Tag Archive: change the world


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It is the start of a brand new week.

With it come opportunities to reflect on what has been, to consider what might be, to wipe slates clean and start again, to get freshly excited for old relationships and new causes, to lift up your head once more and believe in everything that is possible, to seek forgiveness where relationships might be frayed, to entertain the ‘What If?’ of the seemingly impossible and to consider how each one of us might be a part of changing our world for the better. Both on the smallest scale as well as in a family, provincial, national and perhaps even global way.

So i wanted to share a prayer with you that i was reminded of again this last week.

When tbV and i were in Philly, we got to spend a few days at a Benedictine monastery connected to a university and our short time hearing some of how they operate with such a much bigger life picture [600 year plans as opposed to 60 year plans, 60 years of seeing transition happen as opposed to viewing it in one year increments] affected and hopefully infected some of how we see and do life. This is a Benedictine prayer and may each line move you to your very core…

My prayer for you this week:

Prayer of Discomfort

“May God bless you with a restless discomfort
about easy answers, half-truths and superficial relationships,
so that you may seek truth boldly and love deep within your heart.

May God bless you with holy anger at injustice, oppression,
and exploitation of people, so that you may tirelessly work for
justice, freedom, and peace among all people.

May God bless you with the gift of tears to shed with those who suffer
from pain, rejection, starvation, or the loss of all that they cherish, so that you may
reach out your hand to comfort them and transform their pain into joy.

May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that
you really CAN make a difference in this world, so that you are able,
with God’s grace, to do what others claim cannot be done.”

How about you print this out or make it a screensaver or something so that you can start each day this week by reading and praying and meaning those words, and let’s see just how incredible a week we can all have together.?

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It feels almost like a daily thing now where I am tweeting or facebook-sharing or blogging about some latest idea of immense creativity [and often remarkable simplicity] that has blown my mind yet again and caused me to direct the question to the church [of who i am a proud member – well, to the body of active Jesus-followers for sure, the greater collective of people-who-call-themselves-christian-but-live-lives-that-completely-don’t-reflect-it i am a lot more nervous to associate myself with] and also to the world of when are we going to catch up?

this morning it was 14 year old Zev from Natick, Massachusetts, who is responsible for these incredible creations:

self-portrait by Zev, shared from article on demilked.com

self-portrait by Zev, shared from article on demilked.com

 

Last week is was the Coca Cola company and this creative piece of engineering, viral marketing and political and human unification:

And last night it was this revolutionary new clothing fabric that you can spray on a person from a can and watch it turn into a t-shirt:

Which is all very good and well for art and product placement advertising and fashion design…

But more and more as I see inspirational creative designs, ideas and programs that different people are doing around the world my eyes go to the church [we do claim to follow the God who breathed the Universe into existence in a single breath or word] and have to ask, when are we going to get more creative with our creativity? 

We serve the God who is able to do “Immeasurably more than all we can hope or imagine” [Ephesians 3.20] and yet too often we seem to be content with hoping and imagining for really small things [like a bunch of people to come and meet in a building week after week]. Now don’t get me wrong – very often Christ-following people have been on the forefront of radically creative inventions and innovations in fields like healthcare and home-building and water purification and so many other areas and so it has happened and is happening… but this call goes out to the rest of us, and especially those who have identified exceptional talents in themselves of writing and photographing and creating and bringing together and so on, to perhaps consider using our talents in the direction of things like poverty and homelessness and trafficking and racial segregation and war…

One such idea involved a really broken woman who ran as a means of finding some sense and sanity in the middle of a really messed up life, until something beautiful was birthed out of that…

And I’m not saying you have to be a Jesus-follower to do this and so this call extends to the whole world of course, but with our claims to be connected to the greatest source of creativity the world has ever known we should at the very least be there…

The creativity is in here… how about we get it out there..?

tbV and i met Lisa and Mark Scandrette and their family while over here in Americaland. They have just released a book titled ‘Free: How to spend your time and money on what matters most’ and so it felt fitting to invite them to share with us a glimpse from their story in terms of hearing some ways in which they have looked to help their children grow up well. Here is Lisa Scandrette [who has possibly one of the best t-shirts ever!]:

We moved to the heart of the Mission District, at the time a neighborhood riddled with gang violence, when our kids were 4, 3 and 1.  We had a desire to raise kids who bring good to the world through the gifts and talents God has given them.  Hailey, Noah and Isaiah are now 19, 18 and 16.  When I look back, two things stand out as being helpful in beginning to instill a vision for doing good in our kids:

When we first moved to San Francisco, a friend asked with great concern, “How can you bring your kids to live in the neighborhood that you are living in?  Shouldn’t you be looking out for their safety and well being?”  I responded that I was certain that when God called us to live where we do, that he hadn’t forgotten about our kids.  He had a plan for them that included the kind of parents he had placed them with. So, we took them with us.  In fact, we took them with us to do lots of things.  Together, we ate with homeless neighbors under the bridge and passed out groceries at a food pantry.  We conspired together to show hospitality to visitors.  They often all three shared a room so that we could offer a bed to a guest.  They would help me clean or prepare food or draw a “Welcome” sign.  They came along to workshops and watched us do the work we felt passionate about.

