Tag Archive: africa

What would i do?

i remember the day my pastor boss from the Vineyard church in Stellenbosch asked me something along the lines of:


and my answer really seemed to impress something upon him, as he brought it up on many occasions after that, but it was something like:


we like the idea of being ‘called into something’ [us christians do, at any rate] – the idea that God [who created the Universe in a moment and a breath and a few words, or quite possibly a process taking millions of years, depending who you listen to] has a specific task and purpose and calling for one brett “Fish” anderson…

it’s a nice idea and everything, but it feels a little too western to me, and i’m not quite sure that i really buy into it theologically…


i mean i do kind of have a theology of God’s will that has the idea of specific will [“Moses, go and lead my people out of Egypt”] and general will [“Hey Israelites, Moses is leaving tomorrow, wanna go?”] and so within that i do believe that there are times and moments when God breaks in and gives a specific leading or call or plan to someone…

but for the most part i think He has given us a lot of clear instruction [love God, love people, forgive everyone, look after ‘the least of these’, don’t be a douche… we get that last one SO right all the time – team christian!] and expects us to follow all of that and life a Christ-like life wherever and around whomever we may be. not so much the WHAT or the WHERE as the HOW[unless of course He has given us a specific ‘what’ or ‘where’ and then, if so, we should really avoid being all Jonah about that!]


at the same time, i do believe we have the Holy Spirit living in us, guiding us and leading us, but not puppet-mastering us, if we have chosen to follow Jesus [as He kinda said that would be the case] and so there may be some ‘specific will’ that happens for all of us there in a priesthood-of-all-believers kind of way…

i don’t know how it all works, but i believe that somehow it does and that God is bigGER and that this post now has way too much christianese jargon for any not-connected-to-the-church person to make too much sense of, so seems like this one is just for you [or maybe just for me, but hi anyways!]



Oh yes, so same question, Brett…


Different answer this time though.

And not because i think i am doing anything wrong right now. Really love the fact that we have been able to see a bunch of needs being met by different people across Americaland and beyond who are combining resources and meeting needs of people they know. Have absolutely LOVED our time at Re:Generation church and the preaching opportunities i have had there and the community of people we are part of and the Improv class i am currently running and have really appreciated the opportunity to work with some amazing youth leader types as we have tried to locate some youth to actually work with [and have loved the few youth we have managed to find from week to week]

This time over year [3 years now] in Americaland has felt very necessary and good and really difficult and challenging in many ways. I completely believe we needed to do this.

But i am also ready for something[s] new.

And i don’t know how possible my dreams and wants and hopes are, because the majority of them don’t involve any kind of money-for-paying-the-bills-kind-of-work at all… but if this was a wish list space of answering that question above, then here are some of the things i would like to do…

[1] Be a fulltime blogger. Absolutely. i feel like this is something i could gladly spend my life doing. hopefully in a way that influences people and helps strengthen relationships and bring people together and challenge people to go higher and live fully amazing lives and more.

[2] Get my book published so i can write my next one. i HAVE written a book. it is called ‘i kissed hating [the church] goodbye’ and has sat on the virtual shelf for the last three years since i moved to Americaland waiting for some self-publishment to take place [with my lack of CAPS in all the wrong places and the damage i do to punctuation and write-as-i-speakment, all publishers have fled far and wide, thus far]. it is aimed at those who have walked away from the traditional idea of church, those who have felt burned by church or by people in church but still love Jesus and are trying to make sense of it all… and i actually realised later that it is definitely for all of those still very much engaged with church as it is basically a simple but challenging look at the idea of church – God’s idea and promise and tool for the building of is kingdom… and i do have other books in me busting to get out.

[3] Find my funny –ah, i would really like to get this one right… develop a Jamie the Very Worst Missionary style but one that is very much my own of being able to be both humourous and deathly funny/witty/clever all at the same time. i would love to get over the fear and come up with a set and try stand-up at least one time. and i would very much like to dive back into the world of Improv playing and develop as a performer [and maybe have more opportunity to teach!]

[4] Be part of a conversation on race – i don’t have an idea of how big or small or what this will look like, but it feels like something God has been laying on my heart of late [see earlier God’s will contradiction vibes] especially as we prepare to head back to South Africa and i feel like being part of a Race conversation in some way and some Reconciliation might be something that could be life and community and country changing which feels like a good thing to be a part of

[5] Have more opportunities to write and preach – after almost two years of largely no preaching [and having my writing seriously reduced] it has been SO GOOD for me [and hopefully others] to have had some opportunities since being in Oakland… there is a possibility of a youth speak on a houseboat retreat coming up before we leave, but really hoping for more opportunities to practice and unleash and grow and develop something i believe i have some level of gifting at.

