Tag Archive: brett fish book


So the books have arrived and with one week to go [well three days] until launch number 1 [which is totally FULL UP], i thought i would give a more sizeable taste of what you can expect.

One of the chapters in the book is titled, ‘6 passages the church needs to take more seriously’ and while i do believe the church needs to take the whole bible seriously, these were 6 particular passages that stand out to me, that we REALLY need to start getting more right more frequently.

And this is the first of those:

[#] Matthew 22.34-40:

”Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested Him
with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind’. This is the first and greatest
commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbour as yourself’. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments”.

This is the whole Bible summed up in four words for me – Love
God, Love people. Whenever it gets confusing or complicated or
whatever, i think it is good to head back to this foundation of the
church and be reminded of what it is all about.

What i’ve noticed about this passage is that it seems like a
contradiction if we approach it mathematically. If you love God
with ALL your heart, soul and mind then you actually have nothing
left to do any more loving with, because you’ve used it all up
already, right? i mean, that’s what ALL means surely?

Unless you realise that the two commandments are not to be taken
separately at all. As we “love your neighbour as yourself” so we are
demonstrating our loving of God with all our heart, soul, mind.

Loving God means doing His will and His will is that we love other
people and so by loving others, we demonstrate our love of God.

So it is more a two part commandment than two different rules
for living. If we love God with everything, then it will naturally
pour out into loving people around us. And as we love the people
around us, so we are demonstrating love for God because we are
obeying His command.

The second thing to note is Jesus’ little p.s., “All the Law and the
Prophets hang on these two commandments”.

What were the Law and the Prophets? It was Jesus’ Bible. It was
the Jewish scripture and if we continue the metaphor on to us
today now that the New Testament has been written we can take it
to mean that the whole of scripture hangs on those two simple
commands. Love God, love people. Simple in understanding but
not so simple when we try and live them out all the time.

If the church could keep on coming back to this passage when
things get tough or complicated, we would cover a multitude of
sins and confusions and unnecessary conflicts. When we have a
denominational issue, when someone in leadership is caught in
sin, when we are deciding how to use the budget, when there is a
public debate on abortion or homosexuality, do we approach it
from the point of view of, “Is this loving God?” and “Is this loving
people?”

This is the foundation – everything hangs on these two ideas.

We need to keep on going back there and holding firmly to
them. And if anything we are doing or saying or getting involved
in is ever contrary to either of them, then we need to really
rethink and replan and do things differently.

As one rabbi said, “Love God, love people, all the rest is
commentary”. If Jesus says this is the most important thing, how
dare we ever make anything else the most important thing?

To find out what the other 5 passages are, you’re just going to have to get the book… [or ask me what the other five passage are – either way.] 

[To see where the venues are for the book launches and to read a little more what it’s about, click here]

So maybe 15 years ago i wrote a book called, ‘If your christianity is easy, you’re doing it wrong.’

i put it on a metaphorical shelf and waited for something to happen with it and nothing did. And there was evening, and there was morning… the first day.

A few years later, i wrote a book called ‘All’ which was a play on the popular saying, ‘All or nothing’ but without the ‘or nothing’ part, because, as the tagline suggested, ‘Because there is no choice’ with the idea that choosing to follow Jesus meant you had to commit yourself totally. But in effect, ‘All: Because there is no choice’ was simply ‘If your christianity is easy, you’re doing it wrong’, updated and repackaged.

Evening, morning. [Repeat]

Years later, the book-writing bug hit again and so once more i used a lot of what had existed in ‘All’ and repackaged, updated, cut and added and neatly trimmed and just before we moved to Americaland [three years ago] i had finished my book, which was now titled, ‘i kissed hating [the church] goodbye.’ [a play on the very much outdated Josh Harris novel, ‘I kissed dating goodbye.’]

During our time in Americaland i did manage to get it in front of a publisher or two and while the feedback was good, i also realised that specifically with my style of writing [and intentional mangling of the english language and it’s rules of grandma] that the book would have to be self-published. More work, few more chapters, few retractions and of course a new title…

And so ‘i, church’ was born, or created, or something.

