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