Weekly Missive – August 1st, 2013

G’day Fighter,

Let me begin today with a big thank you to everyone who responded to my job offer last week. Thank you for the emails. Thank you for the phone calls. Thank you for the prayers.

It was wonderful to have people making contact from around the globe, ready to make the big trip down-under. Serendipitously, I think we may have found the persons we are looking for much closer to home.

Having said that, this is an ongoing and expanding work and we are always going to be looking for new players on this team. If you’re interested in the work we do with young people and/or our activities in the bush, come and spend some time with us here.

Spend your next holiday break doing a Fighting Fathers apprenticeship! :-)

Thank you Bourke Street Bakery

Bourke Street Bakery, Kings Cross

Bourke Street Bakery, Kings Cross

A big thank you to Dave and all the team at Bourke Street Bakery for the fundraiser last Saturday night. These people donated their time, their restaurant and all the food to raise $3,650 towards our Youth Centre rebuild.

As I said on the night, with most of the businesses who support us there is some degree of reciprocity in the relationship. They support us financially and support their club or business by promoting their work or attending their events. In the case of Bourke Street Bakery, we give these people absolutely nothing, and yet they continue to support us!

with Will of the Bourke Street Bakery team

with Will of the Bourke Street Bakery team

They have been providing our Youth Centre kids with their left-over gourmet breads and pastries on a daily basis now for some years, and when our doors closed (or, rather, were burnt down) they found another way to support us! So … if you’re in Sydney, here is their website with the location of all their branches. Go and buy a loaf of bread from them and say ‘thank you’ from Father Dave’.

The Grand Reopening of the Youth Centre!

And speaking of the Youth Centre, this Sunday is the date of our grand re-opening! :-)

No, we haven’t built a new youth and community centre yet but what we have done is team up with the Salvo’s to launch an exciting new joint venture!

Captain Tara has named the venture “Alive and Free” and that captures something of the vision and energy that she and her husband, Captain Peter, are putting into the project. She’s also put together a poster that you can access here.

In terms of content, we will basically be returning to our familiar routine:

  • ·Youth drop-in Monday to Friday, 3pm to 6pm
  • ·Boxing training, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6.30pm and Sundays from 4pm
  • ·Sunday night prayer and worship to follow the boxing on Sundays

Actually, the Sunday night worship is something that we haven’t been doing in recent times, and the energy for this is again coming from our Salvo friends. Personally, I have always found prayer and pugilism to be a perfect partnership!

Anyway, it all starts this Sunday with doors opening at midday. There will be music and a BBQ and 2nd-hand clothing stalls and all sorts of good fun! The address is 46 Dulwich Street, Dulwich Hill (right on the corner of Marrickville Road and New Canterbury Roads).

I’ll be taking my gloves and am happy to do a couple of rounds with anyone who is willing to make a donation to the cause! I’ve already had a few challenges and, while I’m not in tip-top condition at the moment, I’m trusting that the occasion will nonetheless prove to be a fitting baptism for the new boxing ring!

putting together the new ring

Thanks to Matt and Suhail for all the help in putting this together!

Captains Peter and Tara and I celebrate the new ring!

Captains Peter and Tara and I celebrate the new ring!

Is God Incomprehensible and Irrelevant?

I want to share my Trinity Sunday address with you today – my sermon on the doctrine of the Trinity.

I appreciate that Trinity Sunday was some time ago, and I appreciate, moreover, that a sermon on the doctrine of the Trinity was probably not something you were looking for. After all, whether you are an orthodox Christian believer or not, what has the doctrine of the Trinity got to do with anything?

Big things are happening in our world at the moment:

  • Bradley Manning is being crucified for exposing US crimes
  • Israelis and Palestinians seem to be about to begin real negotiations.
  • The death toll in Syria has topped 100,000

What has the doctrine of the Trinity got to do with any of this?

Well … in my view the connections might be far more tangible than we might have thought.   Click below and get my take on the subject, if you dare!

