club Punchbowl for the fight, I could do with your support. In truth, I do need to sell a few more tickets. The only funds I get from the fight are the commissions I get on the tickets I sell, and I need to sell thirty tickets just to cover my opponent’s purse. If I can’t sell that many tickets, I’ll be paying for the privilege of fighting. Not good.

Having said that, I’m confident that I will sell enough tickets, and I’m confident that I’ll not only cover my opponent’s purse but will raise some decent funds that I can put towards our next Boxers for Peace mission to Syria.  If you’d like to be a part of the show, regular tickets are $60 and ringside table seats (with food and alcoholic drinks provided) are $220 each. If you can’t give me the cash in person, you can order your tickets here I will mail them to you.

Ticket type

Forgive me for concluding today on a commercial note. Profiting from my fight is certainly not my life’s priority. Indeed, surviving the fight is a far greater priority. Even so, for me all these things are connected – the battle in the ring and the battle for a more open and human community. We each need to fight the good fight as best we are able, and there’s a lot more than money at stake.

If you can’t make it to Club Punchbowl next Friday, keep me in your prayers as I do you.

Yours 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

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Back into the Ring

Father Dave vs Jayson Mac Gura (March 22nd @ Club Punchbowl)

Hi Fighter,

It’s Dave, checking in from Binacrombi. I’m down here just for the one night, touching base with the team here and making a new friend. I’ve included a pic of my new best mate below. If you haven’t made it to Binacrombi yet, this guy is another good reason to come. He seems to be establishing himself as part of the community here.

Jack - Binacrombi's resident wombat

It’s curious. My vision for Binacrombi is to eventually establish a prayerful community here, so I’ve been waiting for the Lord to send me some wanna-be monks. Is God trying to tell me something by sending a wombat? (click the pic if you want to take a better look at him).

Anyway … the other exciting news is that I have another boxing match lined up for March 22nd – only three Fridays away. I’m fighting a guy named Jayson Mac Gura. He’s had 26 professional fights and is young enough to be my son. Even so, I’m reasonably confident of pulling off another win. It’s at Club Punchbowl, and should be a great night!

The idea with the fight is to fund a trip to Syria between Easter and Ramadan (April 21 and May 5, respectively). Neither the exact dates nor the team are confirmed at this stage, so if you’d like to join me, now is the time to let me know. It will be another Boxers for Peace mission, with the primary goal being to broadcast the voices of ordinary Syrian people around the world. I’ll also be hoping to establish a sister-church relationship between our parish and the Melkite community in Maaloula.

If you can’t join me on the ground in Syria, I hope you’ll support us in prayer and help me with the financing of the mission. If you’re subscribing to the Fighting Father’s member site, you’re already financially supporting this work. If you want to go one step further, just buy a ticket for the fight as I get a commission on the tickets. You can order tickets right here!

Ticket type

Sermon Time

“But I say to you that listen, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also” (Luke 6:27)

I appreciate that exhortations to ‘turn the other cheek’ seem rather out f place when I’m also asking you to support me in a boxing match! Even so, boxers are not the only people that have trouble coming to terms with these words from Jesus. If you missed hearing me struggling with this text last Sunday, you can click the link below.

That’s it from me for today. Keep me in your prayers as I do you.

Yours 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

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Turning 57

In Port Moresby - Papua New Guinea - fighting for the men of Manus
In Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea)
linking up with Ezatullah Kakar to fight for the men of Manus Island
Our Port Moresby support team
meeting the local talent
Getting ready for the big event!
Getting ready for the big event!
Father Dave v Luke Baro
Father Dave v Luke Baro
Joining Bishop Denny Guka for church the next day
Joining Bishop Denny Guka for church the next day
The Muhammadi Welfare Association at Binacrombi
Interviewing Anthony Mundine for my book
Turning 57 - a cake from the Fight Club 🙂
Turning 57! 🙂


Hi Fighter,

It’s Father Dave, and I’m starting this post on my 57th birthday.🎈

This is my first missive for 2019, but my resolution for this year is to produce a new missive every two weeks – basically, every week I’m not preparing a sermon. This is going to require me to rework the preaching roster a little. Even so, I think I’ll have things on track within the next month or so. In short, you can expect to hear from me a lot more often this year.

