Saturday, December 22, 2007

Glimmer of light in Sydney Diocese?

A friend, who is not an Anglican, often directs me to Father Dave's site. I sometimes have some difficulties as he is a keen boxer, calls himself Fighting Father Dave and I loathe boxing. I also wonder at his support of Ray Williams a man jailed after the collapse of HIH (a major insurance company) in which many lost their savings. I do not know much about him (perhaps Alcibiades can enlighten me) However his sermon on Matthew 11:2-6 'Have faith in what you see and hear' is interesting.
Part of it states
I look at my own spiritual pilgrimage up to this point and it seems to be a constant struggle of the Lord Jesus dragging me forwards to recognise the presence of the Spirit of God in places where I didn't expect it!

Years ago I would have thought that God would never be involved in any union between a man and a woman that had not been blessed by the church and then ... you find love, joy, health and peace in a home - all the signs of the presence of the Spirit of God - and you have to rethink things!

Certainly I once believed that if you were homosexual you had obviously turned your back on Christ and all things belonging to God, and then, by the grace of God, my best friend turns out to be gay and yet I find that that Spirit of God is alive and well in him and ... I have to think again.

Certainly the biggest personal spiritual challenge I have experience of late has been through my friendship with Sheikh Mansour - an Islamic cleric. And if I knew anything about the Spirit of God it was surely that She could not operate through the life of someone who was a representative of Islam, and yet ... God seems to be dragging me forwards to rethink things again!


Davis said...

Well, despite what his other ideas may be, this is an exceptional sermon.

Alcibiades said...

The problem with me saying anyone in Sydney is great is that it's almost certainly going to be counted as a black mark against them - but Father Dave insists he's got so many black marks already what's the harm in one more ;-)

Consequently I'll be blunt: he's truly great Priest, who's church is vibrant, growing, and struggling to reclaim the true concept of Evangelicalism from those who've hijacked it.

The boxing? It's not exactly my cup of tea either, but having seen the connection it provides with the thugs and heavies of Father Dave's area (and we're talking some really big and mean boys here) I've been forced to admit he has a point. I've certainly not seen many other Sydney clergy who regularly minister to the kind of kids that Father Dave talks with an a daily basis - kids for whom Christianity is utterly foreign.

As for Ray Williams, through Father Dave I've met him myself, and can vouch for the fact that nobody is as repentant for what has happened as Ray is - if anyone can somehow oneday rebuild things to the point that everyone's lost money is restored it will be Ray - not that I've any idea how that could be done - but Father Dave is good at reminding jaded cynics like me that miracles really do occur sometimes.

It's in in his relationship with Ray that Father Dave shows his strongest point: the courage to forgive others - even when it's unsafe and not politically correct to do so, and then them back into a meaningful faith, not to mention life. Dave Smith is someone who sees befriending the friendless as integral to the Christian faith - a rare quality in these parts as we know ;-)

Brian R said...

Thanks for this Alc....
I thought you would probably know more about him than me. His church is not on the recognised Anglo-catholic list and it is rare to find supportive evangelical churches in the diocese these days. it is sad, that having been raised an evangelical, I now am so suspicious of them. I think too many priests are frightened to speak their mind and who can blame them when one's vocation is on the line. Father Dave does seem to be open minded which, as you know, is sadly also rare in the Diocese now

Anonymous said...

Hey Brian,

Appreciate your kind words about my sermon :-)

As to the boxing, you might grow to like it if you see the way we do it here. 'Boxing without violence' - it's not as novel a concept as you might think :-)


Brian R said...

Thanks for visiting, Father Dave. Probably I am too much affected by the thuggery one sees on TV in professional boxing. Time to make a cup of coffee when it appears on the news. I have always objected to any sport which aims to physically hurt one's opponent and that no longer just applies to boxing these days, Rugby and even cricket seem to have degenerated into this.
God bless your work (1 Cor 9:22)