Time to retreat!

Baptisms on Easter Day! 🙂
With Fran at the Easter Show
with my beloved Veronica 🙂
Soren turns 15
Celebrating my birthday with my brothers 🙂
Get well, Danny!
showing off our church to Syed Shoaib Naqvi
with Luke Cornish at his 'Road to Damascus' exhibition
Hands Off Syria!
Pick on someone your own size! 😉
The match that has got to happen!
Cooling off in an ice-bath at the Wim Hof seminar in Melbourne
with the amazing Wim Hof!

Hi Fighter,

It’s Father Dave, writing to you from the middle of the Australian bush! No, I’m not retreating from the Good Fight but I am retreating from the Big Smoke for a while.

I am on long-service leave, and will be spending most of my weekends up to the end of May at Binacrombi – our remote prayer-space, dirt-bike farm and boxing-training facility.

I’m hoping that these five weeks will be a rejuvenating time, though they are not a holiday. I’ve got three goals I want to achieve over my time away from the parish:

  1. Get Binacrombi functioning on a renewed basis
  2. Finish the book I’m working on – “Christians and Muslims can be friends”
  3. Get fully fit for my next fight.

As for the fight, I don’t have a date fixed yet, but I’ll be letting you know as soon as something is confirmed.

As for the book, I won’t say more about that here either, except that I’ll be looking for your help to spread it around once I get it published. In the meantime, you might like to help me come up with a better title.

As for Binacrombi, do you have a weekend spare before the end of May when you can come and join me?

I’m planning another Warrior Weekend for May 19 to 21 (and I’ll say more on that below) but I’d be happy to see you on any of the other weekends too. If I’m left here by myself, with only the kangaroos to keep me company, I may get a bit jumpy! 😉

OK … It’s not really the lack of company that I’m concerned about, but I am looking for good people who will help run weekends out here. Binacrombi has developed enormously over the last few years under the tireless and dedicated management of Fighting Father Tez. Even so, Tez is not as young as he used to be, and it’s time for a few more of us to step up and give him a hand.

Perhaps you’ve always seen yourself as a farm-manager or as a fighting monk, or perhaps you’d just like to help develop the ministry of the Fighting Fathers? Here is your opportunity! Join me down here at some point in the next month and we’ll train you in the ways of Binacrombi. You might then consider coming back once every couple of months, to be an ongoing part of the team.

In truth, even if you only want to come and help me pray for Syria in the chapel here, I’d be very glad to see you. Call me or email me and let me know when you’d like to come. All my details are on www.fatherdave.org (the non-mobile version). Mind you, the obvious weekend to join us is May 19 to 21 – the date of our next …

Warrior Weekend

Yes, it’s happening again. From Friday evening (May 19) to Sunday afternoon (May 21) we will be giving you another opportunity to Train like a Trojan and Pray like a Monk at our remote bush training facility, Binacrombi.

The workouts will be fitness-focused and won’t be restricted to boxing training. Even so, you’ll get plenty of chances to show your prowess in the ring if you so desire, so bring your gloves and your mouthguard.

The prayer sessions are not compulsory, of course (and neither are the workouts), but those who are willing will meet for prayer and meditation according to the traditional Benedictine schedule – at 6am, 9am, noon, 3pm and 6pm. There will be separate prayer spaces allocated for Christian and for Muslim prayers.

We already have some young people from the Muhammadi Welfare Association joining us for the camp, and I’m hoping that our friends from Fighting for Autism will  join us too. These camps not only offer participants great personal benefits in terms of physical and spiritual fitness but are also wonderful opportunities for social integration. 🙂

The prices for the weekend have not changed:

  • $200 for the rich
  • $100 for the poor
  • Free for the destitute

These fees cover accommodation, training, and all meals (excluding the BYO Saturday night BBQ). If you feel you fit into the ‘destitute’ category, let me know and we will organise sponsorship for you.

The flyer for this camp is here. Right-click and choose ‘save target as’ to download it.  The flyer includes a form that you can sign and forward to me.

