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
I overheard one of the boys in our Youth Centre the other day say that he didn’t believe in God. My immediate reaction was one of sympathy.
Then I reflected, ‘why do I feel sorry for this guy?’ Once upon a time a statement like that might have made me feel defensive or even antagonistic, as if he was challenging me to a fight. Now I feel sorry for him?
Was it because I was overcome with a sense of what he was missing out on - all the joys of Heaven and life with Christ. That would be an obvious explanation but, nope, that wasn’t it.
As I thought about it, I realised that my sympathy had more to do with my belief in the devil than with my faith in God as such! Let me explain:
It seems to me now that there are really only two types of people who don’t believe in God - people who don’t believe in evil and people who don’t believe in the ultimate triumph of God over evil.
People who don’t believe in evil are people who can afford to. I remember back in my University days a fellow-student asking me rather sarcastically, “you haven’t met anybody really evil, have you?” and in truth, I hadn’t. But I have since.
If I’d stayed in that secluded University environment, I think it’s quite possible that I would have continued to be surrounded by nice people behaving (for the most part) nicely to one another. But for better or for worse I left those safe environs and ventured into a larger and more dangerous world.
Not believing in evil is a luxury that only the well-to-do can afford. Those who achieve genuine financial self-sufficiency and can afford to shield out the pain going on around them may well be able to live a life where the dark face of evil is always kept at a safe distance. And if you never deal with evil, you don’t really need to embrace good either, and so the whole cosmic war between God and Satan seems like a fanciful tale.
Some people don’t believe in God because they can afford to, but that wasn’t the problem for the boy in the Youth Centre. That guy had seen plenty of darkness and had been through more than enough pain for a lad his age. So if you’re aware of the battle between good and evil, and yet you don’t believe in God, that can only mean that you have no hope that things are ever going to get any better, and that’s tragic.
This is the loss of hope we call ‘despair’ - the ‘sickness unto death’ - reflecting spiritual burnout. I’ve lost one too many battles. I cant go on fighting. I have lost hope. God save us from despair. Help us to keep the flame of hope alive. Give us the courage to believe in the Kingdom coming.
Our online community has been taking a bit of a hammering of late:
As you know, Google cancelled my Adsense account, doing enormous financial damage
Google further earmarked some of my emails as 'suspect' and they get earmarked as spam
Subsequently 1,200 subscribers to the Fighting Fathers mailing list suddenly disappeared!
Someone seems to have hacked into our forum and (at time of writing) it's out of action!
Even so, the work of the Fighting Fathers goes on with new articles and new free software:
I mentioned last week that we're organising a tele-conference with Sheikh Mansour to answer your questions about Islam. I should have a time and date for you by later this week.
Duelling Padres: round 2
Here's another double-decker sermon offering from Elias and myself, and this time we're both preaching on the same text - Matthew 16: 13-25 - the passage where Peter identifies Jesus as the Christ.
The text is regularly broken in half, and read in church over two weeks, but Elias and I decided to preach on the entire text two weeks in a row, rather than split it.
Our reasoning will be clear enough when you read through the text again for yourself. In the first part of the passage, Peter identifies Jesus as 'the Christ' and Jesus not only commends Peter but states that "upon this rock I will build my church". In the second part of the passage, Peter gets into a disagreement with Jesus, and Jesus ends up calling him Satan!
Our feeling was the if we're going to get a proper perspective on Peter, on the Church and on Christ we need to look at both halves of this passage together.
And finally today, keep our brother Morde Vanunu in your prayers please.
Morde's future is still very uncertain. The invitation for him to leave Israel and go to Norway is still there, but whether Israel will allow him to leave, or whether they will prefer to put him back into prison is another question altogether.
Here's Morde at the recent Hiroshima Day memorial gathering in Jerusalem.
OK. I know you've got things to get on with, but can I make one final appeal to you before you leave today.
If you have a PC (and not a MAC) will you please, please, please download my Ezine-Express RSS notifier. It by-passes the whole email system to tell you when there's a new ezine for you.
As I've mentioned, we seem to be being targetted at the moment. I lost 1,200 subscribers last week and God knows how many more never received their emails from me. It seems that we are being both hacked into and that someone is successfully submitting my email address to SPAM databases, getting me blacklisted by various ISP's.
The very simple solution for you (if you have a PC and not a MAC) is to install my RSS notifier program, And if you have a MAC, consider using a PC emulator and you can use the notifier too.
Grab the program here. It's free, and there's even a video on how to install it if you have trouble working it out.
May the Lord bless and strengthen you for the work to which you have been called.