Tag Archive: brett fish anderson


Imagine waking up one morning and going online and seeing a semi-naked-sprawled-out-on-the-bed-alongside-your-Improv-friend picture of yourself circling the internet…

Cause for panic, right? You’d think so, unless the picture was this one:

ImpromptuBrettMegan

Which i woke up to a week or so ago and was like ‘Holy Crapamole, what’s my wife going to think?’

Fortunately tbV was awake and laughing at it in the other room and so we just jumped on the banned wagon and helped spread it around.

WE GOT YOU, BABE

The purpose of the poster i had previously been aware of and that was the oncoming event [which started last night] of a week of Imprompt2 shows where FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, the incredible Megan Furniss [who imported Improv to Cape Town and began TheatreSports, now Improguise, Cape Town’s longest running show and apparently best kept secret] is going to do a night of two person Improv with a different person every night from Tues to Saturday.

The shows are each going to be slightly longer than that last sentence, at 55 minutes, and will be played with the incredible Anne Hirsch, Ryan Jales, Carolyn Lewis and finished off by Tandi Buchan. aka this beautiful bunch:

Imp

55 minutes on stage doing Improv with no other backup, no members waiting on the side of the stage to jump in and save, no muso to provide background music or the base for a song, and two settings of light: mostly on and mostly off. This is Improv almost at its dangerous best [it’s absolute dangerous best would be last year when Megan performed a one-woman Improv show].

Was i nervous? Absolutely. But more that i would be too similiar characters throughout the show [didn’t happen] or that the 5 people we had booked by late afternoon would be it [wasn’t – we had a delightful audience] but for the show itself i was excited anticipationary, adrenalin-filled and just so ready to Go Go Go!

THE SHOW

Let’s get this right out there. You had to be there. And so if you weren’t, whatever words follow are largely just for me and possibly to help you become really sad that you missed it and that besides our generous loving invested audience, no-one else will ever see what happened ever again. But i can try give you a glimpse…

We literally had NO IDEA what we were going to do. We had one light ‘rule’ that we were going to try and use, or not, which was that one way of changing scene would be to take a word, phrase or sentence that the other actor had spoken and repeat it as a way to start a brand new scene.

So we interviewed the audience. “What did any of you expect to see tonight? Or hope you would see? Or want to see?” They stared back at us. Nothing.

“Okay, so let’s bring it down a notch. Does anyone have a favourite colour?” Red.

“What does red make you think of?” Roses. [We’re getting somewhere, slooooowly]

“And what do roses make you think of?” Love. Thorns. “Ah, so we have the optimistic romantic side of the audience over here and the cynical bunch over there.” [nervous laugh]

So then Megan got bold with, “So can anyone share a story they have which involves a rose?”

No lies. From right at the back, someone [who, let’s be honest is a friend of mine] speaks out, “I once smelled a rose.”

We look at each other. Maybe we should just start.

And so we did. And without having a clue where anything would go, and with not a single accent, character or idea i’d been practising in front of my mirror all day emerging at any point [yay for that] we produced some magic and the majority of it was really pretty amazing, and some was really odd, and a whole lot of the really odd stuff was pretty amazing.

One of the oddest moments, and personal highlights of the show was an interaction between Megan and i where she from the left of the stage called out to me, sitting on a chair at the right and eventually came over to join me, clearly climbing over rows of things to get to me.

“Where’d you get all the sticks?”

“I bought them… at the hardware store.”

[pause] “Why do they have all those fingers on them?”

“To keep the badgers away.”

[pause] “But there are no badgers here?”

“Yes, they’re really effective.”

You can. not. make. that. stuff. up.

Oh, but we did, and more. [And if you heard the creepy accents we were using for that scene, just imagine it 1000 times better]

But from Megan’s Energiser Bunny skills demonstration for a secretary job interview, to pulling a Spanish guy out of the audience to interrogate him [who only said “Que?” and who i thought was taking the piss, but turned out to be really just a Spanish guy and so completely Fawlty Towers moment right there], to King of the Ice Throne [which you can’t lick!] whose bird Gabriel had to be eaten when he ran out of snacks, to the waitress at the French Cafe who offered ‘Cafe de Mime’ which is a coffee and mime combo, to being asked to dictate a 13 word poem, where each word rhymed, had three syllables and ended with X [which technically i pulled off, even if the ‘X’ was silent] to a weird strange alien creature who spoke in garbled sounds interaction, to telepathic CV’s, an on the spot song called ‘There’s a Fish in my Wine Glass’, a funeral where the roses had been made out of paper mache [by the woman, whose mom had died,’s husband’s ex] and finishing off with a Captain Jack counselling session featuring some Pilates of the Caribbean which you couldn’t really observe because it was all core.