Sermon of the month

Easter is the time of year when Christians remember how God confronts evil in our world. It was therefore an extraordinary time for Donald Trump to drop the ‘Mother of all Bombs’ on Afghanistan, and yet that happened on Good Friday (Australian time)!

This seems to be the only way the powerful in our world know how to deal with evil. They drops bombs on it and hope it will go away. In this case, the Mother of all Bombs was dropped on (what is perceived to be) the Mother of all Evils (Al Qaeda). The result was that 36 people died, which was apparently considered a success.

It is the unambiguous teaching of the New Testament that evil cannot ultimately be stopped by other forms of evil. The Easter story tells us about a God who confronts evil in a different way altogether – through suffering and death and resurrection!


(forgive me for the poor quality of this video. The written version of this sermon is here)

Becoming the Ice-Man

Before I let you go today, I want to explain the picture that appears at the top – the one of me and a group of men in an ice-bath!

Yes, it was ice! Perhaps you didn’t look too closely at the pic and thought I was enjoying a relaxing session in the pool with my mates. Take a closer look and you’ll see that the water was thick with ice-cubes. It wasn’t relaxing! 🙁

The reason for this bizarre behaviour is that I’m doing a ten-week course put together by a bizarre man, Wim Hof, otherwise known as the Ice Man! There’s a picture of me and Wim up the top too. 🙂

The ice-man has been able to perform some amazing physical feats, considered impossible before Wim did them. He climbed Mount Everest in his swimsuit and  broke the world record for swimming under the ice. He then ran a marathon through the Sahara Desert without taking any water! And he’s a couple of years older then me!

Wim’s training method combines breathing techniques with stretching and ‘cold therapy’, which means cold showers and ice-baths, and by the time I make my next blog post, I should have reached the end of his 10-week course. I want to share my progress with you.

I’m hoping that Wim’s techniques will give me an edge in the boxing ring, and at my age I need every edge I can get. And if you do decide to join me on the camp, be aware that I’ll be integrating some cold therapy into our training routine (though, of course, it is not compulsory for anybody except me).

That’s plenty for today. I’ll hope to see you at the camp. 🙂

Your brother in the Good Fight,

Dave
www.fatherdave.org
www.fighting-fathers.com
www.holytrinity.org.au
www.binacrombi.com.au
www.israelandpalestine.org
www.prayersforsyria.com
www.dulwichhillgym.com
www.warriorweekends.com

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About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

An appeal from Father Dave

Hi Fighter,

I’m actually going to make two appeals to you today.

The first is a simple one: please watch this Sunday night’s edition of “Compass” on ABC TV (Australia).

Mind you, I have not been given any special preview beyond this 30-second snippet so it is possible that this screening will cost me my job and any number of friends.

If you know how these things work, they film about 100 hours of footage and then choose less than 1% of it for the show, which means they can pretty much portray you as they like! Even so, I have a great deal of faith in my mate Olivia (the main artistic mind behind this production) and am hoping that this screening will portray us well and will create new opportunities for us in our work. 🙂

The Second Appeal

The second appeal is for … well … financial support for my online work. 🙁

I’m told that I always do a terrible job of asking for money, and that’s probably true, and that’s probably because I don’t like the stuff (necessary as it is), and I certainly don’t want to place further financial burdens on those who are already struggling.

Having said that, let me give you a blunt outline of how my online ministry functions:

Outgoings are always around $1,500/month.

About half of these costs are my hosting fees. I know that there are cheaper web hosting packages around and that local Australian servers are always more expensive. Even so, there are legal issues and security issues associated with storing other people’s data (such as email addresses) and my sites tend to get hacked rather a lot, so I need hosting that is local and secure and I’m convinced that I’m doing it about as cheaply as I can.

Most of my remaining monthly fees go to my support team in India who handle most of my trouble-shooting, site promotion, article submission, video distribution, etc.

As to incomings, I receive roughly $500/month from our loyal Fighting Fathers member base. There are around 30 people who contribute $10/month through www.fighting-fathers.com and two people who contribute $100/month.