[6] Something about some form of longer term connection to an area and also some level of pursuing different things to tbV so that i can cheer her on in her stuff – In almost 5 years of being married we are about to hit our 4th major transition [getting married – moving to Philly – moving to Oakland – moving back to SA] and are ready for this one to be at least a little bit longer… and also we have for the most part been in each other’s space 24/7 living, working and being in the same space almost ALL of the time, which, when you are as strong and intense personalities as both of us are or can be, is not always the easiest or necessarily the best thing, and so we are looking to create some spaces for each of us to really be in our element and cheerlead the other in theirs. I really love the idea of Stability [to some extent – we’ll start with 3 years as opposed to 18 months and it will be a great step forward] in terms of relationships and community and context and am excited to see what that will look like.

and i’m sure there is more… but those feel like some of the big things i would love to see happen in the next phase of life, and maybe they will have to happen combined with a part-time coffee shop server position or something else, and maybe some of them will not happen at all [or will be bigger or smaller than i can think or imagine right now].

one thing i do know for sure is that i’m not going to settle. we’re not going to settle. as in ‘fall into the rut and routine of life and just look like everyone else’. There are adventures to be had and laughs to be made and a marriage to be worked on and a kingdom to be building and an Africa to be gotten back to and friends to hang out with. and more…

til then though, we are looking to finish strong here. loving the opportunities and relationships we have around us here and there is definitely going to be a sadness and a sense of loss when we do leave. but we’re not thinking about all of that now.

how about you? if you could do anything in the world right now, would it be what you are doing? and if not…

so browsing back through my blog, i came upon this post where i shared about the person who got excited when he heard that the country i was from was South Africa and followed it up with, “Oh really? What country?” and it reminded me of the other story which i don’t think i shared on here:

so back in Philly tbV and i took some kids from the block to a church VBS [Vacation Bible School] that was happening and when we went to go and pick them up afterwards, the pastor was hanging around on the steps and so we got chatting and he got really excited when he heard we were from South Africa. 

He started telling us how when the world cup was on him and his wife and family really got behind supporting South Africa and backing them as their team and it was just such a great event and a bunch of other stuff. And then he turned to me and with all sincerity asked me the question:

africa“How many African Americans are there in South Africa?”

[i mean we know what he was asking – how many black people y’all got in that country where y’all come from?] 

And with more than ten years of improv experience behind me, without missing a beat, i answered directly back with, “I think according to the latest statistics that it was something like 0.02%” [cos, you know, we have visitors and student exchanges and so on] 

He realised his mistake and kind of mumbled and fumbled back around to an “Uh, I mean black people” but by then the moment had been long made…

God bless Americaland. 


[and for those of you who haven’t yet shared your stories of African vs Rest of the World humour moments, there is a comments section waiting, and go…]

so the other day i am on one of the bizarrest [so bizarre in fact, english grammar policers, that it took ‘most bizarre’ to another level] phone conversations at work that i have ever been on, which basically ends with this old couple [him speaking, her in the background] letting me know emphatically that the appropriate number of times for one to have read the bible through from beginning to end is somewhere >30 [“I lost count at 30” being the background ladys enthusiastic response to my rather feeble, “um, i don’t know, 5 or 6 maybe?”]

felt a little like something along the lines of “No-one expects the Spanish Inquisition… amongst out weaponry are such diverse elements as fear, surprise, a ruthless efficiency and an almost fanatical devotion to the thirty fold reading of the word, i’ll come in again…” [especially when my office mate passed me a piece of paper with the title of that sketch on it]

but the finale moment was a classic as the old man commented on the fact that i must be from somewhere else because of my accent:

OLD MAN: I notice you have a different accent. You from England?
Me: South Africa.
OLD MAN: [excitedly] REALLY? What country?
Me: [holding back a year’s supply of sarcasm] South Africa.

i would love to hear your similar ‘the country of Africa’ stories…

[For the answer to the ‘Where are all the African Americans hiding?” question, click here]

my good friend and distant tag team buddy sean du toit sent me a link to this article titled ‘As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God.’

Very cool article and worth reading the whole thing but here is an excerpt:

It inspired me, renewing my flagging faith in development charities. But travelling in Malawi refreshed another belief, too: one I’ve been trying to banish all my life, but an observation I’ve been unable to avoid since my African childhood. It confounds my ideological beliefs, stubbornly refuses to fit my world view, and has embarrassed my growing belief that there is no God.

Now a confirmed atheist, I’ve become convinced of the enormous contribution that Christian evangelism makes in Africa: sharply distinct from the work of secular NGOs, government projects and international aid efforts. These alone will not do. Education and training alone will not do. In Africa Christianity changes people’s hearts. It brings a spiritual transformation. The rebirth is real. The change is good.

You can read the rest of the article here – http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/matthew_parris/article5400568.ece

i imagine most people in south africa know someone who is from or in zim and so the zim situation probly connects deeply with a lot of us and usually carries a despondent or powerless ‘what can i do?’ attachment…

well i got this email in my inbox this week and this is a way for the church to get involved and just exciting to know what is happening in the heart of zimbabwe as well – so i challenge you to get involved and actively put this day aside to pray for zim – then i challenge you to chat to your church leaders and see if they can have a time during the service on sunday to mention these pray pointers and to stand alongside the church in zim and pray for restoration and freedom and for the continued growth of the church

it is way past time…

Momentum is Growing in Zimbabwe

From all accounts the momentum is building for an incredible climax on 26th September in Zimbabwe. Plans are under way to gather people in 10 city venues and a whopping 100 rural venues on the 26th to call the Church to God, one another and the nation. Angus Buchan, a well-known evangelist in southern Africa, has agreed to speak at a gathering of Christians in Harare on Saturday 25th and to make an address at the main Harare venue on 26th.

Please pray…

* for the call to grow louder both within Zimbabwe and across the world
* for God’s Spirit to be moving to orchestrate breakthrough in an unprecedented way in Zimbabwe
* for the planning and logistics of all the planned gathering in Zimbabwe and around the world
* for the eyes of the world to be turned to Zimbabwe in order for them to see God bringing solution to a nation where everything else has failed and for His glory to be seen
* for Zimbabwe to be a catalyst nation for revival and restoration to sweep across Africa


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