We can be friends!

with Dr Hassoun - the Grand Mufti of Syria - in Damascus
with Lina Jebeile and friends
with Father Bob Maguire
with Syed Shoaib Naqvi and the team at Binacrombi
with Dr Anne Aly
with Sheikh Jehad Ismail and freinds
with Dr Nour Kabani
with Mehmet and Ahmet - the Affinity team
with Anthony Mundine and my son, Soren
with Sheikh Mansour Leghaei

..H
Hi Fighter,

After many years of writing, interviews, collecting photos and battling bureaucracies, the day of my book launch is almost here. It is this Saturday, November 28th, 2020.

If you’d like to join me in person at the Trinity’s Community Centre in Dulwich Hill, you’ll need to email me to see if there’s any room left. We were full, then we had a few pull out, so … email me. Unfortunately, COVID restrictions mean we have to keep numbers strictly limited, but if you can’t be with us in person, you can join the live stream. 🙂

My plan is to broadcast the entire 3-hour event on my Facebook page. You can register, if you like, via the Facebook event page, but that’s not essential. We will begin at 6.30 pm in the boxing ring with Anthony Mundine, Billy Dib, Sol Haumono and me. We’ll do a few friendly rounds and chat to camera. We’ll then retire to a more relaxed seating area, enjoy some hummus and other halal nibbles, and keep chatting.

Between 6.30 and 9.30 pm I plan to interview ten people in total, including the boxers, Dr Anne Aly (Australia’s first Muslim woman MP), Father Bob Maguire, and my oldest and dearest Muslim friend, Sheikh Mansour Leghaei. I don’t expect many of you to tune in for the entire broadcast, but I hope that you all can be there for some of it.

And I will be asking for one big favour from everybody – whether you can make it in person or via Facebook or even if you can’t connect at all on the night. Buy a book!

It’s a big ask, I know, but the request doesn’t stop there. I’m asking you to:

  • buy a copy of the book
  • from Amazon.com
  • on the evening of November 28th

The goal here is not simply to sell books. The goal is to get into the Amazon Top 100 Bestseller List for November 28, 2020. I think we need it to be November 28, U.S. time, so if you’re in Sydney, wait until we start our broadcast and you should be right.

I’ve created a special short-cut link to the book on Amazon: www.fatherdave.org/book. That link should take you straight to the correct page.

If we make it into the Amazon Top 100 Bestsellers for the day, various good things can flow from that, all of which will hopefully result in the book fulfilling its purpose and doing some good. I’m hoping that this book will have a transforming effect on many lives, and on church people in particular. Either way, your purchase could make a big difference.

So, here’s the plan:

  1. Buy a copy of “Christians and Muslims can be friends” from Amazon.com (www.fatherdave.org/book) on November 28th.
  2. Email me a copy of your receipt.
  3. I will reply and send you a link to a showbag full of digital goodies!

“What can I expect in the digital goodies basket”, I hear you say!
Well … It’s not finalised, but at this stage I’m expecting:

  • A digital (PDF) copy of “Christians and Muslims can be friends”
  • A digital copy of my first book, “Sex, the Ring and the Eucharist”
  • A recipe for hummus from LIna Jebeile (of ‘Make Hummus not Hate”)
  • A copy of Dr Anne Aly’s first speech in parliament
  • A paper from Sheikh Mansour, entitled, “Human Unity for a Sustainable Peace”
  • A physical copy of Daniel Priestley’s book, “Key Person of Influence” (courtesy of my friends at DENT, who are the team behind the publication of my book)

Expect a few more goodies to be added to the showbag too between now and dispatch time. Either way, the value of the showbag should easily exceed your cost of purchase.

And …, of course I want to offer something special to anyone who buys extra copies of the book to share with their friends at Christmas, so …

If you buy five or more copies of the book, you will receive all of the above PLUS:

  • an autographed copy of the book, mailed to you at no charge, wherever you are.

If you buy ten or more copies of the book, you get all the above PLUS:

I guess the 10+ bonus works better if you live in Australia, but if you’re on the other side of the world, I’ll extend the offer to whatever date you are able to reach us.

OK. I’m going to wind up this post today without my usual video of my latest fight and latest sermon. If you feel you’ve missed out, all recent fights and sermons are archived on my YouTube channel.

I won’t be doing the Binacrombi Bush Bash this Saturday (for obvious reasons), and I don’t think I’ll be able to do the Sunday Eucharist this week either. I’ll try to resume both next week – the first Saturday and Sunday in December. For now, all my energies are going into the book launch.

Thank you for sharing this journey with me. We are on a road that has not been well-travelled of late. Our destination though is glorious. 🙂

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

Preparing for launch!