Advertising and product sales bring in a few hundred dollars per month more. The remainder (around $600/month) is paid for from Fighting Fathers reserves, which are dwindling.

The online work has not always run at a loss like this. In times past I used to put a lot more time into building advertising sites and doing online sales. A few years ago though I decided I needed to devote almost all my time online to writing and publishing articles and videos. I still think this is the best use of my time, and my preference would be to solve the financial shortfall by finding another 60 people who will chip in $10/month as members of  www.fighting-fathers.com – a membership that, I believe, offers membership benefits that outweigh the cost of the subscription.

OK. I’ve said what needed to be said. Your suggestions are all welcome, and whether or not you sign up to www.fighting-fathers.com I still hope you watch Compass on Sunday night (ABC TV @ 6.30pm).

Your brother in the Good Fight,

Dave
www.fatherdave.org
www.fatherdave.net
www.fighting-fathers.com
www.holytrinity.org.au
www.binacrombi.com.au
www.israelandpalestine.org
www.prayersforsyria.com
www.zerocostwebsite.net
www.dulwichhillgym.com
www.boxersforpeace.com
www.warriorweekends.com
www.how2changetheworld.com

P.S. For those who can’t get access to ABC TV this Sunday night, I’ll try to get it uploaded to YouTube ASAP.

P.P.S. Please keep promoting my STOP THE WAR video appeal on www.fatherdave.net

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About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Merry Christmas

A simple message from my family to yours :-)

[imaioVideo v=1]

(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 present. 
(and if you’re not redirected, click here).

I’ll catch you again on very soon.

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

Father Dave’s missive – November 21st, 2013

G’day Fighter,

What a magnificent time we had last Thursday night at Fight Club!

If you missed my invitation, we had six members of the Palestinian Olympic team join us.

Not all of the team were boxers but all of them were great ambassadors for their country and a number of them joined in the training even though it was their first time in the ring!

I had particularly memorable bouts with Ahmed, their swimming champ who did his best to put me on the canvas, and with Aseel – a lovely girl about the same age as my eldest daughter and a long-distance runner.

I also did a round with their former heavyweight champ, Nader Jayousi, who is now their boxing coach. He was gracious enough not to put me on the canvas.

I have to tell you that the pic of my stare-out with Nader is one I will always treasure. It was taken just before we did our round together and has Michael Dahdal (of Palestine MMA) keeping us apart. It’s the complimentary tatts that I love. I have my small white-boy logo of the Fighting Fathers on my shoulder. He has an enormous tattoo of Yasser Arafat on his!

(hint: hover your cursor over the pic to pause the slide-show)

Palestinian Olympians visit Father Dave's Fight Club
I teach Ahmed and Aseel their boxing basics
Heavyweight, Nader Jayousi, hits the bags
Sizing up against Palestinian Heavyweight, Nader Jayousi
This pic gives the illusion that I was in control! 🙂
Friends for life! 🙂
A great night! 🙂


Thank you to John Clutterbuck for providing us with these wonderful photos.

It was an inspiring night and one that has left me with a powerful sense of the way boxing could be used to help fight prejudice against Palestinians and build bridges between Christians, Muslims and Jews.

I’m not exactly sure at this stage how this will all play out but Michael and I were talking about sponsoring a Palestinian boxing team to come to Australia. In my mind I’d like to take it one step further and see a combined team of Australians and Palestinians of all faiths touring this country and then moving through Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and Syria, teaching boxing to children in the camps and preaching a message of reconciliation and hope.

Does that sound overly idealistic? Watch this space … :-)

Sermon Time!

“Blessed are you poor!”

That’s the title of today’s sermon, and it’s a direct quote from Jesus! (Luke 6:20)

It’s NOT a typo. It’s “Blessed are you poor” and not “blessed are the poor in spirit!”, which is the better-known variation of the saying and turns up in a totally different part of the New Testament (Matthew 5:3).

