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 – 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 – September 24th, 2012

Hi Fighter,

It’s Father Dave, back with you again. I’ve finished my Monday run, grabbed something to eat, and I’m keen to touch base with you before I call it a night.

I hope you’ve had a good week. It’s been a big one for me, with three of my four girls returning from their overseas adventures, and we’ve had both Ange’s birthday and our wedding anniversary since they returned!

It’s also been a big week for human-rights activism in this part of the world, as we reach the conclusion of a week-long tour of this country by Israeli historian and activist, Professor Ilan Pappe.

Professor Pappe is one of those extraordinary characters whose convictions have led him to go against the grain of his own community. He is a Jewish man and was lecturing at an Israeli university, but his research into the history of the modern state of Israel led him to question the publicly accepted narrative – that his homeland had been a ‘land without a people’ when the state was formed in 1948. He subsequently went on to uncover and publish truths about the ethnic cleansing of Palestine that politicians had tried to keep from the rest of the world (including the Israeli public).

I am embarrassed to admit now that I didn’t make any significant effort to attend Pappe’s lecture at Sydney University, even though it is within walking distance of where we live. It was at an inconvenient time and I figured that I knew all he was going to say and that I didn’t need further motivation to support the cause of Palestinian human rights. I thought that it would be nice to actually shake his hand and have a picture taken with him, but I didn’t think that was really an adequate reason to upset my schedule. Now I wish I had the photo to show off to you as I’ve become a genuine Pappe fan!

I saw his performance on ‘Q&A‘, and it really affected me!

For those who don’t know Australia’s Q&A it is a live TV panel discussion, featuring five panelists and an adjudicator. I don’t know whether the professor knew that two of the other panelists who were on that night were specifically there to take him down, but I suppose he’s used to that sort of set up by now.

Pappe was articulate, passionate and direct! It was not an easy discussion, but he pulled no punches! It really brought home to me how difficult it can be for a Jewish man to speak out against the state of Israel.

It’s a unique situation. If I speak out against the Australian government, I’m not branded as a ‘self-hating Australian’, but Pappe is constantly branded as a self-hating Jew because of his opposition to Israeli government policy. He shrugs off this accusation when challenged with it, and responds humorously by saying that his wife thinks he has the opposite problem – ie. that he thinks too much of himself!

Anyway, I’ve added a 3-minute segment from the Q&A episode right below, and if you see nothing else of Pappe’s do watch this.

[imaioVideo v=1]

If you’d like to see more, I’ve created a compendium of recordings of Pappe’s TV and radio appearances in Australia on www.israelandpalestine.org, including a link to the complete version of the Q&A episode from which the above segment was taken.

My friend Terry (who I know is reading this missive) particularly recommends Pappe’s address to the National Press Club in Canberra. We were having lunch together on Friday and Terry was telling me how he was transfixed listening to Pappe.

Terry is a beautiful man but not someone who was especially familiar with the situation in Israel/Palestine. Pappe’s address to the National Press Club affected him deeply, as indeed I think this speaking tour has touched the lives of a great many people.

Let us pray that Pappe’s untiring work will indeed lead to great strides forward being made in the pursuit of justice and peace in the Middle East and across the globe.

Join the Discussion!

Will you do me a favour please? After you’ve taken a look at what Pappe has to say will you get on the forum and join the discussion?

I am deeply grateful to my brother Cibby for courageously making a post last week that challenged me on the issue of how we should respond to our Muslim sisters and brothers who have been involved in the recent protests and violence. I’m only sorry that we couldn’t get more people involved in that discussion!

I appreciate of course that there are at least two barriers to having more people publishing their thoughts:

The first is that you need to be a financial member of www.fighing-fathers.com in order to post to the forum. As I have said though, if you can’t afford the $10/month fee, I will organise a temporary membership for you that will cost you nothing (though of course if you can afford the $10/month I will be deeply grateful, as this is what keeps us going).

The second barrier is that many people are afraid to speak out on this subject, and I think this is the far greater problem!

I have had a number of good people say that they are not ready to have their name publicly associated with controversial political issues. In the case of one person, she believed that her job might be put at risk should she be seen as being sympathetic to Palestinians!

In response, I can only repeat the well-known quote: “The Only Thing Necessary for the Triumph of Evil is that Good Men Do Nothing”

The quote is often attributed to John F. Kennedy but most likely goes back to Irish political philosopher Edmund Bourke in the 18th Century. Either way, history itself proclaims this! Evil can only triumph so long as we keep our mouths shut!

So don’t keep your mouth shut! Speak out! Blog about your convictions! Share your insights with the world! And if you don’t feel ready to post to the Fighting Fathers Forum, then leave a comment at the end of this post (which requires no membership of anything) or leave a comment on www.israelandpalestine.org.

Join us on Sunday

I believe that this week coming we are finally, finally, finally going to video-cast our Sunday morning church service!

  • Fighting Father Jim has procured all the necessary equipment
  • Tests are being done to check that everything is operational
  • Our Parish Council has given consent for it to go ahead
  • Church.TV has provided us with our own channel!

I know I’ve been promising this for ages, and every time it looks like it’s going to happen something comes up to delay us, but this time …

Be warned though: I think this Sunday I’ll be preaching on my LEAST favourite book in the entire Bible – the Book of Esther!

Anyway … I’ll confirm by email later in the week if we’re going ahead and I’ll give you all the details then. Join my mailing list at www.fatherdave.org if you’re not on it already.

I think all you need to join in the broadcast is a free membership at church.tv. You can then have me preaching at you live in your living-room this Sunday!

Until then, 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. If you’re interested in pursuing further the question we were looking at last week as to why so many Muslim people around the world seem to be angry as hell right now with the United States and her allies, I recommend an excellent article that was published only a few days ago by former CIA analyst, Ray McGovern.

The article, entitled, Why the Mideast Exploded, Really, looks at the current explanations being given for Muslim anger and takes us back to George W. Bush’s infamous “Why do they hate us?” speech given after 9/11. It is detailed and comprehensive, and well worth the time you’ll take to read it.

P.P.S. And I’d love it if you could leave some comments about the article there too.

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four