Then there was a process of editing and proof-reading and trying to find a cover [HOW AMAZING IS IT? Kirsten Sims, you absolute legend of note!] and finally taking it to the printers and going in to take a look at the pre-print copy and then returning home and waiting.

surreal

And all this time i felt like a confused goat wearing a suit being pointed at by the hand face of a suit-wearing hand-face man…

By this i mean it was all pretty surreal… it’s been a long time coming… and at some point it feels like you are going to be continually caught in this perpetual looking-forward-to-the-next-stage-but-never-quite-getting-thereness of it all.

Until yesterday.

Which is when THIS happened.

realbooks

A real live in-the-flesh [well paper flesh] book arrived at my door, bringing with it 999 of its friends. Or to be more precise 873 of its friends. [Not quite sure what happened there – emails were sent – we’ll figure this out – CALM. THE. FLIP. DOWN. PEOPLE.]

And suddenly it was real.

Posted a pic on Facebook and within like thirty seconds or so it had been liked by 30 people.

Which was surreal in itself.

And then comments by people saying they wanted to read the book or even better, that they couldn’t wait to read the book.

To watch the like counter go up on the book picture was pretty special [and i know the praise for that has to go to Kirsten for delivering such a perfectly beautiful picture for ‘i, church’. Not quite what i originally wanted but exactly what this little thing needed.] and it now sits at more than 160.

We have a full first book launch and a growing second one in Cape Town, with a more intimate house kind of launch happening in the Winelands and busy working on ones for KZN and Jhb/Pta and even hopefully a small one in Oakland in June. So there again, people coming together to hear about the book [and some may actually buy a copy!]

Maybe it should have started out as, ‘If you think your book publishing is easy, you’re doing it wrong.’ Excepting that, although it took way longer than i would originally ever have hoped, i am confident that the book we have now [and it is a ‘we’ thing cos so many people have helped bring this together] is a whole lot better than what i started out with. It is not perfect, because if we waited for that it would never have gone anywhere – we did eventually just need to call it on the tiny edits and say, “Let’s do this!” But i am grateful for the time – it feels right.

And just so grateful for everyone who has shown the love – on Facebook, in real life… it has been such an encouraging time leading up to the time when anyone actually reads it and then we’ll see for sure. But much appreciative of the various communities i am immersed in. Thank you everyone. Looking forward to seeing you at one of the launches.

[and if you are overseas and can’t wait for a local tour, then if you head into the Amazon and google ‘i, church’ and brettfish you are likely to find it there]

[For a generous mouthful taste of ‘i, church’ to get a better idea of what to expect, click here] 

mc

Three book launches, three MC’s to walk you safely through them… and just TEN DAYS TO GO til the first…

Focusing on one of the strong themes of the book, ‘i, church’ that the church is far more about the people than the place, we decided that the MC’s of the book launches should reflect that. Thus i invited people who are both important and significant to my life to host the events from the front and help keep the times short, sharp and interesting.

Theran Knighton-Fitt

Theran Knighton-Fitt i have known ever since the day i was subbing in for his grade 6 afrikaans class and he came and asked me how to spell a particular word. i can’t remember what the word was but i immediately started spelling and he was carefully writing down the letters W…O…O…R…D…E…B…O…E…K… When i was done i said to him, “What does that say?” and he replied, “Woordeboek” [Afrikaans for dictionary] and i responded with, “Correct, go and look it up.” [Which is perhaps why i am no longer allowed to be a teacher]

i have always known Theran as someone who takes life and spirituality seriously, not content to be spoon-fed answers or ever satisfied with the status of the quo. He and his wife Debbie and their growing family have just returned from a long stint in Canada where he studied theology at Regent College and it is great to have them back in South Africa.

He [or at least his alter ego Faran], was also largely the inspiration for my silly Dangerous Things You Can Least Expect character, Brad Fish. So you can know you will be in for a fun, entertaining and philosophical evening.

Theran will be hosting the book launch at Vovo Telo, Thursday evening the19th, starting at 6.30pm – only 18 spots left and so imperative you RSVP to brettfish@hotmail.com soon if you are hoping to make this one.

Arthur Stewart

Arthur Stewart is an American-African [my description!] who i met many years ago when he was running an intentional community up in Pretoria and i was interested in hearing more about that. Since moving to Cape Town we have connected on a number of different occasions from Warehouse events and Selah reflection days to Generosity Dinners and more. With a huge heart for pastoring and drawing alongside Christian leaders and others, as well as seeing the kingdom come in real and transformative ways, Arthur is someone who tbV and i share some substantial D.N.A. with.

