another great wordpress photo challenge theme and so many different places where i could take this from but i decided this time to rather focus on one area – that of improv and my time with TheatreSports, now called Improguise, in South Africa who i got to spend about 11 years with making stuff up with and really just one of the most amazing opportunities and things to be a part of… like ‘Whose Line Is It Anyways?’ we get a stage and a live audience and some basic game rules and then a bunch of suggestions from the audience and we just make up whatever comes up in our minds with the phrase “Yes, lets” in mind – can be absolutely anyone or anything in any variety of locations and just so much complete silly ridiculous fun i can’t even explain… here are just a handful of pics that give a glimpse into the mayhem and madness and hilarity that have ensued…
Tag Archive: brett fish anderson
this is not a completely happy psalm.
here we see David once again, who was the same guy who brought us this in Psalm 23:
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
As well as this from Psalm 34:
17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
But now his mood has changed a lot and there is a lot more of this:
1 Listen to my prayer, O God,
do not ignore my plea;
2 hear me and answer me.
My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught
3 because of what my enemy is saying,
because of the threats of the wicked;
for they bring down suffering on me
and assail me in their anger.
4 My heart is in anguish within me;
the terrors of death have fallen on me.
5 Fear and trembling have beset me;
horror has overwhelmed me.
Same guy. Same God. Different context. Different feeling. And i imagine those of us who love God and try to follow Him completely get this. The echo of the new testament, ‘I believe. Help me overcome my unbelief.’ [Mark 9.24] Being able to totally believe in God and trust that He loves you and will look after you, but also facing a really difficult situation and the feeling of distance from God as if He is not there. These are often wrestling emotions or states of being which go on inside a follower of Jesus. And I think it’s normal. It’s certainly not good, healthy or real to pretend as if everything is together when it feels like it is falling down. Sp definitely facing up to the trouble or the feeling of desparation as David does here feels really healthy and helpful for deep and authentic relationship.
As long as some time in the future, you end up at this place again [which David incidentally does while he is still in the bad place... so struggling, but holding on to this Truth he strongly believes in]
16 As for me, I call to God,
and the Lord saves me.
17 Evening, morning and noon
I cry out in distress,
and he hears my voice.
18 He rescues me unharmed
from the battle waged against me,
even though many oppose me.
19 God, who is enthroned from of old,
who does not change—
he will hear them and humble them,
because they have no fear of God.
22 Cast your cares on the Lord
and he will sustain you;
he will never let
the righteous be shaken.
Wot another great theme, the great ones being ones open to a range of interpretation… so many pictures, so little space, but had a variety of shots that jumped out at me to use in this post, each bringing their own personal flavour to this Patterned Buffet:
Clockwise from the top left we have:
# the patterm formed by row upon row of white fluffy cloud hovering over the water and nature scene below like a flight of incoming U.F.O’s
# the unique pattern+shadow formed by the upside down bicycles hanging in our community house on Potter Street in Philadelphia
# both the shades and the shapes of the tyres and the paint which in this picture are all scattered around but are being prepared so that they can be places in a creative design around the new park area reclaimed for the children in our area
# the leaves that amass in front of the blurred image of my beautiful bride on our wedding day, almost as if they are an army, ready to command to do her every will
# the various patterns and shapes of different colour that individually resemble chaos but as they are crafted by my friend Karim come together in a beautiful design that he says is me and gives his unique nickname for me of ‘Fisher-man’
And then this last one stands out for me. The pattern formed by the water. Not quite Moses parting the Red Sea but my best attempt at it. The uniformity of the waves creating a stunning image of venturing forth’ness.
this one really is a short one… so let me include it:
1 Save me, O God, by your name;
vindicate me by your might.
2 Hear my prayer, O God;
listen to the words of my mouth.
3 Arrogant foes are attacking me;
ruthless people are trying to kill me—
people without regard for God.
4 Surely God is my help;
the Lord is the one who sustains me.
5 Let evil recoil on those who slander me;
in your faithfulness destroy them.
6 I will sacrifice a freewill offering to you;
I will praise your name, Lord, for it is good.