[imaioVideo v=1]

And if you can’t view this video click here.

That’s enough from me for this week, fighter, though I’m sure you won’t mind if I share another family pic with you before I let you go. 

In the last few missives I’ve included pics of my son, Soren Lee, and my 15-year-old daughter, Imogen. It’s about time I added one of ‘the baby’ – Francesca – now 4 years old!

Baby and me

I’ll hope to see you at the re-opening of the Youth Centre on Sunday.

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 – July 11th, 2013

G’day Fighter,

Father Dave here after a fantastic week where I got to meet two of my heroes! :-)

Yes, there they are below: Dr Chandra Muzaffar and George Galloway!

Dr Chandra Muzaffar

Dr Chandra Muzaffar

George Galloway

George Galloway

I met up with Chandra last Tuesday in his offices in Kuala Lumper.

Denning and I were there as a part of Mother Agnes’ team – giving her whatever support we could as she spoke about the Syrian crisis to Malaysian politicians and a slew of foreign ambassadors.

Dr Muzaffar had organised a forum of over 100 people to come and dialogue with Mother Agnes and it was a magnificent event! :-)

with the under-secretary of Department of Foreign Affairs in Malaysia

Malaysian Department of Foreign Affairs

with the he JUST team in Kuala Lumper

with the he JUST team in Kuala Lumper

We got back on the Thursday and George Galloway’s meeting at the Town Hall happened that same night!

For those who missed the event, you really missed out! It was more like a rock concert than a political gathering.

George evidently has an enormous fan-base in Sydney, most especially amongst Shi’ite Muslims. The fact that we managed to fill the Sydney Town Hall when the meeting was only organised 6 days earlier, with (almost) everyone there paying at least $30/ticket, was an outstanding testimony to George’s profile and popularity.

On Friday morning I was deeply privileged to have George drop by for coffee. I invited about a dozen local activists to come and join us. We had a fantastic time!

Ange with George Galloway and Gayatri

Ange with George Galloway and Gayatri

2013 - with George Galloway

walking the streets of Dulwich Hill!

I feel I’ve had a week of unparalleled learning as I’ve tried to suck up every word or wisdom and insight that has been shared with me from each of these great men.

I’ll record only one insight from each of them here, though I can think of many.

The first was Dr Chandra Muzaffar telling me about the work of his organisation, JUST (The International Movement for a Just World).

Chandra has been running JUST now for more than 20 years now and its focus is solely on issues of global hegemony. This seems to me to be potentially the most frustrating and unrewarding work that anybody could choose to devote their life to. How could you ever be sure that you were seeing results for your efforts? :-0

Even so, Chandra told me emphatically “We endorse no political party of ideology. We simply critique global power structures with spiritual values and shared wisdom”

That statement impressed me deeply. Here was a man who was happy to forego short-term results for the sake of maintaining the integrity of his mission!

The other most memorable statement for me was from George.  I asked him (in the interview that’s featured below) how he, as a politician, managed to always speak from the heart. Every politician I know tailors what they say to fit in with what they think their voters and/or sponsors want to hear. George’s answer was as simple as it was profound. “I have no power so there is nothing they can take from me”.

On reflection I realised that the wisdom of both these men was as one, and the message to me was clear: Maintain your integrity above all else! Don’t look for short-term results but stick to what you know to be true! Amen!

Other News

I’ll try to be brief but let me throw a few other things your way today:

  • Last week I mentioned that I was looking to sell off some websites that I can’t manage any more. A few people have expressed interest. The sites (and there are around 20 of them) are in the areas of drug addiction, child custody and speed reading. If others are interested, contact me soon before I make any final decisions.
  • We are looking to finalise our teams to manage weekends at our bush camp, Binacrombi. A goodly number of people have responded and we’re currently organising training for the teams. Get back to me ASAP if you’re interested.
  • We are planning to re-open our Youth Centre very soon in an exciting joint venture with the Salvation Army. Unfortunately we’ve had to push back the launch date to August 4th. Never mind. All the greater opportunity to plan a truly dynamic celebration! Let me know if you’d like to contribute. :-)
  • Our friends at Bourke Street Bakery are putting on a fundraiser for us on Saturday, July 27th. You can see the flyer with all the details here. In truth, I am deeply grateful to these good people and I know that they will put on a wonderful feast. Please consider joining us if you are able.

