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!

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Weekly Missive – July 2nd, 2013

G’day Fighter,
Father Dave back with you – a little weary but strong in spirit. :-)
I seem to have been spending all my time travelling and speaking since last we spoke.
  • I spoke to a Lions Club gathering, hoping to raise more funds for our youth work.

2013 - guest speaker at the Sydney Executive Lions Club

  • I spoke to at a gathing of the Wikileaks Party faithful

2013 - Addressing a gathering of the Wikileaks Party faithful

  • I had the privilege of being guest speaker at Sydney’s 2013 Muslim Youth Conference!

2013 - it was a great privilege to be invited to address the Sydney Muslim Youth Conference

I’m still trying to work out what made the ‘Muslim Women’s Association’ think I’d be a good speaker on the subject of issues facing Muslim youth, but I must say that it was a great privilege and I had a great time! :-)

As to travelling, I’m still following dear Mother Agnes around!

You’ll remember that not long ago I dragged Mother and Sister around Canberra. We got back and went one step further up the ladder of greatness and met with Bishop Rob!

2013 - Mother Agnes and Sister Carmel meet Bishop Forsyth

Then, before Mother Agnes left our fair state, all the churches shared with her in a wonderful evening of prayer for Syria at the Syrian Orthodox Cathedral in Sydney.

2013 - a great night of prayer for Syria at the Syrian Orthodox Cathedral in Lidcome

Right now I’m en route to meet up with Mother again – this time in Kuala Lumper! Indeed, I’m starting this missive at an altitude of 11582 metres according to my flight information (and I thought they always measured these things in feet :-0)!

Within a few hours of landing we are scheduled to meet with members of the Malaysian Department of Foreign Affairs. Our subject, of course, will be Syria.

Our host in Malaysia is the great human-rights activist, Dr Chandra Muzaffar.

I first had the privilege of meeting Dr Muzaffar in the late 80’s in his home in Penang. I had read about his exploits – how he had worked tirelessly to defend the rights of minorities in Malaysia, especially Christians. That was the first time I had heard of a Muslim community leader putting himself on the line for Christians.

And then I heard how he’d been imprisoned by the government for his efforts – an act that created such a stir worldwide and generated so many protests (including many from prominent church leaders) that the Malaysian government was force to release him!

It seems that this year I am getting to meet all my heroes!.

I had the privilege of travelling to Syria with the great peace-maker and Nobel Laureate, Mairead Maguire, and now I’ve been invited to Malaysia by another champion of human rights! And of course it didn’t surprise me when Dr Muzaffar told me that Mairead was on the board of his human-rights organisation – JUST (The Campaign for a Just World).

God has been extremely gracious to me of late and I do not take it for granted. :-)

Anyway, I’ll send you a full report of my two days in Malaysia next week. For the moment I have some more urgent things to share with you:

George Galloway in Sydney

Just when I thought I was running out of heroes to meet, that outspoken and wonderfully offensive Scotsman, George Galloway, arrives in Sydney!

galloway-townhall

If you don’t know George, he’s a British politician and a passionate human-rights activist, particularly well-known for his Palestinian advocacy.

How did he come to be in Sydney? Well … it’s a long story, but my friend Mohammed Naqi gets the credit for organising both his trip and his appearances!

There are two public gatherings and only one that has not been sold out. It’s at the Sydney Town Hall this Thursday evening. Click here to get the details on Facebook or here to download the flyer.

The event is not free because Mohammed needs to cover his costs for the hire of the Town Hall (which doesn’t come cheaply). Even so, this is a great opportunity and not one to be missed. I will certainly be there (God willing) and hope to see you there too.

The Youth Centre is Re-Opening

No, we haven’t rebuilt our Youth and Community Centre yet after the arson attack in March that completely destroyed it, though we have now levelled the site and have submitted our ideas to the architects.

2013 - our once-mighty Youth Centre has now been levelled to the ground

While we wait for our new centre to be constructed, we are teaming up with our new best-friends – the Salvation Army Corps of Dulwich Hill – to open a new Youth Centre in our area, based on their premises! :-)

It’s a true joint venture. The Salvo’s are providing their wonderful space and are also contributing a youth worker. We are contributing more team members and lots of equipment, including a new boxing ring! I guess the Salvos are also counting on us to supply a truck-load of kids, and I trust that we won’t disappoint! ;-)

At any rate, we have scheduled our grand opening for Sunday July 28. We’ll probably start with a lunch-time BBQ and continue till early evening.

I know that some of our Koori friends have expressed enthusiasm with regards to providing a band. My idea was to celebrate the opening by having a last-man-standing bout with Fighting Father Caine!

Either way, we’ll hopefully also have clowns and jumping castles and sticky food and lots of other great party stuff! It will be a great opportunity to put the ashes of the past behind us as we forge ahead with new initiatives of service to the young people of our region! :-)

Binacrombi Needs YOU!

I mentioned last week that our beloved Binacrombi caretaker, Geoff, is leaving for New Zealand and that we are looking for teams of people to run weekends down there.

I’ve had a handful of people express interest, but now I really need those of you who are interested to get down there before the end of this month (when Geoff leaves) and get trained in how to run the site!

It’s not easy! We have our own eco-system at Binacrombi. We are not connected to the power-grid, the gas-grid or to any mainline water or sewerage system. You need to know how our generators, gas system and water-piping system works, and you can only really learn through hands-on experience.

So if you’re keen please book in over the next few weeks and let’s make Binacrombi the greatest adventure camp for young people in the Southern hemisphere!

I’m selling my websites

OK, I’m not selling all of them, but with Fighting Father Jim now gone (see last week’s post) it’s going to be impossible to maintain so many of my traditional sites.

I have at least three ‘mininets’ of sites that I’m willing to part with. All are useful and informative sites that can also generate a significant income through Adsense ads etc. These site networks are currently being under-utilised as I just don’t have time to maintain and develop them any more. They cover topics such as child custody and drug addiction.

Each of these mininets offers a significant public service and each has generated up to $1,000 per month at different times. At the moment though they aren’t generating more than a few hundred per month between them, but if you were willing to put the necessary time and energy into them …

Interested? Send me an email and we’ll work something out.

Mother Agnes’ gives us the Good Word

OK. It’s high-time I got back to more spiritual matters.

Last week we had the privilege of having Mother Agnes join us for worship at Holy Trinity, Dulwich Hill, and it was a wonderful service!

Here’s a pic of our liturgical team just before the start of the service.

2013 - Mother Anges joins us for worship at Holy Trinity

Some said that it was the greatest service they had experienced at Holy Trinity. Mother Agnes, for her part, said that it had ‘all the grandeur of the Byzantine liturgy’.

I’m sorry I can’t give you a recording of the whole service but I have got Mother Agnes’ sermon for you. Enjoy! :-)

[imaioVideo v=1]

(if you can’t see the video above, click here)

OK guys. That’s it for me this week.

As expected I’m now in Malaysia. I’ve just met with the Under Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and am soon to head off for dinner with dear Dr Muzzafer!

So I’ll hold off on the details of all that till next week.

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