Arthur also kindly stepped in and facilitated a time of listening and prayer with some of our favourite people, when we were looking for a place to stay, which really helped give us some direction and affirmation at an important time. So with Arthur the mood is likely to be reflective and thought-provoking.

Arthur will be hosting the Saturday 21st March morning launch at The Warehouse, which is at 12 Plantation road in Wetton and which will be starting at 9.30am. There is still considerable space at this one, but please stilol RSVP to brettfish@hotmail.com so we know how much coffee to coffee.

tbV aka The Beautiful Val

Often referred to as ‘The Lovely Val’ by people who didn’t quite get the tbV memo, this lady probably needs a little less introduction, but my amazing wife Valerie will be taking on MC duties for the Stell/S West leg of the Cape Town launch.

Val has been hugely supportive in creating opportunities for me to finish the book [pre-Americaland] and then touch it up, finish it off and get it into book-resembling being’ness and it will be an absolute pleasure having her as one of the MC’s. Her tendency to challenge ideas and refusal to settle for the way things have always been has been hugely helpful in terms of formulating some of my own ideas on things as far as church is concerned and we try to figure out this thing together. With tbV at the helm, expect light-hearted, provocative and eloquent all rolled into one. [And maybe even a foreign accent if we’re lucky!]

Valerie will be hosting the book launch in Vlottenberg on Tuesday 24 March at 6pm at Clubhouse, Digteby Estate, Vlottenberg, Stellenbosch.

So there you have it – the clock is ticking and we are so looking forward to hanging out with all of you – please feel absolutely welcome to invite friends and anyone else you know who might be interested in hearing what this is about. Just please get them to RSVP to brettfish@hotmail.com so we can expect their arrival… see you soon…

[To see a little bit of the journey from Surreal to “Hey, i have a book”, click here] 

roundbubble

So by now you may have heard that we had three Cape Town book launches and one in Durban [with one coming up in Oakland, Americaland in June and then hopefully at a later stage one in Pretoria ad Johannesburg], but what exactly is it all about?

Besides church…

To give you an idea, i thought i would drop a little bit of a teaser so you can get an idea.

In many ways this is a book written for people who love Jesus but have been hurt by the church somewhere along the way and so are a little wary of being associated with one any more… trying to be ‘christians without church’…

In other ways this is a book written for those who attend a church service once a week and yet are not necessarily seeing the transformation in their lives and in the lives of those around them and so on some senses might have slipped into a kind of ‘going through the motions’…

And for everyone in between, this is hopefully a challenge or an encouragement or a breath of fresh air or some inspiration towards some ways you can get your creativity on in terms of life to the full and seeing the kingdom of God grow itself here on earth as it is in heaven.

Not all of it is for everyone, but if you are a follower of Jesus, then i’m pretty sure there is at least something in here for you, hopefully of a significant nature.

Here is a short taste from early on in the book.

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

‘That is maybe how it is with the church sometimes. That it is not always intentional. Sometimes it is just through not saying it as opposed to deliberately holding it back. Usually it is because the church is made up of messy, broken people who have been hurt and who hurt, all the while trying to get it right, for the most part.

And so we end up at a place that, if we’re completely honest with ourselves, looks a lot like Augustine might have suggested when he said, “The church is a whore, but she’s my mother”.  One of the biggest problems we face, I think, is that some people get way too hung up on “the church is a whore” part while others get way too protective  of  the “church is my mother” bit. So we are left with a ‘them’ and an ‘us’ no matter which side we stand:

# The church is the best thing in the world, ever.

# The church is the worst thing in the world, ever.

Both sides are right. And both sides are wrong.

The purpose of this book is to hopefully invite each side to take a few steps close to “the other” so that we can move away from that kind of language and mindset altogether. There are enough people both inside and outside the church, who  are  quick to throw  stones  at it. Whether we see it  as the building   or   the   people   or   the   meeting   or   the   tradition,   it   has become an easy target.

What is going to be more helpful is if we can take a step back from the muck, put any kind of frustrations or anger or resentment or bitterness aside,  and start to look a little harder, listen a little more closely and return to the One who this church thing is all about. Maybe then we’ll truly be able to kiss hating [or just really, really, really not liking] the church goodbye.