Holy Trinity Invite

And now for the videos …

As I said, it was a very special week for me, getting to meet two of my heroes. In truth, I fear I’m running out of heroes to meet! There’s still Julian Assange, of course, but apart from him and Johnny Rotten, Ive just about exhausted my list of heroes that I haven’t yet met! 

I’ll let the great men now speak for themselves. Please leave your comments at the end of the blog post.

[imaioVideo v=1]

If you can’t view this video, click here

[imaioVideo v=2]

If you can’t view this video, click here

In conclusion …

That’s enough for this week.

I’ll leave you with a  closing picture of my son, Soren, showing off a praying mantis that he found in our back yard last Sunday.

Soren Lee Smith

Soren finds a new friend

I’ll look forward to engaging with you again next week if I don’t hear from you before then.

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 – 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

Please follow and like us:

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Monday Missive – February 18th, 2013

Hi Fighter,

I’m going to try to be brief tonight. It’s gone midnight and I have an early start.

It’s my birthday – that’s my excuse – and I’ve enjoyed a night out at the movies.

We saw ‘Lincoln’ (no, not the one where he’s a vampire-slayer, the other one).

It was a powerful movie and makes me think that Lincoln may have been a better man than I had envisaged (which isn’t saying very much if you read some of my papers on him). Even so, Daniel Day-Lewis certainly portrays Lincoln as an admirable man.

No News on Syria

I’m afraid I’ve had no news on the trip to Syria – when it’s happening, if it’s happening, etc. I’m still hoping to get there soon but it appears that our would-be hosts are still too concerned about our safety to give us the green light.

So I can’t offer you any first-hand account of the Syrian situation but I can recommend this excellent documentary that is the work of Anastasia Popova of Russian TV station, Rossiya 24. It is a documentary that promises no politics, but only people telling their story. It’s entitled “The Syrian Diary“.

Reasons to be Cheerful

The positive side of not being in Syria was that I had plenty of time to prepare for our Confirmation Service on Sunday, which I had intended to get back for anyway, as my dear daughter, Imogen, was confirmed at the service.

It was great to have Bishop Rob Rob with us yesterday and it was a great day for our community and all the families involved.

Imogen is Confirmed - February 17th 2013

Imogen is Confirmed – February 17th 2013

Later the same day I had the joy of having a birthday dinner with the whole family. We went to one of those wonderful Japanese restaurants where they throw food at you, though as you’ll see from the pic below, my wonderful children and I survived the experienced relatively unstained!

Father Dave's 51st Birthday dinner

Enjoying a birthday dinner with my wonderful children

I must also show off to you the wonderful birthday present I received from my beloved daughter, Imogen (yes, the same one who was confirmed).

Imogen's artwork

Imogen’s birthday present to dad (her own artwork)

These paintings are Imogen’s own work and they make me very proud.

I know I’d be proud of her whatever she came up with but I do think she has a wonderful gift, and we’ve set up a website for her where she can start to display her work – www.imogensmith.me. :-)

Whosoever Divorces and Marries another Commits Adultery!

I was going to finish off today’s missive with the sermon from Bishop Rob. Unfortunately it appears that we haven’t been able to get it uploaded yet!

Apparently there were some problems with the sound recording, but we’ll hopefully have that one available for you by next week. For now you’ll have to make do with my attempt to deal with the rather prickly statement quoted above – “Whosoever Divorces and Marries another Commits Adultery!”

This is an offensive statement to a person like me who has been divorced and remarried! And the worst part is that it come straight from the lips of Jesus Himself (in Mark 10:2-16)!

What do you do with a deadly condemnation like this? Well … my answer is below.

