Monday Missive – January 14th, 2013

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Hi Fighter!

It’s Father Dave and it’s good to be back with you for another week.

Before I say anything else today let me thank you for your prayers for Bernie!

There was a torrent of prayerful response to last week’s missive where I mentioned my time with a dear man named Bernie. Without wanting to intrude into his privacy, let it suffice to say that after he left me some very positive things happened for him that resulted in him returning home safely. Thanks be to God!

And special thanks to Fighting Father Tony, who helped me track Bernie down. It was a chase that took me on a circuitous route through boarding-houses and places in suburban Sydney where I had never been before. Even so, the quest had a happy outcome! Thank you!

Your Prayers Requested

I have an opportunity to embark on another exciting quest next month, but I’m currently quite unsure about whether I should go and would value your prayers and your feedback.

I’ve been invited to go to Damascus (in Syria) to be a part of an international peace delegation. The venture is being organised by dear Mother Agnes of Homs, who you will remember came and shared with us here at Holy Trinity late last year.

Father Dave and Mother Agnes

Mother Agnes is one of this world’s great saints – a woman who has put her body on the line for the sake of the people of Syria and for the sake of peace. And the international delegation she has pulled together is going to be headed up by another hero of mine – Mairead Maguire – the woman who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1974 for her magnificent work as a peacemaker in Northern Ireland!

I must admit that I would happily travel half way around the world to meet Ms Maguire, and I expect I probably could make a useful contribution in terms of drawing attention to what’s happening at the grass-roots in Syria. At the same time though the timing is very bad for the parish here. We have a Confirmation service scheduled and all sorts of other significant events looming at around that time.

If I do go to Damascus I will be there for my 51st birthday! It is weird to think that I might spend my birthday in a warzone. Even so, as students of the New Testament know, the Road to Damascus has a history as a place of great spiritual encounter! What better place to celebrate?!

The Baptism of Jesus

I’ve got another sermon for you this week. Yesterday was the day the church traditionally remembers the ‘Baptism of Jesus’ – an event that I must admit has never inspired me!

I went through my pile of old sermons and discovered (to my horror) that I had never preached on this topic before either! I’ve been a professional preacher now for 25 years! How did I manage to avoid Jesus’ baptism for all this time!

No matter! I determined that I must do it and I spent many, many hours reading through scholarly material on the subject and turning it all over in my head. Eventually something clicked for me!

I’ll warn you in advance though that all I really do with the sermon is retrace the steps I took to come to terms with the passage. I had feared that this might make the whole sermon a bit too academic. Even so, a surprising number of people told me that they found it very helpful.

I’d be grateful for any comments you might leave on the blog. I’ve had some excellent constructive criticism from people who have watched me preach lately and would welcome more!

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If you’re having trouble seeing the video, click here.

A couple more quick things before I wind up this week:

Firstly, I mentioned the great Mother Agnes above. You might not know that Fighting Father Denning created a DVD of the talks she gave here on what’s really going on in Syria.

You can watch each of these sessions separately on our YouTube channel, but if you’d rather have them in higher quality on a DVD I have a few copies left! Paypal us $10 to cover postage we’ll send you the DVD at no extra charge. The Fighting Fathers Paypal address dave [AT] (nb. replace [AT] with @).

Secondly, I would like to encourage all members of our online community to share their wisdom in our online forum.

There are two threads at the moment that I’d recommend in particular:

  • The first is the thread about gun control in the US. This has certainly been the most heated thread we have ever had on the forum. Even so, there is a lot of good information and a lot of wisdom contained there too.
  • The second is a thread started by Fighting Father Rob from Michigan and addresses issues of God and science and the reality of pain and injustice. In other words, it tackles the big issues!

I’d love to hear more on this latter thread from some of the professional theologians who are part of our online community. In truth, I’d love to hear more from everybody! C’mon! Get that light of yours out from underneath that bushel!

I’ll be back with you next week.

May the Lord bless and strengthen you for the work to which you have been called

Your brother in the Good Fight,


P.S. Thank you to new members who joined our member site ( between this week and last. Your $10/month contribution makes an enormous difference.

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

>> Click here to download this post as PDF to read later<<

2 thoughts on “Monday Missive – January 14th, 2013”

  1. Great sermon, Father Dave. A very rousing and moving conclusion.

    Prayers for your discernment about the trip to Damascus. It sounds to me as though part of you very much want to go, though your obligations to your community are also strong. Quakers have a process with something called “a clearness committee.” When someone is wrestling with a decision, s/he calls together trusted Friends and elders for prayer and worship sharing. Worship sharing involves each person speaking from the heart and leaving silence between words. That is, it is not a discussion or debate. The whole point is to go deeper than pro and con to attempt to discern the leading of the Spirit. As a counselor I’ve also supported people doing this process with the different parts of themselves. When each part is heard, there is a possibility of reaching a consensus, rather than having one part of the self override another. When you make the decision, I trust you will be fully aligned with yourself and the spirit.

    In either case, Happy Birthday little brother. (I turn 60 later this year!)

  2. Pingback: Monday Missive – January 21st, 2013 | Father Dave's Monday Missive

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