Time to retreat!

Baptisms on Easter Day! 🙂
With Fran at the Easter Show
with my beloved Veronica 🙂
Soren turns 15
Celebrating my birthday with my brothers 🙂
Get well, Danny!
showing off our church to Syed Shoaib Naqvi
with Luke Cornish at his 'Road to Damascus' exhibition
Hands Off Syria!
Pick on someone your own size! 😉
The match that has got to happen!
Cooling off in an ice-bath at the Wim Hof seminar in Melbourne
with the amazing Wim Hof!

Hi Fighter,

It’s Father Dave, writing to you from the middle of the Australian bush! No, I’m not retreating from the Good Fight but I am retreating from the Big Smoke for a while.

I am on long-service leave, and will be spending most of my weekends up to the end of May at Binacrombi – our remote prayer-space, dirt-bike farm and boxing-training facility.

I’m hoping that these five weeks will be a rejuvenating time, though they are not a holiday. I’ve got three goals I want to achieve over my time away from the parish:

  1. Get Binacrombi functioning on a renewed basis
  2. Finish the book I’m working on – “Christians and Muslims can be friends”
  3. Get fully fit for my next fight.

As for the fight, I don’t have a date fixed yet, but I’ll be letting you know as soon as something is confirmed.

As for the book, I won’t say more about that here either, except that I’ll be looking for your help to spread it around once I get it published. In the meantime, you might like to help me come up with a better title.

As for Binacrombi, do you have a weekend spare before the end of May when you can come and join me?

I’m planning another Warrior Weekend for May 19 to 21 (and I’ll say more on that below) but I’d be happy to see you on any of the other weekends too. If I’m left here by myself, with only the kangaroos to keep me company, I may get a bit jumpy! 😉

OK … It’s not really the lack of company that I’m concerned about, but I am looking for good people who will help run weekends out here. Binacrombi has developed enormously over the last few years under the tireless and dedicated management of Fighting Father Tez. Even so, Tez is not as young as he used to be, and it’s time for a few more of us to step up and give him a hand.

Perhaps you’ve always seen yourself as a farm-manager or as a fighting monk, or perhaps you’d just like to help develop the ministry of the Fighting Fathers? Here is your opportunity! Join me down here at some point in the next month and we’ll train you in the ways of Binacrombi. You might then consider coming back once every couple of months, to be an ongoing part of the team.

In truth, even if you only want to come and help me pray for Syria in the chapel here, I’d be very glad to see you. Call me or email me and let me know when you’d like to come. All my details are on www.fatherdave.org (the non-mobile version). Mind you, the obvious weekend to join us is May 19 to 21 – the date of our next …

Warrior Weekend

Yes, it’s happening again. From Friday evening (May 19) to Sunday afternoon (May 21) we will be giving you another opportunity to Train like a Trojan and Pray like a Monk at our remote bush training facility, Binacrombi.

The workouts will be fitness-focused and won’t be restricted to boxing training. Even so, you’ll get plenty of chances to show your prowess in the ring if you so desire, so bring your gloves and your mouthguard.

The prayer sessions are not compulsory, of course (and neither are the workouts), but those who are willing will meet for prayer and meditation according to the traditional Benedictine schedule – at 6am, 9am, noon, 3pm and 6pm. There will be separate prayer spaces allocated for Christian and for Muslim prayers.

We already have some young people from the Muhammadi Welfare Association joining us for the camp, and I’m hoping that our friends from Fighting for Autism will  join us too. These camps not only offer participants great personal benefits in terms of physical and spiritual fitness but are also wonderful opportunities for social integration. 🙂

The prices for the weekend have not changed:

  • $200 for the rich
  • $100 for the poor
  • Free for the destitute

These fees cover accommodation, training, and all meals (excluding the BYO Saturday night BBQ). If you feel you fit into the ‘destitute’ category, let me know and we will organise sponsorship for you.

The flyer for this camp is here. Right-click and choose ‘save target as’ to download it.  The flyer includes a form that you can sign and forward to me.

Sermon of the month

Easter is the time of year when Christians remember how God confronts evil in our world. It was therefore an extraordinary time for Donald Trump to drop the ‘Mother of all Bombs’ on Afghanistan, and yet that happened on Good Friday (Australian time)!

This seems to be the only way the powerful in our world know how to deal with evil. They drops bombs on it and hope it will go away. In this case, the Mother of all Bombs was dropped on (what is perceived to be) the Mother of all Evils (Al Qaeda). The result was that 36 people died, which was apparently considered a success.