And probably more  – it was incredible to see what we fit into 55 minutes – but it was dangerous [pulling an audience member on stage] and delightful and risky and fun and brilliant and when i walked off the stage i was instantly disappointed that Anne, Ryan, Carolyn and Tandi were playing the next four nights and not Brett, Brett, Brett and Brett. Except that they will be great and there will be a slightly different format per show and i really wish i could watch them all.

This is addictive stuff people. Be warned.

And so Big Huge Giant Tremendous thanks to Megan for trusting me and letting me go first and kick the week off. And for just absolutely diving in with everything and being so generous in both taking and receiving offers. i look forward to Impromt2 II

If you’re in Cape Town, GO AND WATCH A SHOW – Tuesday to Thursday. Do it!

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About two weeks ago i published an email from a friend of mine who is white, male, South African and presently living in the UK who had some thoughts, feelings, questions and frustrations about life in South Africa and some of the conversations we’d been having on here. i shared his email under the guise of ‘Bob’ and invited a few of my friends to respond, all of which you can catch up with over here [worth a read!]. Bob has taken it all in and had some time to think about it and compose some follow up thoughts, which you are again invited to respond to in the nicest of let’s-all-see-if-we-can-somehow-learn-from-this-and-be-transformed fashion in the comments section [or if you want to respond in a post, email me]. So here is some more from ‘Bob’:

It’s been a great discussion and I have learnt a lot from it. I think one of the main things learnt is that maybe a more humble less frustrated approach should have been taken.

I tend to take things as I see them, when it comes to a starting point and so the points I raised were points that I have read in other news, blogs and comments. These points struck a nerve with me and in order for me to get my head around things I thought it best to start by putting those points out there in order to get feedback and better understand the issues.

There have been so many great responses as blog posts and comments and these have given me a lot to think over. Some have been eye opening and given me a lot to think over and adjust my way of seeing things and others have prompted further questions, the “I see what you are saying, but…” type ones. My responses to these are not to say I disagree with you, but rather it is my way of eliminating things in order to come to a more balanced point of view. Its just how my mind works (rightly or wrongly). As an example there are many ways to join wood, however only one way is fit for the purpose that you need wood joined for. I generally will try multiple ways before giving in and using the right way, because only then does it make sense to me.

I thought the best way to respond would be to answer each person at a time, rather than jumping around posts and comments. I have not responded to all points raised, this is not to say that what was posted by various people was not taken notice of, it was.

I had also come up with a number of responses to various people and points. However following reading a link that Brett sent me (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/good-men-project/why-its-so-hard-to-talk-to-white-people-about-racism_b_7183710.html –  AN EXCELLENT READ!!!!!), some of my responses seemed very insignificant all of a sudden. So it was back to the drawing board and here is what I came up with.

I would like to say that, though I may not get everything right I am genuinely here looking to make sense of things, understand, learn and grow… so please bear with me and the way my mind works…

Megan – As my harshest critic I thought I would start with your post [Find comment in comments section here]

You had some pretty harsh words for me and at first I actually thought you were a troll and had to ask Brett. After your rant you said… “hate your pronouncements that are from the voice of knowing better, without doing a thing to engage, understand, imagine, talk and listen.”

I never claimed to know better and what you are criticising me for “without doing a thing to engage, understand, imagine, talk and listen”, is the very thing I am doing. I can’t listen or engage without asking the questions that I have. My questions are based on where I am at in my journey (which albeit is probably the very start of it). I genuinely want to understand and grow more and that was what I had to go on to start. They were questions based on initial observations and thoughts based on my point of view and by asking those questions I can listen and reshape my thoughts and points of view.

While I think that sometimes a direct “Hey brother catch a wake up” is needed. I do think that your approach does nothing for the conversation especially to encourage a white person to get involved. Your comment is more likely to drive people back to square one and not engage for fear of being berated for wanting to engage.

ChevsLife [Find comment in comments section here]

I really liked your comment and it really got what I was thinking with regards to (amongst other points) government exploiting the poor and apartheid, to maintain power and serve their own interests. I think that is where a lot of my frustration lies, in that I see (at the moment and I am not saying I am right) government using race to divide us in order to distract people from the issues that government isnt dealing with.

Alexa [Read blog post response here]

You made an excellent point about recognising the past issues but not needing to feel guilty about it. I think a lot of people white/better- well-off do feel guilty about the past or (from a non racial point) their better lot in life versus those less well off. This means that they don’t want to be engaged with people who aren’t as lucky as they are, more often than not because they don’t know and don’t have the tools to deal with the uncomfortableness of the situation. Even those who started from a point of disadvantage and worked dam hard to get to that “middle class”/wealthier state feel guilty and are then seen as turning their back on where they came from. It’s a difficult one and if people don’t realise that they have nothing to feel guilty about, when it comes to the actions of others, they will be more defensive. By removing guilt but recognising someones plight and seeing them as people, we can form strong real honest relationships.