7 You have delivered me from all my troubles,
and my eyes have looked in triumph on my foes.
this is a psalm David put together when he was on the run from Saul.
i really love the first line, ‘Save me, O God, by your name’ as names were really important in the Bible. the name expresses the heart and character of the person and so David here is appealing to the God who saves.
often the name we use for God displays how we view Him, which is perhaps why it can be good to use multiple names and titles – the idea of God as King for example conveys a completely different message than the idea of God as Father, and God as Saviour seems a lot more loving and reachable than Omnipotent God. it is important to realise that He is all of these things and so not to get trapped in one name or idea of God at the exclusion of all others. it is good to keep in mind just how much bigger than us God is so that when we don’t necessarily understand all that is going on, it makes sense that we shouldn’t, and that’s okay. it would be far more distressing if we could wrap our minds around a God who created the Universe in a sentence or breath.
which all brings me back to one of my favourite passages in Ephesians 3 which gives us a glimpse of the bigness of our God:
14′ For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.’
or as David writes in this Psalm, ‘I will praise your name, Lord, for it is good.’
so my new ‘The Weekly Mash [and Peace!]‘ blog is still in its early days but it’s been encouraging to see new people subscribing almost daily – as it is still quite new though not a lot of people are visiting each of these posts and there have been some amazing things there, so if you are someone who reads stuff on Irresistibly Fish [my main blog] all the time, then i encourage you to at the very least pick one of the five days here below that sounds the most interesting and check it out cos there was some good stuff in the week that was:
Friday is a post I hope everyone will take a look at – the question of what positive difference are you making to the world, really?
[For Last Saturday's Round-up of posts which included a box full of balls and a stranger, the importance of not glorifying 'Busy' and the chance to Ship Your pants, click here]
i love the themes that are open to great interpretation or variety and ‘From Above’ is no different… really hard to just stick to one picture and so here is a selection of some images which capture this for me in different ways and contexts:
firstly two shots from the Petronas Twin Towers in Malaysia, the first simply giving a sense of the height and the second for me stood out for the uniformity of the scene below which gives a sense of calm and order:
the next shot was one picture from my trip to Niagara Falls which was way too short and completely moved me just in terms of the power of the water and the beauty of the scene [as someone who appreciates nature but not usually to that extent] – i like the minimalism of this picture with the boat squished into the bottom corner heading towards this wall of water:
and lastly an old photo shot with some mates who i stayed with in Old Oak Road, Shepherd’s Bush, London… unity and harmony, friendship and fun, creating our own tower linking back to the first pictures:
the other day i posted an answer to a ‘how much sex in marriage?’ question that someone left after a ‘Singleness’ blog post and it got a whole lot of attention… realising that Sex in Marriage is a bit of a Taboo Topic that doesn’t get much attention, this felt like a healthy conversation to continue and so i had an online chat with Val about some of the stuff that came up in the comments section, so we could share it with you:
[Brett]: Hey Val, so when you read through the comments section on the ‘How much sex in marriage?’ blog, there were one or two things that got your back up. What would you say was the biggest of those that caused a reaction in you?
[Valerie]: Hi B. I think for the most part I appreciated the comments and agree that sex (or at least one or both partner’s interaction with it) can be an indicator of deeper issues in a marriage. I think my biggest issue was the implied suggestion that a lack or reduction of sex is indicative of marital problems. This comment in particular got me: “I think that if a relationship is done properly, and both people are happy, comfortable and secure in the relationship, sex will follow, however if there are issues elsewhere in the relationship, sex will illustrate that.”
[Brett]: Hm, interesting. I agree that if there are issues elsewhere in the relationship then sex is likely to be one of the places where that will be picked up. But I imagine you are more hesitant about the idea that if things are good in a relationship that sex will naturally follow? Is that right or what exactly is it about that statement [in the context of what you've said about problems with sex can be an indicator of deeper issues within a marriage] that you are taking issue to?
[Valerie]: I think what I heard some folk say is that a lack of sex is ALWAYS an indication of deeper issues and marital “rot”. I don’t like the idea that the natural result of happiness, comfortability and security is SEX! The implication being that sex is directly correlated with happiness, comfortability, security and general health of a marriage (the more you’re having the better it is; the less you’re having the more “in danger” you are.) My concern here is that this plays strongly into the dominant role sex plays in our culture, both within the church and without.
For many churches, the prime focus on relationships before marriage is sex. Don’t have it!
And the prime focus on relationships after marriage is sex. Have it!
