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
Well, I'm afraid I'm putting together this ezine from a bed in Sydney's Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, where my kidney problems have caught up with me again.
The guy in the bed opposite is Mr Homer Duff-Beer. I'll explain how he got the name later, but it's fun to watch the doctors do their rounds and hover over his bed while they make sure they haven't misread his name. Apart from that, it's not a barrel of laughs in here, but it did give me an excellent vantage point from which to watch the US election unfold, as Australian ABC TV streamed continuous coverage for about 8 hours.
I found it fascinating (and fantastic) that the Australian media was so totally dominated by the US election. I think it accurately reflects that this may be the most significant election that any of us will ever see in our lifetimes! Interestingly too, I had a continuous stream of nurses coming up to me and asking me for updates. And what was most fascinating of all was that when I told them Obama was leading, each of them cheered!
Apparently Australians supported Obama over McCain to the tune of 4 to 1, and I'm told that likewise from countries such as Kenya (the birthplace of Obama's father), throughout Europe, and across the Middle East, he is enormously popular!
Why is it that Obama is so admired over here and around the world? I don't think it really has anything to do with his policies - either foreign or economic - despite how relevant those two issues are for all citizens of the world. I think this country can only see the election of an African American President in the light of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. less than 40 years ago. To the people of this country (and any number of countries around the world) this seems to prove that America as a nation has moved beyond its history of state-sanctioned racism and is ready for a new era of true equality.
The moral high-ground suddenly seems to have had a seismic shift in America's direction. I don't hear any anti-American jokes being told at the moment, such as were rife after the re-election of George W. Instead, it seems that the citizens of the world are standing back and tipping their hats to the American people - not because they necessarily elected the best candidate, but because they showed they had the courage elect a black president (something I wonder if we would have the courage to do in this country).
What happens next is the real question, of course, and I, for one, have serious concerns about whether President Obama will really bring 'change' that leads to greater justice and peace, or whether he will now be so indebted to the lobby groups that helped to bring him to power that he will radically fail to live up to the ideals he has been promoting.
Even so, the level of goodwill that the citizens of the world are currently feeling toward the United States is something I have not seen since 9/11, and it must put the new American President in an excellent position to exercise a fresh new leadership in world affairs.
Another Leonidas Award!
Just in case you've forgotten who Leonidas is, he's the guy who led the Spartans at Thermopylae. Legend has it that when someone pointed out to him that the Persians had so many archers that their arrows were going to block out the sun, Leonidas said, "Good. Then we'll fight in the shade!"
Exactly that sort of coolness under pressure and complete disregard for personal safety was displayed this week by my old mate Fighting Father Doug Keen (displayed below).
Doug (who used to help manage the Newtown Jets) was on duty at Paramatta stadium last Wednesday night when Ireland took on Samoa in Rugby League. Doug's job is as a 'Referee's Development Officer', where he is not expected to play any role in security. But when Ireland were awarded some points, Doug noticed an enormous Samoan spectator responding by charging angrily across the field towards the small French referee. Doug decided to put his body between the attacker and the ref!
Unfortunately for Doug, one of the Samoan players had the same idea, and the three clashed almost simultaneously. As the writer in Today's Telegraph put it, "The end result saw Keen reduced to the hapless ingredients in a forbidding Samoan sandwich."
Fighting Father Doug was quoted afterwards as saying, "We breakfast here. We sup in Hades!" ... actually, sorry ...no, that was Leonidas. The two are just too easy to confuse!
Firstly, if you're reading this before the evening of Sunday November 9, you may still have time to get down to Holy Trinity for the Remembrance Day concert, featuring renowned actor, David Baldwin, reading war poetry, accompanied by sacred choral music. Details here.
Secondly, in case you missed my email last week, I've added some new toys to the 'Members Benefits' area of our membership site. The new toys are:
an online email formatting program (so that everybody can read your emails)
a metatag generator (if you run your own website, you know what this does)
The Halloween Game that I directed you to last week, ready to be installed on your own website (this one is for paid members only).
On the forum, Father Elias has made a welcome return, and has shared a heart-warming story that comes from his experience as a prison chaplain in Lithuania (click here).
Elias has likewise expressed his concerns about the new role given to Sharia Law in Britain, and how this may effect the legal equality of women amongst other things (click here).
Everybody has weighed in on the topic of the Credit Crunch, and to what extent it is the simple result of human greed (share your wisdom here).
And if none of that has got you going, our old mate Dan has introduced the topic of human (and animal) cloning. Put in your order for a clone here.
Now please, if you want to bring me more joy while I'm battling away here, do put some extra time this week into building our online community:
Write a blog
Upload some photos
Send a video postcard to one of the other members
Post some of your wisdom to the Forum
And if you haven't joined the forum yet, remember that you'll need VIP code '1861' to do so.
The Law of Love
But when the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?"
And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 22:34-40)
This might not seem like the most dynamic statement Jesus ever made, but the irony is that it comes as the knockout conclusion to a series of fiery rounds between Jesus and the religious establishment of His day. After this it says that they didn't dare speak to Jesus again!
What was it that so astounded Jesus' contemporaries about this statement? Was it really that radical? Is there something radical in there still that we might have missed?
You can find the written version of this sermon here, or to listen now, use the buttons below.
If you're concerned that boxing might be too dangerous for you, try Fishing off Gaza!
I don't know whether Jesus' disciples ever did much fishing off the coast of Gaza, but they would have been familiar with these waters.
While we know they found fishing to be dangerous, I don't think they were ever harassed by Roman triremes firing random shots at them or turning on the water canon!
This seems to be an almost daily hazard though for today's Palestinian fishermen.
This video was taken only a couple of weeks ago and features Palestinian fishermen who are operating well within their own territorial waters. I don't know if they caught many fish that day, but the regularity of this sort of harassment must be effecting food supplies on the land.
OK. I'm afraid it's taken me a week to put together this ezine, and a painful week it has been. Also, unfortunately, I am no longer sharing a room with Mr Duff-Beer. Apparently someone told him very bluntly that if he made one more sleazy or racist comment about the nursing staff that he was going to have his nose broken. Word got out and they moved me rather swiftly to the other end of the ward (where the nurses are being particularly nice to me).
I did promise you though that I'd tell you how he got his name:
Australians may remember that a South Australian brewery at one point brought out some 'Duff Beer'. It was only available for about a week before threats of legal action had it taken off the market permanently. Homer happened to be one of the first persons to hear about the impending legal action so he went out and bought up every carton of Duff he could get his hands on. To avoid legal action himself he then changed his name and has been reselling the cartons as personal memorabilia ever since for $20,000 per carton.
Unfortunately I'm no longer in a position to secure you a carton, but frankly, if you've got that sort of money available to spend on beer, please buy some shares in Binacrombi with it instead, and I'll buy you a beer!
May the Lord bless and strengthen you for the work to which you have been called.