I also agree that engagement without fear of condemnation is important. I am not saying that this will be any less uncomfortable or that it’s about the white perspective, but many post apartheid whites were brought up with a way of thinking. This way of thinking in most cases misses out key information and life experiences, so I think that it is about working with white people to alter their way of thinking to include histories, life experiences and understanding of others points of view without condemnation, as condemnation breeds guilt and guilt breeds defensiveness and no interest to engage.

I think associating with people unlike us when we are the odd one out (no matter the group make up, 1 person from a race group with a bunch of people from another or a poorer person in amongst a group of wealthy people) will always be uncomfortable and that person will be mistrusted by the group. Why? Because that one person is different and the group as a whole doesn’t know that persons motivations for being there.

I have spent a number of nights, spending time with friends in Langa at shebeens (not the mainstream ones) and in Manenberg. i felt massively uncomfortable because those that didn’t know me, didn’t trust me. Cops (1 coloured 1 black) pulled me over when leaving Manenberg wanting to know what I was doing there, was I buying drugs? The same for entering Langa, we were told by our friends that they would meet us at a certain point and escort us in… not something my black friends needed to do when they came to visit me.

I think you were spot on about us celebrating together but not healing together.

I am wanting to engage and I don’t see myself as losing power as I don’t have that much power and wealth anyway, but yes I do see what you are saying, especially from those whites who have IMMENSE wealth. I do though have a follow on question from this though. What about the black leadership of the country and the black super wealthy, they don’t want change either because that will mean possibly losing their power and wealth?

Stephan [Find comment in comment section here]

I don’t think it’s about giving up what we have worked hard for, it’s about doing our bit to help lift up our brother or sister. I think it’s a shift that humanity needs to do as whole and its not unique to South Africa or even Africa and I don’t think that it has anything to do with race (although in Africa the wealth gap is clearly defined by race because of the past). So many of us live beyond our needs or have more than enough to provide for our family and secure their future. I also think that we should enjoy the finer things in life, especially if we have worked hard to achieve them. But do we NEED everything? Should our success mean paying people poorly so we make a better profit? I don’t think so.

Marlyn [Read blog response here] 

I am not trying to play victim, I am though wanting to understand things from a different perspective. I am not a victim but I am confused about where I stand in South Africa.

I make no argument that I haven’t benefitted from the past. I have.

Yes, I have visited Langa and Manenberg and felt uncomfortable and treated suspiciously as an outsider.

I agree totally, I need to acknowledge the suffering of the past, but what I don’t understand and what frustrates me is that the suffering continues from the very people who fought the suffering of the past.

I think there is also a difference between someone saying “Get over it” and saying “move forward”. Structures remain in place because those in power allow them to. I am not saying go to opposite extremes, but they do need to be addressed in a balanced and methodical way.

I genuinely don’t see race, I see people. But yes the apartheid government did engineer things, which the effects of are still present today, so with that said my outlook may differ or be skewed but that is what I am wanting to work on.

I totally agree UCT (and others) do need more black (female) professors, deans and so on. So why then isn’t there this change? Especially as the chancellor is a black women. Surely she has that power to employ a more balanced faculty?

You raise an excellent point about invisible privilege factors and a lot of whites do need further education about this, because it doesn’t even appear on our day to day radar.

I totally agree with you about the conditions the vast majority of South Africans had to live and grow up in during apartheid. But what about now…It was the current government who disbanded the specialised anti gang and drug police units, the current government who is not building or upgrading schools, it is the current government who is leaving tens of thousands of school books in warehouses and not delivering them to schools in need, it’s the current government whose ward councillors are charging people for the keys to their free home in poor communities and it’s the current government who hasn’t significantly increased minimum wage or put proper HR regulations in place.

You also mention the opportunities of White people in the suburbs getting in decent schools and having a better start in life. On the whole I agree with this, but it’s not entirely accurate. If I were to live in the same house that I grew up in, firstly there is no way I could afford to buy there and secondly they would struggle to get into Rondebosch or SACS as we would be outside the catchment area, even though I went to Rondebosch. These catchment areas have been reduced to accommodate pupils for poorer more disadvantaged areas, who have just as much right to that eduction. I agree that the balance is still not there, but it is getting there and should get there faster.