My other resolution is to get active on the member site – www.fighting-fathers.com. At the moment it’s a bit of a wasteland – nothing but virtual tumbleweeds blowing about there – but I’m hoping that over 2019 we are going to build fighting-fathers.com into a thriving online community.

I have high hopes for this year. Indeed, I’m hoping to fight for a boxing title at some point in the year. That probably sounds ridiculous, but I’ve always specialized in the ridiculous. I’m also champing at the bit to get back into Syria as I believe we still have a contribution to make there. I’m also determined to see freedom and dignity come to the asylum-seekers on Manus Island and Nauru. I’m convinced that God has a role for us to play there too.

I’m a little sketchy on the details in all of the above but there is one thing I am entirely clear about – namely, that we are going to need a team of committed Fighting Fathers – both men and women – if we are going to fulfill our destiny for the year ahead.

Join me! I’m going to need your help this year. You can start by joining me on www.fighting-fathers.com and making that a place where we can exchange ideas and motivate and inspire one another. You can join me for church too if you’re up to it, and for a cuppa or a beer, and you can even join me for a few rounds in the ring and help me prepare for that title fight. I’m keen to engage and to share dreams and ideas – remembering that (as the great Dom Helder Camara said) “when one person dreams, it is just a dream, but when we all dream together, it’s the beginning of a new reality”.

Sermon time

One of my last sermons was on the first miracle of Jesus recorded in John’s Gospel – the turning of the water into wine.

It’s such an odd miracle – almost more like a party trick than a real sign from God. What was it all about? Did the party-goers gain some special spiritual insight through this experience or did they just get a little more drunk? There must be more to this incident than meets the eye.


If you’d prefer the written version of this sermon, click here.

As you might have guessed from the picture of us with ‘The Man’ Mundine, I’ve been working pretty hard on completing my “Christians and Muslims can be friends” book. The interview with Anthony was, in fact, the 13th and final interview I needed to complete the book.

I’m hoping to publish within the next few months, and I’m hoping that the book will make a tangible difference to relationships between Christians and Muslims in this country, and hopefully around the world. Please put in a prayer for me in this work. If you’d like to review a draft version of the book, just let me know.

That’s it for today. Part of my new publishing routine will be to keep things shorter and sweeter. Keep me in your prayers as I do you.

Yours 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. If you’d like to give me a present for my 57th birthday, please consider joining the Fighting Father’s Member site and helping to make it great. Alternatively, you can buy me a drink here. 😉

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Ready to Rumble (again)

My darling Veronica turns 29
My darling Veronica turns 29
Fran is going strong
Another 'Fight Nights' experience with Imogen
a great choir performance in the church
a great choir performance in the church
The Fight with 'Wild' Bill Kinbacher
The Fight with 'Wild' Bill Kinbacher
The Fight with 'Wild' Bill Kinbacher
The Fight with 'Wild' Bill Kinbacher
catching up with Father Bob


Hi Fighter,

For any of you who didn’t hear, my fight with Billy Kinbacher was a great success. Indeed, it was exhilarating to be back in the ring, and I was lucky enough to emerge in one piece and with a win. My opponent was an absolute gentleman and it was a privilege to fight him.

As you know, fighting for me is never just about fighting, and many good things have already emerged from this bout. One of them was a message of congratulations I received immediately after the fight from a fellow professional boxer, Ezatullah Kakar,  who contacted me from Papau New Guinea where he has been a guest of the Australian government for some years.

Ezatullah is an asylum-seeker from Pakistan who had made the unfortunate mistake of thinking that Australia might be a sanctuary for him. Our government’s response is to keep people like Ezatullah in indefinite detention – using their suffering as a deterrent to others who make the mistake of taking our national anthem seriously.

For those who’ve come across the seas
We’ve boundless plains to share

It would be far more honest if our government would delete those lines from our national anthem, or perhaps replace “boundless plains” with “endless pain” or something more appropriate. As you will remember, I travelled to Manus Island last year. I met with many of the men in detention there and I promised them that I would continue to work for their freedom. That message from Ezatullah has given me another opportunity to do just that.