[imaioVideo v=1]

And if you can’t see the video, click here.

I said I’d try to be brief, so it’s definitely time for me to wind things up.

I have been well and truly blessed on my birthday this year, but if you’d like to buy me a drink you are more than welcome to. Alternatively, if you really want to give me a present that will bless us all, take out a membership at www.fighting-fathers.com. :-)

I’ll see you again next week if not before.

Until then I remain …

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 – February 11th, 2013

Hi Fighter,

Yes, it’s Father Dave, and I’m still here!

I’m still here in Sydney that is!

I was supposed to be in Damascus today and I had anticipated filling today’s missive with pics of Damascus and Beirut. It was not to be!

In case you missed my announcement on Friday, our Peace Mission to Syria was suddenly postponed that morning. We were due to fly out on Saturday!

Our Mission to Syria Postponed

This was an enormous disappointment for me and the other 15 delegates from around the world. Even so, I appreciate very much that the organisers were giving priority to our safety. Apparently you can’t even reach Damascus from Beirut at the moment. The fighting is just too intense!

Dear Mother Agnes wrote to us: “You cannot imagine how difficult it was to make that decision!  It was your security and it alone that motivated us to postpone your visit to Syria – a visit which took weeks of painstaking preparation.  As you all have said – it is just a postponement.”

So I am hopeful that the trip will still happen – perhaps in the next few weeks or perhaps later this year? As the situation in Syria continues to deteriorate, the importance of Mother Agnes’ ‘Mussalaha‘ (‘reconciliation‘) Mission becomes increasingly obvious. Even so, we internationals will not be serving the interests of Mussalaha or the people of Syria if we get ourselves killed or (more likely) abducted.

One of the other delegates really brought this home to me. I won’t mention the delegate’s name but will say that English is not their first language: “We could damage Mussalaha, if anything happens to us….Personally I was as a peace activist in many war areas BUT in this case we would not risk personally, Mussalaha (idea and people) would risk and that, we cannot accept.”

While I can’t mention the names of the other enlisted delegates at this stage, I must say that the dialogue that has circulated between us since last Friday’s announcement has left me deeply impressed with the calibre of the other team members! They are seasoned peace workers and human-rights activists from around the world. What a privilege it will be to meet them in person (if indeed the Mission goes ahead).

Anyway, I don’t have any pics of Beirut or Damascus for you. The best I can offer you is this pic of me and two Syrian ‘Abounas‘ (Arabic for ‘Fathers‘).  As I was still in Sydney, I accepted an invitation to a fundraiser for Syria, hosted by the ‘Australian Syrian Christian Association’. I met these two magnificent men at the function and many other wonderful people too.

me with Syrian Fathers Farid and Michael

Three Abounas – me with Syrian Fathers Farid and Michael

It was a wonderful afternoon of music, dancing and fundraising. Even so, the thing that stuck with me the most from the discussions I had with the other participants was the extent to which they all shared the same perspective regarding the plight of their home country – a perspective that runs completely contrary to what we are being fed by the mainline media.

These Christian Syrian people testified, one after another, that there had been no tensions between Christians and Muslims in Syria prior to these recent hostilities and that Bashar Al-Assad had been a very popular President. The agitation, they all believed, had come from outside their borders. It was their neighbours who wanted to destroy them, with the backing of ‘the West‘.

I won’t rehash the political complexities as I understand them, except to say that almost everyone there agreed that the real target in all this violence, so far as Syria’s Middle-Eastern neighbours and the rest of the world is concerned, is Iran.  Syria’s enemies want to see regime change in Iran, and the suffering of the people of Syria is just an unfortunate by-product of their greater and more sinister project.

How tragic! How demonic! Let us pray!

Jesus turned the Water into Beer!

You’ll forgive me for moving so rapidly from the deadly serious to the seemingly ridiculous, but so much of life is like that I find!

I know Jesus didn’t really change water into beer, but if He’d been in Australia I’m sure that’s exactly what would have happened!