“Blessed are the poor in spirit” sounds sort of poetic, but “blessed are you poor” sounds  like a crazy thing to say. Surely if you’re poor it means you missed out on being blessed!

Of course it’s easy to romanticize poverty when you’re young but once you’ve visited a refugee camp or have seen families lose everything through war, fire or flood you realise that there is nothing blessed about the state of poverty, or is there?

Perhaps Jesus sees something we don’t see?

Or perhaps He meant something else?

Or perhaps He was just plain wrong?

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

Warriors’ Weekend

I’m sure you’ll be glad to know that our Warrior Weekends now have their own website: http://warriorweekends.com.

You’ll also, no doubt, be glad to know that you still have time to to book your place on our last Warrior Weekend for 2013, running from December 6th to 8th.

You can expect the usual combination of intense training and good, clean fun:

  • Develop your boxing skill
  • Build your fitness
  • Meet some great people
  • Enjoy the Aussie bush!

$110 per person covers accommodation, training and food for the weekend, and subsidies are available for those without a regular income.

We’ll also help organise transport if you can’t get to Binacrombi under your own steam. You can’t ask for much more than that! :-)

Call Fighting Father Marco on 1800 620 706 to book your place.

Solomon with his two boys

Solomon with his two boys

And before I let you go, please join me in wishing a Happy Birthday to our brother in the Good Fight, Sol Egberime – friend, fellow-parishioner at Holy Trinity, and senior boxing trainer for our Warrior Weekend.

I won’t tell you how old he’s just turned but I will say that he’s still young enough to take his shot at the World Junior-Welterweight title next yet. I’m hoping that 2014 will be a big year for him. Indeed, I’m hoping that it will be a big year for all of us!

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!

 

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About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Weekly Missive – August 28th, 2013

Hi Fighter,

Are we on the eve of Armageddon?

Love Syria

It’s Father Dave, and I confess that as I write to you today I’m feeling sick in my stomach.

It’s not something that I ate or drank (though I have had a second glass of red tonight to steel my nerves). It’s Syria, and it’s what I’m seeing on the news!

I’ve been watching and listening to European leaders and US and Israeli officials all talking about how urgent it is that we start bombing Bashar Al-Assad into submission, and all this before the UN inspectors have produced a single finding!

I remember having the same sick and sinking feeling on the eve of the Iraq invasion. I remember thinking then, “No. Surely they won’t do it. They’re not that stupid. They know there are no ‘weapons of mass destruction’. It’s all just saber rattling!” And now … 1,000,000 dead Iraqi’s later … history seems to be repeating itself!

Here’s how the scenario plays out in my mind:

  1. The US and NATO attack Syrian government forces on the pretext of the chemical weapon attacks.
  2. The government falls and the country crumbles into uncontrollable sectarian violence with jihadists gaining control of major areas (as in Iraq)
  3. Lebanon’s infrastructure cannot withstand the further influx of refugees (already almost 50% of the size of its citizenry) and so it falls into anarchy as well
  4. Iran is now left without allies (which I believe is one of the main aims of the game) and so Israel attacks Iran’s nuclear facilities, confident that Iran will not retaliate.
  5. Iran declares war on Israel and the regional war against the Shi’a goes into overdrive.
  6. Shi’a majorities in Bahrain and Iraq and elsewhere rise up and turn the entire Middle East into a cauldron of bloody violence.
  7. Israel eventually becomes the focus of the wrath of all its neighbours.
  8. The reverberations are felt throughout the world. Terrorist acts take place in every major city. There is widespread religious and ethnic violence, reprisals, etc.
  9. It all climaxes with some massive nuclear detonations.
  10. Everyone looks back and realises that there never were any chemical weapons attacks carried out by the Syrian government.

You might think this is all very fanciful, but I have military friends in the US that were put on ‘Class 1 Alert’ on the weekend, indicating possible immediate deployment to Syria! Meanwhile, my sources in Damascus are expecting the bombing to start on Tuesday!

A Voice Crying in the Wilderness

with Mairead Maguire - my hero!

with Mairead Maguire – my hero!