So sex dominates our understandings of relationships, marriage, love, mutuality, fulfillment, sin and right living, and health – in the church. Meanwhile, outside the doors, sex dominates too. We have a culture driven by sex and sexuality – it pervades our music, movies, the market place, books, magazines, and is placed at the forefront of relationships.
I feel uncomfortable with this preoccupation with sex both in and out the church, both before and after marriage. is all
[Brett]: I hear you on that and definitely agree with you. The church could definitely improve their stance on sex in terms of the way it is presented and spoken about [and not spoken about]. Ultimately if the church is not speaking about sex, then we have to turn to the other voices on it which will primarily be the media and Hollywood, not great proponents of healthy attractive sexuality.
Karen seemed to have a similar opinion to you on sex not being at the centre of marriage, but also spoke of how it can be a good indicator if something is not healthy.
“Many counsellors and leaders in churches that I know, when helping couples will ask what the sexual relationship is like to get an indication of the health of the marriage. So although it is not the be all and end all and both parties should be happy with the amount of sex that happens in the marriage, we have to make sure our marriages are healthy, that our relationship with God is healthy so that we lack nothing, that He fulfills our needs and makes us happy, so that we don’t expect our spouses to make us happy.”
Is that something you would agree with? That a good marriage is not defined on how much or little sex you are having [other commenters mentioned things like emotional issues, abuse in the past and other aspects which can affect your sex] but that it might be a warning sign, a smoke alarm if you will, to the possibility of there being a fire needing to be taken care of?
[Valerie]: In short, I don’t think the strength or health of a marriage should be defined on how much or little sex is happening. But, if one or both parties are finding the amount of sex (shall we leave the quality to the side for now?) an issue, which I believe is where the first blog post started, then by all means that needs to be addressed. And I think the first blog did that well – in essence you flipped it on it’s head from “how much am I entitled to” to the deeper issues that could, and often do, underlie a question like that. The back-story if you like.
My main concern is that we don’t perpetuate the myth that sex is the pinnacle of a relationship. It’s what we tell Christian young people before they get married and create in essence a mythical “IT”, much like Hollywood does. When the newly-wed couple eventually gets down to it we have bogged them down with so much guilt, shame, expectations and assumptions along with an idealized vision of “IT” which, let’s be honest, has little to do with the actual messy, fun, awkward, emotional, vulnerable, experience of sex-in-real-life that it’s little wonder they get so easily entangled in the complexities of it.
And I’m worried that similar discussions of sex and it’s place in marriage do essentially the same: elevate sex to being the “IT” of marriage – the purpose, the indicator of health, the thing we should be striving for (more or better of), the reason why we do the things that make our spouse feel loved etc (ooh, and that last one especially, the “I’m buying you flowers because I love you, but secretly I’m really just earning brownie points and we both know it.”)
[Brett]: Yes, exactly. You’re talking about the ‘No sex til marriage’ whip that is held above Christian young people [which becomes completely guilt-inducing every time they mess up in any way sexually] and then at some stage they get married and are instantly meant to change to a “sex is allowed and great” mentality. That is such a confusing thing we do to people and it can take years to work through that one.
Sex in marriage IS great. But you know what is also great in marriage? Cuddling. And cooking a meal together. One of my favourite things [and I think yours] is to lie next to each other at the end of the day and just talk about life and ‘solve all the world’s problems’ [well, most of them]. Also playing board and card games together. Watching a series we both enjoy. And so on. I think this is a message that could be given out a lot more on this one – that sex is great alongside a lot of other things that are great.
[Valerie]: Totally. We follow up the “no sex outside marriage” whip with the “sex in marriage” whip (that’s another story!) that creates a lot of guilt about how much is being had, shame about what is and isn’t allowable now that the general veil has been lifted, expectations about what it’s going to be like. So phrases like “if a relationship is done properly, and both people are happy, comfortable and secure in the relationship, sex will follow” just add guilt on guilt and shame on shame and resentment and disappointment and even blame at its worst. Yes, it IS wonderful. It is messy and awkward and vulnerable. It is fun. But it is also one – yep, just ONE – of a myriad things that make my relationship good and fun and healthy and fulfilling and satisfying and comfortable and secure and and and. Let’s get a little perspective in here, yo!
We would LOVE to hear your thoughts and comments on our thoughts and comments and any follow-up questions you might have…