Looking at ANC corruption and business, I hear what you are saying, but…

  • ANC corruption is what we hear about pretty much all the time, by what I hope is a balanced unbiased media
  • Why hasn’t the government increased minimum wage?
  • Why are HR regulations and hiring processes so poor? My wife, who is in HR is constantly amazed and shocked that people need to attached a photo to their application, or questions about disabilities are asked or job adverts are placed “Seeking experienced 20-30 female”.
  • Labourers and domestic workers need better wages and more fairer wages

I would like to also point out that I was referring to small white owned businesses (the ones that operate fairly). It’s only the big multinationals who have the money for the legal clout to skirt around things to maintain power. I now source work for the business from the UK and we try to use bright people who have started life from a disadvantaged point for contracts. We then work with them to help them develop as self employed individuals and going on to find and manage other contracts from within SA and the rest of the world.

With regards to your point on donations. Yes the west offers (and in some cases assumes that Africa needs it), but if South Africa doesn’t want it they are free to make the choice to say no thanks. Not sure if you are aware but the UK has committed £170 million (I may be off by a couple of million) of its regional aid budget to South Africa for 2015/16 with a yearly top up of £80 million each year thereafter with no plans to cap that. If SA doesn’t want it then tell the UK, there are plenty of impoverished areas in the UK (to the same extent as South Africa) that could REALLY do with it.

Of course there are strings attached, same goes for the aid/investment from China (or the aid from SA to other African countries), but once again it’s our leaders who accept the terms. What confuses is that on the one hand the west is called on for this that and the other and then they are told not to interfere and get out of Africa. It’s the swapping of one imperialistic agenda for another (western for eastern – china tells SA not to give the Dalai Lama visa or small mineral mining, carried out by Chinese miners and not employing local people)

I agree my humanity may be damaged, which is why I am on this path to change that. Its not easy when it comes to self reflection and imbedded unaware thoughts.

Tsholo [Read blog response here]

Thanks for calling me on my statement of “moving in reverse”. That was very much a point of vent first, think later. I totally agree with you regarding white privilege and still working to try get my head around it there is a lot to breakthrough and fully understand and not having the opportunity to experience it from the other side does not make it any easier to grasp… but I continue to try.

Thank you for your perspective of the statue issue. I have never seen them as a celebration but as markers of points in history. I can see now how they are used to celebrate and that in so doing continue to cause upset. point taken view changed.

I found your perspective on “What Colonialism brought to SA” really great and never thought about it in that way in that Africa’s progress was interrupted, but surely the same could be said for other nations, countries and people across history, what makes Africa so special in this regard? Is it because in terms of history it’s relatively fresh still?. I certainly didn’t mean to imply that Africans were sitting on their thumbs waiting to be rescued and I apologise if that’s how it came out. The question was very much based on other arguments I have heard from “one-sided-ness” and want to understand more from a more balanced perspective.

On your aid to Africa with strings attached point, I covered this in my response to Marlyn.

Yes I am well aware that black people donate and do humanitarian things, apologies if you thought that was a point of criticism. I guess what I was interested in was when you donate and so on, is it view with skepticism or if a wealthy black person donates is it seen as a guilt payment?

When I give, I do so because I want to give back and help where I can, but then I am told by some that whites don’t belong. So my humanity is based on me being white.

Conclusion – Sorry If I didnt get to respond to you all… 

…as you can see I have written a small book and there is loads more that is swimming around in mind. I guess the point is that I have taken everything that has been said on board and am now able to start to see things from a more informed perspective.

I will continue to listen and digest. I am now able to have those conversations with people and better understand where they are coming from.

I think the thing for a lot of whites is that they dont understand or see the difference between racial acceptance and racism. If you havent yet read http://www.huffingtonpost.com/good-men-project/why-its-so-hard-to-talk-to-white-people-about-racism_b_7183710.htm read it.

I have a long way to go and I am sure that my comments, questions and reflections above are probably not totally there yet. I am though asking the questions to change my perspective and outlook.

I won’t be responding further, I will though be reading any further responses with interest, listening hard and trying to correct areas that need correction in my life.

Sorry Megan if I am not quite as far along as you might like, but every journey needs to start somewhere.

[for Andrea’s response to this piece, click here]

[To return to the original mail by Bob and a link to all the responses that have followed, click here]

i am loving being a part of this Tandem Blogging series with 8 other very creative and very different individuals. There is the dual satisfaction of having a very focused piece to write on a topic i didn’t choose [which is incredible for creativity] and then also the thrill of bouncing from post to post once we’ve released them, to see how differently each writer interpreted the title each week. Last week was my favourite week out of the 5 i have been part of, and despite this week’s title being a little more dangerous, i am looking forward to seeing how everyone tackled it. Hee, hee, i said ‘tackle’.

