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!

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Monday Missive – April 8th, 2013

Hi Fighter,

It’s Father Dave back with you and I must tell you that I’ve had a very full and exciting week,  climaxing in the fourth birthday of my youngest daughter, Francesca, last Saturday! :-)

Francesca with Imogen on her 4th birthday! (click for full size)

Francesca turns four! (click for full-size)

Having been blessed with four children, I’ve been through the whole turning 4 experience a few times now, and yet the wondrous joy of it all still confronts me afresh.

I remember when Veronica was that age and how she told me one night that she thought she’d grown up enough and was quite happy to stop where she was. I thought it was a great idea too at the time.

For better for for worse though it never works like that. Time like an ever-rolling stream presses forward and there’s no going back. Even so, every time a new child joins us we get the opportunity to relive the wonders of childhood all over again through them! :-)

Zerocostwebsite.net

It’s not nearly as exciting, but we did give birth to a new website this week too!

Thank you to everyone who shared their feedback and suggestions regarding the homepage video for the site. In accordance with your advice, we’re sticking with the smaller video option. And if you have no idea what I’m talking about , just visit the site: www.zerocostwebsite.net.

The idea behind the site (in case you can’t guess) is that we build a website for you at zero cost. Naturally you have to pay for a domain name and for a hosting package, but the nuts and bolts construction of the site will be done by us at no charge.

My vision is that this process will eventually result in a lot more people joining our online community at www.fighting-fathers.com. That’s the hope.  Even so, you are welcome to take up the offer whether you intend to join our online community or not. Take note though that this offer is for personal sites only and naturally we will not build hate sites, porn sites, etc. Got it? Great! Go and claim your free site!

We do also have a system in place for building business sites with no up-front cost but you’ll need to contact me directly if you want to find out more about that.

Heading to Syria!

The other big news for me is that the Syria trip is back on!

I can’t share the exact dates or details at this stage but I will say that it’s all scheduled to take place within the next month!

The proposed program involves spending time with the ‘Mussalaha’ (‘reconciliation’) teams on the ground in Damascus and elsewhere in Syria. We’ll also be visiting Syrian and Palestinian refugee camps and meeting with church and community leaders both in Damascus and in Beirut.

Fighting Father Denning is planning on coming with me and will document the visit on video.  We’ll be keeping you up to date through this missive and other email contact as we go (depending on Internet access of course).

I’m delighted to add that the visiting delegation is going to be led by Maread Maguire (who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976 for her reconciliation work in Northern Ireland). She’s a personal hero of mine and a woman I have always wanted to meet. :-)

I give thanks to God that we’ve been invited to be a part of this exciting mission and I ask you to support us with your prayers – both for our safety and that we might make a meaningful contribution to the cause of peace for the suffering people of Syria.

The Amazing Boot Camp Video!

There’s no sermon video for you this week (as I didn’t preach last Sunday) but I’ve got something far more exciting for you – Denning’s 3-minute documentary video of our first ‘Fighting Fathers’ Warrior Weekend’.

The only thing that concerns me with this video is that Denning has used a musical backing track that we don’t have copyright to. If anyone knows how we can pay someone the appropriate copyright fee (if we need to) I’d be grateful for the advice. Either way, enjoy the video and I hope it inspires you to join us for the next camp!

[imaioVideo v=1]

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

I will NOT fight for Queen and Country

In conclusion today, let me point you to another inspiring video – this one of a short speech given to the ‘Oxford Union’ by Ben Griffin – a former SAS soldier and now a spokesman for ‘Veterans for Peace’. His topic is I will not fight for Queen and Country!

The video is on the Fighting Fathers’ Member Site but you don’t need to be a member to access this one. Even so, while you’re there, why not sign up and keep the work of the Fighting Fathers going. It’s only $10/month.

I’ll see you next week.

Until then, I remain …

Your brother in the Good Fight,

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

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Monday Missive – March 25th, 2013

Hi Fighter,

It’s Father Dave back with you – a little worn and weary after our explosive Boot Camp weekend at Binacrombi – but feeling very much alive! :-)

It was a magnificent experience!

I don’t want to get too carried away but I could eulogize on the joys of the weekend for a few missives if I allowed myself:

  • the workouts
  • the relationships
  • the wonderful catering
  • the beauty of the environment

All added up to a weekend that everybody who participated deeply appreciated.

