It's good to be with you again, my friend, in what is a tough period of history for our world.
The tragedy in Burma this month has rocked all of us. With tens of thousands dead and over a million homeless, it's hard to imagine the pain that is being felt by the people of that land at the moment.
The response of the international community has been encouraging in many ways, and it has been good to see the church at the forefront of relief efforts. Less encouraging of course has been the resistance to international help from the ruling military junta in Burma. Even so, it appears that aid is getting through, and if you'd like to support the ecumenical efforts of Action by Churches Together you can make a donation online through Anglicordhere.
Of course, great suffering continues in the Middle East too as we commemorate this month the 60th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel.
To many Jews this is a cause of celebration. To most Palestinians it is a time of grieving, where many remember the day when they were evicted from their family home to make way for the new state. Palestinian human rights groups here and around the world are urging our governments to recognise both sides of this anniversary.
For Elias and myself this month has been marked by an unprecedented amount of media attention.
We hosted a Fighting Fathers Special on the Koori Boxing Show. We dialogued with a sex therapist on ABC Radio on the subject of lust (details here)! We were picked up by one of Sydney's leading newspapers for a full-page story (see here) and we're about to be the focus of the first part of a new TV series on Growing up Male (details to follow).
Another exciting thing for us is that the Binacrombi gym is nearing completion, and we've been in negotiation with the local police and Salvation Army about seeing this place of respite in the Australia bush used to its full potential.
And of course, perhaps the most exciting thing of all has been the launching of our new Fighting Fathers Membership Site (see more below). While this is proving costly in terms of both finances and time, I am hopeful that this site will prove to be the most significant online work that I have ever undertaken.
The goal of www.fighting-fathers.com is to equip you and every member of our online community with the tools you need to make an impact online - to provide a platform from which you can spread the Gospel of love and peace. If we can achieve that in even a small way, it will have been worth whatever it costs us!
In summary, the battle continues to be fierce, but we are most definitely making ground! May the Lord continue to bless and strengthen you for your part in the battle!
Your brother in the Good Fight,
P.S. Don't strain your eyes trying to make out the details in the thumbnail pics in the above right-hand column. Click the pic and you'll get the full-size version.
May 14 (Sydney) at 7pm Ali Abunimah and Antony Loewenstein
Two great minds on the Israel-Palestine crisis will speak at Gleebooks in Sydney. Abunimah, the founder of Electronic Intifada and Lowenstein, best known for his book, "My Israel Question". Details here.
May 16 (across Australia) Global Nightshift Fights Child Slavery
A youth event held simultaneously in six state capitals across Australia. All proceeds go to the work of the Oaktree Foundation. More info here.
May 21 to June 1 (Sydney) Dreams of Home - A photo exhibition
Marrickville Councilís Chrissie Cotter Gallery is hosting an exhibition of photographs taken by children of Aida Refugee Camp in Bethlehem. More info here.
May 24 (Sydney) at 7pm The Fighting Fathers Return to the Ring
At least three of our lads will be fighting at Petersham RSL Club this month. The main even will feature Dulwich Hill's own Fighting Father Joe Barnes, fighting for the Sydney Metropolitan Middleweight Title!
Duelling Padres (Fathers Dave & Elias head to head)
Jesus prayed, "I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their message, that they may all be one. Just as you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be one in us, so that the world may believe that you sent me." (John 17:20-21)
Here are two sermons on John Chapter 17 - one from Dave and one from Elias. Both sermons were given at Holy Trinity. Both are on the topic of Christian Unity. And that's where the similarities end!
Here's a brilliant variation on the traditional 'Tour of the Holy Land''. Courageous Israeli tour guide, Fred Schlomka, runs tours for locals and international tourists that highlight the aspects of Israel and Palestine that the government would rather remained hidden from public view.
Tour the demolished houses of Palestinians in East Jerusalem and see Bethlehem's enormous 'Separation Wall'. Click here for an itinerary.
This is a fantastic initiative, taken by Palestinian human rights activist, Susan Abulhawa, who believes that the Right to Play is crucial to healthy development of all children. Playgrounds for Palestine finances and builds playgrounds and recreation areas for Palestinian children living under the Israeli military occupation.
"Palestinian children deserve more than mere shelter and sustenance", says Susan. "They deserve to thrive, having outlets for creative expression."
And finally this month, here's a new product from one of my most creative mates online - Micael Hopkins.
DPG3 is by far the most crazy and comprehensive popup generator ever created. I thought Michael had pushed the envelope all the way in version 2 (and you can read my review here) but he's managed to find even more things you can do with popups!
Now, here's the best part! When you go to buy DPG3, enter this coupon code in the purchase window -†XKL34D8ES - and you'll pick up the product for $37 rather than $67! Thanks Michael.
If you've enjoyed this month's recommend sites, do their creators a favour and head out to stumbledupon and give them a 'thumbs up'. And if you've got something to say about these sites, say it on the forum.
This is my fourth recorded dialogue with my friend, Sheikh Mansour, and while we've spent most of our time focusing on our areas of common concern, it seemed only right to also look at points where Christians and Muslims diverge.
So rather than pussy-foot around the edges, we've jumped in the deep-end and tackled the big issues - God, the identity of Jesus and the nature of 'Gospel'.
It remains to be seen whether any of our readers are going to be swayed towards Islam through this dialogue. Either way, I anticipate coming under some heavy criticism for the way in which I present the Christian position. Of course, you'll have to listen to the interview before you can make a response.
Have you got something to say about this interview? Let your voice be heard on our forum.