A night out at Darling Harbour
with Mark and Grant (the Bomber) at Binacrombi
Adventures at Binacrombi
Adventures at Binacrombi
with Riz and Maria at Binacrombi

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Hi Fighter,

It’s Saturday night as I start this week’s newsletter, and it’s already been a full weekend here at Binacrombi.

I’ve been driving around the property today in our new CF MOTO buggy, and blessedly avoided some nasty accidents. I’ve got my first Binacrombi baptism happening tomorrow, and I’m excited about that. I’m also waiting expectantly for a key person to arrive – my prospective boxing opponent for tonight. Indeed, I’m already warmed up.

Outside of Binacrombi, most of my time at the moment is focused on the launch of my new book, Christians and Muslims can be friends, scheduled for November 28th. It’s only three weeks away!

  • When: November 28th, starting at 6.30 pm and going for about 3 hours.
  • Where: Holy Trinity Community Centre, 2 Herbert Street, Dulwich Hill

Due to COVID restrictions, we’re going to have to limit the number who join us in person to 50 people. Of course, it will also all be live-streamed. Even so, if you’re reading this, I’d love to have you with me.  Here’s the procedure:

  1. Email me and tell me you want to come
  2. After we’ve sorted out the staff and the people we’re interviewing on the night, the remaining tickets will go to those who have emailed me.
  3. If there are more applications than spaces, we’ll do a random draw.

What can you expect on the night?

We’ll start in the boxing ring with Anthony Mundine, Billy Dibb, Solomon Haumono and myself. We’ll do a few rounds together and chat between rounds. When we get tired of hitting each other, we’ll sit down and battle verbally.

Other guests will then appear – either in person or via video link-up or through a pre-recorded message. Hopefully, almost all of the people interviewed in the book will appear in one form or another, including Father Bob, Dr Anne Aly MP, Father Rod Bower and Sheikh Mansour Leghaei.

So what’s the goal?

The main goal of the evening will be to sell books, but not actually at the venue. We’re going to run the evening as an Amazon Top 100 campaign. The idea will be to sell enough copies of Christians and Muslims can be friends on Amazon.com such that we get the book into the Top 100 Bestseller list for the November 28, 2020.

If we can reach the top 100, a lot of benefits can flow from that, so we need to encourage everybody to buy the book (or multiple copies) from Amazon.com on that particular day. To make this happen, I’m going to offer some really great incentives:

If you buy one copy of Christians and Muslims can be friends from Amazon.com on November 28th I will send you:

  1. An electronic copy (PDF) of the book
  2. A PDF copy of my last book, “Sex, the Ring and the Eucharist”
  3. A showbag of other electronic goodies.

What goes into that showbag is yet to be finalised. I’m looking to those who helped me put the book together to contribute something that will make a great gift. I’ll let you know over the next couple of weeks as it comes together.

So … here’s the procedure:

  1. On November 28th you purchase a copy (or copies) of Christians and Muslims can be friends from Amazon.com.
  2. You email me your receipt
  3. I email you back with a download link to all the goodies. 🙂

And I’ll be coming up with some really special gifts for anybody who buys multiple copies of the book too. I’ll fill you in on those details in my next newsletter.

The bottom line here is that I’m going to need your help to get my book into the Amazon Top 100 Bestseller list for November 28th. You can help by buying at least one copy on the day. If you want to help more, you can tell all your friends about it, share the message on your social networks and encourage them to get a copy on the same day.

If we are successful and if we get into the Top 100, I believe lots of good things will flow from that. The end result will be more friendships between Christians and Muslims and more love in the world. That has to be worth a solid team effort. 🙂

The Man of Faith

I’m going to give a rest to my Preach and Punch Fest this week and share instead a video of one of the interviews featured in my book. I’ve been posting shortened versions of these video-interviews every two days on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. Below is the full version of my interview with Anthony Mundine – an interview that shows that The Man is more than just an athlete. He is also a sincere man of faith.

Let me encourage you to tune in live to this coming weekend’s Preach and Punch fest.

The punching takes place every Saturday night at Binacrombi and you can catch the live feed each week streaming from the Binacrombi Facebook page. With the days getting longer, we’re generally not getting in the ring much before 8 pm now. Even so, if you’ve liked the Binacrombi page, Facebook will let you know when we go live.

The Sunday Eucharist takes place on the following day at Midday, and the broadcast often features me arguing about the Bible with the same guy I was fist-fighting the night before! It’s a proper Anglican Eucharist but you need to BYO bread and wine. We stream live via my personal Facebook page.

