Monday Missive – March 4th, 2013

Hi Fighter,

It’s Father Dave back with you again, and I’m a little soggy and deflated this week!

I was planning on showcasing a series of wonderful pics for you this week – pics from our church weekend in the bush:

  • go-karting
  • swimming
  • caving
  • toasting marshmellows

Unfortunately the whole event got washed out!

As Fighting Father Jim pointed out, it was s kinda odd having our church retreat sabotaged by an act of God. Even so …

For those who don’t live in this part of the world, let it be known that there are unprecedented levels of flooding across the Blue Mountain National Park where our beloved Binacrombi Bush Retreat is situated (in the south-west of New South Wales).

Normally when it rains, the river-crossings never remain swollen for more than a couple of hours. On this occasion it rained so hard and for so long that our caretaker family were completely cut off for a few days.

Oh well … the rain now seems to have stopped and the rivers are cross-able again and I’m trusting that nothing will interfere with our Warrior Weekend, planned for March 22 to 24. :-)

Our Warrior Weekend will be two days of intense fitness training, run by world-renowned Boot Camp expert, Mick Richards.

While some of Australia’s (and the world’s) greatest boxers will be joining us (such as our own Solomon ‘Mr Jones’ Egberime) the weekend is not designed only for boxers. It will be a fitness camp with an emphasis on boxing training, rather than a boxing training camp.

Either way, you are invited. I’m trying to convince all the guys who missed out on the church weekend away that they are invited too but I haven’t had many takers from the church yet. I’m hoping to get a more enthusiastic response from the online community.

Download the promotional poster for the March 22-24 event here. It includes the phone number to ring in order to book yourself a spot. Alternatively, if you email me we can work it out from there.

Please do consider being a part of this historic adventure I. I’m hoping that we’ll run a lot of these Warrior Weekends over the months and years to come, but this will be your only chance to a part of the FIRST EVER Warrior Weekend! :-)

 Vote Wikileaks!

In case you’re not aware, I’m a great fan of Julian Assange and Wikileaks., though I wasn’t sure what to think when I heard that Mr Assange wanted to run for a seat in the Australian Senate!

I assumed initially that it must have been some sort of publicity stunt. I couldn’t see how Assange could run for a seat in the Australian Parliament when he’s holed up inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London!

Apparently though it’s all very serious, and my friend Father Roy (who is my co-conspirator in www.israelandpalestine.org) has been urging me to get in contact with my fellow Australian and see how we can help him!

My knee-jerk reaction was to assume that I could never get to Julian, but for Roy’s sake I contacted my friend Ciaron OReilly – a full-time peace activist from the Catholic Workers Movement who has been picketing the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since Assange arrived there.

Anyway, to cut to the chase, last week Denning and I met up with John Shipton and his friend, Graeme Dunstan. Graeme is another peace activist. John is Julian Assange’s dad!

Check out the pic below. You’ll be able to tell straight away which one John is! :-)

Denning and I meet up with John Shipton and Graeme Dunstan

Denning and I meet up with John Shipton and Graeme Dunstan

Anyway, it turns out that not only is Julian Assange standing for a seat in the Australian Senate, but the newly-formed Wikileaks Party is planning on putting forward a number of candidates across the country, including one in my own area! The party’s sole platform will be ”the democratic requirement of truthfulness from government”.

Isn’t that the most unheard of thing you’ve ever heard of! Can you imagine what the world would be like if our politicians actually told us the truth! :-)

What’s more, the guy they have in mind as the candidate for my area is a good friend of mine! I won’t mention his name at this stage but I thought he was an excellent choice, and I said that I’d be happy to support the campaign in any way I could!

So … I’m not sure what form my support will take and I’m not sure how formally involved I will be, but I do expect to be campaigning for Wikileaks and for truth-telling in the Australian Federal election this coming September!

Bad Religion

You could be forgiven for thinking that we’ve been gradually abandoning quality-control when it comes to our sermon videos over the last few weeks. Firstly we had problems with the audio overly track. Then both the video and the audio recorder broke down!

Denning salvaged a recording of this sermon on his mobile phone!

As you’d expect, it’s not the greatest recording we’ve made and it’s probably not the greatest sermon I’ve ever given either, but the topic is important and worth thinking about. My topic is ‘bad religion’.

What is it that separates the religion of Mother Theresa from the religion of Osama Bin Laden? Is it purely a matter of which Scriptures they considered to be sacred or is there something deeper that separates them? How can some people kill in the name of God while others can only love in the name of God? Can it really be the same God?

I don’t pretend to give any definitive answers to these fundamental religious questions but I do offer my thoughts on how we can prevent sliding into bad religion ourselves, and how to recognise the signs of when religion is starting to go bad.

This mobile-phone recording actually starts a few minutes in to the sermon while I’m in the middle of retelling the story of the death of Darth Vader!

It may help you to make better sense of the sermon and to understand why on earth I’m using Darth Vader as a sermon illustration if you have the written version of the sermon to refer to. It’s recorded on www.fatherdave.com.au in full. Click here.

[imaioVideo v=1]

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

Mr X – the Saga Continues

I mustn’t let you go today without updating you on our situation with ‘Mr X’ – the young hooligan I mentioned last week who has been terrorising our Youth Centre and damaging our church property.

Thank you for all the emails I received over the last week on this subject. Thank you both for your prayers and for all the stories that you shared of similar experiences!

It seems that Sydney is not the only city in the world where teenagers seem to be able to flout the law with impunity. Moreover it seems that we are not the only place where representatives of the police force make mind-numbing statements like “I’m sorry, but the video you took of the person committing the crime cannot be used as evidence because you didn’t get their permission to film!”

I didn’t mention it last week but a large part of the problem, I think, was that the police persons who we were dealing with still had pimples!

I don’t mean to be mean or to be ‘ageist‘ (if there is such a thing) but the male and female couple who responded to our distress signal last week looked younger than some of my own children!

I shouldn’t be ungrateful. Most of the calls I’d made to the police that week had resulted in no uniformed police showing up at all! Even so, last Tuesday afternoon two new policemen arrived at my front door, and I can’t tell you how my heart leaped for joy when I saw that they had grey hair! :-)

Constable Russell James is now my new local hero! It took him about three minutes to get a complete picture of what was going on and only another hour before he’d caught up with the boy in question, put the wind up him, and organised a sit-down meeting between the three of us for the next day!

The meeting itself didn’t go brilliantly as I might have liked as Mr X wan’t showing many signs of repentance and new life. Even so, Constable James clearly knew exactly what was going on, and I have every confidence in his ability to help us keep Mr X and his mates under control.

Oh, and did I mention that Constable James boxes for the Police Boxing Squad?! :-)

Share your Wisdom!

And one final exhortation today: Please share your wisdom on our FORUM.

There have been two very active threads in the last week and both of them are focused on the same area – the tensions between religion and science.

Yes, it’s a members-only forum, and yes, membership will cost you $10/month, BUT keep in mind that:

  • This means that the forum has NO SPAM on it!
  • Your $10/month is what keeps this work going

That’s enough from me today. We’ll speak 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

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four