Subject for ezine:
Partners in the Good Fight
Father Dave's Partner's Ezine
in the Good Fight
one man dreams, it is just a dream, but when we all dream together, it
is the beginning of a new reality.
Dom Helder Camara
It's Father Dave here in post-election Australia, where nobody is quite
sure who is in charge any more!
In my last ezine I was lamenting the fact that Australians were being
forced to choose between a giant
douche and a turd
sandwich (see South Park's great
debate). Since then the people of
this country have spoken, and made it quite clear that we're not
particularly keen on either candidate!
The one encouraging thing about the Australian election was that there
was a marked swing towards the Greens
party and towards the Independents, who now appear as the only
political entities in this country that still have a conscience!
So now it appears that the major parties will have to work with the conscience candidates
in order to gain real power! The bigger question of course is
whether this is likely to lead to greater attention being given to the
major humanitarian and justice issues that plague this country -
combating prejudice, showing compassion to refugees, ending the
practice of detention and deportation without trial, etc.
I am not holding my breath, waiting for progress to
be made by our politicians. Yet I am not pessimistic, for I am
entirely confident in the capacity of ordinary persons like you and
me to make an enormous difference to our communities and our countries.
Our screening of 'Corner
few weeks back was a wonderful example of how community education and
attitude-change can work at a local level. It was a joint
between our Anglican, Catholic and Islamic communities. We
dialogued, broke bread together and, of course, watched a movie. We
learnt more about Palestine and the problems facing people immigrating
from East to West. We challenged long-ingrained prejudices and we built
community - all in a single Sunday afternoon!
progress in society is never likely to come from the top down. The
characters at the pinnacle of the political heap will always be
answerable, first and foremost, to the elite in society - to big
businesses and power-players. That isn't going to change in a
hurry. Real change has to come from people like you and me
are answerable to no one but the Almighty. And real change can
take place. I see it happening all the time. So keep on blogging the
truth, organising your local events, and standing up for justice and
truth whenever occasion permits. Together we can be the
that our world is aching for..
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Amongst this month's tweets you'll find links to my own latest sermons
and articles, and you'll also find updates on my dear friend, Mordechai
Vanunu, who has just served another torturous term in
solitary confinement at the hands of the Israeli authorities.
I'd also highly recommend "in
Search of the Real Islam" - a video that appears on the
website of the American
national Catholic weekly. It's a brief sketch of the real history of
Islam and its relationship to the West, with particular reference to
the current 'Ground
Zero Mosque' controversy
On a lighter note, I'd also recommend the fascinating video from A.J.Jacobs
- a Jewish agnostic and journalist - who attempted
to spend a year living by every precept in the Bible. Jacobs'
experience is very revealing!
Virtual Pulpit: The Secular
Sabbath, when [Jesus] went to dine
at the house of a ruler of the Pharisees, they were watching him
carefully. And behold, there was a man before him who had dropsy. And
Jesus responded to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, "Is it lawful to
heal on the Sabbath, or not?" But they remained silent. Then he took
him and healed him and sent him away. And he said to them, "Which of
you, having a son or an ox that has fallen into a well on a Sabbath
day, will not immediately pull him out?" And they could not reply to
these things." (Luke 14:1-6)
This sort of scene is not unfamiliar in the Gospel stories. Indeed, in
Luke's narrative you get two such Sabbath controversies
alongside each other, in chapters 13 & 14
What really struck
me, as I read these two narratives side by side, was how Jesus really
didn't engage at a theological level with his religious contemporaries
at all. Indeed, the truth is that Jesus almost never engaged
in theological argument with anyone! In scenes like the one
above, Jesus' religious peers are focused on the religious issue of obedience to the law
. Jesus seems to be more concerned with the needs of hurting people!
There was something remarkably secular
- even irreligious
- about Jesus and the way He conducted his ministry, and certainly that
was the perception of the religious establishment of the time.
Hit the play button
if you'd like to hear more of what I have to say on this passage, or
get the written
I remember this event with special fondness as it included a 'Celebrity Death Match'
between myself and my good friend Paul 'Pitbull' Grima.
Paul is one of the toughtest-looking guys you'll ever meet and his
fight record matches his appearance.
Australian and South Pacific welterweight kickboxing champion,
a prestigious boxer, and he seems to have tatts covering almost every
inch of his body. Paul is also one of the most big-heated
gentlemen I have ever met, and he'll do anything to help out
young people or the sport of kickboxing. We never would have
been able to keep our Youth Centre going all those years without Paul's
Anyway, it seems like a lifetime ago now when I was that thin and fit!
Ironically though, both Paul and I are still doing the same
thing! We're still training fighters, still working with young people,
and still getting thumped around! I guess a time will come
when both of us should retire from the ring completely, but with the
cumulative effect of the hits to the head, neither of us is likely to
recognise that time when it comes.
OK fighter, it's time to bring this month's ezine to a close, but
before I let you go I have a few more things I want to share with you:
Firstly, in case you missed it, my good friend
Sheikh Mansour Leghaei launched our first episode of "Inter-Faith Radio"
on August 12th. Unfortunately we had enormous technical
getting a good connection with Esfahan, Iran. Even so, we
hammered out something and hopefully it's only the first installment of
many greater episodes to come. You'll find it at the top of
the Global Talk Radio list here.
Thirdly, we are at the 'Interview Stage'
for the Caretaker/Youth Worker position at Binacrombi
but the position has not been finalised yet. If you think you have the
skills to manage a remote property, like working with young
people, and (ideally) love fight-training and dirt-bike
riding, you may be the person we are looking for. Hit me back with an
email to express your interest.
And finally, let me encourage you to pray and
do everything you can
this month for the people of Pakistan. The flooding
seems to have brought on a humanitarian disaster of terrible
proportions. Apparently one fifth of the entire country has been under
water! I find that hard to imagine. You can find
details on Avaaz.org, where you can also make
a donation. Click here.
OK, my friend. Please send me your feedback on the
ezine and stay in
touch. I'll hope to hear from you soon. In the
may the Lord bless and strengthen you for the work to which you have