It is the unambiguous teaching of the New Testament that evil cannot ultimately be stopped by other forms of evil. The Easter story tells us about a God who confronts evil in a different way altogether – through suffering and death and resurrection!


(forgive me for the poor quality of this video. The written version of this sermon is here)

Becoming the Ice-Man

Before I let you go today, I want to explain the picture that appears at the top – the one of me and a group of men in an ice-bath!

Yes, it was ice! Perhaps you didn’t look too closely at the pic and thought I was enjoying a relaxing session in the pool with my mates. Take a closer look and you’ll see that the water was thick with ice-cubes. It wasn’t relaxing! 🙁

The reason for this bizarre behaviour is that I’m doing a ten-week course put together by a bizarre man, Wim Hof, otherwise known as the Ice Man! There’s a picture of me and Wim up the top too. 🙂

The ice-man has been able to perform some amazing physical feats, considered impossible before Wim did them. He climbed Mount Everest in his swimsuit and  broke the world record for swimming under the ice. He then ran a marathon through the Sahara Desert without taking any water! And he’s a couple of years older then me!

Wim’s training method combines breathing techniques with stretching and ‘cold therapy’, which means cold showers and ice-baths, and by the time I make my next blog post, I should have reached the end of his 10-week course. I want to share my progress with you.

I’m hoping that Wim’s techniques will give me an edge in the boxing ring, and at my age I need every edge I can get. And if you do decide to join me on the camp, be aware that I’ll be integrating some cold therapy into our training routine (though, of course, it is not compulsory for anybody except me).

That’s plenty for today. I’ll hope to see you at the camp. 🙂

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

Christmas is almost upon us!

the Binacrombi 're-ignition' team. 🙂
Remembering the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People
Kindy's scariest Halloween girl!
celebrating Halloween with Imogen at Movie World
with Maher, the honorary Syrian Consular General
we turn the first sod of our new Youth and Community Centre
we turn the first sod of our new Youth and Community Centre
we turn the first sod of our new Youth and Community Centre
with Roy Jones Junior in Gosford
at St Francis College, Brisbane, with Ray Baraclough for the 'Friends of Sabeel, Australia' AGM
with Zain Sherrif in Penrith, battling protesters objecting to the development of an Islamic community centre.
a wise woman preparing for the Christmas pageant

Hi Fighter,

Father Dave here, and I’m starting this missive from sunny Binacrombi Bush Camp where we are about to ‘re-ignite’ things.

No, we’re not about to start a bush fire but we have been closed for the last few weeks while we’ve been upgrading the water system and the power system, repairing the tracks and repainting the cabins. All bodes well for our re-opening in time for the Christmas holidays!

And speaking of Christmas, we have plenty of other things happening over the coming weeks and I’m hoping that you’ll be able to participate in some (if not all) of them.

  • December 21st – the Jubilate Singers Christmas Concert @ Holy Trinity (7pm)
  • December 24th – Carols on our front lawn (7pm)
  • December 25thHoly Trinity’s Christmas Day Eucharist (9.15am)
  • Christmas Day Lunch at the rectory

I appreciate that it’s going to be a lot easier to be a part of these activities if you live in Sydney but even if you live in West Virginia I can assure you it will be worth the trip (and it’s a lot warmer here too)! 😉

The last of these events does require an RSVP as the number of people we can fit around the rectory table is limited. Having said that, we had an offer from some Muslim women this year to prepare the lunch for us on Christmas Day and that will certainly make things easier at our end! The women said that it wasn’t a busy time of year for them and they knew that it was for us so they figured they were well placed to pitch in! What a gracious thought!

So there may not be any wine or ham served at Christmas lunch this year but I’m expecting a wonderful fare nonetheless! Just let me know if you’re coming so that I can tell the ladies how many they need to prepare for.

Sermon Time

I appreciate that you’re probably in the mood for something with a Christmassy flavour this week but I’ve decided to give you my sermon on Paul’s Epistle to the church of Rome, chapter 6. I don’t often preach on Paul’s letters but I had been wanting to preach on this passage for a long time as I think it shows St Paul at his most radical – proclaiming an understanding of Jesus Christ and His work that makes the Christian message entirely distinctive in the world of religions!

As you no doubt know, I work very closely with other faith communities – the Muslim community in particular – and that leads a lot of people to assume that I see all religions as basically the same. I don’t. Indeed, while I don’t disrespect anybody for their religious beliefs, the understanding of God and of life that I glean from the New Testament is quite distinct from other religious traditions, and I think this excerpt from St Paul writings highlights those differences with precision!