Amidst all the beating of war-drums, I was greatly encouraged to hear the lone voice of my friend (and Nobel Peace Prize winner) Mairead Maguire, calling upon her Foreign Minister to stop agitating for war! Says Mairead:

“Arming rebels and authorizing military action by USA/NATO forces will not solve the problem facing Syria, but indeed could lead to the death of thousands of Syrians, the breaking-up of Syria, and it falling under the control of violent fundamentalist jihadist forces. It will mean the further fleeing of Syrians into surrounding countries which will themselves  become destabilised. The entire Middle East will become unstable and violence will spiral out of control.”

You can read Mairead’s complete press release here.

And while Mairead Fights the Good Fight in Britain, my dear friend Ghinwa (who you met last week) is just fighting to stay alive in Damascus!

Ghinwa visting the Ummayyad Mosque in Damascus

Ghinwa visiting the Ummayyad Mosque (Damascus)

Ghinwa and her family are on the move, looking for somewhere safe to shelter. They have lost many friends and family members. As an Alawite, Ghinwa knows she is a target to Jabhat Al-Nusra and the armies of foreign mercenaries that besiege her city.

We haven’t been able to secure a time yet when Ghinwa can join us for a conference call and it will have to wait until she finds somewhere safe to stay. In the meantime, let me share with you our latest text exchanges:

 Ghinwa: I was supposed to contact with you on Sunday but I was caught in Damascus because of clashes on the way back home. I was lucky on Monday to avoid mortar shells. Anyhow, we are all OK. Trying to find a safe place to move on to in Damascus …

Dave: You are in my constant prayers, my friend – you and your dear sister. I hope we can speak again soon. … Just let me know if you want to do that phone conference.

Ghinwa: I wanted to do that but every day something new happens. I was unable to leave home in the past two days, and until now … there are clashes in the area around the place I live in. There are military operations now around Damascus, heavy clashes around us, I have information that there are around 4,000 Al-Nusra fighters in Muadamia. This morning those fighters used chemical weapons against the Syrian Army…

After the massacres against Alawites that killed some 350-400 people (we have the names of 256 persons of them) two massacres took place – one against Christians in Wadi-Alnasara area. 20 Christian people were killed there in what Islamist fighters called the Islamist battle to control Wadi Al-Nasara, meaning “Christans’ Vallley”, and a massacre against Kurds that killed more than 200 Kurds.

… I don’t know what to say!

Dave: God bless you, my sister. It tears at my heart to hear these things. Out here we are being told of various accusations against the government for the use of chemical weapons. I have no idea whether there is any truth to these but certainly things are terrible.

Ghinwa: Yes, I know these stories, but I know the accusations to the government are not true. When I checked videos on the Internet, telling the story that the government used chemicals against people in Ghota, I noticed those videos were uploaded to YouTube before the time the alleged massacre took place…

We see the same people in three different videos. Each video claims that those were killed in a different place. The only difference is that they changed the places of the bodies and arranged the scene in a different way. They put once that those people were killed in Kafr – batna, and the other video tells those where killed in Irbeen area.

I’ll check the videos and send them by email if you wish, Father.

Dave: I will publish what you send me, sister, and try to get the word out. My only concern is whether it’s putting you at any greater risk by having your name and face associated with this information.

Ghinwa: I am already on their death lists. Belonging to Alawites is a justification to kill me. It is something I was born with, not something I chose. So no problems of putting my name and pictures there.

Ghinwa with our delegation in Damascus

Ghinwa with our delegation in Damascus

In case you think Ghinwa’s claims about the videos are outrageous, I note that Veterans News Now are reporting that Al Jazeera and Reuters published news of the latest Syrian massacre one day before it happened (see here)!

Faith without Love = Fundamentalism

As we all know, the looming war on Syria is not just a political issue. It’s also a faith issue.

In the New Testament “Letter to the Hebrews” (chapter 11) the author eulogises over all the wonderful things that people have accomplished throughout history through their faith. When I read this though the first thing that occurred to me was that Al Qaeda and Jabhat Al-Nusra also claim to be ‘faith organisations’ , though it seems to be a very different sort of faith to anything I’m familiar with.