Either way, I’ve got a wonderful sermon for you today, delivered by Holy Trinity’s most eloquent preacher – my friend, Dave Baldwin!

Dave (believe it or not) is not a professional preacher. He is, by trade, an actor! Even so, I don’t think I have ever heard anybody preach with such insight and clarity on the miracle of Jesus at Cana in Galilee – the turning of water into wine – as Dave did a few Sundays back.

We are privileged to have Dave Baldwin as a part of our Holy Trinity community, and I am privileged to be able to give you this video recording of the sermon. 🙂
[imaioVideo v=1]
(and if you can’t view the sermon, click here)

And that will complete today’s missive, my friend!

I’ll be heading off on my Monday half-marathon soon so need to go and get changed.

Hopefully I’ll have some better news about Syria when we speak again next Monday.

Until then I remain …

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!

Please follow and like us:

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Peace Mission to Syria postponed! :-(

Thank you to everyone for your prayers and support for our Peace Mission to Syria BUT we received word this morning that the mission has been postponed!

Denning and I were scheduled to leave tomorrow afternoon. This is a real shock!

The email sent to me and the other 15 delegates this morning reads:

For multiple reasons including the evolving security situation on the ground in Syria which has rendered accessibility to areas of Homs, Aleppo and even some areas in Damascus difficult, and given the importance of the peace mission to witness the work of Mussalaha in the major areas of conflict and for the peace mission to have an impact where it is most needed in those areas, it was decided to postpone the visit to a later date when movement will be less restricted.

I’ve been told off the record that you can’t even reach Damascus from Beirut at the moment. The fighting is just too intense.

This is a real body blow. We only received our itineraries yesterday and the schedule looked amazing – moving in and out of both government and rebel-controlled areas and meeting with representatives from both sides of the conflict, all of whom share a common commitment to peaceful reconciliation.

I confess that the assurance we received from our host, that they have “experience and credibility in negotiating the liberation of abducted people” was a little intimidating. Even so, the opportunity to join hands in this work with some of my heroes like Mairead Maguire and Patriarch Gregory III Laham overshadowed all such concerns.

The plan is to postpone the mission to later this month. Even so, this will only happen if the situation on the ground improves to the point where the organisers can have some confidence in the safety of the delegates.

In the meantime we’ll just do the best we can for the people of Syria from where we are. Denning and I have now been invited to be part of a big fundraiser for Syria on Sunday. I guess that will be a start.

Again, thank you for your prayers and support. Continue to pray for the people of Syria. From everything I hear the situation is degenerating to the point where the most inhuman acts of violence are being inflicted on men, women and children across the country, and those of us in ‘the West’ must share some of the responsibility for this horror. May God have mercy on us all.

Your brother in the Good Fight,

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

Please follow and like us:

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Merry Christmas!

Hi Fighter,

Being Christmas Eve, it’s a very simple Monday Missive this week with a very simple message:

[imaioVideo v=1]
(and if you can’t view the video, click here)

Make sure you wait until the video has finished as it should then re-direct you to my Christmas tree where you can collect your presents.
(and if you’re not redirected, click here).

I’ll catch you again on New Year’s Eve.

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 if you’re trying to think of the perfect Christmas present for me, become a financial member at fighting-fathers.com. It only costs you $10/month but it makes a big difference at this end!

Please follow and like us:

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Monday Missive – November 26th, 2012

Hi Fighter!

I’ll need to be brief this week as I’m scheduled to fly to the USA tomorrow and haven’t started packing yet.

I do have four things I really want to share with you though, so I’ll try to rip through them:

  1. Saying ‘NO’ to violence against women
  2. Our Free Gaza rally
  3. The sermon on Homosexuality
  4. The Big Trip!

White Ribbon Day (say NO to violence against women)

I want to say a big ‘thank you’ to the organisers of this year’s White Ribbon Day for inviting me to speak. As a representative of both the church and the boxing community I thought I was an odd choice, as both are thoroughly patriarchal institutions that have a rather poor record with regards to the rights of women and violence respectively! Even so, it was a great privilege!