Ezatullah is fighting for the Oceanic Light-Middleweight Title in Port Moresby next week against the local champion, John Korake. He asked me to support him, so I asked him to get me a spot on the undercard so that I could fight alongside him. The result is that I am now scheduled to fight Luke Baro – a local pug who is 16 years my junior, a kilo or two heavier, and has 72 fights behind him. I know what you’re thinking – “take it easy on him, Dave!” Don’t worry. I promise I’ll be nice. 😉

Father Dave vs. Luke Baro
Father Dave vs. Luke Baro

Of course, the focus of my return to PNG is the main event, and assuming that I recover adequately from my bout, I’ll be a part of Ezatullah’s corner team. Either way, I intend to interview him extensively before the fight and try to get his message out to the world. Ezatullah says he will be fighting for all the men of Manus, and for the men, women and children of Nauru.

My plan is to publish everything through the Father Dave Facebook page, at least initially. You don’t need to be a member of Facebook to access the page, and I’ve found that Facebook pages are an excellent platform for live video. Once we’ve streamed via Facebook, we’ll archive the footage as quickly as possible on YouTube. Either way, you should be able to access all the action as it happens or shortly thereafter.

Of course, all this assumes that the technology will work flawlessly, and I’m not taking that for granted. My experience with PNG thus far has been that most of these things work most of the time there. Even so, it’s in God’s good hands, and I trust that it will all come together somehow.

As to the financing of this one, I am deeply grateful for the support I’ve already received from our church community. I’m also being supported by everyone who contributes monthly support through membership of our Fighting Fathers’ online community (www.fighting-fathers.com).

Over the coming months, I’m hoping to get new members signing up at www.fighting-fathers.com.We’ve been working hard on getting the new site fully functional and are grateful for all feedback. I figure that if I can get twenty good souls subscribing at the $100/month level (or better) that we’ll be able to keep this sort of work going indefinitely without the need for special fundraisers. Indeed, maybe I’ll even be able to stop fighting?

Keep us in your prayers, please. There is much to pray for (as always), but pray especially for Ezatullah, and that our efforts will achieve something for the men of Manus and for the men, women and children of Nauru.

Sermon Time

November 11th this year was a historic day – 100 years since the end of the first World War – and it fell on a Sunday. I felt I could not avoid the subject of war in my sermon, however controversial my views might be, and the Gospel reading – the story of the Widow’s mite (Mark 12:41-44) – seemed highly appropriate.

If you know the story, Jesus praises a widow who puts her small coin into the Temple treasury, even though it is everything she has to live on. The story is haunting, for we cannot but join Jesus in admiring the sacrificial generosity of the woman and yet, at the same time, we know that the cause for which she sacrificed herself was of highly ambiguous value. Indeed, in the same passage, Jesus rips into the very same temple institution for its corruption – the institution that took this woman’s money.

The parallels here with our history of warfare seemed all too obvious to me. We cannot but admire the self-sacrificial courage of those individuals who serve in our defense forces. At the same time though, we have to question the institutions and governments that send our people to war.

As I said, I knew I would be controversial. Even so, I think this is the only sermon I have ever given at Holy Trinity where one of our beloved parishioners stood up and confronted me verbally during the sermon. Perhaps you would have too?

(for the written version of this sermon, click here)

I’ll try be in contact with you again before Christmas, fighter. if you’re going to be in the Dulwich Hill area though over the next two weeks, do make plans to join us in our Yuletide festivities.

  • Christmas Eve: Carols on the rectory lawn from 7 pn
  • Christmas Day Eucharist at 9.15 am
  • lunch afterwards with our family if you’re on your own 🙂

And if you’re wondering what to get me for Christmas, consider signing up to our members site at www.fighting-fathers.com. That would indeed make me merry 🙂

Yours 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

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

The Fight is ON


Greetings, Fighter!

Yes, it’s on! All the ‘I’s have been dotted and all the ‘T’s have been crossed. We have climbed the requisite mountain of paperwork and overcome all the obstacles designed to prevent people our age from letting loose on each other in the ring!

Fighting Father Dave vs. Wild Bill Kinbacher
17th November, 2018, starting at 7 pm
Club Punchbowl (921 Punchbowl Road, Punchbowl)

It should be a huge night. 7 pm is the starting time of the pro fights, and there’s over a dozen of those, but there’s just as many amateur fights too, starting at 3 pm, and I’m pretty sure your ticket gets you access to everything. Most importantly, of course, it gets you ringside to watch Billy and I stoush it out.