How do we distinguish between good faith and bad faith? As a child I once believed that anybody who espoused the Christian faith must be a person of good faith whereas all members of other faiths are the bad guys. Then I studied the history of the church and realised (to use Desmond Tutu’s phrase) that “God is not a Christian”.

I believe the New Testament itself gives us a straightforward way of distinguishing between the faith that kills and the faith that gives life, and I it’s something that I think all Christian people need to take to heart.

[imaioVideo v=1]

If you can’t view this video, click here

Vote Wikileaks!

Let me conclude this week’s missive with a shameless plug to all my fellow Australians: vote Wikileaks at the coming elections!

As George Galloway said when he was with us, if Australia votes in Julian Assange as a Senator we’ll be sending a message around the globe saying that Australia does not accept the ways that governments lie to their people and engage in murderous wars without the consent of the voting public!

And while the Wikileaks Party may not be the most polished and professional outfit in comparison to the more established party machines, one great thing Wikileaks does have is a solid policy on Syria (click here)!

with John Shipton (Julian Assange's dad) after church

with John Shipton (Julian Assange’s dad) after church (click to enlarge)

Let me conclude this missive with the same question with which I started:

Are we on the eve of Armageddon?

I think we could be. In my mathematical reckoning FSA+USA=WWIII

But don’t take my word for it. Let’s hear what some of the leaders of the churches in Syria and around the world believe:

“if there is an armed intervention, that would mean, I believe, a world war” 
Bishop Antoine Audo of Aleppo, President of Caritas Syria

The West thinks that with the Sunnis in government democracy will replace the dictatorship, but this is a great illusion: regime change by force, without giving security to the secular parties of inspiration, will trigger a conflict worse than in Iraq.”
Syriac Catholic Patriarch, Youssef III Younan

“the situation in the Middle East is becoming more and more critical as each day passes… there is a plan to destroy the Arab world for political and economic interests.”
Maronite Patriarch, Cardinal Bechara Rai

Once again, as was the case in Iraq, the United States is acting as an international executioner … Once again thousands of lives will be sacrificed on the altar of an imaginary democracy; among them there are, first of all, Christians, about whose fate no one cares.”
Metropolitan Hilarion, Russian Orthodox Church, Moscow Patriarchate.

Will you pray with me, fighter, as I pray with so many sisters and brothers across the world that this threat to unleash all hell on the people of Syria will come to nothing?

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 – March18th, 2013

Hi Fighter,

I hope you’re having a good week. This last week for me has been one of great highs and lows (and not much in between).

One of the highs was tonight! Ange and I had the opportunity to go and hear an address from Ed Bearss – one of the world’s greatest historians on the American Civil War. He is a living legend in his field and turns 90 this year!

Those who remember Ken Burns’ documentary series on the US Civil War will remember Ed. Those who have taken one of Ed’s battlefield tours will never forget him!  :-)

My whole family had the privilege of doing a tour of the Gettysburg Battlefield with Ed back in 2001. Unfortunately, while we were re-tracing the progress of a battle through some thick grass, my eldest daughter, Veronica (who was only 11 at the time), walked on to a hornet’s nest!

The result was very painful for her and for me as well as I ran to her and picked her up and then just stood there, getting stung myself, as I  couldn’t think what else to do until Ange yelled at me “get off the hornets’ nest!”  

I got some time with Ed after his talk tonight and asked him, “do you remember a young girl who you gave a ‘Courage Under Fire’ award to for her bravery when attacked by hornets back in 2001?”  His response was “Like it was yesterday!”

The Legendary Ed Bearss

The Legendary Ed Bearss (click to see the pic at full-size)

Fight Night Wrap-up

Our fight night last Friday was an event of both highs and lows.

The lows started the day before when Reza’s opponent pulled out! Then we arrived at the venue and found that Kath’s opponent had weighed in too light and her fight couldn’t go ahead either! That left only Ash and Caine.

