36. God – a good sport
Like many around the world, my family is watching the Athens Olympic Games on television. Greece had been in the world spotlight in early July 04, when their national soccer team, against all odds, won the European Championship (Euro 2004).
Sadly, our public TV Networks did not have the rights to broadcast the matches free to air, a fact which left soccer fans, who were not connected to Pay TV, very disappointed. I made my feelings known in correspondence to our local Messenger Press Newspaper, with copies to the Advertiser Newspaper and ABC Newsradio:
Subject: Soccer’s biggest con
Att. Gordon Amstrong
(If your name is spelled wrongly, it is straight from the Messenger Press website).
Normally I would watch the Euopean Soccer Cup with mates. My fondest memories
are of long knights (sorry nights) watching important matches with my mates.
Now the big Media barons come along and steal our fun, just to make
another billion. I will not bow to their pressure and fill their greedy pockets.
The last time we paid for watching television was in the late 50's/early 60's, when
we had to pay for a license (in Germany).
I thought we are more enlightened in the 21st century? I will not be held to
ransom by money-grabbing, power-hungry raiders, trying to control us all.
Very sad indeed.
Dieter R. Fischer
PS I can always go down and watch the Para Hills Knights live in the "Paddocks". They cost money too to watch, but they earn their money with hard work and sweat.
Only recently, in mid August 04, a very small notice in ‘The Advertiser’ announced that the British National Soccer League will no longer be free-to-air, effective immediately. I was in no doubt that somebody’s greed was behind this move. There were many disappointed soccer fans in Australia. Considering that soccer had progressed to the most popular sport amongst school children in Australia, to not televise top matches would be a real setback.
I distinctly remember sending an email to the Advertiser Newspaper during the 2002 World Cup. Germany had won an early match convincingly by eight goals to nil. In my tongue-in-cheek manner I pointed out that six of the eight goals had been scored through ‘headers’. “…the Germans know how to use their heads,” was the phrase I used. (They were knocked out not long after – may be that’s why - pride comes before a fall).
In recent months, since getting interested in football and also as soccer supporter, I had linked my slogan: “The power of one” to sports, inferring that ‘plus one’ wins games. Our team Adelaide United won their first match, and a few more games 1 : nil. I also had seen Australian Rules Football matches won by only one goal, which does not happen often, due to the high scores (over 100 points is not unusual).
What amazed me about Greece winning Euro 2004 was not merely the results of the final two matches - the 1:0 win against the Czech Republic and the 1:0 win against the host nation Portugal - in the play-off. A further twist was the fact that both goals were scored very similar – both were headers after crosses from the right wing. But I had the most fun, when I realized the numbers on the jerseys of the scoring players. It was player No. 5 in the preliminary final, and player No. 9 in the grand final who scored the only goal of the game. Why did the numbers tease me?
The reason - Adelaide United Soccer Club has two supporter’s groups, ‘The Stand’ and another one, created later in the season, called “Gate 59”.
I had to tell someone about this fluke. - On 7/5/04 I emailed the contact of our supporter’s Club, the Stand, with a copy to SBC, Australia’s Ethnic TV Station. It was a good opportunity to make my displeasure known about the event only broadcast on Pay TV:
Do we have any Greeks in "Gate 59", our Brother Association? (Or is it sister Assoc? - never mind).
Why do I ask, you may ask. Well, the Greeks are happy, no question.
But Gate 59 ought to be double happy, because against the Czech Republic it was No. 5, who scored the winner. Against Portugal it was No. 9, who again scored the winning goal (if I saw it correctly).
Was last night's goal also a header? Both goals looked similar. I only saw the news briefly this morning.
Isn't it going back 40 years having to pay some Media Mogul to watch sport events like Euro 2004 on TV? It really stinks and I refuse to put more money into their greedy pockets.
If this is progress, I want to go back to the good old days - meeting at a friend's house and watching great matches in the middle of the night - enjoying great mate ship. You only get that in soccer or in a close bible study group. You may not believe it, but both can send shivers up your spine.
Have a great day.
PS Don't fall asleep at your P/C.
The number’s game I was playing remained the main stumbling block for my family to stop them from taking me seriously. It amazed me how long this sticking point kept sticking. Since I was doing nobody any harm and living a normal life, I could not see a reason to heed their advice and visit a psychiatrist. It would cost the Government a lot of money, what for? But there was a price to pay for my stand.
My friends locally kept a fairly neutral stance toward me. Social interaction, on a one to one basis, came almost to a standstill as far as personal contacts were concerned. This was understandable because of the gravity of the claims I had made. It would be painful for my friends to have to confront issues, which were really my burden to bear.
My German friends were at a safer distance. I had collectively emailed a small group, many of whom I knew for 3 decades or more, telling them of the extra-ordinary incidences taking place. I was trying to find an understanding ear, knowing that many are deep thinkers. Sadly, those I had been closest to in my youth also doubted my sanity. They showed concern for my family, which is understandable, and recommended a visit to a professional, either a clergyman or psychiatrist.
There was hardly any positive feedback to my website. Surely, not everything I had written and created could be classed as coming from a sick mind? The biggest folly anyone can commit is to reject a person’s idea, without having first carefully listened, then decided on a verdict. Of course, the physical distance and language barrier made it more difficult, but why did nobody telephone me? The cost of international calls was no longer a barrier to personal communication between distant countries.