To say that this is an important fight for me is an understatement. I haven’t been able to fight in over a year, having had three fights cancelled on me. The last two cancellations were due to the brain haemorrhage I suffered last year while preparing for one of those fights. Even though I fully recovered, it hasn’t been easy to get a match. This is a big opportunity for me. If I do badly, it will be my last fight in this country – I promise you. If I do well, I’m hoping it will open the door to a few more.

The immediate goal, as always, is to raise funds. We are looking to take another Boxers for Peace team back to Syria straight after Christmas, and I’m really hoping that we’ll make an impact for good with this one. Funds will help us get there, and any excess funds we raise will be distributed while we are there. The other thing I need to raise funds for is to publish my “Christians and Muslims can be friends” book, which will cost me around $10,000. I hope to launch that not long after returning from Syria.

In other words, this fight is part of the bigger fight, and I’m proud to say that my opponent, Billy, has his eye on the greater fight too. He’s a terrific bloke who has spent much of the last 20 years working with at-risk young people as he’s punched his way around the Favelas of Venezuela. It will be his professional debut though in this country and I’m trusting that my experience with ringcraft will prove superior to his raw strength and courage on the night. Either way, we’ll both raise some funds for causes we believe in, and I’m trusting that we’ll still be friends after the fight. 🙂

If you’d like to come and see the fight, you can purchase tickets via Paypal below. Make sure you include your mailing address as I’ll be posting the tickets to you.

There are four options with the tickets:

  1. A regular ticket is $60
  2. A regular ticket + a $20 donation is $80
  3. A ringside-table ticket (including food and drink) is $220 (sold out)
  4. A ringside-table+ $20 donation is $240 (sold out)

What do you get for the $20 donation to Fighting Fathers Ministries I hear you ask? Apart from the satisfaction you get from knowing that you’re supporting the work, you get a guaranteed selfie with me after the fight (providing I’m upright). 😉


Ticket type



If you have any trouble getting the Paypal system to work, email me and we’ll work something out. I do look forward to seeing you on the night. 🙂

Yours 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. If you’d like a higher-resolution image of the poster for printing, it’s here

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

The calm before the storm

Sheikh Noor visits us at Holy Trinity
Our wonderful bush-dance fundraiser for the 'House of Welcome'
Discovering some unusual wildlife at Binacrombi
#BringthemHere
Alex scores another big win 🙂
dinner after the G20 inter-faith seminar in Canberra
Father's Day dinner at Circular Quay
My darling adult girls - Imogen and Veronica - at Imo's 21st
Imogen and Rami at Imo's 21st
Ange turns 47

Hi Fighter,

It’s Father Dave back with you after another prolonged period of silence. I haven’t been hibernating through the winter (as attractive a proposition as that would have been). I’ve been doing the usual – preaching, praying, training, fighting and celebrating – and I’ve been preparing for a series of big events. It’s time to share some of those with you and invite you to get involved.

Four things are looming large on my horizon at the moment, and I need your prayers and support in all of them.

  1. Warrior Weekend – October 5 to 7

Firstly, we’ve got another Warrior Weekend coming up on October 5 to 7. As ever, we combine intense physical training with sessions of monastic prayer and meditation every three hours. The three-hour pattern goes back to St Benedict (of the Benedictine Rule) who believed that you could only go for three hours without getting yourself into trouble. That’s particularly true when you’re racing around the bush, running, boxing, and plunging into icy-cold water.

If that description doesn’t entice you, click here to watch the 1.5 min documentary video that was made of our last camp, and then download the application form here, print it, sign it, scan it, and send it back.

  1. Boxers for Peace return to Syria

Our sisters and brothers in Syria need all the prayer and support they can get at the moment. They could probably also benefit from having a good boxing promotion staged in the capital! Let’s see if we can’t give them all three!

The plan is to put on a boxing show in Damascus in late November or early December. I already have a local opponent lined up and I’ll fill you in on the details when it’s all confirmed. I need at least four other fighters to come with me. Are you in?