So I hope you’ll join me this weekend – both Saturday night and Sunday midday – for preaching and punching, and please get back to me ASAP if you’d like to attend the book launch in Dulwich Hill in person. Either way, I’ll be back at you real soon with another update.

Keep me in your prayers as I do you.

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

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

Vote No-Lockdown Party


Hi Fighter,

I’ve just read a story of another two more young men who suicided due to the lockdowns – two young Queenslanders, both in their teens.

I can’t know, of course, what pushed these poor young men along such a tragic trajectory. Even so, I know how the lockdowns affect me and, listening to others, I believe that these restrictions can destroy our faith in human community.

Albert Einstein was purported to have said that the most important question that can be asked is whether the universe is friendly. I believe these lockdowns make the universe look very unfriendly. If you’d felt comfortable in your environment and had assumed that the system was there to support you, the lockdowns give you a nasty jolt and force you to think again – no, the system is out to get you!

It feels like being a goldfish in a bowl, suddenly realizing that the water you are in is toxic. You want to jump out of the bowl into something more sustaining, but the whole nature of the poison means that you can’t go anywhere. You are stuck in this life-denying, toxic, swamp, and some of us only see one way out. How tragic! How unnecessary!

I know many people disagree with that last sentiment, and see the lockdowns as completely necessary. I’m not going to argue that here beyond saying that if the statistics that I’ve read are true – that if you do contract COVID-19, the chance of you dying if you are under the age of 70 is 0.04% – that cannot possibly justify penalizing the entire population of the country, especially when we know that these penalties are going to push those who are on the edge over the edge.

That’s why I’m voting for the No Lockdowns Party at the next election. OK – I’m not sure if there is No Lockdowns Party yet. Maybe I need to start one? Maybe you’d like to start one with me? Politics isn’t my game, but if nobody else is going to step up, I will!

In the meantime, I’m also talking to my mate, Dave Newton, about running mid-week camping adventures for young people at risk. I’m sure if we could get hold of some of these kids who are on the edge and take them into the bush for a few days, help them to reconnect with the land and given them a fresh experience of community – I’m sure we could turn things around for a lot of them.

At this stage we are just talking and praying about this, but expect to see something happen soon, and if you have any ideas to contribute, don’t hold back.

This week’s Preach and Punch fest

I’m including below the highlights of last weeks’ Binacrombi Preach and Punch Fest – the fighting and the feasting.

As you know, we stream the Binacrombi Bush Bash every Saturday night (via the Binacrombi Facebook page) and the Fighting Fathers’ Bush Eucharist every Sunday midday (via the Father Dave Facebook page). Pasted below is the edited video from August 22/23. On the Saturday I went to war with my best mate, Robert El Masri, and we had a big crowd. By Sunday midday I was alone, apart from my virtual community. Even so, I found it a powerful time. I hope you do too.

I met up with an old friend recently who gave me a big hug when I saw him. His partner didn’t embrace me but said, “Sorry, but I’m more COVID-aware”.

I didn’t take offense. Indeed, it’s what I’ve come to expect. Even so, it did occur to me that, where we were, there were almost certainly more registered sex-offenders and serial-killers within a 100 km radius than COVID cases. If she had said to me, “sorry for keeping my distance but I’m very rapist-aware”  yes, I would have been offended. Perhaps the fact that I’m not offended by the COVID-aware response just indicates the extent to which distrust is now the norm in our culture?

I don’t know whether we can win this fight, but I believe it’s one that we can’t afford to lose.

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

Father Dave’s Preach and Punch Fest

Hi Fighter,

It’s midnight on a Saturday night as I start this missive. I’m in the middle of the Australian bush. It is cold and damp. If you did an inventory of lifeforms within a 50km radius, you’d find a thousand kangaroos and wombats for every human being. My friend, Mike, has just arrived after a long and difficult drive. True to the tradition of the monasteries of old, we’ve provided him with some hearty food (in the form of leftover snags from tonight’s barbie).

For me it’s been a weekend of broken expectations. We were fully booked a few days ago, which would have been a nice financial windfall for Binacrombi. Unfortunately, all but two groups pulled out at the last minute due to dire predictions of rain and snow and flood (none of which came to pass).

We had a visit from the bishop of Canberra scheduled for today too, but he had to cancel as well. I’d also anticipated having a strong team of boxers here with me this weekend, and indeed they were here in force when I arrived yesterday. Unfortunately, Nathan, their leader, had to suddenly return home, and most of the team left with him.

My immediate response to all this was to feel deflated – why do things like this always happen to me? Of course, these are each only minor setbacks really, and, more importantly, I know they help me develop my capacity for stupidity and stubbornness.

