Subject for ezine:
Partners in the Good Fight
Father Dave's Partner's Ezine
Partners in the Fight
When 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
Father Dave here, writing from Darling Harbour, in the centre of the city of Sydney, where we're in the middle of World Youth Day celebrations!
Apparently there are more than 100,000 young pilgrims visiting Sydney this week, celebrating their faith and joining in a papal mass, held later this week at Randwick racecourse, not far from here.
I reckon I can see about half of the 100,000 pilgrims from where I'm perched, and I must say that it is a magnificent site! Many of the young people have their national flags wrapped around their shoulders. All are dressed very colourfully. Many of the groups are dancing and singing national hymns.
Predictably, the Americans seem to be the loudest, both in terms of volume and in exuberance. Indeed, I must have high-fived at least 50 young Americans as I passed them on my way here! But it is a beautiful noise, and so wonderful to see so many young people so animated by their faith in Christ.
Big News for Binacrombi!
In case you've been wondering why there was no ezine last week, I've just had a week's holiday
Ange and I took the kids to Canberra for a couple of days and then we spent three more nights down at our beloved Binacrombi bush retreat. Not only did we get to enjoy some quiet days in the Australian outback, but we had the wonderful privilege of being visited by one of the great soldiers of the Australian Salvation Army, Captain Paul Moulds.
Many will know Paul from the documentary that screened about a month ago on the ABC. The film crew followed him around for two years to put together footage on his legendary work with homeless young people in Sydney'smost notorious red-light district.
Paul runs a shelter for homeless young people in Kings Cross, appropriately called 'Oasis'. It is a cutting-edge work, and Paul is a cutting-edge kinda guy! I had some involvement with Oasis back in the late 80's, when I was last working in that area, but that was before Paul took the helm and developed the work into what it is today! At any rate, it seems that the Fighting Fathers may now have an opportunity to work with the Oasis team in some very exciting new ways!
We currently have one of the Oasis clients taking some time-out down at Binacrombi, and we're looking at the possibility of housing four more of their young people on a semi-permanent basis. Oasis is a great place, but Kings Cross is not necessarily the best environment for everyone, and our oasis in the bush could function as a magnificent adjunct to some of Paul's inner-city work.
This is always the way I envisaged Binacrombi developing, so it will be a dream-come-true for me if it eventuates! Of course, nothing is certain at this stage, but I am full of hope.
Paul and his team with me, in front of our cabin at Binacrombi. That's Paul on the right, and some of you may recognise an old member of our Youth Centre staff team - Shortie Sutton - who is now working with Paul, on my right
There's been some exciting things happening on our members site over the last week or so, which now boats over 100 members, and continues to grow each day:
I've uploaded a beautiful Good News video about the Bereaved Families Forum. This is a joint Palestinian-Israeli initiative of families from both sides of the conflict who have lost love ones, who come together now to work for peace. Click here.
I've created two 'Reviews' this week, reviewing to recently-launched packages of Internet Marketing software. The first covers Chris McNeeney's latest - Google Nemesis - which I (sadly) had to purchase before discovering that it was complete rubbish (click here). The second offering is from my friend, Adrian Ling, and is quite brilliant (click here).
There has been a wonderful outpouring of wit and wisdom in the forum lately, including:
Eileen has given us a comprehensive update on Morde Vanunu (see more below)
Vern decided to share some of his software with us.
There are three new articles this week:
Pain that's Worth Suffering is the potentially confusing title of my sermon on Matthew 11:28 - "Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and I will give you rest". Click here to solve the confusion (nb. audio version of this one is featured below).
And since I'm back on the subject of 'reviews', I think I should explain that people can make a lot of money posting reviews (by including an affiliate link to the product) so I figured it was only fair to restrict review-posting to paid supporters. Note though that both paid and free members are able to offer their evaluation of a review once it has been posted.
Morde Vanunu Still Awaiting Sentencing!