If you can box and if you want to make a difference, let me know ASAP. We’ll put on a great show, and we’ll distribute funds and medicines wherever we go.

  1. I’m returning to the ring

I’m planning to have another fight in mid-November. This one will be in Sydney, and I already have an opponent lined up. Other details are being finalised now. As soon as everything is confirmed, I’ll let you know. I’m hoping to get maximum support for this one as everything we raise will be helping Boxers for Peace get to Syria. Whatever we have left over, we’ll take with us and distribute in Syria.

Sermon Time – sex and the Bible

I’ve come under a lot of criticism in recent years for not echoing the traditional teachings of the church when it comes to human sexuality. It’s the Protestant in me, always wanting to ground my values in the Scriptures rather than in church tradition, and the truth is that the Scriptures themselves are very ambiguous about sex. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the Song of Songs.

OK, Fighter. I mentioned up the top that there have been four things I’ve been preoccupied with of late. The fourth is the relaunching of www.fighting-fathers.com!

A few of us have been chipping away at this for some months now and we’re almost ready for a formal launch. Fighting-Fathers.com has had a face-life. In fact, it has evolved as a whole new platform and we have it in BETA testing mode at the moment.

You may have noticed that the big social media sites (Twitter, Facebook and YouTube) have been deleting millions of accounts lately that they have earmarked as ‘fake news’. A number of my friends have lost their personal accounts.

It would appear that if you’re offering perspectives that could be considered pro-Russian or pro-Iranian, there’s a good chance you’re going to have your account deleted. In other words, the days of free speech on the Internet are coming to an end.

One of the few things we can do about this is to set up independent social networks where people can still express dissident opinions without risk of censure. I’m keen to establish www.fighting-fathers.com as one such network. Let me know if you’d like to be a part of the BETA testing group and I’ll get you the details.

That’s all for now, fighter. Keep me in your prayers as I do you.

Yours 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

 

 

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Dangerous Days

Fran turns 8 and gets a trampoline
Soren turns 16 and enjoys dinner with the family 🙂
I travel to Mashad in Iran to speak at the New Horizons conference
Catching up with Miko Peled in Mashad
At the Imam Reza Mosque with Rabbi Weiss
I have an awesome boxing experience in Mashad
Visiting the spinal injury unit at the hospital for Iran-Iraq war vets
Visiting an orphanage for Hazara kids whose dads have been killed in Syria
Visiting churches in Urmia (in North-West Iran)
A weekend retreat of prayer and fasting at Binacrombi
The awesome foursome attend the Premier's Iftar dinner
And we get to meet the Premier 🙂
Catching up with my Malaysian mate, Adrian, on his first visit to Oz
Organising a church bush-dance to support the 'House of Welcome'
Protesting six years of arbitrary detention for Julian (and meeting John Pilger)

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Hi Fighter,

It’s Father Dave, after another prolonged period of silence. So many things have happened since I last communicated with you. Most obviously, I spent a week in Iran, and that was an intense and wonderful experience.

I must confess that I wasn’t really looking forward to that trip at all. I’d been invited to speak at a conference about Palestine, and I thought it was important to have a Christian speaker at the event. Even so, I didn’t expect to enjoy myself, but thought that it would be a light schedule and that the week away would give me time to finish work on my book. I was wrong on all counts!

I did enjoy myself! That was in part due to the number of old friends I caught up with over the week. Miko Peled was there – a man for whom I have an enormous love and respect. Paul Larudee was there, Alison Weir, and others known world-wide for their Palestinian activism. Some of the world’s most famous whistle-blowers were there too – people like Peter Van Buren and Dr Phil Giraldi! Indeed, the only ones missing were Assange, Snowden, and my old mate, Morde Vanunu. It was all a wonderful surprise, though my biggest surprise (predictably) happened in the boxing ring!

In the lead up to the conference I had written to the organisers and said that I was available to box if that could help the cause. I received what I thought was a rather curt response, along the lines that they had fifty other delegates to worry about and that this was not a priority. I gave it no further thought. Even so, when I turned up at the hotel in Mashad, not having slept for two days and completely worn out, I was told “Your boxing match is tomorrow.” I asked, “Is this a serious fight?” The response was, “we don’t know. It’s been organised by the Ministry of Sport”

The result was the most unique boxing experience I’ve ever had (and that’s really saying something)! Indeed, I expect that it will be the only fight I ever have where my opponent meets me at centre ring with a bouquet of flowers! The aftermath of the fight was even more colourful, with the dozen or so boxing officials lining up to give me a long-stemmed rose each and a kiss on each cheek!