And it wasn’t just us hardened pugs who benefited. We had about a dozen children, including a number of pre-schoolers.  Indeed, I was planning on sharing one of my favourite snaps from the weekend which pictured three of our young girls proudly showing off the ‘fairy castle’ that they’d constructed for their dolls out of stones on the property!:-)

Unfortunately that pic is on Ange’s phone which she seems to have misplaced, so you’ll have to wait until she recovers her phone before you can see that exciting image.

In the meantime, here are some other excellent shots:

Below is our Boot Camp leader, Mick Richards (right) with Fighting Father Mungo. Mick is one of the most professional trainers I’ve ever met and is certainly the least pretentious!

Mungo (left) with Mick Richards

click to see the full-size image

We didn’t see a lot of Mick strolling about and looking relaxed like that. He was normally standing over us with a stop-watch or throwing a medicine ball at us!

Below is a pic of Mick with big Trent in the Binacrombi Wrestling Cage, doing an intensive punching and fitness workout!

Mick Richards takes Trent on a pads workout

click the pic to see the image full-size

I’ll tell you how Mick structured out Saturday so that you have an idea of how the Boot Camp training works:

  • Session 1 was a 45-minute intensive workout on the punching bags and weights equipment.
  • Session 2 was a one-hour run across Binacrombi’s hills and valleys in the heat of the day.

We then broke for lunch (exhausted).

  • Session three was 45 minutes of hill running, where we had to do our best to sprint 250 meters up a steep hill, jog back down, and then do some intensive upper-body exercises before shooting straight up the hill again. I don’t remember 45 minutes every lasting so long! 
  • The last session involved one-on-one work with Mick in the wrestling cage, alternating with sparring in the boxing ring. This lasted until everybody collapsed in a screaming heap and then gradually crawled back to the dining room for some sustenance. 

My account probably isn’t enthusing anybody to join us for the next camp but, in truth, everybody who came enjoyed it so much that they determined to bring friends next time! :-)

Mick said at the beginning that his job was to help us each ‘find our engines’ and, in truth, we all found them!

One of the personal highlights for me was having Dimitri Patsouris as my guest on the camp. I made my professional boxing debut with Dimitri (then ‘Jimmy Pat‘) back in 1996!

What is so special about this is that Dimitri didn’t have a lot of love for me at the time of our fight in ’96. Indeed, he didn’t want to shake my hand after the fight!  But since that time Dimitri has become a man of faith and has developed into an enormously big-hearted human being! :-)

The weekend climaxed for me with doing three rounds with Dimitri, who hasn’t lost any of his skills. The disheartening factor for me was that he’s now more than 30 kilograms heavier than me, and packs one helluva right hand! 

Dimitri Patsouris lines me up for a big right!

click the pic to see it full-size

I wish I’d taken some group shots of all of us together. Unfortunately I was in the middle of it all the whole time, so didn’t really get a chance! Fighting Father Denning though had an injured foot and spent a lot of time videoing the weekend. He should have a watchable version for us real soon!

In the meantime, here’s a pic of our boy, Sol Egberime, sparring with one of the hardest workers on the weekend – Nadine, whom I believe was German women’s welterweight champion.

Sol Egberime and Nadine

click the pic to see it full-size

Our next Boot Camp is scheduled for May 10th to 12th. Let me know ASAP if you’d like to join us! I can pretty much guarantee that we can help you find your engine! :-)

ZeroCostWebsite.net

There’s no sermon video this week as I wasn’t preaching.

We did have a wonderful time of prayer and worship at the Boot Camp, with Fighting Fathers Caine and Geoff doing the leading and preaching, respectively, and me presiding at the Eucharist. Even so, there’s no video.

What I do have for you this week is a new website that Fighting Father Jim and I have been working on for a while.

It’s not fully completed yet but it’s in the BETA testing phase. In other words, it’s good enough for me to show to my mates – that is, YOU:-)

The purpose of the site is pretty straightforward. We’re trying to build zero-cost websites for good people like yourself and we’re hoping that it’s going to be productive and viable.  We need your feedback though before we go any further.

Could you do me a favour please and check out zerocostwebsite.net?

The offer of the free site on there is genuine and if you’d like to sign up for one you can. Either way, could you please also check out my alternative homepage for the site which you’ll find here.

