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,
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