You may disagree with me. That’s OK. You may disagree with St Paul too, and I’m sure he’d be OK with that. Even so, hear him out, for according to St Paul, religion is NOT fundamentally about living a good life or about believing the right things! Indeed, religion, in St Paul’s understanding, is not primarily about us at all!

I’ve given you a list of diary entries today and I appreciate that you’re probably not thinking much beyond Christmas at the moment but I want to give you one more set of dates to consider before I let you go – Friday, January 18 to Sunday January 21. I’m hoping to host a weekend away at Binacrombi over those days for all who can make it.

On that weekend I hope to:

  • Dedicate our new Binacrombi chapel
  • Consecrate the Fighting Fathers to their work
  • See the lives of everyone who participates enriched

My plan is to build the weekend around our rather unique combination of extreme sports and monastic silence – fluctuating between the two extremes, like running out of a sauna and diving into an icy stream and then back into the sauna!

I appreciate that this may be too extreme for some people and so a less intense alternative will be available. Even so, I am hoping that all who participate will find the weekend confronting and life-changing!

It won’t cost you a fortune. A donation of $100 to Fighting Fathers Ministries will cover your accommodation costs. We’ll bring our own food and pool our cars to keep transport costs to a minimum. Email me if you’d like to participate or leave your details on www.warriorweekends.com and I’ll get back to you.

I’ll be in contact again soon with my regular Christmas video-greeting.

Until then I remain …

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.zerocostwebsite.net
www.dulwichhillgym.com
www.warriorweekends.com
www.how2changetheworld.com

P.S. Support the work of the Fighting Fathers by joining our online community at  www.fighting-fathers.com. It only costs you $10/month and the first month is free.

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About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Weekly Missive – July 2nd, 2013

G’day Fighter,
Father Dave back with you – a little weary but strong in spirit. :-)
I seem to have been spending all my time travelling and speaking since last we spoke.
  • I spoke to a Lions Club gathering, hoping to raise more funds for our youth work.

2013 - guest speaker at the Sydney Executive Lions Club

  • I spoke to at a gathing of the Wikileaks Party faithful

2013 - Addressing a gathering of the Wikileaks Party faithful

  • I had the privilege of being guest speaker at Sydney’s 2013 Muslim Youth Conference!

2013 - it was a great privilege to be invited to address the Sydney Muslim Youth Conference

I’m still trying to work out what made the ‘Muslim Women’s Association’ think I’d be a good speaker on the subject of issues facing Muslim youth, but I must say that it was a great privilege and I had a great time! :-)

As to travelling, I’m still following dear Mother Agnes around!

You’ll remember that not long ago I dragged Mother and Sister around Canberra. We got back and went one step further up the ladder of greatness and met with Bishop Rob!

2013 - Mother Agnes and Sister Carmel meet Bishop Forsyth

Then, before Mother Agnes left our fair state, all the churches shared with her in a wonderful evening of prayer for Syria at the Syrian Orthodox Cathedral in Sydney.

2013 - a great night of prayer for Syria at the Syrian Orthodox Cathedral in Lidcome

Right now I’m en route to meet up with Mother again – this time in Kuala Lumper! Indeed, I’m starting this missive at an altitude of 11582 metres according to my flight information (and I thought they always measured these things in feet :-0)!

Within a few hours of landing we are scheduled to meet with members of the Malaysian Department of Foreign Affairs. Our subject, of course, will be Syria.

Our host in Malaysia is the great human-rights activist, Dr Chandra Muzaffar.

I first had the privilege of meeting Dr Muzaffar in the late 80’s in his home in Penang. I had read about his exploits – how he had worked tirelessly to defend the rights of minorities in Malaysia, especially Christians. That was the first time I had heard of a Muslim community leader putting himself on the line for Christians.

And then I heard how he’d been imprisoned by the government for his efforts – an act that created such a stir worldwide and generated so many protests (including many from prominent church leaders) that the Malaysian government was force to release him!

It seems that this year I am getting to meet all my heroes!.

I had the privilege of travelling to Syria with the great peace-maker and Nobel Laureate, Mairead Maguire, and now I’ve been invited to Malaysia by another champion of human rights! And of course it didn’t surprise me when Dr Muzaffar told me that Mairead was on the board of his human-rights organisation – JUST (The Campaign for a Just World).

God has been extremely gracious to me of late and I do not take it for granted. :-)

Anyway, I’ll send you a full report of my two days in Malaysia next week. For the moment I have some more urgent things to share with you:

George Galloway in Sydney

Just when I thought I was running out of heroes to meet, that outspoken and wonderfully offensive Scotsman, George Galloway, arrives in Sydney!

galloway-townhall

If you don’t know George, he’s a British politician and a passionate human-rights activist, particularly well-known for his Palestinian advocacy.