Ash put in a great performance. He’s only 17 and it was his first stoush! Caine, on the other hand, didn’t do as well as we’d hoped!

Caine’s opponent was an old student of mine. He is the only student I’ve ever had to ask to leave the club! It was many years ago, and suffice it to say that he’s not known for his self-control. Nothing had changed. There were lots of shots to the kidneys and the back of the head. At one point Caine was wrestled to the ground and at another he was almost pushed through the ropes and out of the ring!

The experience broke Caine’s concentration and he lost his will to fight. He stayed in there like a good soldier and saw the fight to its conclusion, but it left a bad taste in our mouths.

As St Paul says, “We get knocked down but we are not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:9), and I’m trusting that this will ultimately be a growth experience for our brother. Even so, I’d sooner that none of us had to venture into the darker side of boxing.

Trinity Gym Fight Team of March 14

Left to Right: Reza, Kath, Mungo, Caine (in front), Sol, Eric, me & Ash

Partying with Jesus

My sermon this week focuses on the scandalous party-behavior of Jesus, and I hope I communicate the controversial nature of Jesus’ actions clearly enough!

The passage is John 12:1-11, where we read of a young woman who throws herself all over Jesus – perfuming his feet and wiping his feet with her hair!

The fact that Jesus lets this sort of thing go on in public should offend most conservative Christians. It certainly offended the religious leaders of His day, as did Jesus’ drinking and the general company he kept!

I hope I do the passage justice. You’ll find the written version here if you prefer to read it.

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

Farewell to an old friend

The most painful low for me this week has been the death of a dear old friend – Grace Reppion.

Grace was a mother to many in our parish family. She was a saintly woman with a great sense of humor. Each year at around this time she would tell me that she’d decided to give up sex for Lent as a part of her spiritual discipline! 

I found this lovely pic of Grace with dear Father Elias, taken back in 2009. Her funeral will be held at Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill on Wednesday week (March 27) at 10 am.

Grace Reppion with Father Elias in 2009

Grace Reppion with Father Elias in 2009

OK, I’d better get to bed! It’s gone 4am and there’s much to do tomorrow/today.

I’m busy preparing the final details for the Boot Camp this coming weekend. I should have lots of pics for you next week of us training and swimming and riding go-carts etc. There are still a few spots left if you’re keen to join us but please let me know right away.

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. I should mention too that Denning and I have decided NOT to go to Syria next month.  We are no less committed to the people of Syria or to the work of peacemaking, but the original program we were hoping to be a part of is not taking place now. Hopefully we’ll get our chance later in the year. Thank you very much for your prayers and advice.

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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

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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!

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About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Monday Missive – July 23rd, 2012

Hi Fighter,It’s Dave back with you again, and I’m feeling very tired tonight, so I’ll keep it brief.I can’t blame my tiredness on my ‘Monday Night Run’ though tonight as it didn’t happen.That was partly because I was speaking at a Rotary Dinner tonight and accepting a $2,000 donation to our Youth Centre (thank you, Marrickville Rotary). Morever though, the weather is cold and wet and miserable, and I’m just not up to it. 🙁

Most likely I’m still weary from a busy weekend that began with a rather surprising fight!

 

A Learning Experience!

I mentioned last week that I was anticipating a fight last Friday night. Indeed, I was only officially asked to fight last Monday, but it was a charity event, and I was told that my opponent was a couple of years older than me and had ZERO fight experience!

I wasn’t sure what to think about that! Did some guy with no fight experience really want to take me on, or was I being set up? Boxing promoters are not known for being the most honest people, and I’ve been set up before, so I accepted the bout with very mixed feelings.

My mind was put at rest though when I unexpectedly received an email from my opponent two days before the bout! He told me that his name was Rod and that he was a Christian man who had been quite nervous about the fight himself until he discovered that he was competing against a fellow believer. He asked me though to “go easy” on him though, as he was only a beginner.

