Fit to Box

speaking at Al Quds Day in Melbourne
enduring the Binacrombi billabong for 4.5 mins (nb. the freezer burn)
celebrating with the kids
'Mr Jones' Egberime still training the kids at our gym
with Sheikh Jehad Ishmael and the boys
a day away with my darling daughter, Imogen
my brother, Andy, turns 50! 🙂
the new Muhammadi Welfare Association development at Granville
with Denning and Syed Shoaib Naqvi
Veronica and I meet the 'Ice Man' - Wim Hof
with the team from Lock In TV
at the Syria vs. Australia World Cup qualifier

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Hi Fighter,

It’s Father Dave, and I must confess to feeling somewhat exhausted as I write to you today. It’s been an overwhelming month:

  • I’ve been trying to recover from my brain haemorrhage.
  • We’ve had much turmoil in the community (and perhaps in the church, most especially) over our government’s postal vote on same-sex marriage
  • Syria lost the World Cup qualifier match to Australia
  • One of my old friends has just taken his own life

Thankfully, not all of these struggles has ended badly. Indeed, as regards my recovery from the brain injury, my progress has been nothing short of miraculous. Last week I fronted up to the doctor’s office armed with the results of both and MRI and a CT scan. This was the same doctor who had told me a few weeks earlier that my boxing days were over. This time, after looking at the results and shaking his head, he ticked ‘fit to box’ on the appropriate form.

I give thanks to God for healing my brain so that I can fight again. I’ve been feeling rather lost over the last month, wondering how else I can raise money. As I often say, I can only do two things well – preach and fight – and I can’t see anyone handing over big dollars to hear me preach. Anyway, those concerns are behind me for the moment, though the painful thing is that both the fights I had scheduled were cancelled during my recovery period.

When the injury happened, I’d been in training for a big show-down with Dave Birchell. This naturally had to be called off. I had another fight though lined up with Mark Bouris in late November at a PCYC fundraiser event. Unfortunately, Mr Bouris was rematched. I did ask them to hold off on rematching him and to expect a miracle. For some reason the organisers followed common sense instead. And so, I find myself ‘fit to box’ but, once again, without an opponent. Even so, I’m sure the Lord has healed me for a reason, so something (or someone) will no doubt appear soon and make the way forwards clear.

As to the same-sex marriage debate this country has been enduring, I feel it has been a despicable process. I have seen so much pain caused by this postal vote! It has brought the worst out of a lot of people – reinforcing prejudices and eliciting violence and vilification from both sides. It truly was a gutless decision of our government to encourage this process.

As you may know, I was urged once again to publish my views on the subject of same-sex marriage. The result was an article that appeared on news.com.au that has generated no end of hate mail, phone calls, lost friendships, and enough social media banter to fill a decent-sized book. The process culminated for me when I received a call from a man claiming to have been sexually abused by a priest. He was so angry about my Archbishop’s support for the ‘no’ vote that he said he just needed to scream at someone. He knew I wasn’t to blame but apparently nobody else would take his call.

Another distressing dimension of this process for me has been the damage done to my relations with the Muslim community. I had two inter-faith events planned for this month where my Muslim friends withdrew due to the views expressed in my article. One woman even said that her Sheikh now refused to enter our church building! That hurt.

I’m know that doesn’t represent all my Muslim friends. Indeed, I’ve had others affirm their love and respect for me, even though we disagree on this issue.

Sermon Time

Perhaps my sermon today reflects a bit too much of my hurt referred to above. Certainly, the text of Matthew 21:28-31 did tap right into the issues I was struggling with, though the connection may not be immediately obvious. It’s a parable Jesus tells about two brothers – one who is pious and obedient and the other who is rebellious and disobedient, or so they appear to be. First impressions can be deceiving, and maybe we need to be cautious in passing judgement on either of the brothers too quickly.

Back to the Bush

When the going gets tough, I get going, and my favourite place to go when I’m feeling under pressure is our bush camp – Binacrombi. Can you join me there this coming weekend?

I’m sorry for the short notice but this event has been a difficult one to organise. The camp was originally designed to be an interfaith project, bringing together Christian and Muslim kids in an integrated training environment. Unfortunately, as indicated above, many have pulled out, though some friends from the Australian Muslim Youth Association are now trying to see if they can get a new group involved! Either way, the camp will go ahead, but there is currently plenty of room for extra participants.

Just give me a call on 1800 620 706 if you’d like to join us. All the details are on the Facebook page as well as on the poster (which can be downloaded here).

That’s enough from me today. I’ve got plenty more I’d like to share but, in truth, I’d rather do it over a beer at Binacrombi. Of course, if our Muslim friends do join us, I’ll happily forgo the beer and substitute coffee. Either way, I’d love to have you with us if you can make it.

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.warriorweekends.com

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About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

2 thoughts on “Fit to Box

  1. Dear Father Dave

    I read your original article on news.com explaining your views on same sex marriage, a matter that interests me as an unaffected party on the basis of its broader implications for equality fairness and accessibility to protections and status for those wishing to marry but currently prevented from doing so.

    I am delighted that you have taken the position of so many church leaders in openly supporting same-sex marriage.

    The figures are encouraging so far, but the breakdown will not be made available by the ABS till 15 November. My view is that despite outcomes there is plenty of room for education and sharing of views that may help to unblock prejudices within the community, which is why I think that the discussion should remain open even after the postal survey is over and the matter proceeds to Parliament.

    It was great to hear what a remarkable recovery you have made from your brain haemorrhage, that you are now out of hospital and back to pursuing social justice issues. Please maintain contact. I hope that I will be able to soon resolve the posting difficulties

    Keep up the good work.

    Kind regards

    Madeleine Kingston, Victorian voter

  2. Dear Father Dave

    It is refreshing to see that many church leaders and their congregations are taking a more open-minded approach to the proposal to allow same-sex marriage under Australian laws, along with a significant proportion of the remaining population.

    You have boldly suggested that the reason certain religious leaders and their congregations are so obsessed with the current same-sex marriage postal survey ordered by the government in preference to addressing the issue in Parliament as elected representatives is the historical “obsession with sex.” I agree that marriage has nothing to do with sex, but a loving commitment between two people that cannot be distinguished from the same type of commitment between heterosexual couples.

    I am providing below some links to recent articles showing how far religious groups have come in regarding this matter as one of equality, fairness and inclusivity. I relate to your views and the brave stand you have taken.

    Catholics defy church leadership to become biggest backers of same-sex marriage (SMH)

    I’m a Baptist minister and I’ll be voting ‘yes’ for same-sex marriage (SMH)

    Rabbi speaks out for same-sex marriage
    (Australian Jewish News)

    SSM: These religious leaders are putting dogma aside to support same-sex marriage (ABC)

    Kind regards

    Madeleine Kingston Victorian voter

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