How did he come to be in Sydney? Well … it’s a long story, but my friend Mohammed Naqi gets the credit for organising both his trip and his appearances!

There are two public gatherings and only one that has not been sold out. It’s at the Sydney Town Hall this Thursday evening. Click here to get the details on Facebook or here to download the flyer.

The event is not free because Mohammed needs to cover his costs for the hire of the Town Hall (which doesn’t come cheaply). Even so, this is a great opportunity and not one to be missed. I will certainly be there (God willing) and hope to see you there too.

The Youth Centre is Re-Opening

No, we haven’t rebuilt our Youth and Community Centre yet after the arson attack in March that completely destroyed it, though we have now levelled the site and have submitted our ideas to the architects.

2013 - our once-mighty Youth Centre has now been levelled to the ground

While we wait for our new centre to be constructed, we are teaming up with our new best-friends – the Salvation Army Corps of Dulwich Hill – to open a new Youth Centre in our area, based on their premises! :-)

It’s a true joint venture. The Salvo’s are providing their wonderful space and are also contributing a youth worker. We are contributing more team members and lots of equipment, including a new boxing ring! I guess the Salvos are also counting on us to supply a truck-load of kids, and I trust that we won’t disappoint! ;-)

At any rate, we have scheduled our grand opening for Sunday July 28. We’ll probably start with a lunch-time BBQ and continue till early evening.

I know that some of our Koori friends have expressed enthusiasm with regards to providing a band. My idea was to celebrate the opening by having a last-man-standing bout with Fighting Father Caine!

Either way, we’ll hopefully also have clowns and jumping castles and sticky food and lots of other great party stuff! It will be a great opportunity to put the ashes of the past behind us as we forge ahead with new initiatives of service to the young people of our region! :-)

Binacrombi Needs YOU!

I mentioned last week that our beloved Binacrombi caretaker, Geoff, is leaving for New Zealand and that we are looking for teams of people to run weekends down there.

I’ve had a handful of people express interest, but now I really need those of you who are interested to get down there before the end of this month (when Geoff leaves) and get trained in how to run the site!

It’s not easy! We have our own eco-system at Binacrombi. We are not connected to the power-grid, the gas-grid or to any mainline water or sewerage system. You need to know how our generators, gas system and water-piping system works, and you can only really learn through hands-on experience.

So if you’re keen please book in over the next few weeks and let’s make Binacrombi the greatest adventure camp for young people in the Southern hemisphere!

I’m selling my websites

OK, I’m not selling all of them, but with Fighting Father Jim now gone (see last week’s post) it’s going to be impossible to maintain so many of my traditional sites.

I have at least three ‘mininets’ of sites that I’m willing to part with. All are useful and informative sites that can also generate a significant income through Adsense ads etc. These site networks are currently being under-utilised as I just don’t have time to maintain and develop them any more. They cover topics such as child custody and drug addiction.

Each of these mininets offers a significant public service and each has generated up to $1,000 per month at different times. At the moment though they aren’t generating more than a few hundred per month between them, but if you were willing to put the necessary time and energy into them …

Interested? Send me an email and we’ll work something out.

Mother Agnes’ gives us the Good Word

OK. It’s high-time I got back to more spiritual matters.

Last week we had the privilege of having Mother Agnes join us for worship at Holy Trinity, Dulwich Hill, and it was a wonderful service!

Here’s a pic of our liturgical team just before the start of the service.

2013 - Mother Anges joins us for worship at Holy Trinity

Some said that it was the greatest service they had experienced at Holy Trinity. Mother Agnes, for her part, said that it had ‘all the grandeur of the Byzantine liturgy’.

I’m sorry I can’t give you a recording of the whole service but I have got Mother Agnes’ sermon for you. Enjoy! :-)

[imaioVideo v=1]

(if you can’t see the video above, click here)

OK guys. That’s it for me this week.

As expected I’m now in Malaysia. I’ve just met with the Under Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and am soon to head off for dinner with dear Dr Muzzafer!

So I’ll hold off on the details of all that till next week.

Until then, I remain …

Your brother in the Good Fight,

Dave
www.fatherdave.org
www.fighting-fathers.com
www.zerocostwebsite.net
www.prayersforsyria.com
www.israelandpalestine.org
www.how2changetheworld.com

P.S. And as I’m apt to remind you, if you’d like to support our work, the best way is to become a financial member at fighting-fathers.com. It only costs you $10/month but it makes all the difference at this end!