So read this one and then please take a look at as many of the others as you can and please do us the honour of sharing any of these that you really enjoyed:

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Tonight you’re mine, completely

Draft 1: Tonight you're mine, completely.
Draft 2: Two Knights. You're mine. Complete. [Leigh]
Draft 3: To Knights, Ewe are mine! Compete? [Leigh]
Draft 4: Dear Members of the Round Table. The female sheep belong to me. Wanna fight about it? [Lee]
Draft 5: Deer members. Get off the round table. Wool bearer ownership decided. A duel? [Lee]
Draft 6: Buck! Remove yourselves from the wooden table! A knitter has been duly decided upon.
Draft 7: The buck stops here. Unstable. A familiar pattern has been selected.
Draft 8: President. Unstable set. Recognition. Choice.
Draft 9: A precedent has been set. I recognise this in the one I have chosen.
Draft 10: Tonight you're mine, completely.

join

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Having read the rest of the posts for this week i feel like everyone has done some amazing incredible work and so please give yourself some time to read at least a few of the others, if not all of them.

The writing is all different flavours of great, but which one will be YOUR favourite this week?

Cath: https://cathjenkin.wordpress.com

Scott: http://squidsquirts.blogspot.com

Kerry: http://www.kerrycontrary.com

James: http://www.jamespreston.org

Megan: http://www.meganshead.co.za

Sarah: https://medium.com/@ricegirl2

Dave: https://bloggsymalone.wordpress.com

Nick: https://medium.com/@nick_frost

[To return to the first Tandem Post i took part in with the theme of ‘Meeting the Queen’, click here]

Daniel was another of the guests from Friday's dinner and deep dive into Race, Boundary and Location conversation that i wrote about over here, and he shares some of his thoughts from the evening:

dan2
We need to learn to listen to one another. Such a simple concept, "I stop talking, you talk", but very hard to execute.

On Friday, Brett invited me to a dinner with a number of other peeps from different ages, colour, monetary and social backgrounds. I, unassumingly, accepted his his offer and when we got to the real talk, I felt like I had been hit by a big metaphorical truck.

It was awkward, it was hard, it was confrontational and, as Brett said, it was Messi (great pun by the way Brett).

What I have been really chewing on for most of the week about that conversation is that we need to learn to listen to one another. I am a lawyer by profession and I deal with conflict all the time (so I secretly enjoyed all the passion and confrontation going on) but what I have learnt is that when people don't take the time to listen to one another, they begin to assume that they know what the other person is thinking and doing and they also think they know why the other person is doing it.

I have never seen more conflict happen this way. It is a complete break down of communication and both sides of the coin believe they are right, hence, justified in what they are doing and boy do they fight.

I went into this dinner thinking, conceitedly, that I had done a lot of thinking and changing already with all the media hype of late leading me to research this "white privilege" thing and seeing how the effects of apartheid are still very real. I was completely humbled at this dinner in what I thought I knew and in how broad minded I thought I was.

I had a good idea of what "they" (black people) thought, mainly derived from media articles and some pretty outspoken politicians you know, all the legitimate sources (I hope my sarcasm is quite clear here). Equally though, I noticed that one of the black guys at the talk also had an idea of how "they" (white people) thought and I was saddened at how we, my (black) friend and (white) I, had been missing each other due to our poor communication.

The veil of my own prejudice slowly began to lift as I listened to his personal story, as I put a human being, a face, a name to all the strife that I had been reading about and academically engaging, but not emotionally engaging.

I, too, saw the veil of his prejudice lifting, how when he listened to me, he began to see that I too was dissatisfied with the inequities and complete injustice of our present system, that I too recognized my white privilege and was actively trying to change my life to redress the poverty and race barriers so obviously hampering our country.

We listened to each other. We were no longer an "us" and "them" but rather a "we".

But as I said, it was HARD, it was SCARY, it was CONFRONTATIONAL(okay, I liked this bit), we DISAGREED STRONGLY(I liked this bit too), but it was so so NECESSARY.

My final question to my new friends, who happen to be black as well, was how do I wake up tomorrow and change this system? One of them said that I could do nothing but join hands every other person and redress the issues and that these "small" meetings were ineffective.

I disagree, Christ changed the world with 12 people, revolutions happen when "small" groups of people meet together and try and make a difference.

I challenge all my friends, all the people reading this blog and all the people who take on various pseudonyms and write outlandishly racist comments on Brett's blogs (in fact especially these guys), read Brett's initial blog on this night and look at joining (or even hosting) a conversation like this, and do it face to face, social media doesn't cut it.

[To return to the start of this conversation and read other guests’ reflections, click here]

This year, the book i wrote, ‘i, church’ was published and you can read more about that over here.

But being Sunday where many people around the world will be using that somewhat confusing statement of ‘going to church’ i thought it would be a good idea to post an extract from my book, particularly one aimed at all of the people who think church may be dying or already dead.

IMG_2893

SEARCHING FOR THE PULSE OF THE CHURCH

There are many people who believe that the church is dead. Or at
their most optimistic, that it is dying.