In addition to the fight, the other surprise I received on arrival in Mashad was the news that there was a film crew there to make a documentary about me! This led me away from the conference for a significant block of time, but meant I was able to visit places I would never otherwise have seen, such as the spinal-injury unit of a hospital for Iran-Iraq war veterans, and an orphanage for Hazara refugees whose dads had recently died, fighting in Syria.

As the conference drew to a close and I thought I was finally going to get some rest, someone dropped some papers in front of me on the dinner-table (as they did on the table of every delegate). It was an itinerary for the following day, which in my case meant being in the lobby at 6 am for a flight across the country, followed by a three-hour drive. I was going to Urmia, in the north-west of Iran, near the borders of both Turkey and Azerbaijan. I was initially horrified. Suffice it to say though that my 24 hours in Urmia, addressing students at the University and visiting one of the largest churches in the city, was one of the highlights of my trip!

And so I returned to Sydney, exhausted, but with a feeling of deep gratitude towards my friends in Iran, along with a renewed passion to continue the fight for the beleaguered people of Palestine.

Palestine had been the focus of the conference and of my talks, and, along with the other delegates, I had watched the brutal murder of so many unarmed protesters in Gaza while our conference took place. At one level it seemed almost sacrilegious to be making fine speeches while these people were bleeding. At the same time though, it reminded me that the only weapon we can bring to this fight is the truth, and I have to believe that the truth will ultimately set the Palestinian people free. If you’d like to hear my contribution on the errors of Christian Zionism, you’ll find it here.

Of course, there has been plenty to keep me busy at home too – prayer and boxing-training weekends at Binacrombi, multiple wonderful Iftar dinners during Ramadan, and protests to mark six years of arbitrary detention for our brother, Julian Assange. It’s all been very painful and very stressful and yet all very wonderful at the same time. We live in dangerous days, and yet there are plenty of reasons to celebrate.

Sermon Time – encountering the Ethiopian Eunuch

The English-speaking church has become very focused on issues of gender and sexuality in recent days. Some would say that we’ve always been obsessed with sex. Certainly in Australia the recent debates over same-sex marriage have brought discussions about sexuality to the top of the church’s agenda.

In the context of this debate, it surprises me that Bible-centred Christians make so little reference to that strangely gender-non-specific character who appears in the eighth chapter of the Book of Acts – the Ethiopian eunuch.

The Eunuch is a key character in the story of the early church because his conversion marks the point at which we moved beyond being an all-white, all Jewish homogeneous community! This guy is not only not-white and not-Jewish but his sexual issues should have excluded him from the temple community altogether. Even so, he was enthusiastically embraced by the church. Click below to hear my thoughts, or click here if you’d like the written version.


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I feel as if I’ve already crammed enough into 2018 and yet there is so much that lies ahead. Indeed, two really significant things are happening here in the next week. You are invited to both.

The first is an inter-faith event happening next Friday – June 29th – where Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill is hosting Sheikh Dr Nour Kabbani as he travels across Australia on his Caravan of Peace.

Sheikh Kabbani will be signing the Charter of Compassion with us, along with other representative faith and community leaders in Dulwich Hill. If you’ve never read the charter, you’ll find a copy of it here. For details of the event, click the poster below.

Dulwich Hill signs the Charter of Compassion

Dulwich Hill signs the Charter of Compassion

The other wonderful event happens the following day – June 30th – where we’ll be holding a bush-dance to raise money for the House of Welcome – a place where asylum-seekers and refugees find welcome, shelter and empowerment, regardless of their age, gender, sexuality, nationality or religion.

You can find out more about this wonderful event (and book tickets) here.

I’ll leave you in peace now and hope to see you next week. Hopefully, I’ll be contacting you again shortly after that with details of another Boxers for Peace tour of Syria. We are just waiting for a final confirmation of the dates.

Much to do, much to pray for, much to celebrate.

Yours 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

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four