Please follow and like us:

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Weekly Missive – June 21st, 2013

Hi Fighter,

I’m beginning this missive from a small room in a monastery on the outskirts of Canberra.

Yes, I’m in the nation’s capital today and tomorrow, accompanying Mother Agnes as she appeals to Australian political leaders not to fuel the fire in Syria.

with-agnes-and-carmel

I don’t know how closely you’ve been following developments in Syria over the last few days and weeks but things are certainly hotting up!

The key developments are:

  • The Syrian Army won a major victory at al-Qusayr.
  • The Assad government thus seems to be winning the war.
  • The US has therefore decided to channel more weapons to the rebels!

This is the long and short of it, though the US is not admitting that they are acting out of a desire to see their side win. Rather, US officials are saying that the evidence for Syrian Weapons of Mass Destruction all of a sudden looks a lot more credible!

To my mind, FSA+USA=WWIII

In other words, Obama’s decision to give military support to the ‘Free Syrian Army’ (FSA) is a choice for World War III!

My reasoning is straight forward:

  • By arming the FSA Obama is ensuring that the war will continue
  • As the war continues, so does both the death toll and the refugee crisis
  • The refugee crisis, if it expands any further, will destroy Lebanon
  • Further death and displacement will likewise destroy Syria
  • Iran will not allow its only two allies to go down without a fight
  • Iran, Syria and Lebanon will therefore have to declare war on the US and Israel and whoever joins them.
  • The rest of the world will inevitably get drawn in to what will become a battle between East and WestMuslim vs. Christian.

Anyway, for all of the above reasons I am down in Canberra with Mother Agnes and we’re chatting cordially with political heavies from all sides of politics.

with-tony-abbot

From here we head back to Sydney and have a big fundraiser dinner. If you haven’t heard the details about that, you can download the flyer here.

On Sunday (June 23) we’ll be having Mother Agnes join us for prayer and worship at Holy Trinity and we’d love to have you join us.

with-kevin-rudd

One serendipitous moment yesterday happened when I was slumped on a bench in the foyer of Parliament House. I was only half-awake when someone approached me and thrust out his hand, saying “Kevin“. It was former Aussie PM, Kevin Rudd!:-)

PrayersforSyria.com

I want to thank everybody for their suggestions regarding which of the three domain names I should use to set up my new Syria site (www.syria.net.co, www.newsinsyria.com or www.syriaupdate.com).

For better or worse, I decided to drop all three domain names and go for one that targeted the religious community – www.prayersforsyria.com.

Please take some time to look over some of the articles, press releases and videos on my new site.  I’d particularly like to draw your attention to:

Of course, the fact that I have chosen a different domain name from the three I originally purchased means that the others are available for anyone who wants to build their own Syria website. Just go to ZeroCostWebsite.net, sort out a hosting package and get back to me. I’ll be happy to contribute one of the above-mentioned domain names if you can put it to good use.

Big changes at Binacrombi

The other big news for us at Fighting Fathers Ministries at the moment is that we are losing our beloved caretaker family from Binacrombi Bush Camp.

Geoff and Laura and the boys will be relocating to New Zealand at the end of July, and while we wish them well in their new life, Binacrombi will be mourning their loss.

My plan, for the short term at least, is to try and run Binacrombi without a full-time caretaker family on site. Instead I am hoping that we can have teams of people go down on weekends and open up the place for our clients.

Let me know if you’re interested in being a part of a team. The pay will not be huge but if you’re looking for challenge and adventure, this is the place to find it!

A first aid certificate and a basic level of mechanical expertise is requisite for anybody who would like to lead one of the teams.

Farewell to Jim

It is a month for sad farewells. Last week we also had to say goodbye to our beloved webmaster, Fighting Father Jim.

Fighting Father Jim

A sad farewell to Fighting Father Jim

Jim is relocating to Melbourne with his partner, Kiko, from where he will be continuing his creative work. He wish him every blessing and strength for the future.

The other sad farewell we have made this week is to the shell of our beloved Youth Centre – now bulldozed to the ground with so many memories buried beneath it!

Rather than show you scenes of the demolition, let me instead offer you this picture of students from Petersham Public School, gathered on the street in front of our old hall.

Petersham Public raised over $500 towards our reconstruction through a cake stall.

students from Petersham Public School

students from Petersham Public School

Similar thanks go to so many friends in the community who have contributed towards our rebuilding. Let me mention by name:

  • Dulwich Hill Public School ($700)
  • Petersham Preschool (who sold mulch from their garden to raise $274)
  • St Paul of the Cross Catholic Church ($500)
  • Jack Wardana and his group of ‘poppers’ ($845)

For those who don’t know what ‘popping‘ is, it’s a type of rap dancing, and ‘Popping Jack’ was using our church hall to teach a lot of our local young people to ‘pop’ before the fire. I’m thinking we should have a dedicated popping room when we eventually rebuild.