Stupidity and stubbornness – they are our greatest assets in life. Being willing to try things that our peers think are stupid, and then sticking with them long after everybody else thinks we should have given up – these are the essential qualities we need if we are going to make a difference.

We may be tempted to give noble descriptions to these qualities – courage, initiative, perseverance, etc. Forget all that. Let’s just call them what they are – stupidity and stubbornness. Thanks be to God, I’ve always shown a strong capacity for both, and weekends like this help me to become even stubborner and more stupid. Yes – even though the formula failed this week, just as it did last week, I’ll get up and try exactly the same thing next week, anticipating a better result.

To be honest, things worked out great last week, even though almost all bookings were cancelled and my boxing team didn’t come through. I ended up sparring with some of the guests – a group of young Lebanese men who were enjoying a boys weekend in our dormitory.

I really didn’t know what to expect. I had promised to put on a good boxing show for them, and when I apologised and told them that no one had shown up to box me, I was impressed to see how many of them volunteered to put on the gloves and make sure the show went ahead. I found out later that one of the boys was a former Golden Gloves champion.  That night turned out to be quite an intense experience, and one I won’t soon forget. Even so, we are all the best of mates now – a band of brothers.

It always works like this – week after week.  It’s part of the magic of boxing. You go to war on each other, and afterwards there’s a bond between you that is as hard to break as it is to describe. I believe we’re touching something deep in the collective male subconscious. Whatever it is, it’s helping me build up Binacrombi as a community, one bloody nose at a time.

I’ll include the video of this weekend’s ‘punch and pray’ sessions below. I find we’re currently getting around 60 people joining us for the livestream each week for each event – the boxing on Saturday night and the Eucharist on Sunday morning. There’s not a lot of overlap though.  Most of the boxing fans don’t join me for prayers in the morning, and vica versa. I’m hoping though that gradually the two groups will become one, and if that doesn’t happen right away, I’m stubborn enough to keep trying until it does, or at least until I’m too old or too punch-drunk to keep them both happening.


If you want to tune into the Binacrombi Bush Bash, it’s on every Saturday that I can find an opponent – streaming live from the Binacrombi Facebook page from about 6 pm. If you want to join me for Sunday’s Bush Eucharist, it streams from the Father Dave Facebook page at noon the following day. If you’re there for both, I’ll be impressed. If you can go one step further and make an offertory by way of a paid subscription to www.fighting-fathers.com I’ll be grateful for that as well.

Not much more to add this week. I’m hoping to confirm a date for the launch of my new book – Christians and Muslims can be friends – in the next few days. I’ve been busy preparing for the launch and am really hoping that we’ll change the planet through this book (at least a little bit).

Of course, it’s hard to do much to change the world when we’re living with recurring lockdowns and can be arrested for protesting. I heard of another two friends lost to suicide this week, as the Director of the US Centre for Disease Control, Robert Redfield, admitted publicly that the lockdowns are currently killing twice as many people as the virus.

When will this lockdown madness end? My friends tell me that there’s nothing I can do about it. I’m too stupid to accept that, and if I can come up with a good resistance strategy, I’ll stick at it with all the stubbornness I can muster until I’m either locked up or something gives.

Sorry. I didn’t want to end on a negative note. If you want to be part of the resistance and help me scheme, join me at Binacrombi one weekend soon. The virus hasn’t worked out how to find us there yet, and neither have the lockdown merchants or the thought-police. There we can pray, fight, talk, and speak our truths to each other without fear of censor. Apart from trusted friends, it’s only roos and wombats who can hear you, and none of them would dare turn us in to the authorities!

I’ll hope to see you 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

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Are you ready for a fight?

Boxing with my son, Soren, at Binacrombi
The Saturday night Binacrombi Bush Bash
Training with champions
Fran and I have discovered a new passion!
Fran and I have discovered a new passion!
Fran and I have discovered a new passion!
catching up with John Shipton

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Hi Fighter,

Father Dave here, writing from my remote outpost in the middle of the Australian wilderness. At Binacrombi I am a long way from the toxic wastelands of the Big Smoke where life seems to revolve around the virus. Out here we have our own struggles with drought, fire and flood, yet I’m happy with the trade-off.

I shouldn’t pretend that the virus hasn’t affected us here. Indeed, today I went around making sure all our cabins displayed posters promoting hand-washing and other virus-avoidance strategies. Even so, one thing that struck me again this weekend is that the people I meet at Binacrombi respond very differently to the virus than do those in central Sydney. I am yet to meet ANYBODY out here who agrees with the way our government is handling things.

