Weekly Missive – June 21st, 2013

Hi Fighter,

I’m beginning this missive from a small room in a monastery on the outskirts of Canberra.

Yes, I’m in the nation’s capital today and tomorrow, accompanying Mother Agnes as she appeals to Australian political leaders not to fuel the fire in Syria.

with-agnes-and-carmel

I don’t know how closely you’ve been following developments in Syria over the last few days and weeks but things are certainly hotting up!

The key developments are:

  • The Syrian Army won a major victory at al-Qusayr.
  • The Assad government thus seems to be winning the war.
  • The US has therefore decided to channel more weapons to the rebels!

This is the long and short of it, though the US is not admitting that they are acting out of a desire to see their side win. Rather, US officials are saying that the evidence for Syrian Weapons of Mass Destruction all of a sudden looks a lot more credible!

To my mind, FSA+USA=WWIII

In other words, Obama’s decision to give military support to the ‘Free Syrian Army’ (FSA) is a choice for World War III!

My reasoning is straight forward:

  • By arming the FSA Obama is ensuring that the war will continue
  • As the war continues, so does both the death toll and the refugee crisis
  • The refugee crisis, if it expands any further, will destroy Lebanon
  • Further death and displacement will likewise destroy Syria
  • Iran will not allow its only two allies to go down without a fight
  • Iran, Syria and Lebanon will therefore have to declare war on the US and Israel and whoever joins them.
  • The rest of the world will inevitably get drawn in to what will become a battle between East and WestMuslim vs. Christian.

Anyway, for all of the above reasons I am down in Canberra with Mother Agnes and we’re chatting cordially with political heavies from all sides of politics.

with-tony-abbot

From here we head back to Sydney and have a big fundraiser dinner. If you haven’t heard the details about that, you can download the flyer here.

On Sunday (June 23) we’ll be having Mother Agnes join us for prayer and worship at Holy Trinity and we’d love to have you join us.

with-kevin-rudd

One serendipitous moment yesterday happened when I was slumped on a bench in the foyer of Parliament House. I was only half-awake when someone approached me and thrust out his hand, saying “Kevin“. It was former Aussie PM, Kevin Rudd!:-)

PrayersforSyria.com

I want to thank everybody for their suggestions regarding which of the three domain names I should use to set up my new Syria site (www.syria.net.co, www.newsinsyria.com or www.syriaupdate.com).

For better or worse, I decided to drop all three domain names and go for one that targeted the religious community – www.prayersforsyria.com.

Please take some time to look over some of the articles, press releases and videos on my new site.  I’d particularly like to draw your attention to:

Of course, the fact that I have chosen a different domain name from the three I originally purchased means that the others are available for anyone who wants to build their own Syria website. Just go to ZeroCostWebsite.net, sort out a hosting package and get back to me. I’ll be happy to contribute one of the above-mentioned domain names if you can put it to good use.

Big changes at Binacrombi

The other big news for us at Fighting Fathers Ministries at the moment is that we are losing our beloved caretaker family from Binacrombi Bush Camp.

Geoff and Laura and the boys will be relocating to New Zealand at the end of July, and while we wish them well in their new life, Binacrombi will be mourning their loss.

My plan, for the short term at least, is to try and run Binacrombi without a full-time caretaker family on site. Instead I am hoping that we can have teams of people go down on weekends and open up the place for our clients.

Let me know if you’re interested in being a part of a team. The pay will not be huge but if you’re looking for challenge and adventure, this is the place to find it!

A first aid certificate and a basic level of mechanical expertise is requisite for anybody who would like to lead one of the teams.

Farewell to Jim

It is a month for sad farewells. Last week we also had to say goodbye to our beloved webmaster, Fighting Father Jim.

Fighting Father Jim

A sad farewell to Fighting Father Jim

Jim is relocating to Melbourne with his partner, Kiko, from where he will be continuing his creative work. He wish him every blessing and strength for the future.

The other sad farewell we have made this week is to the shell of our beloved Youth Centre – now bulldozed to the ground with so many memories buried beneath it!

Rather than show you scenes of the demolition, let me instead offer you this picture of students from Petersham Public School, gathered on the street in front of our old hall.

Petersham Public raised over $500 towards our reconstruction through a cake stall.

students from Petersham Public School

students from Petersham Public School

Similar thanks go to so many friends in the community who have contributed towards our rebuilding. Let me mention by name:

  • Dulwich Hill Public School ($700)
  • Petersham Preschool (who sold mulch from their garden to raise $274)
  • St Paul of the Cross Catholic Church ($500)
  • Jack Wardana and his group of ‘poppers’ ($845)

For those who don’t know what ‘popping‘ is, it’s a type of rap dancing, and ‘Popping Jack’ was using our church hall to teach a lot of our local young people to ‘pop’ before the fire. I’m thinking we should have a dedicated popping room when we eventually rebuild.

Mussalaha for Syria!

Let me conclude today with Fighting Father Denning‘s teaser clip of his upcoming documentary on our trip to Syria. ‘Mussalaha‘ (for those who might have forgotten) means ‘reconciliation’ in Arabic, and our trip to Syria was as a part of a Mussalaha delegation.

[imaioVideo v=1]

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

Please pray for mussalaha for Syria and pray for the work of Mother Agnes. And please join us at Holy Trinity this Sunday if you’re in the area. I’m hoping that we’ll have many members of the Syrian community come along to meet Mother Agnes and that it will be a truly multicultural worship experience.

