Tag Archive: don miller


had lunch with a friend of mine who doesn’t ‘go to church’ any more…

i know, i know, i should have been spending the whole meal challenging him about how important it is and how pathetically self-focused he is being and something something about the body of Christ and all that… but i was too busy finding the encounter so refreshing.

you see, Bill [let’s call him that – i know how friendly you okes can be to people who ‘don’t go to church’] is a guy who i have never even met before – when i was in a tax crisis a few years ago he volunteered his services and basically swooped in and saved the day and really helped me out – somehow we had become Facebook friends somewhere along the line and when he saw a need, he responded. i am so grateful he did.

one thing Bill told me is that he is tired of the nonsense of religiosity – he has been struggling with how church has been done and christianity lived out [or not lived out to be more precise] for years and is at the point of i want to be either fully in or fully out – i either believe completely or i walk away from this thing… but i can’t walk away cos i completely know in myself that this stuff is true.

having chatted to some mates of his they started meeting regularly [i think it’s on a sunday so they’re probably okay, even though the original ‘sunday’ wasn’t even a sunday, right?] and they eat together and pray together and share and do life and grow and are challenged and it sounds pretty churchlike to me [although they might need to work a little on their ‘church politics’ cos i’m not sure they’re fighting enough about that]

also he discovered this book that he has been reading [to the exclusion of all other books right now] which he has said has completely revolutionised his faith and helped him to really start believing again – the book’s name? the bible. no surprises there. but Bill has started hungrily devouring that book and his eyes have been opened in so many ways and you can just hear and see the life in him as he really seems to be grasping [or on the way to grasping] what this following Jesus thing is all about, largely for the first time – man, it was an exciting lunch for me…

WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE DON?

this past week, Donald Miller [author of ‘Blue Like Jazz’ and other books and part of the Storyling blog which is helping people tell their stories well] confessed via Twitter and his blog, that he doesn’t often go to church in a post titled, ‘I don’t worship God by singing, I connect with Him elsewhere’ – it did not go down so well.

in fact, his follow up tweet read like this: Blogged about not going to church today. More shame and guilt @replies than I’ve ever received on twitter. I feel immense forgiveness.

in his follow-up blog titled, ‘Why I don’t go to church very often, a follow up blog’, he responded to a lot of the comments and feedback he received [a lot of which had missed his original point].

what i did not hear Don say was that he doesn’t want to be part of a community that gathers together and strengthen each other in the living out of the bible – what i believe he was reacting against was the idea that church is this particular meeting that takes place on that particular day at that particular place.

and i agree with him – for too long i have felt that the traditional description of what church is, is way too small. Church is a lot of the things that a lot of people see church as being. But i believe it is also a lot more.

this paragraph from Don Miller’s blog i found particularly interesting [and so largely true]

Neither am I arguing the current model should change. Millions are fed weekly through these kinds of programs. What I’m arguing is that nobody should be faulted for creating something different. Those who would argue “we shouldn’t simply create the church in our own image” forget it already has been created in our own image. First the image of the royal government then the image of the university or school and then big business and now moving toward the entertainment industry. The church has always been recreated in the image of the dominant institution in society. For the early church, that was the family. For our culture, it’s business and education and entertainment.

CHURCH IS AS CHURCH DOES

am i suggesting we should stop traditional church? absolutely not. what i am saying is that maybe it is not the best thing for everyone. and for us to look at other models of church and decide they are not biblical when our one may not be particularly biblical either feels just a little bit rich. and unhelpful. and maybe not all that true.

what is and has and may continue to be the problem for so long is that so much focus is put by so many people on the sunday meeting when i’m pretty sure that is NOT what it is meant to be about – it is meant to be about loving God and loving people and making disciples and looking after the least of these [starting with the church but really paying good attention to widows and orphans as well in there] and spreading forgiveness and pointing people towards Jesus [and the majority of those people will not easily step into a sunday church meeting building  – and why would they? weird stuff happens there – but they might step into a lounge, or stand around a braai, or hang out on the beach]

church is God’s people doing God’s stuff in the world. that really feels like a better definition to me than ‘that meeting at that place on that day.’

i’m pretty sure that Jesus did not die so that we could meet on a week to week basis in a building [ESPECIALLY if our lives outside of that building are not going to reflect it at all or enough]

and this conversation needs to be a much l0nger one because there are so many different angles to it [and i believe Don raised some good ones] – community is important as is accountability as is teaching and learning and serving and discipleship and communion sharing [but i love that my wife tbV gravitates so much more strongly to the idea of an actual meal for this than a quick sip and a dip although i think both can be valid and beautiful] and mission [both near and far] and so much more…

# when we say church is this meeting that happens in that place on that day, then we say anything else cannot be church [i don’t buy that!]

# when we call organisations who are made up of God’s people doing God’s stuff ‘para-church’ organisations as in ‘outside of church’ or ‘not church’ then i don’t buy that – if church is defined as either the body or the bride of Christ then para-church organisations that are doing kingdom things fit into that.

# when the majority of the money that is given to the church is spent on buildings and things and the people who work in the church and so little of it is given out to the work and mission of the church outside of those who already believe, then i’m not quite convinced we have found the best way of doing it yet.

and more. this whole thing feels so much bigger than a lot of what we’ve made it and if we continue to hold on so tightly and rigidly to the current model we have then we may miss out, not so much on ‘the new thing God is wanting to do’ but more directly i think on the old thing He was always calling us to be.

so Bill, keep on my friend – you were an inspiration to me today and i look forward to connecting more and wrestling over this church thing together and i think so much of what you were saying and are feeling is completely on track – it’s not going to be easy and so many people are just not going to understand… but as long as you are looking to the Bible as your guide book and surrounding yourself with other Jesus-following people and calling out to Him and continuing to live a life that shines light and is salt and leaves behind the fragrance of Christ… well, all i can say is you are gunning for the right audient, keep on.