There is a fair degree of ambivalence in the city. Nobody loves the lockdowns or social distancing but many Sydney-siders I meet do accept these things as genuine and necessary strategies for maintaining public health. Out here everybody is convinced that the government is trying to destroy us.

I think the reason for the contrasting views is straightforward enough. Most of the city-folk I interact with haven’t been too affected by the lockdowns. They’ve been inconvenienced but they haven’t lost their jobs or their homes. Out here in the bush, everybody seems to know somebody who has died – not from the virus but at their own hand, due to the lockdowns!

Feel free to disagree, but it seems to come down to a clear class divide. Professional people (like the politicians who make the rules) haven’t been too drastically affected by the new rules. Indeed, many are enjoying a bit more time at home with the kids. People at the other end of the economic spectrum though have lost their jobs, can’t make loan repayments, their small business has fallen to pieces, and their family home has become a powder-keg.

On a global scale, the situation is even more stark. UNICEF predicts that as many as 1.2 million children may die in the next six months – not due to the virus itself, but due to the way governments have responded to the virus. World Food Program Executive Director David Beasley went further, telling the U.N. Security Council that an additional 130 million people could be on the brink of starvation by the end of the year due to the lockdowns!

People keep accusing me of being unconcerned about people at risk if I’m not behind the lockdowns. My response is to ask ‘which people am I not concerned about – the people at risk of getting the virus or the people at risk of suicide, domestic violence, poverty or starvation? I sincerely believe that if our governments had taken a different course and had put their energies into isolating and protecting the small percentage of people who are genuinely at risk from the virus, the world would look very different right now and a lot more people would still be alive.

I read a fascinating statement from a church in the US today that is refusing to go along with the lockdowns. I didn’t agree with everything they said in their (very lengthy) statement but I was truly encouraged to find one church that was willing to question whether the government even had the right to tell people that they can’t meet. As I say, I don’t agree with everything they say, but what saddens me is that I’ve come across ZERO churches in this country that have even raised the questions these people are asking.

Why are we all falling into lockstep behind the government? Do we really all believe that love of neighbour compels us not to go near our neighbours? I don’t want to live in a world where I can’t embrace those I love. Do I really have to wait until I’ve been vaccinated and microchipped before I can be fully human again? Why are none of our church leaders even raising concern over these issues?

I’ll climb down from my pulpit now but I do consider it a great irony that I found myself applauding Alan Jones the other day – the only commentator I could find who was asking these questions. Perhaps he’s one of the few media personalities left who can say what he thinks because he has nothing to lose?

Join me at Binacrombi

If you share any of my frustrations, come and join me for a weekend soon at Binacrombi. We box together on the Saturday night and share the Eucharist on the Sunday morning. You can tune into both via livestream on the Binacrombi and Father Dave Facebook pages, respectively, but why not take the extra step and actually come out here and join me physically for the weekend. I’m keeping rooms aside each week for people who want to fight or pray with me (and hopefully, both).

I’m sharing below a compilation of one of our last fighting sessions (with my son, Soren) and the prayer session from the same weekend (with both Soren and Fran). It’s not a polished compilation but I’m hoping to develop this over the coming weeks. Either way, I’m hoping that this might inspire you to make the trip to join me.


I do have a lot happening at the moment that I wanted to share with you too.

On the fight front, I was scheduled box in Townsville against my old nemesis, ‘Wild Bill’ Kinbacher. The fight was set for next Saturday, and then they locked down the Queensland border. 🙁

On my book front, “Christians and Muslims can be friends” is just about ready to be published. Expect copies to be available within the next month or two.

On the Binacrombi front, lots of programs are gradually coming together:

  • Camps for Indigenous young people
  • Camps for men at risk
  • Camps bringing Christians and Muslims together
  • Camps helping young people get out of white-supremacist groups

The harvest indeed seems to be plentiful, and I’m watching God gradually supply the workers we need.

It’s a hard struggle for all of us at the moment. I have no idea when (or even if) things will get back to normal. I am thankful though for our little oasis out here in the bush and I’m keen to share it with you. Let me know when you’re ready.

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

Rebuilding Community

Fighting Fathers go bush
Fighting Fathers go bush
Fighting Fathers go bush
Fighting Fathers go bush
Billy Dib joins us at Binacrombi
Billy Dib joins us at Binacrombi
Fighting Fathers at Binacrombi
Fighting Fathers at Binacrombi
Fighting Fathers at Binacrombi
Fighting Fathers at Binacrombi
with Grant 'the bomber' Barker and his team
another up-coming boxing champion - my son, Soren 🙂
Fran and dad baking adventure
Fran and dad baking adventure

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Hi Fighter,

As the choking grip of government restrictions slowly loosens its stranglehold and we emerge from our bunkers, we look at the devastated scene around us and wonder whether things will ever be as they once were.