I wrote back, saying that I was very glad that he had contacted me and that I would indeed take it easy on him. I said I did not want to embarrass him and would happily stick to ‘sparring level’. I then got on with my week and didn’t give the fight any further serious consideration until the evening of the event. On reflection, that was a big mistake!

It’s really quite curious how pig-headed I was. The team was telling me off over lunch on Friday – “You shouldn’t be drinking a glass of red with your lunch when you’re fighting tonight”, “You shouldn’t be eating fatty chips”, etc. I simply didn’t take them seriously, as I was no longer taking the fight seriously.

To cut to the chase, when the opening bell rang this guy exploded at me, and his punches were hard and straight! I lost the first round, and was lucky to claw my way back for a points win. It was a learning experience!

Here’s a pic of Rod and me after the fight. He told me he’d been training for this fight for three years. In truth, he’s a superb athlete, and I’ve told him that he’s certainly earned a rematch with me if he wants one.

 

A Sermon Illustration?

I’m sure there’s a good sermon illustration somewhere in that expereince – something about the importance of preparing yourself properly for the Good Fight.

Fighting Father Mungo, who fought on the same card, did a far better job of preparing himself, both mentally and physically, and won his bout with ease. Congratulations, bro!

Mind you, when it comes to fight preparation, the man to watch is Fighting Father Lovemore N’dou. He is an inspiration!

I’ve had the privilege of watching Lovemore and Sol Egberime go hammer-and-tongs at eachother over the last couple of months, as Lovemore helped Sol prepare for his fight two weeks back (which he won easily). Now Lovemore will be fighting in three Friday’s time, and along with Sol and the the rest of the team, I’m doing all I can to help him prepare.

In truth though, we don’t have to do much. The man is entirely self-motivated! Indeed, I have never seen anybody train so tirelessly or push themselves so mercilessly as does Lovemore. If I had ever wondered what it took to be a World Champion, now I know! His sparring sessions, which can last for hours, look just like the real thing, with perhaps a little less blood.

Watching these professional fighters in training reminds me of Josephus’ reflections on the Roman Army (you might not see the connection immediately, but bear with me).

The ancient Jewish historian, Josephus, recognised that it wasn’t just good luck that allowed Rome to conquer the world. It was because of the way her armies trained.

Anyone who will take a look at the organization of their army in general will recognize that they hold their wide-flung empire as the prize of valour, not the gift of fortune. They do not wait for war to begin before handling their arms, nor do they sit idle in peacetime and take action only when the emergency comes – but as if born ready armed they never have a truce from training or wait for war to be declared. Their battle-drills are no different from the real thing; every man works as hard at his daily training as if he was on active service. That is why they stand up so easily to the strain of battle: no indiscipline dislodges them from their regular formation, no panic incapacitates them, no toil wears them out; so victory over men not so trained follows as a matter of course. It would not be far from the truth to call their drills bloodless battles, their battles bloody drillls (Josephus’ Jewish Wars III, 60)

It’s worth recognising that when St Paul urged the early Christians to take their stand as soldiers of Christ (eg. Ephesians 6), it was these very Roman legionaries that he was pointing to as examples! Boxing champions like Lovemore and Solomon E are modern-day counterparts to these ancient warriors. They remind us that the battle is tough and that proper preparation is everything!

OK, enough sermonising!

 

In Conclusion …

I said that I was going to be brief today but (as usual) I got carried away …

Three more things I must pass on very quickly before I go:

  1. I mentioned last week that we had a few $220 seats left at our supporters’ tables for Lovemore’s fight on August 10th. I believe that all spots have now been taken, but if you’d like to put your name on the waiting list, please let me know ASAP
    .
  2. I was interviewed last week by Ray Wheatley, the editor of “World of Boxing” magazine. He talked to me about the church, our work with young people and (of course) about boxing. Ray has YouTubed the interview here if you’d like to see it.
  3. I am going to make ONE FINAL PLEA to join THE CONTEST!

Fighting Father Jim and I have added a video to the contest sign-up page and a few other bells and whistles, so please do at least give the page a visit. Here’s the link again.

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

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About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four