Mussalaha for Syria!

Let me conclude today with Fighting Father Denning‘s teaser clip of his upcoming documentary on our trip to Syria. ‘Mussalaha‘ (for those who might have forgotten) means ‘reconciliation’ in Arabic, and our trip to Syria was as a part of a Mussalaha delegation.

[imaioVideo v=1]

If you can’t view this video, click here.

Please pray for mussalaha for Syria and pray for the work of Mother Agnes. And please join us at Holy Trinity this Sunday if you’re in the area. I’m hoping that we’ll have many members of the Syrian community come along to meet Mother Agnes and that it will be a truly multicultural worship experience.

We start at 9.15am (or shortly thereafter ).

Until then I remain …

Your brother in the Good Fight,

Dave
www.fatherdave.org
www.fighting-fathers.com
www.zerocostwebsite.net
www.prayersforsyria.com
www.israelandpalestine.org
www.how2changetheworld.com

P.S. And as I’m apt to remind you, if you’d like to support our work, the best way is to become a financial member at fighting-fathers.com. It only costs you $10/month but it makes all the difference at this end!

Please follow and like us:

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Monday Missive – March11th, 2013

Hi Fighter,

It’s Father Dave back with you again, and I must confess that I’m feeling a little tired and overwhelmed this week.

  • I’m anxious about the Boot Camp.

As you’ll remember, our Boot Camp is scheduled for two weekends’ time – March 22 to 24.  We are pouring a great deal of time and energy (and money) into this event and I am determined to make it the greatest bush adventure that our young people have ever experienced!

We still have spare cabin accommodation if you’d like to join us at Binacrombi. The details are all on this poster.  Get back to me ASAP if you want to join us.

  • I’m unsure about the trip to Syria

I only got off the phone from speaking to Mother Agnes about an hour ago. She’s in Beirut at the moment but is about to head back into Syria.

It seems that our Mussalaha (‘reconciliation’) visit is back on and scheduled for next month. Our visit is apparently being merged with a larger peace conference, attracting hundreds of delegates from around the world!

I am unsure as to whether I should be going. My original intention was solely to support the work of Mother Agnes. It seems now that the project has taken on broader political dimensions that I don’t fully understand. Please pray for wisdom for Denning and myself, and feel free to hit me back with your thoughts.

  •  I’m confused about Wikileaks

I’ve met again with John (Julian Assange’s dad) and this time we met up with another old friend of mine, Jamal Doud – a Palestinian Muslim man who has more insight into the situation in the Middle East than any other human being I know.

I had been thinking that Jamal was going to be the Wikileaks candidate for our area and that I’d be supporting him. That suited me fine. I appreciate though that Jamal is a fighter who leads with his chin (as we say in the game) and so is not a natural politician. The problem is that I’m not a politician either (God forbid!). Of course, Julian Assange isn’t a politician either and that’s what makes the Wikileaks Party so attractive!

I’m not sure where this is all going but there’s talk at this stage of me heading over to London to meet up with Julian and give him a few boxing lessons. I think that would be a great way to develop our relationship. :-)

The local Wikileaks team - John Shipton, Jamal Doud and me!

The local Wikileaks team – John Shipton, Jamal Doud and me!

  • I’m excited about Friday’s Fight Night

Four of our team will be fighting this Friday night at the Randwick Labor Club (135 Alison Road) and I am expecting big things from them.

    • Reza Sazesh – our strongest amateur – will be having his sixth fight and I’m expecting a strong win.
    • Fighting Father Caine Pennell – Pastor of the Church of the Nazarene in Enmore and senior youth worker at Trinitys Youth Centre – will be having his third fight. Again, I’m expecting a strong win.
    • Asher Caroll is only 16 years old but has been boxing with us for more than a year. He’ll be making his debut.
    • Rampaging Kath Briggs (pictured below) will be having her third fight. Kath had her first fight with us when she was only 13. She’s now in her 30’s and is  a hot tip for the Australian Commonwealth Games team (nb. Kath is the larger of the two fighters pictured).
Kath Briggs and her lovely daughter, Sarah

Rampaging Kath Briggs and her lovely daughter, Sarah

The action starts at 7pm if you can join us. Proceeds from the night go to Hope Street Baptist Church’s ‘Urban Compassion Project’ – a worthy cause indeed!