When you compare the two pages you’ll see that one uses full-screen video and one uses a normal framed video.

I personally like the full-screen version as I feel it helps me to relate to the viewer better. Jim finds the full-screen version intimidating and thinks it will turn people away.  What do you think?  Both Jim and I would sincerely value your opinion.

OK, it’s time for me to get some sleep, fighter. I’ll see you next week!

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

P.S. Last week I mentioned the death of my dear friend, Grace Reppion. If you’d like to join us for the funeral, we’ll begin at Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill this Wednesday morning at 10am.

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Monday Missive – January 28th, 2013

Hi Fighter,

It’s Father Dave, back with you again on a wet and balmy January evening in Sydney.

As is the pattern in Australia, the weather shifts between passionate extremes – going from hot and dusty to a flood situation in a matter of hours!

Every January is like this – floods in the north of the country and bush-fires in the south. We in the middle tend to be blessedly spared most of the calamities. Indeed, the only negative impact the weather has had on me today is that it blocked me from doing my Monday half-marathon, which is a shame as I had about half a dozen lads from the church and Fight Club who were going to join me tonight. Never mind. There’s always next week!

Mind you, next week I head off to Syria too. I think I will be taking my running shoes with me, but I might leave the boxing gloves behind.

Getting Ready for Syria

I want to offer my heartfelt thanks to everybody who has sent words of encouragement for the Syria trip. In truth, I’ve been quite overwhelmed by the show of support!

I’m afraid I need to be a little vague at this stage about my precise itinerary. There are understandable security concerns for our peace delegation, but I do intend to keep you up-to-date every step of the way if I can, most probably through this blog if I can get consistent Internet access.

One exciting piece of news that I can tell you is that it appears that Fighting Father Denning (my noble assistant) may well be coming with me!

Denning’s hope is that he’ll be able to film everything we do there and put together a documentary of the event. I think this would be fantastic, and could be invaluable to us in our efforts to spread the words about the ‘Mussalaha‘ (reconciliation) program when we return.

As for the many of you who have expressed grave fears for our safety, let me assure you that our delegation will apparently be accompanied by an armed escort everywhere we go – by government troops when we are in government-controlled areas and by rebel security forces when we are in rebel-held areas.

In all seriousness, I think the obvious protection we have on this mission is that it not in the interest of either side of the Syrian conflict to have us hurt. Both the government and the rebels are working hard on their public image, and it won’t look good for either side to be responsible for the deaths of a Nobel Peace Prize winner and a group of prominent bishops and other clergy!

Indeed, the only persons who could stand to benefit from our peace delegation having an accident would be power-brokers in my own country or in those of our ‘allies’ outside of Syria who benefit from having the country in turmoil. Keep that in mind, and if anything does happen and you hear that ‘the regime’ is to blame, don’t believe it!

Anyway, I’m not going to think further on that tonight as I have something far more weighty on my mind!

Geale vs. Mundine!

In truth, I don’t know if anyone outside of Australia (apart from truly fanatical boxing fans) would even know who these two characters are, but I can tell you that in this country Geale and Mundine are household names, though that’s not to say that most people would want both men in their households (and almost certainly NOT both at the same time)!

They are fighting this coming Wednesday night in Sydney. I will be in attendance, and I may be in a position to give you a free ticket. I’ll give you the details on how you can get that ticket before we end this missive, but first I want to talk about the fight!

There’s been a fair bit of antipathy shown in the lead-up to this fight, and a lot of that is just showmanship, but it has left a lot of people hating Anthony Mundine, and I get the feeling that a lot of the people who are buying tickets to the fight are doing so in order to see Anthony Mundine get his comeuppance!

Anthony 'the Man' Mundine, sparring with me at our box-a-thon, April 1st, 2012

Anthony ‘the Man’ Mundine, sparring with me at our box-a-thon, April 1st, 2012

Let me say straight up that I make no apologies for being a Mundine fan and supporter. He’s been a great supporter of our Youth Centre, has boxed with me on a number of occasions now to help us raise funds, and has never been anything but a gentleman in the respect he has shown me. Even so, I understand why he puts so many people off.

Anthony has been outspoken on a number of matters where I think he would have been well-advised to keep his opinions to himself, starting with his 9-11 comments given back in October 2001 (for which the US has never forgiven him) but by no means ending there. Indeed, at some points he seems to only open his mouth to change feet!