The dead and injured lie strewn all around us like corpses on a battlefield. Those bodies that will rise no more are not those killed by the virus, of course – not in this country. Rather, they are the thousands who just couldn’t handle the isolation any longer and took their own lives. They are the women and children who were bludgeoned to death – victims of the domestic powder-keg created by the lockdown. Dare we look at those bruised and bleeding bodies, and hear the groans of the wounded – those countless souls who have lost jobs, homes, businesses, livelihoods …?

And we emerge from our isolation into … what? The landscape looks familiar, but something is missing. Where did my community go?

All of us good church people fell into lockstep behind the government and did our best to make sure everybody stayed a healthy distance away from each other. Somehow we accepted that the only group that could safely touch each other were members of a nuclear household. Within the confines of that sacred hearth, everybody was apparently safe with each other and safe from the outside world. All other forms of human engagement though were verboten – regardless of the extent to which we depended on that broader community for sanity, identity and survival!

We could continue to do church by Zoom, except that it wasn’t real church at all as it wasn’t public. You had to have a password, and you couldn’t choose your level of involvement (sitting quietly up the back if you didn’t want too much scrutiny). It was a platform tailor-made for cults – the church of the inner-circle – for the tech-savvy, articulate and self-confident.

Will we ever get back to where we were before? Do we want to go back to where we were before? I think some of us prefer a more sanitized form of life – a life free from all the complications that are an integral part of real human interaction. I think a number of us prefer to communicate to each other by text message and Facetime, rather than have to really have to come to grips with the tangible reality of another hairy, smelly, bacteria-laden human body.

Personally, I’d sooner die in the arms of someone I loved than live forever in a sanitized cell. I’d sooner take my chances in the real world – living, breathing, punching, fighting, wrestling and bleeding – than hide at home with my children, wrapped in cotton-wool, pretending that this is real life.

Some of my friends tell me that it’s not an either/or – that it’s quite possible to reestablish the old connections while maintaining a new level of cleanliness that will safeguard public health. I have my doubts. A seed of suspicion has been planted in our consciousness through this lockdown – a suspicion of ‘the other’. Strangers on the street are no longer just brothers and sisters I haven’t yet met. They are also potential virus-carriers. I have learnt to keep them 1.5 metres away from me because I don’t know where they’ve been and what diseases they might be carrying. Will I ever be able to look at them the same way again?

Sermon Time

The silver lining for me in this forced isolation has been my weekly escape to the remote bushlands of Binacrombi. Take a look Binacrombi’s (almost-complete) new website if you haven’t joined us there yet.

We managed to form something of a spiritual community at Binacrombi during the lockdown, housing as many as six resident monks at one stage! They might not have all called themselves monks, but the team included Fighting Fathers Henri, Mike and Tracey. We even established a ‘rule’ for the community, consisting of three ‘ones’. You spend one hour per day in prayer, one hour in fight training, and one hour giving something back to Binacrombi.

In terms of the prayers, I had hoped to emulate the Benedictine pattern of praying daily at 6am, 9 am, noon, 3pm and 6 pm. Thus far I’ve only insisted on noon-day prayers together. The video below is an extract from our Sunday noon Eucharist. It’s the section of the service where we discuss the Gospel reading, which that week was from John, chapter 10, beginning at verse 1:

Jesus said “Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”

Would you like to join us at Binacrombi? The commercial/dirt-bike-riding side of the park is booked out until September but I’ve kept aside some rooms though for people who want to come up to box and/or pray.

For the last couple of months I’ve had people come up every weekend to share these joint disciplines with me, and we’ve put on a boxing show for the other guests at Binacrombi each Saturday night!

Nathan Nicholas @ Binacrombi

We’ve had some great boxing talent at Binacrombi lately. I did five rounds with Billy Dib there two weekends ago, though last weekend the star of the show was young Nathan Nicholas – not just a great boxer but the only man I know who spends a full ten minutes in the billabong each morning and evening he is with us! At this time of year, the water gets below freezing level!

Let me know if you’d like to join us at Binacrombi one weekend soon, and if you can’t join us in person, tune in to our live Sunday Eucharist video-stream at midday each Sunday. We broadcast through the Father Dave Facebook page, and you don’t need to have a Facebook account to join us.

catching up with Dr Anne Aly in Canberra

Please pray for me and for our work out in the bush. While I am still grieving being forced out of parish ministry, I do see wonderful opportunities opening up here. I’ve had a commitment from some indigenous leaders to run camps at Binacrombi for indigenous young people, and this weekend I’ve got a group of old fighters coming who are interested in running camps for men at risk of suicide. Equally exciting, last Monday I met up again with Dr Anne Aly MP in Canberra, and she’s got an idea for running camps for kids coming out of white-supremacist groups!