Dueling Preachers!

It’s a bizarre coincidence that Sunday’s Gospel reading centered around a story Jesus told that began “a man had two sons” (Luke 15:11).

My dad actually had three sons, but two of them have preached at Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill in the last two weeks and I thought I’d put us side by side in a sort of ‘preach off’

Dueling Preachers

No, we’re not preparing to wrestle each other.

My brother Rob preached two weeks ago on Luke 13:1-8. I preached last Sunday on the three parables in Luke 15. You’ll find both sermons below.

Rob’s style is very different to mine. Rob is also an Anglican priest but he dresses differently, speaks differently and has a different slant on things altogether.  I’ll be keen to get your feedback on the dueling preachers. Leave your comments below please.

For those who don’t know, I must mention too that Rob is an amazing musician and has had more hits in the music world than I’ve had in the boxing ring! You can hear some sample of Rob’s music on his website.

[imaioVideo v=1]

If you can’t view the video above, click here.

Please be warned that there is one and a half minutes of video missing from my sermon below.  It’s right at the beginning. Don’t bother adjusting your controls. It won’t help. 

[imaioVideo v=2]

If you can’t view the video above, click here.

That’s plenty from me for this week.

Let me conclude by encouraging you again to participate in our online members’ forum.

There’s been plenty more provocative discussion over the last week on the topic of religion vs. science. I’ve also put out a challenge to discuss one of my favourite philosophical papers on the subject of science and language. Unfortunately I don’t seem to be capturing anybody’s imagination yet. 

Be reminded that it is a members-only forum, and yes, membership will cost you $10/month BUT, as I’ve mentioned before:

  • This means that the forum has NO SPAM on it!
  • Your $10/month is what keeps this work going

May the Lord bless and strengthen you for the work to which you have been called

Your brother in the Good Fight,

Dave
www.fatherdave.org
www.fighting-fathers.com
www.israelandpalestine.org
www.how2changetheworld.com

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About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Monday Missive – November 12th, 2012

Hi Fighter!

You’ll have to forgive me if it’s a rather bare-knuckle missive this week – no pics, no videos, nothing fancy. I’m afraid it’s been that sort of week for me – a bare-knuckle bash!.

There hasn’t been any literal violence. It’s been more of a spiritual stoush.

Mind you, I did fear that some real blows were going to be thrown a few days back when Judas (whom I mentioned last week) showed up again at our Youth Centre.

I must tell you about it as it ended up being almost humorous (in a tragic kind of way).

Racism in the Youth Centre?

Our boy is now wanted by the police for a number of incidents (and suspected of a number more) and I have banned him from the premises of our Youth Centre for the most obvious of reasons. He compromises the safety of the other children!

I confronted him as soon as I saw him enter the premises and asked him to leave. He wanted to argue his case with me, claiming:

  1. That he had smoothed over all issues with the police and that they were now not charging him with anything (which I knew was garbage).

  2. That since he hadn’t actually assaulted anybody on our premises (yet), none of his acts of violence and intimidation should affect his standing with the Youth Centre.

  3. That I had no right to ban him from our premises because the Youth Centre belonged to the church as a whole and that therefore only the congregation as a whole could ban him!

You have to give this guy points for ingenuity!

Of course my response was that his issues with the police were not resolved, that I didn’t care where his crimes had been committed, and that as far as he was concerned I was the church.

At this point Judas dug down deep and came out with what he considered to be the verbal equivalent of a knock-out punch. You’re being RACIST!” he cried.

I have seen this trump card played so many times now and yet it never ceases to amaze me that these kids seem to expect me to take them seriously when they play it!

I still remember one of the girls we banned, walking out of the Youth Centre with one fist held defiantly in the air, crying STAY BLACK!”

The girl in question had been involved in numerous thefts and assaults and had just stolen a brand new motor-bike from one of our Youth Centre staff ! I’m still scratching my head trying to work out how she construed that our taking exception to her actions had anything to do with the colour of her skin!

In the case of young Judas, I think his parents are Egyptian. The kids he’s been beating up on are Islander kids, and (for what it’s worth) they are certainly ‘blacker’ than he is. Playing the race card just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me in this context!

Anyway, in terms of my bare-knuckle week, this was more like the comedy relief than a stoush. The real battle-front was at Binacrombi.

For your Prayers

I don’t know if this is your experience, but I find that whenever I attempt something creative that could really make a difference, everything always starts going wrong!

I know that some people will think me superstitious but I believe there’s a spiritual dimension to this sort of thing. If you make a direct assault on an enemy stronghold, you get resistance!