The lead-up to this latest fight has been a case in point. Anthony has said some things for which he later publicly apologised (such as comments about his opponent’s family) but the things he hasn’t apologised for were just as damaging.

He questioned Daniel Geale’s Indigenous heritage, and suggested that he should not wear an Aboriginal flag on his shorts! He even made the brash statement that “I thought they wiped all the Aborigines from Tasmania out”, and so managed to offend not just Geale (who is a Tasmanian) but the entire Indigenous community across our most southern state!

My feeling is that it really all comes down to Anthony trying to model himself on Muhammad Ali just a little too closely!

I appreciate that Anthony is fast like Ali was fast, and he has tried to emulate Ali’s graceful style as a boxer. He converted to Islam just as Ali did, and he’s tried to speak out on issues of faith and justice just as Ali did. The big difference though was that Ali had the charisma and the quick wit to pull it off, and Anthony just doesn’t have those qualities to the same degree!

Who can forget the way Ali tried to insinuate that George Foreman wasn’t really black, but that he might have some Dutch heritage. He did this in Zaire – in a country that had formerly been under Dutch colonial rule! It was a terrible thing to say, but he said it with that boyish twinkle in his eye, and you knew he wasn’t really serious, and you could not but think of him as a loveable rogue!

When Anthony questioned Geale’s ethnic heritage, he was trying to emulate the master. Indeed, he apparently even used the words ‘Old Tom’ at one point, which was the derogatory term Ali applied to Frazier in the lead-up to the ‘Thriller in Manilla’. The problem Mundine has is that he doesn’t have the twinkle in his eye, and so instead of coming across as a loveable rogue, he just comes across as a rogue!

OK. I wont’ say any more about the fight or the fighters today but I do want to tell you about the free tickets. Surprisingly perhaps, they’ve come to me courtesy of Mr Geale!

I’m being sent the tickets on Tuesday, and they’re earmarked for kids across this community who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford to go. Having said that, there may be some tickets left over and if there is, I’d love to have you join me.

The problem is that I won’t know how many tickets I have left over (if any) until Wednesday morning (ie. the day of the fight). So you’ll need to ring me or email me first thing on Wednesday to find out. If you do email me, make sure you include a phone number where we can reach you as I’ll need to work out how to get your ticket to you.

Faith and Fighting

I know that some people really struggle to understand how a committed peace-activist like myself can simultaneously love sports pugilism! In truth, it’s not an uncommon combination!

I will never forget my time out the front of Ashkelon Prison in April 2004. I was part of a peace protest made up mainly of Jewish students. We were standing outside the prison in which my dear friend, Mordechai Vanunu, had been detained for 18 years. We were waiting for his release and calling for an end to nuclear weapons in the Middle East.

There were thousands of us there, and at least 90% of those people were NOT friends of Morde’s. On the contrary, they were baying for his blood! There were soldiers with machine-guns everywhere. There were police cars and armored vehicles. Slogans were being chanted. Abuse was being shouted. The noise of the helicopters flying overhead was sometimes deafening! And what do you think I was talking about with my two buddies on the front line of that protest?

Who was going to win the fight between Anthony Mundine and Danny Green?

I’ll never forget those intense moments, and I’ll never forget that both of my Jewish mates that day were wrong about the fight! They both picked Green, just as most punters now are picking Geale. Personally, I’m not so sure, but I do think that it will be a larger-than-life event!

Jesus and Family Values!

I can’t offer you Sunday’s sermon today (as I’m afraid it wasn’t recorded this week) so I’m going to share with you one I did a couple of weeks ago that is almost guaranteed to annoy you!

It’s the sermon I gave on the first Sunday after Christmas, on the ‘Feast of the Holy Family’. My passage from Luke chapter 2 concerns the boyhood of Jesus, and it seems like the perfect occasion to get hold of our children and drill them on how to be more Christ-like!

But the truth is that the boyhood of Jesus offers us a rather shocking pattern for anyone to emulate! Do we really want our children to disappear for days at a time, only to show up in a Cathedral somewhere!

And this is just the thin edge of the wedge! All the glimpses we get of Jesus’ earthly family suggest that there was a lot of tension and turmoil there!

You’ve been warned!

