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Date for ezine: January 25, 2004
Subject for ezine: The Good Fight, no.15


Father Dave's Newsletter No.15

The Good Fight
The Good Fight
 
January 25, 2004   Fathers Dave's Monthly Newsletter
The view from my corner


Hi friends,

It seems like forever since I last touched base with my friends and supporters. I'm just completing five weeks of long-service leave, and have been splitting my time pretty evenly between labouring away at Binacrombi retreat site - deep in the Australian bush - and promoting my book.

It's quite a jarring experience to lose the weekly rhythm of worship, meetings, fight training & endless phone calls, but I can't really pretend I've missed it all (especially the phone calls). I've greatly enjoyed getting my hands dirty and blistered - chopping wood and hauling around heavy machinery. OK, I'm a strange person, but you knew that.

And I must mention my return yesterday from Binacrombi. After leaving the blessed environs of kangaroos and wombats in the morning, we drove all the way back to inner-city Sydney, only to be greeted by a brawl taking place on our doorstep. Well, I suppose it was our Youth Centre's doorstep really, but we're located directly across the street from one another.

One of the girls had apparently called one of the boys a 'mother-somethin' and the boy had ... well ... questioned the moral integrity of the girl. She then hit him, and dared him to hit her back and ... well ... he did. Next thing the girl's father was here with his shirt off, shaping up to the boys - threatening and carrying on. Someone let fly a kick and ... welcome back to Dulwich Hill!

Congratulations to our youth workers Tony and Mitch for the way they handled that one. By the time I jumped in, Mitch had a good hold on the father and Tony had all but dispersed the boys. Still, it did make me wish that I'd stayed in the bush just a little bit longer.



"How's 'Sex, the Ring & the Eucharist' going, Dave?" I hear you ask. Well ... slowly but steadily is the answer. Unfortunately I haven't sold 1000's of copies of the book yet, but I have sold a couple of hundred, and it all makes a difference.

What has been very encouraging has been the reviews I've been getting. Fancy getting a full-page review in one of Sydney's two biggest newspapers! If you'd like to take a look at it now, you can see it in its original layout (complete with colour pic!) by clicking here. Thanks again to my favourite sports writer, Jeff Wells.

In addition to the Daily Telegraph, I've been interviewed by two newspapers and three radio stations thus far. Indeed, the book is apparently proving quite a hit in Darwin (one part of Australia that I don't ever expect to get to) where TOP FM have asked for more copies to give away to their listeners.

Most gratifying of all has been the response I've been getting from you guys - my friends and supporters. In truth, my most prized comment on the book thus far was made by my buddy Greg 'the Widow-Maker' Lytton - fighter, trainer and all round nice guy. He says, "It's good to see priests are human too."

If I have a single goal in publishing the book, apart from raising funds for our work, it is that I might bring the church community and the fight community just a little bit closer together. Who knows? At this rate I might even get Widow-Maker into church one day! (but I won't hold my breath).

And we are still doing a big Amazon book buy-up ..... soon!
In the meantime, if you haven't read the book, how's about getting a copy of the pdf version now. It's still AUD $9.95 (about US$7). I'll complete the reformatting of the book in the next week or so, and the price will go up to $19.95. Registered owners will get a free upgrade. If you'd like to grab a copy, click here.


And before I let you go today, I want to ask for your prayers for two dear friends of mine.

One is Jacob Reid, a wonderful 7-year-old boy whose cancer problem is just getting increasingly bad at present. Pray for him, for my best buddy Scott (his dad) and for his mum, Sandy.

The other mate of mine who needs your prayers at the moment is my friend Morde Vanunu.

There may be some reading this who don't know Morde's story - how he was working in the manufacture of nuclear weapons in a hidden plant in the Negev desert in Israel, until he felt the call of God upon him to blow the whistle on his government and tell the world the truth about what was going on.

It is possible that some of you have never heard of how he was kidnapped from Italy, smuggled back to Israel in the base of a cargo ship, tried in secret, and sentenced to 18 years in prison (spending the first 11 and a half years in solitary confinement)!