I mentioned last time that our brother, Morde Vanunu was awaiting another court hearing to decide whether he will have to spend another six months in gaol for the crime of talking to the foreign media.
It's hard to believe that in a country the US President calls 'the only Democracy in the Middle East' that anyone can be locked up for telling the truth to the media, but this has been the story of Morde's life, ever since he was kidnapped and imprisoned back in 1986 for the crime of blowing the whistle on Israel's secret nuclear weapons program.
Morde wrote to me after the hearing on Tuesday as follows:
Today, July 8th, the district court of East Jerusalem, heard my Appeal against the 6 months prison sentence. The 3 judges heard it with some opens, and with some sympathy to my lawyers arguments. But only when we see their sentence in sep', then we will see if they really agree with my lawyers criticising all these orders not to speak to foreigners,
The court hearing was attended by many supporters and Friends from Israel, Norway, peace activists, CPT, My priest from the Redeemer church, and journalists. My lawyers were Avigdor Feldman, Michael Sfard and Tomer. Next we will be in the Supreme court again, to challenge the renew of these restrictions for the 5 years, the supreme court will hear this case next months,
Thank you for your support. I hope this case will be totally closed this year 2008, and I will start see the free world after 22 years
Morde also sent a public letter to the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in London where he said:
"My message: The people of the 21st have more accurate information. the Internet, the computers, the Digital age, the sattelies, crossing all barriers, uniting all the people, and making them see that the real enemies are the weapons, Nuclear Weapons, We are more able to force all the super powers, and UN, to accomplish the people of all the world wish, that is to Ban, abolish all Atomic weapons on this earth. Atomic weapons have no future use, and no future enemies to fight, they are still in dangering the human race on this Glob."
Morde's English may be less than perfect but his message, for which he has sacrificed so much of his life and freedom, rings forth as loudly and as clearly as ever.
Burdens that are Worth Bearing
"Come to me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)
I have always taken real comfort and strength from these healing words of Jesus. And yet there is a deep irony in Jesus' invitation to the weary. As Martin Luther said, "Only Jesus would invite the heavy-laden to take on another yoke".
Is it really Jesus' role to relieve us of all our cares, as so many modern-day preachers suggest, or could it be that He rather exchanges our useless burdens for ones that are worth bearing?
Well, ... I guess it's time for me to go, but I'm loathe to leave this coffee shop, where the sounds and ambience of World Youth Day are all around me. Indeed, I just witnessed a spontaneous parade of young African Christians, singing and dancing as they passed the spot where I'm sitting. I couldn't recognise their flag but they are certainly a credit to their country and their faith!
Let me finish with a series of invitations:
Next Monday night (July 21st) we at Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill will be playing host to about 100 French, Mexican and American pilgrims who are finishing up their World Youth Day celebrations. Father Elias decided to invite them, so we're going to do a prayer service at 7.00pm, followed by a BBQ dinner. If you'd like to join the mayhem, just turn up
As the 100 or so French, Mexican and American pilgrims leave, around 70 Taiwanese pilgrims will shuffle in, looking for a bed for the night! It seems that this group of pilgrims had their flight out of the country delayed, and again it was Father Elias who thought of us! If you're in the vicinity and you have a couple of spare beds in the house, let me know.
I invited you last week to contribute an article on boxing (ideally on amateur boxing) for a new site I'm putting together, celebrating the noble art's place in the Bejing Olympics. I received six wonderful articles. I need six more. Anything from expert analyses of Olympic hopefuls to personal reflections on the joys of pugilism will be gratefully received.
Finally, I have a position vacant for someone willing to help me with this online ministry and I can afford a small part-time wage for the right person. You don't have to be an expert in PHP or podcasting (though it would help) but you should know the difference between a bike farm and a blog farm. If that's you, and you thrive on long hours and low pay, call me.
May the Lord bless and strengthen you for the work to which you have been called.