[imaioVideo v=1]

(and if you can’t view the sermon, click here)

That’s plenty from me today, fighter.

Please keep me in your prayers as I do you.

Your brother in the Good Fight,

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

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Monday Missive – January 14th, 2013

Hi Fighter!

It’s Father Dave and it’s good to be back with you for another week.

Before I say anything else today let me thank you for your prayers for Bernie!

There was a torrent of prayerful response to last week’s missive where I mentioned my time with a dear man named Bernie. Without wanting to intrude into his privacy, let it suffice to say that after he left me some very positive things happened for him that resulted in him returning home safely. Thanks be to God!

And special thanks to Fighting Father Tony, who helped me track Bernie down. It was a chase that took me on a circuitous route through boarding-houses and places in suburban Sydney where I had never been before. Even so, the quest had a happy outcome! Thank you!

Your Prayers Requested

I have an opportunity to embark on another exciting quest next month, but I’m currently quite unsure about whether I should go and would value your prayers and your feedback.

I’ve been invited to go to Damascus (in Syria) to be a part of an international peace delegation. The venture is being organised by dear Mother Agnes of Homs, who you will remember came and shared with us here at Holy Trinity late last year.

Father Dave and Mother Agnes

Mother Agnes is one of this world’s great saints – a woman who has put her body on the line for the sake of the people of Syria and for the sake of peace. And the international delegation she has pulled together is going to be headed up by another hero of mine – Mairead Maguire – the woman who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1974 for her magnificent work as a peacemaker in Northern Ireland!

I must admit that I would happily travel half way around the world to meet Ms Maguire, and I expect I probably could make a useful contribution in terms of drawing attention to what’s happening at the grass-roots in Syria. At the same time though the timing is very bad for the parish here. We have a Confirmation service scheduled and all sorts of other significant events looming at around that time.

If I do go to Damascus I will be there for my 51st birthday! It is weird to think that I might spend my birthday in a warzone. Even so, as students of the New Testament know, the Road to Damascus has a history as a place of great spiritual encounter! What better place to celebrate?!

The Baptism of Jesus

I’ve got another sermon for you this week. Yesterday was the day the church traditionally remembers the ‘Baptism of Jesus’ – an event that I must admit has never inspired me!

I went through my pile of old sermons and discovered (to my horror) that I had never preached on this topic before either! I’ve been a professional preacher now for 25 years! How did I manage to avoid Jesus’ baptism for all this time!

No matter! I determined that I must do it and I spent many, many hours reading through scholarly material on the subject and turning it all over in my head. Eventually something clicked for me!

I’ll warn you in advance though that all I really do with the sermon is retrace the steps I took to come to terms with the passage. I had feared that this might make the whole sermon a bit too academic. Even so, a surprising number of people told me that they found it very helpful.

I’d be grateful for any comments you might leave on the blog. I’ve had some excellent constructive criticism from people who have watched me preach lately and would welcome more!

[imaioVideo v=1]

If you’re having trouble seeing the video, click here.

A couple more quick things before I wind up this week:

Firstly, I mentioned the great Mother Agnes above. You might not know that Fighting Father Denning created a DVD of the talks she gave here on what’s really going on in Syria.

You can watch each of these sessions separately on our YouTube channel, but if you’d rather have them in higher quality on a DVD I have a few copies left! Paypal us $10 to cover postage we’ll send you the DVD at no extra charge. The Fighting Fathers Paypal address dave [AT] fatherdave.org (nb. replace [AT] with @).

Secondly, I would like to encourage all members of our online community to share their wisdom in our online forum.

There are two threads at the moment that I’d recommend in particular:

  • The first is the thread about gun control in the US. This has certainly been the most heated thread we have ever had on the forum. Even so, there is a lot of good information and a lot of wisdom contained there too.
  • The second is a thread started by Fighting Father Rob from Michigan and addresses issues of God and science and the reality of pain and injustice. In other words, it tackles the big issues!

I’d love to hear more on this latter thread from some of the professional theologians who are part of our online community. In truth, I’d love to hear more from everybody! C’mon! Get that light of yours out from underneath that bushel!

I’ll be back with you next week.

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

P.S. Thank you to new members who joined our member site (www.fighting-fathers.com) between this week and last. Your $10/month contribution makes an enormous difference.

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four