Well, Morde, who has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize every year since he has been in prison, is due for release this coming April 21st, but (surprise, surprise) apparently the Israeli government is having second thoughts about releasing him!
I guess they are nervous about having Morde roaming around proclaiming to everybody that Israel has more weapons of mass destruction than the rest of the Middle East put together!

To those who'd like to know more about Morde, SBS radio
(the Australian government multi-cultural station) recently put together a short documentary on him. You can download the entire piece as an MP3 sound file by right-clicking here and chosing 'save target as'. It's 4.7 mb, but I highly recommend it.
If you can't manage the download, I'd encourage you to read my recent 'Rave about Morde', and/or to download my collection of his "Letters from Solitary" (nb. scroll to bottom of this page).

Even if you don't download anything, please pray for the man.
He is a faithful soul and a dear friend.

I commit you all to God's tender care till next we speak.

Yours in the Good Fight,

God bless, Dave 

Computer Tip - The Alexa Toolbar - revisited!


I can't believe that NOT everyone on this mailing list grabbed their free copy of the Alexa Toolbar last month, so I'm urging you again to grab it now before someone decides to charge for it.

What does it do?

  1. It's a search engine in your toolbar
  2. It gives you contact information about the webmasters of whatever site you're looking at.
  3. It tells you lots of other info about the site you're on, like how popular it is and how many other sites are linked to it.
  4. And, and, and ... it BLOCKS POPUPS!

Here I am selling 'Popup Zapper' through my shop, and I've got to admit the Alexa Toolbar does a better job! AND IT'S FREE!

Sermon of the month

This month, an old favourite - my Epiphany sermon.

I like Epiphany so much
that I volunteered to take
a Sunday service in the country parish of Taralga 2 weeks back (while I was supposed to be on leave)
so long as they didn't mind me pulling out my old Epiphany sermon again!

For those that don't know, Epiphany is celebrated twelve days after Christmas (remember the 'on the 12th day of Christmas' carol).

Epiphany celebrates the remarkable 'appearance'
(in Greek, 'epiphaneo')
of the star that led the wise men to the baby Jesus.

Their appearance raises
a number of questions:

  • Were there really three of them?

  • Were they kings
    (like the song says)?

  • What on earth is Frankincense?

and most importantly ...

  • What on earth are these guys doing in the Christmas story?

You see, the problem is
that these guys are not just weird, they are foreigners - strangers to the hope of Israel and part of a different religion altogether! Yet God seems to want these people to be part of the celebration of Jesus' birth too! How do we make sense of that?

For a response to this
and to the myriad of other questions surrounding these mysterious yuletide figures click here.


Fight Tip of the month: "Fighting: a chess game with blood"


This month we head into part two of my interview with Australian fighting legend Kon Pappy.

Kon, as you'll remember, has been winning National titles as an Olympic wrestler since his early teens, has
had 29 professional boxing bouts, and in this, his 40th year of life, he has so far racked up 27 wins from 27 matches, gaining victories around the world in wrestling, Jiujitsu and Pankration tournaments.

My agenda in these interviews is to focus on each of the three key
elements that go to make
up a champion fighter:

  • GOOD BODY
  • GOOD MIND
  • GOOD TRAINER

This month we focus chiefly on the second of these three areas - on the development of the fighting mind.

"I see it all as a game -
a chess game with blood!
I want to outwit people.
I don't necessarily want to hurt anybody."

Of course it's hard to envisage any 'game with blood' where someone isn't being hurt, but Kon's point
is that, as a professional pugilist, hurting people is never the aim of the game.

The goal is to win, and the most proven formula for success in the ring is not to unleash your anger, but to engage your mind.

"I don't want to bludgeon someone to death - be
the roughest guy there.
I want to outwit them, and I want to look good while I'm doing it!"

For the complete text of part two of my interview with Kon Pappy, click here.

If you missed last month's instalment, click here first.

Kon and me!
A recent pic of
Kon & myself

nb. The full-size picture accompanies the interview
 

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