Instead of trying to convince you that it is not, let me share
something that should inject some hope into that scenario. In many
ways, a little bit of death in some cases is not the worst thing if it
means that there will be space created for new life to emerge. When
we have been caught up in doing things in unhelpful and even at
times harmful ways in the church, then maybe death is just what we
need to be inviting.

Sexism in the church. Racism in the church. Classism or
wealthism where those who have are given preferential treatment
over those who do not have as much. These are just some examples
of things in the church that need to die.

But if the church itself, the worldwide institution and family, the
body of Christ, was ever to be pronounced dead, then instead of
fear and panic, this stunningly powerful image in Ezekiel 37 would
be a good one to keep in mind.

37 The hand of the LORD was on me, and he brought me out by the
Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of
bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many
bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me,
“Son of man, can these bones live?”

I said, “Sovereign LORD, you alone know”.

4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry
bones, hear the word of the LORD! 5 This is what the Sovereign LORD says to
these bones: I will make breath[a] enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I
will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you
with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will
know that I am the LORD”.

7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there
was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 I
looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but
there was no breath in them.

9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man,
and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come, breath, from
the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live’. 10 So I
prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to
life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.

11 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel.
They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut
off’. 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the
Sovereign LORD says: My people, I am going to open your graves and
bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of
Israel. 13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the LORD, when I open
your graves and bring you up from them. 14 I will put my Spirit in you
and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will
know that I the LORD have spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD”.

So, if you are someone who has lost hope in the current state of
the church in any way, know that this God who we serve is able to
breathe life into even the deadest of things and spark them into
life. Yes, deadest!

To those of you who believe the church may be dead or dying,
let me remind you of this: Resurrection from the dead just happens
to be God’s speciality.

[For a brief teaser of an overall idea of what the book is more about, click here]

My good friend Steve Graybill from Americaland, who has written for my blog before both on his strength weakness [which he identified, ironically enough, as a thirst for knowledge] and also on Sex in Marriage recently bought a copy of my book, ‘i, church’ on Amazon. He had some questions and thoughts which he shared with me via email and i asked him if he would write them into a post so that we could get more people engaging. Here is some of our back and forth conversation and some thoughts Steve had.

Steve and Helene

So, me and my wife, The Beautiful Helene (TbH) – when you can’t be original borrow – have had the privilege of hanging out with “FISH” a couple of times the past couple of years after meeting him at the Simple Way on a trip to “Come and See.” My wife being the awesome gift giver that she is bought a half dozen copies of ‘i, Church’ – two for us and some for us to give away.

I recently started reading the book and so far am really enjoying it. However, it is a bit weird to read a book of someone I would consider a good friend—a good friend despite not spending tons of time together, but some of the best quality time when we do hook up! I had a rather verbose FB message session with Brett regarding some questions with his book, which resulted in a brief dialogue, and Brett asking me to put the dialogue on his author page for further comment. So what follows is mostly what transpired, with some additions and editing from me on our conversation on ‘i, Church’.

[Steve’s First Message to Bret]t: Hey Bro, Enjoying the book–I am underlining the normal amount which is good. I have a number of questions which is also good. Perhaps one of us will get on a plane to get to the other or we can do a skype at some point but I have one question that I did want to present here more for food for thought than anything. You reference the parable of the Talents and it is obvious that you take the normal exegetical stance and see Christ’s referring to master in it as God. I will be frank, and say that I have never much liked this parable with that exegetical stance. In the past several years I have seen that passage exegeted with the Master representing the world not God, several times, this exegesis also aligns better with the other parable of the sheep and the goats in the same chapter in Matthew. Anyway, I was wondering if you had heard of this and your thoughts on it. Peace, Steve

[Brett’s Response]: hey Steve – i have heard the parable done from the other point of view [i think it was Pete Rollins] and i can see that – am researching Mark for a lecture i am giving today actually [5am here now so much later today] and came upon a piece yesterday [no idea where] where Jesus independently of that parable says the words ‘he who has will be given more and he who doesn’t will lose what little he has’ and so the meaning taken from that parable i feel is still a biblical principle even if that particular exegesis is not accurate [also with passages like branches not bearing fruit, salt losing its saltiness – that seems to be a clear principle throughout Jesus’ teaching?]

Not sure what you’re saying with regards to sheep and goats – is that master also not God? have not heard that before and need to go give it a read with different eyes and see but i have never had issue with that one because it does seem to back up God’s heart for the poor and marginalized – so give me more of what you mean with that one?

[My Response]:

-Brett, I am really struck with this saying of Jesus! So here is what came up in a google search for: “Jesus, whoever has more will be given.”