After many years of them being present in our projects, it has been an honor, as our kids have begun to step into projects that they are passionate about, to be able to support and help them.  When the tsunami hit Japan in 2011, our daughter was in the process of organizing a senior prom.  She was struck by the great need and uneasy contrasting that with what her friends might be spending on prom.  She wanted to do something to help,  so she decided to organize a benefit.  Gathering a dozen or so of her theater friends, she planned an evening full of entertainment, rented a church space, and invited everyone she knew.  Noah baked cookies, Isaiah played his violin, and Mark and I helped with food and behind the scenes details.  Her event was a success, raising over $700 for tsunami relief.  Even more, she was able to host an enjoyable evening for her friends that helped them also think about others with need.

Secondly, we have tried to observe our kids for hints about the work they might feel passionate about. Noah loves to explain things.  In fact, one of his earliest words was the word “actually.” As he’s grown, we’ve looked for healthy ways for him to explore his passion for knowing and telling. When he was twelve, he was asked to assist teaching five and six year olds in a nature studies class.  In high school, he worked at a science museum, explaining exhibits to the public and how various scientific demonstrations work.  One summer, he helped kids in East Oakland document where they saw God’s beauty through photography. Our hope is that as he has had the opportunity to explore different ways of explaining and teaching, he might have a better idea of the sorts of things he is made to do and even some things that he is not made to do.

[For more information about their book titled ‘Free’, click here]

[For another excellent story on how to raise your children as world changers meet Dalene Reyburn here]

scandrette

Trevor and the Mann’s [the irony being the rest of them aren’t] are a family I met in Florida last year when they flew us up to speak at a youth function and spoiled us horribly. He is a very busy man and so this is a short offering but exactly the kind of thing i was looking for – a fairly simple way of instilling a great life lesson in their daughter:

manns

Don’t have time to write much but Nicki, Lacie and I have given each other items from World Vision’s gift catalog.

I think my favorite was that I once received a goat. Obviously, I didn’t receive it but a needy family in a 3rd world country did. Lacie usually chooses clothing and meds. It’s a great lesson/experience to share with your family. Here’s the link: http://donate.worldvision.org/OA_HTML/xxwv2ibeCCtpSctDspRte.jsp?section=10389

[To read the next powerful story of a family moving into an area considered to be really dangerous and how that has affected their children, read here] 

Their voices matter. 

collinses

I have 3 daughters. All beautiful. All unique.

All noisy.

There are many donkeys missing hind legs because of their incessant talking. It’s the easiest thing to tune this out. Their voices can so easily become white noise, punctuated by my “ums” and “aahs”, tricking them into believing that I’m actually listening.

That’s not how it works, though. Kids have built in “parents-are-ignoring-me” sensors. Either they’ll shout louder in order to be heard or, sadly, they’ll walk away, learning time after time that they have no voice and their opinions don’t matter. 

That’s why my wife, Yolanda, and I have decided to be intentional about listening. We make time in our manic existence (that’s usually around a meal or in the lull before bed time) to actively listen to our girls.

What does that have to do with being a world changer?

Here’s my take on it:

When we listen to our children and ask pertinent, probing questions, we will begin to hear what is being shaped in their heart. Their life’s purpose will begin to become audible. As we listen, we earn the right to speak. We receive an invitation to be part of that heart shaping. We have an amazing opportunity to help them understand their kingdom purpose. And, if they understand that, they will change the world.

I have no idea how my girls will change the world but I do know that they already are. I can hear it as they speak of the joys and pains of every day. I hear it as they empathise. I hear it as they pray with mountain-sized faith. I hear it in their tear-filled sobs and in the things that break their hearts.

My girls must know that they have a voice. I desire with all my heart that they understand that that voice has a kingdom purpose. I desire that that voice (their voices) will change this world.

