“But when [John] saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, ” You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits that befit repentance … Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees; Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Matthew 3: 7-8,10)
December 3rd, 2022
Yes, Christmas is upon us! Perhaps it hasn’t really hit you yet? Perhaps you’ve been in Christmas-mode for weeks already? For me personally, the Christmas season always begins with the arrival of John the Baptist, brought to us every year at this time, courtesy of the church’s lectionary.
John is an unlikely Yuletide figure. He is gaunt, unkempt, surly, and offensive. He doesn’t fit comfortably alongside the plush red elves, full of Christmas cheer, or any of their more marketable companions. While popular culture starts to swell with feelings of neighbourly goodwill, the Baptist shouts at us, telling us to sober up and put our lives in order. I love him.
As in years past, I include here a link to the PDF of my “John the Baptist Christmas greeting card”. The front of the card welcomes you with a colourful image of the Baptist, waist-deep in water, and the words “Seasons Greetings in the words of John the Baptist”. On the inside we get John’s unique form of Christmas cheer:
“You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits that befit repentance. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees; Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Merry Christmas”
- Download the card (click here)
- Print of multiple copies on A4 paper
- Fold and place in envelopes
- Mail off to all your associates that you don’t like
Along with the card, I’ve also added a John the Baptist Christmas decoration this year. You can download that too, print it off, cut it out, and hang it from the Christmas tree. It’s a more subdued image of the Baptist, saying only, “Bear fruits that befit repentance”. Even so, no Christmas tree is complete without one.
In truth, I believe we do need some sort of sobering balance during the silly season. In as much as I love the carols and the good-hearted cheer that come with Christmas (and I do), gentle good will is not going to be enough to save our world. There are pains and injustices that run so deep that no amount of tinsel can cover them. At this time of year especially, we need to be snapped back to reality with a splash of cold water. We need someone to tell us to sober up. We need the Baptist!
In the sober spirit of John the Baptist, I do need to be frank with you about the financial needs of Fighting Fathers Ministries and the costs of our work. Our online presence currently costs us between $1,500 and $2,000 per month. In times past, I’ve been able to cover these costs through profits from the boxing club or from Binacrombi. At the moment though, neither of these are running at a profit either. We really need a few more monthly subscribers to keep us going.
As an incentive to would-be subscribers, I want to offer a copy of each of my books to anyone who signs up this month at Patreon.com in either the Heavyweight ($100/month) or Superheavyweight ($200/month) divisions. You’ll just need to let me know your physical mailing address after you sign up and I’ll mail you a copy of each book at no charge with a personalised signature on the inside cover.
If you already have a copy of my books, I can send them to someone as a Christmas gift. Just give me the address and tell me what greeting you want me to add.
If you’re not familiar with my two books, they are:
- Sex, the Ring, and the Eucharist – Reflections on Life, Ministry & fighting in the inner-city (2002) and
- Christians and Muslims can be friends (2020)
My first book covers my first 15 years of ministry in Dulwich Hill, when the parish was the heroin-capital of Sydney’s inner-west, and my focus was on working with young people at risk. The second book came out of my subsequent 15 years as a priest, where my focus shifted towards community-building and peace work.
I’m very proud of both of my books. If you haven’t read them, I’d love to share them with you. You can read more about each of them via the Amazon links above, though you’ll get more insight into my second book at ChristiansandMuslims.com, which includes a book review from Father Rod Bower at the top of the page.
Forgive me if I am coming across like a salesman. I have never been any good at the business side of ministry and I’ve only ever got by with the support of friends. Right now I need your support. Any contribution you can make – large or small – will be deeply appreciated. Sign up at Patreon.com to one of these three options:
- Middleweight (community mentoring)
Access to our member site
Weekly email newsletters
Weekly worship services
Access to the Fighting Fit training videos
Access to the Fighting Fathers’ physical and spiritual fitness program
- Heavyweight (remote mentoring)
All of the above +
Development and monitoring of personalised training plan
Weekly mentoring via email, phone or Skyp
- Superheavyweight (in-person mentoring)All of the above +
Unlimited access to Father Dave’s Fight Club training sessions
Mentoring via email, phone, Skype or in person.
Discounted training weekends at Binacrombi Bush Camp
We celebrated another wonderful Sunday Eucharist last weekend . I’ve had nothing but positive feedback about the contribution of Tom Toby in particular, who brings a Shia Muslim perspective to our Bible discussion. Between David Baldwin, Karyn Hemming, Tom and myself, I believe we unearthed some genuine Scriptural insights.
Enjoy the replay below. The only downside to last Sunday was that our new website – www.thesundayeucharist.com – failed to broadcast the livestream. That problem has subsequently been fixed and we are ready to rumble (so to speak).
Rumbling with me this Sunday will be three good friends – Robert Gilland, Kamini Singh and Andrew Madry. Join us at www.thesundayeucharist.com from around 11.45 am, or access us via your favourite social media site (Facebook , YouTube, Twitter or LinkedIn).
What’s on this week?
- Sunday, December 4 – The Sunday Eucharist at midday
- Tuesday, December 6 – Boxing from 6.30 pm @The Fight Lab
- Thursday, December 10 – Boxing from 6.30 pm @The Fight Lab
- Saturday, December 12 – Rally for Julian Assange at 11 am @the Prime Minister’s office in Marrickvile
- Saturday, December 12 – Boxing from 3.00 pm @The Fight Lab
Let me expand slightly on the meeting of Assange supporters, mentioned above. The plan is to gather at the Prime Minister’s office in Marrickville to pray and reflect. This is a different sort of protest rally, with a more obvious spiritual dimension to it.
I will be praying at the gathering, and I’ve contacted some of my Sheikh friends and encouraged them come and do the same. It would be great if you could join us. If not, please keep praying for dear Julian nonetheless. #BringHimHome.
May the Lord bless and strengthen you for the work to which you have been called.
Your brother in the Good Fight,