Matthew 13:12: Hearing the Word (Jesus)

Matthew 25:29: Talents (Money)

Mark 4:25: Hearing the Word (Jesus)

Luke 8:18: Hearing the Word (Jesus)

Luke 19:26: Minas (Money)

In Luke 19: The master owns up to him being severe (unforgiving) “You knew that I was a severe man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow.” In Matthew 25’s account we have: “…you knew that I reap where I do not sow and gather where I scattered no seed…”

The other three times where this phrase is mentioned in the Gospels is regarding hearing the words of Jesus.

What about Jesus Claim that you cannot serve both God and Money?

Matthew 6:24 has Jesus discussing laying up treasure in heaven and Luke 16 Jesus tells the parable of the dishonest manager—the master of the manager in this story is diametrical to the master we find in Luke 19 and in Matthew 25—he actually commends his manager for his shrewdness in reducing debts and making friends with people knowing that he is about to be fired and the parable ends with, “You cannot serve God and money.” In other words, the manager has given up worldly gain for heavenly gain (human relationships) and is commended by his Master for this decision.

What if Jesus’ use of this phrase, “to him who has more will be given,” is purposely given in two contexts to show, much like Jesus lays out in Matthew 6:24, that we have a choice. Do we want to push into God and have more of Christ’s presence in our life? Or do we want to operate in the paradigm of the world and have material objects be more present in our life?

Brett: I think we more or less agree on the sheep and goat parable. My point was that in the Parable of the Talents we have this money-hungry master that in essence adds to the homeless population, while in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats we see a God who is found in the homeless, the widow, the incarcerated—a God who opposes the cruel masters represented in the Parable of the Talents.

[One more post from me on Matthew 25 that was at the end of the FB message just to create tension]:

Several months ago I heard a message on the Matthew 25 passage in question (Talents) that kept Master as God and honed in our the faithfulness aspect of it that I really appreciated. I see where positives and teaching points from both exegetical stances–how crazy it would be if Christ meant it as a “both and” scenario and not an “either or.” Late here and heading to bed–maybe I can copy and paste a big chunk of this convo onto your author page with some editing?

[A small addition to that post]:

The one thing from the message that stuck out to me besides the faithfulness aspect was what was not emphasized. I don’t necessarily agree that Jesus presents these parables as a both and scenario, but I am not a theologian and even if I were one, a good one anyway, I would have to admit that I do not have a monopoly on exegesis and hermeneutics. Anyway, during that message it was emphasized that it does not say: “Well done, good and hard-working servant,” or “Well done, good and incredibly driven servant,” but “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Having faithfulness being the teaching point of the message made that interpretation of the passage relevant and useful for me.

[My next message to Brett]: OK, Damn, another one: From ‘i, Church’: “The pattern in so many local church congregations is the paid staff and the minority of the people in the church doing the majority of the work which is mostly aimed at the church building/members. The majority of the people who frequent the building on a Sunday are quite happy to spectate. Come and watch a show if you like and then leave largely unchanged.” This made me think of Dave Schmidgall’s quote of NCC is a place where we want you to be a part of what God is doing through NCC and NCC is a church that wants to be a part of what God is doing through you.

Dave is my Campus Pastor and he has followed through with Helene and me more than once on that part about the church being a part of what God is doing through us. Another quote of his is “criticize through creation.” If you have a beef and complaint with the church and want to complain for the sake of complaining I am not going to give you much of an ear, but if you want to criticize and have plan for action then let me hear it and let’s get moving!

[Brett’s Response]: “NCC is a place where we want you to be a part of what God is doing through NCC and NCC is a church that wants to be a part of what God is doing through you.” sounds like a great [but long] car sticker but not fully sure what it means – are you talking specifically as a building in terms of using their premises for ministry vibes? i do love the “criticize through creation” concept although not 100% – it has merit and most of the time should be applied but sometimes not having an alternative answer yourself doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be muted on pointing out the fact that something is wrong… cos otherwise your motto is “Let’s continue doing it wrong til we figure out a way to do it better.” and sometimes things done wrong just need to be stopped altogether and then you can figure out a batter way of doing things – but i do get it and agree with it largely in principle… thanks for the questions.

[My Response]:

-Well, Dave’s wife happens to be a darn good business woman with ethics—not sure if you remember the Bittersweet Mag I gave you, but that is Dave’s wife’s use of her business for justice in the city. Anyway, she has a rented space for her business that use to double as their home until recently—anyway they have more than once allowed us to use that space during the evening for Kingdom purposes. That is

being a part of what God is working through us—they were even able to allow a couple to use it for their wedding—God is all about weddings!

-Helene and I volunteer at a hospice house in DC called Joseph’s House. While volunteering there we met a resident at the house who had another house in DC that was not habitable at the time and we asked our church if they might support us in renovating the house. They followed through with this giving us a small budget to work with. While the outcome of that experiment is still yet to be determined, that is being a part of what God is working through us.

