We dealt with some painful violence at our beloved bush camp, Binacrombi
We had the privilege of playing host to one of God's great peacemakers - Mother Agnes Mariam of Homs (in Syria).
As I say, you'll get the details in the weekly missives that you'll find archived on the www.fatherdave.org blog, but I'm going to devote the bulk of this month's ezine to further reflections on our visit from Mother Agnes.
Mother Agnes is a woman who speaks with authority on the situation in Syria. And I mean that not only because she is a spiritual authority in her own right, but also because she speaks as one who has no agenda beyond the cause of peace.
There are some devious political games being played in Syria, and the bulk of the Western press seems to be content to parrot the party line - portraying the 'rebel alliance' as if it were led by Luke Skywalker and his buddies, waging a noble war against Darth Vader and his mindless minions.
The picture Mother Agnes paints is one that has far more shades of grey. She speaks from the front line - as someone who has poured herself into caring for the wounded on both sides of the conflict until she was forced to flee Syria along with most of the members of her monastery. I'd encourage you to listen carefully to what Mother Agnes has to say in the video-interview published below, and to resist the temptation to peripheralise her concerns as if they are distant events to which we have no real connection.
These are our brothers and sisters who are suffering in Syria. Moreover, the outcome of the conflict in Syria could change the face of the globe forever. The world's power-brokers are playing a very sinister game of chess in the Middle East. The Syrian President is just one piece in the larger game, but his removal could swing world history in a whole new direction. Time will tell. Your wisdom and your prayers are needed.
click the pics to see the full-size images
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You'll find that a lot of my 'tweets' lately have been about whether wives should really submit to their husbands.
Our Sydney Church reintroduced the word 'submit' into one of the marriage liturgies, and this generated a storm of public protest that reverberated across the globe. Hence I received a letter from a woman in the US who had been a long-term victim of domestic abuse, and it seems that the church's teaching on submission helped encourage the abuse!
I reprinted her letter here. If you leave your comments on the blog, the author of the letter will see them and may respond.
"Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.” (Mark 10:11-12)
Every now and then you find yourself with a Bible passage that doesn’t lend itself to starting your sermon with a joke. This is one such passage.
For these seemingly harsh and judgemental words come from the Lord Jesus Himself!
Gentle Jesus, meek and mild!
Jesus, the friend of tax-collectors and sinners!
Jesus who forgave those who crucified Him.
Jesus, is that really you?!
How is it that Jesus could so readily forgive the woman caught in adultery (John 8) but He doesn't seem to be able to forgive us divorcees?
Yes, I am on the wrong end of this condemnation too, for I have been divorced and re-married myself! What hope is there for me? What hope is there for any of us!
If you'd like to see me wriggle my way out of this one, you can find the written version of my sermon here or you can download the MP3 from the member site here. Alternatively, just click the play button below to listen now.
nb. my apologies that this recording is not up to the usual standard.
Sadly, somebody flogged my audio recorder, but we won't let this hold us back for long!.
It was a great privilege for us to have Mother Agnes Mariam of Homs join us at Holy Trinity, Dulwich Hill, to deliver a stunning expose on what's really going on in Syria, and how media manipulation and propaganda is hiding the truth and costing the lives of many innocent Syrians.
This is a cut-down version of my ringside interview with Mother Agnes. Our conversation was interrupted more than once by phone calls she had to take, all of which were coming in from back home, and detailing an attack that was taking place on her monastery even as we spoke!
Look out for the longer interview with Mother Agnes, and a copy of the speech she gave inside our church building. They'll be published over the next few weeks as Denning finishes editing them..
Before I let you go though I must share with you some exciting news about a man who is much loved by everyone in our part of the world - Australian and Oriental Junior Welterweight Boxing Champion, Solomon Egberime.
It was at least four years ago that Sol walked into our Fight Club, our church, and our heats. He is one of boxing's great talents, but he's a man who has never been able to get a shot at the world title. Hopefully this is all about to change.
It looks as if Sol might have the fight of his life coming up in just over a month's time. I won't mention names or exact dates at this stage, except to say that his prospective opponent is someone who has had 46 wins and zero losses!
The other thing I will mention now is the proposed location, as it's one of my favourite places in the world - West Virginia!
So ... if the fight comes off I'll hopefully be back in the Confederate States again before the end of the year! That would make me very happy. And if we can come home with a win against Mr 46-1-0, that will me me even happier!
Keep us in your prayers, as I do you, and know that the most practical way to support our work is to become a financial member at www.fighting-fathers.com. It only costs $10/month and it keeps our wheels turning.
May the Lord bless and strengthen you for the work to which you have been called.