The ‘assault’ was in terms of a decision we made last week to launch a series of youth camps down at Binacrombi in 2013. The ‘Fighting Fathers Warrior Weekends’ will combine fitness workouts, boxing training and spiritual reflection. We’ll be calling on some of Australia’s greatest boxers to help us lead the camps – men who will not only be able to impart their pugilistic expertise to their young charges but who will also function as mentors and role-models. We’ll draw our clients from boxing clubs, youth centres, refuges and anywhere else we can find young people who need inspiration and direction.

The vision has been taking form for a while. Last week I spent a night at Binacrombi talking it through with Fighting Father Geoff (our onsite manager). We committed ourselves to the project and to a timeline. Within days we’d taken so many hits that we were tempted to throw in the towel!

I won’t go into all the details, but the culminating blow was when Geoff and Laura had a vehicle accident that could have been very serious!

Oil slicks on dirt roads are tricky at the best of times. When you hit one just after a rain-storm has started there is little you can do to maintain control of the vehicle. Thanks be to God that Geoff and Laura avoided going off the side of the ravine where they were.

The vehicle isn’t in great condition. Geoff and Laura were shaken but not disheartened!
As we say in the game, they were down but not out!

I would appreciate your prayers for both Geoff and Laura and for the Warrior Weekend program of 2013. The time has come for us to offer Australian youth a real alternative to the culture of reality TV and virtual violence! Let’s get our young people back to basics, back to nature, and back to building real relationships with real men and women!

OK … I’ll get down from my pulpit. You get the idea. The bottom line is that we are not going to step back from this one. We’ve got a great team and a great venue and it’s time to do something great together – something that we can all be proud of!

Prayers for Peace

Of course ours battles at Binacrombi are only small skirmishes in a much larger theatre of hostilities. I’m conscious of the fact that the US elections have been the focus of attention for most of the world in this last week.

I confess that I am glad to see Mr Obama back for another term. That’s not because I think he’s the Messiah. Indeed, for all I know my Republican friends may be right and he may be the man to bankrupt the US economy. Even so, I believe that he’s also less likely to lead us into World War III. Indeed, I think Uri Avnery is entirely correct when he says that Obama’s re-election means that any plans for an Israeli attack on Iran are off the table, and this is something to be thankful for!

I appreciate that we don’t all see eye-to-eye on these matters of course, and I’ve been encouraged to see some healthy debate on the forum of late. Please keep the discussion going!

Pray for me!

And put in a prayer for me as I take on the formidable Fighting Father Rod Walker at the Randwick Labor Club this Friday night. I’m not asking that you pray for me to win but just that we both perform to the best of our ability and that we don’t do too much damage to each other!

It’s a rematch! If you missed the original stoush you can see it here.

Rod is a great man and a great man of faith and, in truth, I’d sooner lose a bout to Rod than to anybody else I can think of. Even so, I’m planning on coming home with another win, but I know it won’t come easily.

If you’d like to join us, the show starts at 7pm, and Fighting Fathers Caine and Mungo and Kath will be performing as well as myself and Rod. The address is 135 Alison Road, Randwick. Tickets are $40, with all proceeds go to support the Urban Compassion project of Hope Street Baptist Church.

Heading to America

My plans for a trip to the USA to support our friend and parishioner, Sol Egberime, in his fight against Paul Spodafora are slowly coming together.

At present I’m thinking to arrive in Washington D.C. on Tuesday 27th November and leaving (probably from Chicago) on Wednesday December 5th.

These plans are tentative and open to change. I’m hoping to touch base with as many friends and subscribers as possible in my brief sojourn this time, while hopefully indulging myself with a few visits to US Civil War battlefields (a passion of mine that not everybody may be familiar with).

Anyway, hit me back if you think I’ll be coming through your area, and be assured that I don’t mind taking a hefty detour for a good home-cooked meal!

OK. That’s enough bare-knuckle brutality for one week!

May the Lord bless and strengthen you for the work to which you have been called.

Your brother in the Good Fight,

Dave
dave@fatherdave.org

www.fatherdave.org

www.fighting-fathers.com

www.how2changetheworld.com

P.S. As I’m apt to remind you, if you’d like to support our work, the best way is to become a financial member at fighting-fathers.com. It only costs you $10/month but it makes all the difference at this end!

P.P.S. A big apology to everybody who tried to join us for our worship service last Sunday on church.tv. Apparently the church.tv servers in the US went down just at the time we began. We’ll be back on the air next Sunday at 9.15am (Sydney time). Take out a free membership at church.tv if you want to join in.

 

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About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four