Thank God that there were occasions when I felt that I was taken seriously. On Friday June 25th 04 I attended the “Friday Forum”, a regular bi-monthly public meeting, held at a Baptist Church in Adelaide. The main speaker was Australia’s Minster for Defense, who had especially flown in from Canberra to give a talk and answer a few questions. As I listened I thought the convener made a slight, factual mistake in his introducing. I would not have bothered pointing it out, had I not spotted one of those strange links the next morning.
It started after an inner urge to read a passage in the bible. My email to the convener explains it:
(Please note: Scripture reference mistake – should be Amos 5:3)
Email … Baptist Church, 26/6/04
Subject: Friday Forum, Lions Den or bear
I attended yesterday's forum with our Defense Minister Robert Hill. He must be
a man under enormous pressure and I think he is standing up very well.
A comment made by Rev. B. I may mention: "10 percent of soldiers are expected to be casualties in Iraq".
This is interesting. Yesterday morning after my regular bible reading something
seemed to urge me to read Amos. I vaguely remember a dream (or did I see it on TV,
where a man mentioned reading Amos.
I read 3 chapters and wondered what it is all about. I laid it aside and was going to move on when the urge to read on came back. When I read chapter 5 - Verse 3 made me sit up. It contains the 10, 100 and 1000.
Amos 3:5 - For thus says the Lord God. The city that goes out by a thousand shall have a hundred left. And that which goes out by a hundred shall have ten left to the house of Israel.
Sadly, it speaks of only 10 percent that are not casualties.
Just now, I looked up that verse again, when my eyes fell on Verse 19: "It is as though a man fled from a lion: and a bear met him..." This reminded me of a small mistake by Rev. B.
Yesterday he called the Brisbane Lions - Bears. (I'm sure he spoke of a team that
won three premierships and meant the Brisbane Lions, unless there is a Rugby team called bears that won 3 in a row.)
You must think, I am making up stories again. I do tell lots of stories. And this one would not be the most unusual one.
Dieter R. Fischer
PS I filled in the yellow form and look forward to regular email updates. I promise to not highlight every mistake! Only one more - Northern territory (on Sen. Hill's brief) should be capital T.
It was a pleasure to receive a reply from the convener a few days later. He confirmed both mistakes made and added a few comments about the casualties in Iraq. This would have been the end in my stirring, had not another strange incident happened only a few days later, on Wednesday 30/6/04. After having been led to read above verse in Amos, containing all 1’s, I found that my regular bible reading that day was James 1, 1-11. I had to email the Reverend again:
Thanks for responding to my strange email. There is another little twist in the story.
The day I emailed you about the four numbers 1 in Amos 5, 3, my German Kalender
Bible Reading (long story) was from James 1, 1-11.
Life dishes up these little cookies and I say: Oh, that's interesting. What else can we say? We all have so much information to absorb. I better keep this email short.
Kind regards and God's blessing
The Neukirchener Kalender, mentioned so many times in my story, proved such a blessing. The array of spiritual, practical teaching arrived often in way I perceived as extraordinary. Were such things happening to everybody? How would you digest the following facts:
On May 24 – the leading verse was Phil 1, 3.5. Can you see the numbers grouped together? You would need to drive a vehicle fitted with a manual 5-speed gearbox to see it. (For non-motorists – a standard five-speed gearbox has gears 2 and 4, and gears 1,3 and 5 grouped together). I teach learner drivers in such a vehicle. Most instructors in Adelaide teach in an automatic vehicle. In the abbreviation ‘Phil’ (Philippians) I can see a ‘Hi’ between an ‘L and P’.
A few months earlier, I had placed the word ‘SALT’ onto the index page on my website. My reading on 12/7/04 was Matt. 5, 13: “You are the Salt of the earth.” How could I overlook such linking without saying ‘thank you’ to God? I believed HE could have arranged such seemingly insignificant little tricks, to make us realize that HE is always there.
Why should I be frightened of harmless, intriguing magic, unless I am frightened of HIM? Far from it! Why should I let anyone condemn me for seeing God in it? I’d rather be regarded as crazy and open to God, rather than act ‘safe and normal’ and close my mind to God’s wonderful, powerful ways, only because I don’t understand them.
How often is Jesus trying to touch us and we won’t let him? I had learned long ago to tune into HIS wavelength. If numbers was the way HE wanted to reveal himself to me, why should I doubt it’s from HIM? He can use any way HE chooses - as long as HE has HIS way. Our job is to be open and alert to the way He wants to use us. (Remember, it may not be numbers for you!)
God seemed to call me to speak out on social concerns, pointing to the Christian viewpoint. One controversial issue was thrown into the public arena in June 04. A bill was before the South Australian Parliament to legalize euthanasia. The usual arguments – why needless suffering, give people control over their own death etc. was trying to gain momentum.
In an email to the Advertiser I made my concerns known, if the law would allow people to take their own life:
Email to the Advertiser with a copy to the Family Standards Association and a Member of SA’s Upper House (Senate) on June 9th, 2004:
Dear Mr. Jory,
Legalizing euthanasia oversteps the mark. Nobody likes to see suffering, helpless people.
In another moral issue, abortion laws were passed - legalizing abortion, if amongst other factors, the mother's mental health is in danger. Amazing how much mental illness was suddenly induced by pregnancy! How many women claim "mental stress" for terminating pregnancy, when in truth, they can't afford to have a child for economic reasons?
Who will safeguard against euthanasia being misused? Old people could be "encouraged" to end it all by family members waiting for an inheritance? Human nature is like that, I'm afraid.
God help us if we start forming laws to follow public opinion polls. Sometimes the majority is wrong.
All three recipients of this email responded positively. Was Adelaide starting to listen to what I had to say?My dream was coming true.