We start at 9.15am (or shortly thereafter ).

Until then I remain …

Your brother in the Good Fight,

Dave
www.fatherdave.org
www.fighting-fathers.com
www.zerocostwebsite.net
www.prayersforsyria.com
www.israelandpalestine.org
www.how2changetheworld.com

P.S. And as I’m apt to remind you, if you’d like to support our work, the best way is to become a financial member at fighting-fathers.com. It only costs you $10/month but it makes all the difference at this end!

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Monday Missive – March11th, 2013

Hi Fighter,

It’s Father Dave back with you again, and I must confess that I’m feeling a little tired and overwhelmed this week.

  • I’m anxious about the Boot Camp.

As you’ll remember, our Boot Camp is scheduled for two weekends’ time – March 22 to 24.  We are pouring a great deal of time and energy (and money) into this event and I am determined to make it the greatest bush adventure that our young people have ever experienced!

We still have spare cabin accommodation if you’d like to join us at Binacrombi. The details are all on this poster.  Get back to me ASAP if you want to join us.

  • I’m unsure about the trip to Syria

I only got off the phone from speaking to Mother Agnes about an hour ago. She’s in Beirut at the moment but is about to head back into Syria.

It seems that our Mussalaha (‘reconciliation’) visit is back on and scheduled for next month. Our visit is apparently being merged with a larger peace conference, attracting hundreds of delegates from around the world!

I am unsure as to whether I should be going. My original intention was solely to support the work of Mother Agnes. It seems now that the project has taken on broader political dimensions that I don’t fully understand. Please pray for wisdom for Denning and myself, and feel free to hit me back with your thoughts.

  •  I’m confused about Wikileaks

I’ve met again with John (Julian Assange’s dad) and this time we met up with another old friend of mine, Jamal Doud – a Palestinian Muslim man who has more insight into the situation in the Middle East than any other human being I know.

I had been thinking that Jamal was going to be the Wikileaks candidate for our area and that I’d be supporting him. That suited me fine. I appreciate though that Jamal is a fighter who leads with his chin (as we say in the game) and so is not a natural politician. The problem is that I’m not a politician either (God forbid!). Of course, Julian Assange isn’t a politician either and that’s what makes the Wikileaks Party so attractive!

I’m not sure where this is all going but there’s talk at this stage of me heading over to London to meet up with Julian and give him a few boxing lessons. I think that would be a great way to develop our relationship. :-)

The local Wikileaks team - John Shipton, Jamal Doud and me!

The local Wikileaks team – John Shipton, Jamal Doud and me!

  • I’m excited about Friday’s Fight Night

Four of our team will be fighting this Friday night at the Randwick Labor Club (135 Alison Road) and I am expecting big things from them.

    • Reza Sazesh – our strongest amateur – will be having his sixth fight and I’m expecting a strong win.
    • Fighting Father Caine Pennell – Pastor of the Church of the Nazarene in Enmore and senior youth worker at Trinitys Youth Centre – will be having his third fight. Again, I’m expecting a strong win.
    • Asher Caroll is only 16 years old but has been boxing with us for more than a year. He’ll be making his debut.
    • Rampaging Kath Briggs (pictured below) will be having her third fight. Kath had her first fight with us when she was only 13. She’s now in her 30’s and is  a hot tip for the Australian Commonwealth Games team (nb. Kath is the larger of the two fighters pictured).
Kath Briggs and her lovely daughter, Sarah

Rampaging Kath Briggs and her lovely daughter, Sarah

The action starts at 7pm if you can join us. Proceeds from the night go to Hope Street Baptist Church’s ‘Urban Compassion Project’ – a worthy cause indeed!

Dueling Preachers!

It’s a bizarre coincidence that Sunday’s Gospel reading centered around a story Jesus told that began “a man had two sons” (Luke 15:11).

My dad actually had three sons, but two of them have preached at Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill in the last two weeks and I thought I’d put us side by side in a sort of ‘preach off’

Dueling Preachers

No, we’re not preparing to wrestle each other.

My brother Rob preached two weeks ago on Luke 13:1-8. I preached last Sunday on the three parables in Luke 15. You’ll find both sermons below.

Rob’s style is very different to mine. Rob is also an Anglican priest but he dresses differently, speaks differently and has a different slant on things altogether.  I’ll be keen to get your feedback on the dueling preachers. Leave your comments below please.

For those who don’t know, I must mention too that Rob is an amazing musician and has had more hits in the music world than I’ve had in the boxing ring! You can hear some sample of Rob’s music on his website.

[imaioVideo v=1]

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

Please be warned that there is one and a half minutes of video missing from my sermon below.  It’s right at the beginning. Don’t bother adjusting your controls. It won’t help. 

[imaioVideo v=2]

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

That’s plenty from me for this week.

Let me conclude by encouraging you again to participate in our online members’ forum.

There’s been plenty more provocative discussion over the last week on the topic of religion vs. science. I’ve also put out a challenge to discuss one of my favourite philosophical papers on the subject of science and language. Unfortunately I don’t seem to be capturing anybody’s imagination yet. 

Be reminded that it is a members-only forum, and yes, membership will cost you $10/month BUT, as I’ve mentioned before:

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

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

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.

 

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four