Say NO to violence against women

I’m sorry that I didn’t do a video of this address as I’m keen to help spread the word:

REAL MEN DO NOT HIT WOMEN!

You can read the written version of my address here if you’re keen.

The Free Gaza Rally

I’m even more sorry that I didn’t get a video-recording of my speech given at this rally, as the whole event was very intense and highly charged! You pick up something of that atmosphere in the Press TV report (which you can see here). You can read the transcript of my address here.

Free Gaza rally in Sydney - November 2012
(click the pic to see it full-size)

I don’t know how many thousands were at the rally but it was an amazing turnout when you consider that a ceasefire was already in place by the time we marched. You might have thought that everyone would think that the crisis was over and stay home. Not so! Most people seemed to realise that even though a ‘ceasefire’ is in place, the violence has not really stopped and will not stop until the occupation of Gaza is ended!

The State of Israel still controls all land, sea and airspace around Gaza and controls very strictly what sorts of goods and people are let in and out. In the name of preventing bomb-building materials from entering the city, all sorts of medical supplies and building materials are kept from the people of Gaza, and the densely-crowded population have to deal with enormous health and sanitation problems on a daily basis. It’s like a massive open-air prison, except that the warders all remain on the outside of the prison walls!

So the bombs and rocket-fire have stopped, but the captivity of Gaza has not stopped, which means, in a sense, that the violence continues.

If I might use an analogy from the world of pugilism, it’s as if you have two fighters, where a heavyweight has a lightweight in a headlock and is choking him. Every now and then the guy being choked starts biting at the big guy’s arm, to which the big guy responds by punching his captive in the face. A ‘ceasefire‘ in this context is where the punching and biting stops, but the violence hasn’t stopped because the little guy is still being choked, and the biting and the punching are bound to start up again soon if the big guy doesn’t ease up on the headlock!

OK, it’s a crude analogy, but that’s how I see it.

Before I move on from the rally, let me say what a privilege it was once again to speak alongside my mate, Antony Loewenstein.

Free Gaza rally in Sydney - November 2012
(click the pic to see it full-size)

There are few people in this struggle that I admire more than Antony. As a Jewish Australian committed to justice and peace, Antony is under constant attacks from both sides. There is genuine racist anti-Semitism in this country that feeds parasitically off the Palestinian cause, and Antony gets targeted by that. Conversely, he gets slander and death threats from people who see him as a traitor and ‘self-hating Jew’.

Despite all this Antony continues to stand on his convictions and speak the truth as he perceives it. Even though he’s not a religious man, I’m sure he won’t mind if you say a prayer for him!

The Sermon on Homosexuality!

I didn’t give the sermon yesterday. It was Fighting Father Keith!

Now, I’m not blaming Keith in order to avoid controversy myself (AS IF ). I think what Keith said was great! I just can’t take any credit for it.

The sermon was the first in a two-part series, and we’re going to publish the video-recording of part one very soon, but for the moment only the written version is available (click here).

I’ve asked Keith to field questions that come in on the blog, so feel free to leave your comments and questions there. Be warned though that any comments that are really nothing but personal attacks will not be published.

Now … the good news is that while there was no live video-cast of the sermon last week (due to technical problems at church.tv) this week their servers should be up and running again, which means that we should be able to bring you the sermon live on Sunday morning if you’re free!

Sadly, I won’t be free to tune in at all as I’ll be working the corner at the main event in West Virginia at about the same time that we’re starting Sunday morning worship in Sydney. Even so, for those who won’t be at the fight, tune in to church.tv at 9.15am (Sydney time) next Sunday to catch part 2 of this sermon series.

The Big Trip

God willing, I leave for the US tomorrow and will be there for just over a week.

My itinerary is looking pretty full now.

I hope to meet up with a new member of the Order (Fighting Father Ricardo) in LA before heading to the East Coast. I’ll then hopefully catch up with friends and battlefields in Gettysburg before heading to the fight venue in West Virginia.