Please pray that we can develop these works, and if you are able to financially support me and the work, please consider taking out a monthly membership at www.fighting-fathers.com. In these times of uncertainty, even a $10/month subscription is deeply appreciated.

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

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Brave New World

Building a spiritual community in the bush - the monks of Binacrombi
Building a spiritual community in the bush - the monks of Binacrombi
Building a spiritual community in the bush - the monks of Binacrombi
Building a spiritual community in the bush - the monks of Binacrombi

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Hi Fighter,

I’ve just finished reading Aldous Huxley’s classic, “A Brave New World”. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it, as I don’t read much fiction. What surprised me even more though was to finish the book and then realise that it wasn’t fiction at all. I was living it!

Seventy years ago, Huxley envisaged a futuristic world where people are indoctrinated from an early age to believe whatever their governments tell them, and where critical speech and free thought are systematically suppressed, not primarily through force of arms but through education. If the treatment of Julian Assange – by government and by media – isn’t proof enough that we are living in this Brave New World, our response to this latest virus should remove any doubts.

Now … I’m thankful I’m out at Binacrombi as I write this – a long way away from people who can throw things at me and hurl insults. This is the problem. If you raise any questions about the virus or about the way it is being handled, you are immediately labelled a ‘pandemic denier’ who cares nothing for the countless people suffering.

Some of you may have seen the short video I posted on Facebook a couple of weeks ago where I shared some of my questions about our government’s response to the virus – whether it was the only or best option. The response was overwhelming! Persons who I had respected referred to it as a ‘rant’, and so many complaints were made to the bishop that he rang me and urged me to take it down, lest he be forced to publicly distance himself from me!

Well … I’ve now been forced out of my job with the church anyway, so the post is going back up. You can see it below. If you don’t like what I have to say, and you don’t think I should be allowed to raise these questions, you’re in good company.

For the record, I am not a ‘pandemic denier’. I do take the latest virus seriously, and I am concerned about those put at risk by it. My question though is whether our response is a bit like Johnson’s Snakebite Antidote (pace Banjo Paterson) where the cure is far more harmful than the disease!

I am concerned about those who may die of the virus, but I am also concerned about how the lockdown has affected the mentally ill. Indeed, while I don’t see any clear statistics on the local situation, I can’t count the number who have contacted me, saying things like, “I don’t know how much longer I can handle this”, and I’m told by friends who work in the mental-health sector that there have been thousands of suicides resulting from these lockdown measures already.

I am also concerned for those at risk of domestic abuse. When I heard there had been a forty percent increase in cases of domestic violence in Italy, I was very troubled. Now I’m told that in our country it’s a sixty-something percent increase!

I’m also concerned about those who have lost their jobs and will lose their homes, and I’ve read that around two million people worldwide are now at risk of starvation due to these lockdown measures. I appreciate that some of these figures may be askew or inflated, but please don’t tell me that if I criticize the lockdown measures, that just means that I don’t care about people at risk!

It has amazed me – how virulent the outcry has been against those who raise these questions. The most public example must have been the two American doctors – Dan Erickson and Artin Massihi – who run a clinic dealing with Covid19 cases and who did an interview with a local TV station where they disagreed with their government’s approach. The interview was shared on YouTube and went viral, getting more than five million views, before it was taken down by YouTube because it apparently ‘violated community guidelines’!

Of course, I don’t know whether these two doctors were right or wrong in the statistics they gave or in the way they interpreted them. That’s not my area of expertise. What appalls me though is that at a time when you’d think we needed open discussion and shared wisdom, these men on the front line were shut down, after which they were attacked by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and the American Academy of Emergency Medicine (AAEM) both of whom issued media releases, accusing the men of seeking media attention in order to further their careers (while not making any attempt to refute their arguments)!

The criminalising of dissent – that’s what we are seeing. It’s what Julian Assange is being put on trial for. It’s what Chelsea Manning and Ed Snowden and Morde Vanunu are suffering for. It makes good sense to keep your mouth shut in this brave new world but remember the wisdom of Pastor Niemöller:

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
     Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

OK, I’ve said more than enough today, and I suspect a good number of you have already signed off out and unsubscribed. Fair enough. I don’t question your right to disagree with me or to not have to hear from me. For those still here, I was planning to leave a long list of links to articles for anyone who wants to look at divergent opinions about the virus and the way it’s being handled. I won’t bore you with all those links now. If you want my list, I’ll send it to you. If you want to watch that interview with the doctors, let me know that too. I downloaded a copy.