[Bruce Collins is a close friend of mine and he loves Jesus, his wife Yolanda and three girls, coffee and then other stuff. He has a blog he seldom posts on, but when he does it is usually transforming and life provoking stuff which you can check out here]

[For more creative parenting ideas, take a look at this post by my United Kingdom cousin David Fee]

being a parent of young children can be one of the toughest things in the world.

for some parents, more often than not it can be more a matter of survival than thriving and any hope of finding creative ways to raise your little people into being the world changers you hope that will be one day is often replaced by just trying to make it to the end of the day without killing any of them.

which is where this series comes in. i am not a parent myself, but i have heard some inspirational stories recently of some parents doing some things, which in some cases are very simple and in others took a more invested amount of involvement, which are likely to teach their children great lessons about living life well and ultimately will change the world. the idea is for me to collect a whole bunch of these ideas to hopefully inspire those who maybe don’t have the time or inclination to sit down and try and imagine them for themselves.

the hope is that you will find an idea, or ideas, that might work for you or that these stories might spark a different idea for you to try with your family.

let me say that i think being a parent is one of the most important ‘jobs’ in the world. it is so crucial and important and because there is no test you have to take to become one or manual to read that shows you how it will all play once you have one, must rank as one of the most scary things you can do in life, in terms  of worrying that you will get it wrong.

which is why learning from those who have walked the journey can be a powerful thing…

THE PARENT, THE CHILD AND THE PAID-FOR-RESTAURANT-BILL LOTTERY

I heard the story of when my bossman and his wife Meeghan went out for a meal with their young son, Justice. After the meal was done, they turned to Justice and said he could look around the restaurant and pick any family he wanted and they would pay for that family’s meal. So essentially they were the ones doing the good deed, but by inviting Justice to make the choice it suddenly started to feel like his good deed. So he picked a family and they went to the front and paid for their bill and the other family’s meal. Then the hardest part happened when they took Justice out without being able to watch the family receive the gift [a further lesson in terms of doing something good in secret].

‘There are a lot of times that people get to thank us or times we get to witness the impact of our sharing. This was a moment that it wasn’t necessary and perhaps more important for us not to need or receive.’ [Meeghan]

Simple, yet profound, because that is going to be a story that sticks with him. And because, more importantly, he was a part of it.

That is what this series is all about – as a parent, what creative life lesson have you been able to teach your child, or what practice do you do as a family that you feel will help them grow up to think differently and be different from the herd, in a world changing way?

Meet Sally and Cayden

Meet Julie, Eli and the gang

Meet Bruce, Gemma, Emily and Mikaela

Meet cousin David and the members of his clan

Meet Candi, Noah and Tyla

Meet Three Manns and a little Goat

Meet Nigel and Trish and their five kids who moved into a dangerous area in Hillbrow, South Africa

Meet Lara, Chris and their daughters who also moved into a dangerous area in Philadelphia, Americaland

Meet Lisa and her children Hailey, Noah and Isaiah who also moved into a dangerous area in San Francisco, Americaland

Meet Dalene Reyburn and read the letter she writes to her two boys to see them grow up as world changers

Meet Ro, Ad and Aaléyah and hear about the time they gave Jesus a shark!

A very worthwhile addition to this list is a reading of this letter from Magda Pecsenye to her sons about stopping rape [Excellent read for any parent!]

Look forward to sharing and hearing some more stories.

[If you have one you would like to share please email it to brettfish@hotmail.com – I won’t necessarily use them all, but it will be great to have a whole bunch to choose from]

no, no, it’s not a typo, it’s a rethink.

the word ‘resolution’ should be good enuff because it comes from the base word “resolve” and if people truly resolved to do the resolutions they make [altho i don’t actually know of many people that make them – they seem to be this mythical beast that people avoid because they know they will lose the battle] then the world would probably be a better place, depending i guess on the resolutions being made of course.

i found this quote on one of my social networks today and tried to uncle google a source but couldn’t find one, so will have to dedicate to that ‘john doe’ of famous unknown author quotations, ‘A Non’:

“The distance between ignorance & knowledge is much shorter than the distance between knowledge & practice.”

and this i believe is true. we all know what we need to do to change the world, or at the very least make it a little bit better for someone else we know, but we too seldom convert that knowledge to action.

hence the title of this post – how are you going to evolve/change/grow/transform as you head into 2012?

like really? not a wish list or a dream list of that-would-be-nice ideas. i’m talking about making an actual plan… so when my friend Sam commented on what she would like to see happen next year, “maybe cooking” i jumped on and suggested she sign up for a basic cooking class…

because the resolutions generally start with ‘i’d like to’ or ‘it would be good if’

so “i’d like to lose weight” – join a plan, pick a diet, cut out fizzy drinks/chocolate etc
“i’d like to be nicer to other people” – pick a person, make a plan, volunteer somewhere
“i want to read my Bible more” – choose a time for doing so, cement it in your daily planner

it doesn’t matter so much what it is, but try and be more specific with your plans for 2012 so that your resolutions [what you resolve to do] become actual evolutions [changes, transformations] because as some wise oke once said “if you continue to do the thing you’ve always done, you will continue to get the same results you’ve always gotten.”

so, if you read this, i would dig it if you comment and let me know one thing you are planning on doing differently in 2012. and go!

for some ideas on good evolutions to consider, keep reading…

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