Sol Egberime vs Paul Spadafora
(click the pic to get details of the event)

The fight is the reason I’m there of course and I hope to be of genuine service to our boy, Sol Egberime. Despite being the underdog in this event, I know that he will put on a great performance and I look forward to telling you all about it in my missive next Monday.

I’m also looking forward to meeting Paul Spadafora and his team after the fight. I hope I’ll get a chance to meet up with Roy Jones Jr too, as he’s promoting the event.

From West Virginia I’ll be doing about 10 hours driving further West to meet up with Fighting Father Rob Burgess and my old friend Father Iovane of the Community of St John – both now based near Chicago.

I’ll start to bore you if I go into any more detail but it’s all very exciting for me of course.

OK. I’d better go and start packing! Say a prayer for me!

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.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!

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About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Monday Missive – November 19th, 2012

Hi Fighter!

It’s hard to believe that it’s been less than a week since the latest assault by the IDF on Gaza. There has been so much death and destruction in the last few days! I’m afraid that it’s going to be difficult for me to talk about much else in my missive this week.

The Assault on Gaza

I appreciate that I will have already alienated a lot of my readers by speaking of the ‘assault on Gaza’ when the official narrative says that it is not an assault but a war. I’m sorry. I can’t use that language.

I appreciate that there are casualties on both sides of this conflict, and indeed I grieve for the Israeli dead as I do for the Palestinian dead, but a war suggests that there are two armies involved in this conflict. There are not two armies. There is one army. It is a highly-trained and well-equipped army. Fighting this army are disparate groups of home-grown militia-men.

If you think I’m being outrageous, let me quote from the great Noam Chomsky:

Israel uses sophisticated attack jets and naval vessels to bomb densely-crowded refugee camps, schools, apartment blocks, mosques, and slums to attack a population that has no air force, no air defense, no navy, no heavy weapons, no artillery units, no mechanized armor, no command in control, no army … and calls it a war. It is not a war, it is murder.

When Israelis in the occupied territories now claim that they have to defend themselves, they are defending themselves in the sense that any military occupier has to defend itself against the population they are crushing. You can’t defend yourself when you’re militarily occupying someone else’s land. (see Chomsky’s full statement here).

Chomsky’s last point is important too. Defending yourself is not always an act of self-defense! If a thug attacks an old woman in the street and she fends him off with her umbrella, the thug might indeed have to defend himself against the blows of the umbrella, but this would not make his assault an act of self-defense.

Don’t misunderstand me: I do not approve of the fact that the people of Gaza are firing rockets into Israel. I pray to God that they will show restraint and recognise the futility of retaliating in this way. Further, I am not anti-Israel and do not want to see the country wiped off the map or anything of the sort. But that is not what this latest outbreak of violence is about. What it’s about, I believe, is politics. Specifically, I believe it’s about the Israeli Prime Minister ensuring his victory at the polls in the forthcoming Israeli elections.

Am I being overly cynical? Read Uri Avnery’s analysis (former member of the Israeli parliament).

While you’re at it, you might appreciate a few other choice articles and videos that depart from the official narrative:

I include this last link as a reminder that this violence is not about race or religion. The problem is not the Jews or the Muslims or the Christians or the Arabs or the Palestinians or any particular racial or religious group. The problem is (as always) politics, greed, and the lust for power!

Pray for Peace!

And don’t simply Pray for Peace. Pray for Peace with Justice – the only kind of peace that can last.

And don’t simply Pray. Protest!

There is a wonderfully long list of protest rallies that are taking place around the world listed on the Facebook page of the Palestine Action Group of Sydney.

There’s a Sydney rally listed there for this coming Saturday. Perhaps I’ll see you there?

Heading to the USA

Thanks be to God, I am now booked to fly to the USA next week to support by dear brother and Holy Trinity parishioner, Solomon Egberime, in his fight against Paul Spadafora on December 1st.