Perhaps I’ll leave just two links:

I found No.24 of the above 25 facts to be especially revealing – that Ed Snowden warned us that the corona crisis would be used for the massive and permanent expansion of global surveillance. You can see his video interview on that here.

Sorry. I said I’d only add two links. I’ll add one more as an extra video below, as I don’t think YouTube are ever going to delete Fox News (though I could be wrong).

If you’re still happy to stay in contact with me, why not join me each Sunday at midday when I stream a weekly Eucharist live from Binacrombi bush retreat via my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/fatherdave007). Hopefully, Sunday worship won’t be banned from the air for a little while yet. You might even consider supporting me and our community of Fighting Fathers out here at Binacrombi. All subscriptions at www.fighting-fathers.com will be gratefully accepted.

Keep up 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

Ready for an Easter Miracle?

Building a spiritual community at Binacrombi
my darling girl turns eleven!
my darling girl turns eleven!
Our dear brother, 'Binacrombi' Bob, turns 60!

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Hi Fighter,

It’s Easter week, but it hardly feels like a time to celebrate. Yes, the great feast day of the Christian year is almost upon us – the day of new life and triumph and chocolate eggs – but there will be no dancing in the streets this year and no Easter-egg hunts in the church. We will all be shut in our homes, hiding from the virus!

We live in apocalyptic times – so it seems – and if it’s getting to you, be assured that it’s getting to me too. Moreover, I know there are a lot of people in far more precarious situations than me at the moment – people who have lost their jobs, may be losing their homes, and mentally fragile people who feel they are losing their minds.

My fear is that these lockdown measures – designed to save the lives of thousands – may end up destroying the lives of millions. I hope I’m wrong. Either way, I’ll shut my mouth for now as I’ve already been censored by my bishop for speaking my mind on this subject and I don’t want to attract further trouble. Be assured though that if you are suffering at the moment through this lockdown, I am with you, and it’s just possible that I may be able to help.

As Providence would have it, the timing of this lockdown has coincided exactly with the latest initiative being undertaken by our Order of the Fighting Fathers. We are forming a spiritual community in the bush.

When I drove away from Binacrombi last weekend, I left another two ‘fighting monks’ lodged in the Cloister. Another two have applied to join us. We have an initiation period, of course, involving two weeks of isolation in one of the more distant cabins. By the end of that period though it should be clear whether initiates are physically and spiritually suitable for our community, and there are plenty of beds available in the cloister.

We have even developed a draft Rule for the community. Every day our monks must devote at least one hour to prayer, one hour to fight training, and one hour to giving something back to Binacrombi. I appreciate that we’ll need to work on this a bit if we’re going to get it up to the standard of the Benedictine Rule but it’s a great start. 🙂

Would you like to join us? I can’t guarantee you a place in the community, and I can’t even guarantee that we’ll be able to take you for the two weeks’ initiation period if government rules change and make that impossible. I can guarantee though that I’ll talk it through with you if you contact me. See my promo video below if you need further convincing.

I don’t have a regular ‘sermon time’ sermon for you this week as we haven’t been having regular church services lately! I’ve streamed a couple of Eucharists from Binacrombi (which you can see here), and I’ll be streaming services from the Holy Trinity church building in Dulwich Hill for Easter morning and for the following Sunday.

Both services will be streamed from the Holy Trinity Facebook page. We’ll start each Sunday at around 9.15 am, and you don’t need a Facebook account to access these live events. Please join me if you can. These may be the last services I hold in our church building, though nothing has been finalised as yet.

It’s a difficult time for all of us at the moment. I know that. It’s a difficult time for our economy and for our planet, and it’s especially difficult for those who are on the underside of the system – the poor and marginalised, prisoners, the mentally and physically disabled.

Pray with me. Pray for our planet and for its people. So many of the issues needing our attention are getting scant consideration at the moment. How many know, for instance, that the extradition trial for Julian Assange is being pushed ahead with relentlessly in London. Sadly, there is only one item in the news at the moment.

That all makes sense, of course. When you have a toothache, you can really only think about two things – your pain and a dentist – and when we’re locked down in fear of the virus, it’s really hard to expect anyone to think of anything else, which is why this is the perfect time for corrupt corporations and governments to be about the devil’s work.

And so we must pray. We also need to mobilise, but it’s hard to mobilise if you’re not allowed to meet. We must therefore pray that God will show us how to do the impossible, which brings us back to Easter, of course, where we celebrate that the impossible indeed happens! Perhaps it will turn out to be a great Easter after all?

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

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four