You see, it was never meant to be a concept… or an organisation… or a meeting… it was meant to be an organism – living,   breathing, causing revolution, pointing people towards Jesus, and turning the world on its head.

Maybe you don’t see it like that. Maybe you’ve never seen it like that. I urge you to read this book with an open mind. Head back with me to scripture and see what God says about the church – His plan and idea and mission for it.

Because maybe once you’ve really seen that, you will find a whole host of new reasons to love being an active engaging community­transforming member of this living Church.’

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

i would love to see you at one of the Book Launches… and if you’re in Oakland, USA, or Joburg/Pretoria, get hold of me, cos we are hoping to be dropping in there for a book share of your own…

[To find out how you can host your own Church Q & A with me and some of your friends, click here]

[For an excellent post on the idea of your church map possibly being wrong, take a read of this one]

kirstensimscover2

26 days to go…

There has been a book for ever [or it seems that way] that has continued to be rewritten, updated, tweaked and refined until it was ready to be unleashed on the public…

Then there was a cover pic and finally a full cover [yes, yes, “a horrendous” not “an horrendous” – this is just the most updated one i have access to]…

And finally there is a book launch [as the final proofreading and editing winds down and the book is actually printed and made available]

And by “book launch” i mean “book launches” cos of you being all spread around and all.

So this is what we are planning and RSVP is important as there are number constraints on the venues so if you are going to come to any of the Cape Town launches, please drop me an email at brettfish@hotmail.com with your name and how many people.

Thursday 19 March at 6.30pm at Vovo Telo [Steenberg Village] – this is a stunning little venue that can take about 80 people and we will be supplying some dinner snacks and inviting you to buy your own drinks as you vibe a vibe with us and get to hear a little bit about the book as well as asking some questions you might have. [This event is unfortunately FULL UP and so if you’re in Cape Town you’ll have to come to the Saturday one].

Saturday 21 March at 09.30 at The Warehouse in Wetton [12 Plantation Road] – for those who can’t make a mid-week time, Saturday morning felt like a good opportunity to gather and mingle and coffee and be introduced to the book with another opportunity to ask some questions. Click here for the Facebook event.

For those of you who live in the Somerset West/Stellenbosch area, we are looking to have a smaller, more intimate, home launch and so please send me your email address if you would like to receive the details for that one. Thinking the following week.

Also i am planning a trip to Durban to do a book launch there, dreaming of a trip to Joburg/Pretoria [a gift of frequent flier miles will be muchly appreciated] and holding on to the slim possibility of one in Oakland, San Francisco… and up to doing other ones in lounges, churches, small towns or wherever else i might be given the chance to – but those are the main ones i am looking to do – if you want to stay in the loop as details emerge, again just let me know with a contact email address.

Very much looking forward to this book actually being a real, live thing and hoping that it is going to be helpful, encouraging, challenging and get people thinking a little [and a lot] differently about church and all the potential it has when it is the thing God intended it to be.

Hoping to see you there.

[But that is the book about? For a teaser trailer preview of ‘i, church’, click here] 

So, the brett “Fish” anderson written book, ‘i, church’ is coming soon and the teasers and pre-show snacks will continue to drop to hopefully give you all a taste and make you excited for what is to come…

i was hoping for an end Feb release, but in the interests of not rushing it and having the perfect launch i am now looking at the end of March and hoping this is the final date shift. Still some small mistakes to be fixed like an horrendous one you might find in this book cover pic, but otherwise we are good and ready to go.

Hopefully launch details will follow soon – definitely be a big party in Cape Town once i can figure out the venue and possibly an intimate one in Stellenbosch/Somerset West and then if i can find a not-too-crazy-expensive way to get to Durban, a launch there and ditto for Joburg/Pretoria…

i showed the cover pic last week which still has some tiny tweakage to be done, as does this back cover, but this is largely what it is going to look like, come release day.

kirstensimscover2

i am super stoked for the work of my team [Heather Bailey and Linda Martindale with a class cameo performance by Kirsten Sims on Cover Design and big help from tbV with the wording] and something that was ‘pretty decent and ready to go’ even just a month ago feels like it is heading towards ‘Really great looking and feeling and can’t wait to release this on the masses.’ Which, as the author, is obviously a great feeling.

Does this look like something you’d be up to reading? Coming soon to a coffee-serving place near you…

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