The fight has evidently been generating a lot of interest. I did a quick Google search on ‘Egberime v Spadafora’ and got more than 22,000 results, including this press release from Roy Jones Jr.!

Egberime v Spadafora

I have had the privilege of being in Sol’s corner for each of his fights since 2008, but this is certainly the most significant one to date. I know I carry the hopes and prayers of our parish and suburb and country with me as I go to support our Nigerian-Australian brother.

Of course, I am also hoping to catch up with as many of my American friends and supporters as possible while I am in the US. My itinerary has not been finalised but my current plans are to:

  • Leave Sydney on the afternoon of Tuesday, November 27th
  • Arrive in Los Angeles about six hours before I left (go figure) !
  • Fly to Washington D.C. the same evening (November 27)
  • Drive from Washington to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on November 28
  • Drive from Gettysburg to the fight venue in Chester, West Virginia on November 30
  • Drive to the monastery in Princeville, Illinois on December 3rd
  • Fly out from Chicago airport on December 5th (landing in Sydney December 7th)

As I say, none of this has been finalised as yet, though the flights (and the fight) are fixed. Certainly I’ll be looking for someone to share lunch with in LA on November 27, though I suppose I can make a day-trip to Hollywood if I don’t get a better offer!

My itinerary from Washington D.C. to Chicago is flexible, apart from the fight. I do hope to take some time to re-visit some of my favourite US Civil War battlefields, but I won’t let that take priority over meeting up with new members of the Order of the Fighting Fathers should there be opportunity.

Congratulations and Thanks

Let me say a big thank you to everyone who turned out to support the team from Holy Trinity Gym last Friday night at our charity boxing night.

  • Fighting Father Caine put in a strong performance to win his bout quite decisively.
  • Kath Biggs also put in a brilliant performance but lost a narrow points decision.
  • I likewise lost my bout in a points decision to Fighting Father Rod.

Mine was a bit of a surprise. I thought I’d done enough to win but the judges thought otherwise. This was sort of fitting though as in my last fight against Rod I thought he’d won but the judges scored it my way!

As I always say, you can’t control the judges decision. All you can control is how much effort you put in, and I can assure you that both Rod and Caine and Kath and I all put in 100%. Congratulations to everyone who had the courage to step in the ring on that night!

Holy Trinity Gym
(click on the pic to see it full-size)

And while I’m congratulating people, let me extend my congratulations to my dear brothers and sisters of the Passionist Order who celebrated 125 years of ministry in our area on the weekend.

Ange and I had the privilege of attending a fantastic celebratory Mass at St Brigid’s church in Marrickville. I know that our Catholic brothers and sisters in this country are facing some serious challenges at the moment, but this just made the celebration all the more wonderful to me. In the midst of adversity we celebrated the goodness of God and all the good things that the Passionist Fathers have brought to our region and our country.

God’s blessing to all our Passionist sisters and brothers, and a special congratulations to Father John (pictured on my left) for staging Saturday’s celebration.

125 years of the Passionist Fathers in Marrickville
(click on the pic to see it full-size)

And before I let you go I must apologise to you if you’ve been trying to catch the live video-cast of our service here at Holy Trinity.

We have been trying to stream our worship services to you each week but unfortunately the church.tv server has crashed and it’s taking them some time to put their network back together!

This Sunday coming Dr Keith Mascord is giving the first of a two-part sermon series on homosexuality, and I’m sure that many of you would have been keen to join us for the video-cast. Be assured that if church.tv can’t manage the live broadcast we will be recording the sermon anyway and will post it to YouTube as soon as possible.

Unfortunately my Sunday sermon from yesterday was recorded by neither video nor audio device, though you can read the written version here if you’re keen.

My text from the Gospel of Mark is about war and destruction in Israel, so you won’t be surprised to find more than one reference to Gaza in the sermon. In truth, it’s been difficult for me to think about much else of late. My heart bleeds for all who are caught up in the bloodshed.

That’s enough for this 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!

Please follow and like us:

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.

 

Please follow and like us:

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four