-Helene and I are trying to make our spare bedroom a place for transitional housing for trafficked women in DC—currently this does not exist at all in DC. We approached NCC with this and they are partnering with an NGO in DC to create a pilot program for this. That is being a part of what God is working through us.

So, criticize through creation: several people have approached NCC with statements such as you are not doing enough to advocate for the homeless, what are we doing to end trafficking in our city?, HIV/AIDS is at epidemic proportions in DC, NCC needs to be doing more! We are not advocating for Children the way that we need to be what is NCC doing to address these issues. These are the criticisms that get thrown back at us—you are part of NCC head this up if you are passionate about it and NCC has your back. Those are our 4 key issues with our church right now and there are considerably more folks not on staff then on staff taking up the banner for those issues—Criticize through creation.

What about your thoughts? What have you liked or disliked with Brett’s book? What actions items are you taking away from it?

What are your thoughts about the church being a place that has you participating in the things that church is passionate about and having that church support you with Kingdom causes that you are passionate about? How is that playing out in your life? How are you criticizing through creating?

[To find out more about ‘i, church’, click here]

megbrett

i met Megan Choritz, wow, 17 years ago?

As you can see, it started out quite daunting – the person who brought Improv to Cape Town in the form of TheatreSports, now Improguise, Cape Town’s longest running show [and best kept secret somehow].

But pretty soon i had gained confidence and the tables had been turned…

brettmeganears

Although some might not use ‘daunted’ in quite the same way, but i’m telling you, behind those fingers-in-ears is pure dauntment!

So we’ve played together for probably 13 years [as i was overseas for some of them] and made some of the most fabulous stuff up based on a word or theme or idea from an audience member or MC and it has been truly magical.

And scary. It’s always the teensiest tiniest bit of scary. Because you NEVER KNOW what is going to happen on stage. You never know what your partner will bring. And when it’s Megan who is one of the best ever, then it really could be completely anything. But at the very same time, you never have to really be scared, because TheatreSports is one of the most generous art forms out there and there is ALWAYS someone ready to save, to jump in and rescue, to MAKE YOU LOOK GOOD.

i was privileged to be there when Megan Choritz disappeared and in her place stood Megan Furniss, married to ‘Big Friendly’ as she calls him, the most unusual pairing initially with Brenton being a tall gentle computer programmy guy and Megan… well, not being that. And yet it has been one of the most beautiful relationships to watch. So much powerful and yet gentle love, so evident. Wow. She even wrote some great marriage advice for my blog as someone busy with their 10th year of marriage.

meg2

Improv has been great but there is another exciting journey ahead that i can’t wait for. In March Megan wrote a piece for my people who give me hope in South Africa series which was somewhat awkwardly about me, but highlighted in some of the best ways the incredible way two such-diverse people [especially when religion is concerned – HEY, COME BACK HERE!] can remain good friends and interact on such a deep level in some areas. Both with a huge bleeding heart for this beloved country of ours we have decided to do something about it. We have designed a three hour workshop which will help groups of people who work together get to the point of being able to speak about that elephant in the room of race. With the “Yes, lets!” and “Teamwork” nature of Improv and specifically through story-telling we hope to prepare people to be able to engage in a healthy way and really start listening to each other and get conversation started. If you would like to know more, get hold of me and ask…

But back to scary…

We are VERY excited to announce Megan’s upcoming show called Impromp2 which is as it kind of suggests, a night of Improv with just two people. I am very honoured to be kicking the week off on Tuesday 17th May with Megan, and then every night after that a different member of our Improv group will be joining her each evening. It is going to be taking place at the most delightful Alexander Bar on Strand Street in town. Two improvisors, one stage and EVERYTHING ELSE made up on the spot for an entire hour. No backup crew. No-one waiting on the side to jump in and save. It’s going to be completely scary and i can. not. wait. Come and watch. [and you should probably book tickets as soon as you can cos it’s not the hugest venue and i imagine they will be snapped up soon]

Also Megan will not be too amped to hear that one of the funnest things in life for me is a Megan corpse [to clarify: that means when someone breaks out of character to laugh, not the other one] and so Impromp2 will not be completely incredible unless we can sneak in one of those…

Megan Furniss and Brett “Fish” Anderson… like the Murtaugh and Riggs of the Improvising world… long may we continue [yes, it’s okay that you had to look that up]…

Also it’s high time she followed me for a change and Megan has just joined a group of us who are doing Tandem Blogging where each week we get a title and have to blog whatever comes out of that as you can see with our most recent one on ‘The Art of Boredom’ for which you can find Megan’s perfectly captured piece over here.

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