Be encouraged by Hebrews 12:

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

[To read why ‘You should stop going to church,’ click here]

Changing lanes.

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hi there

my name is brett “Fish” anderson and this is my blog…

the FISH stands for Faithful In Serving Him and it is all about the purpose of my life being about trying to love Jesus and love people more and well and better. and to hopefully help them do likewise.

this is apparently my 1095th blog post so i’ve been doing this for a while. i don’t tend to use a lot of CAPS which infuriates some people but i generally like to keep them for highlighting important things like God and people. the beginnings of sentences don’t often feel worthy enough for me to employ CAPS. apparently the word CAPS does, at least in this post.

i also apparently have 279 subscribers to my blog. but to be honest i don’t really know a whole lot of you. and that bothers me a little bit. i don’t follow a lot of other blogs usually because of time but three that i find myself at quite often and which i generally like are those belonging to Don Miller, Jamie the Very Worst Missionary [and bronze olympic hugger if she is to be believed] and Rachel Held Evans… i don’t always agree with everything all of them say [which is good, and hopefully you won’t either, when it comes to me too] but more often than not i find them encouraging or challenging me to be a better me and to love Jesus and people and embrace life more and those are all good things.

but they all have interactions in their comments section. and that’s one thing this blog lacks and i’m not quite sure how to get that right [maybe you need 10000 followers to get 10 comments so i may have a fair bit to go] except by having it implied that i am anti-animal [which i’m not particularly] cos back in the day that used to get people going off.

[1] the one thing i was thinking was that a lot of my posts tend to be sermons or lessons, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but i don’t know if that would make me inclined to comment and get involved…

[2] the second thing is that i was doing NABLOPOMO which is the challenge WordPress has to post a blog a day for a month, which i normally do anyways [or close to] but find that when i’m trying to do one for the sake of doing one then i tend to end up writing blog posts that feel like they’ve been written for the sake of it and that just absolutely SUCKS. so i’m going to stop that.

here is what i am going to try to do going forwards [and you can hold me to it, or maybe remind me from time to time]:

[A] i am going to try and only post what i want to post… and that will probably still be a whole bunch of different stuff, but i am going to try and be more intentional on this front

[A + 1] i am going to try and post some more life blogs, so not messages, just life as i experience it or things i am thinking or experiences i am experiencing

[A + 2] i am going to try and come up with a less ridiculous numbering system for bullet points than this one which felt clever in my head, but really isn’t.

all to say that i don’t know if you will notice a whole lot, but i am wanting in my brain at least to be intentional about changing lanes and maybe there will be more cause for interaction in the months and years to come.

in the meantime if you are a subscriber who actually reads my blog from time to time [and not one who has set their settings to automatic ‘like’ which does tend to make me feel good until i realise you’re liking every single post which no sane person possibly could and so go back to being sad or really really nervous about the kind of person that might be] then i would love it if you would jump in to the comments section below and at least say hi and if you’re up for it introduce yourself and say a few words and if there was any particular post you liked or any specific type of post that you enjoy more please let me know… and every now and then when you read a post and you have an extra minute, add a thought or a comment or start some controversy about me hating animals…

and then if all 279 of you went from there directly to this link and voted on my most incredible Coke Zero sweater which i createdthen there is little doubt in my mind i would make it into the top 100 and it would actually get made and that would be fun. at least for me. so please do that.

but anyways, thankx to all of you who do come in and read from time to time and i hope that some of the things i write or post or video make at least some small difference to your life… here’s to the next 1095 posts…

 

 

So i tweeted this tweet yesterday and then went out for the day and when i came home i couldn’t understand why my Tweeter had gone mental:

If i asked you, instead of what you do for a living, what your passion is in life, what would you say?

Ah, then i spotted it – Don Miller, author of the popular ‘Blue Like Jazz’ and who has over 179, 258 followers on Twitter had retweeted it and the fun and games had begun with hundreds of favourites and retweets and some replies…

I came up with this while sitting at the singles table of a wedding years ago when i realised that the typical ‘What do you do?’ question didn’t always tell me a lot about the person i was trying to get to know. i don’t really care [lt’s be honest here] all that much about what you do, but i do want to know who you are [and sometimes it’s the same which is incredible].

What is your passion? What are you passionate about in life? seems to open up ‘Who are you?’ a lot more than ‘What is your job?’

So the tweet went far and wide but sadly i didn’t get to see many of the answers of it, and that is what i am hoping to see with this blog. In one sentence or less [less than one sentence?] answer that question for me, if you will be so kind… in the comments section below.

What is your passion? What are you passionate about in life?

And don’t tell me you’re not passionate about anything as some try to. Maybe just take a few more minutes to figure out what it is, if needed.

So that’s what this post is about… whether it is what you currently do or not, i am interested to hear what you are passionate about in life?

And go…

a bunch of different people [and by ‘a bunch’ i mean Don Miller, Rachel Heard Evans and iafrica.com] do a kind of best things we watched/saw/read on the internetweb this week kind of thing on their blogs… so here is one more… and i would love to know which one you enjoyed the most, so leave an A, B, or C in the comments section below if you will:

[A] There are no words that can suitably describe this video – somewhere between fun and creepy and random and weird and hilarious, but see for yourself – Teddy has an operation [Ze Frank]

 

[B] They didn’t show documentaries like this when i was at school. Ze Frank who made the Teddy Operation above has a whole series of ‘True Facts about…’ videos which i think due to his voice have become a new favourite thing for me – here is ‘True facts about the dung beetle’

 

[C] This one was acomplete gem that i somehow found and you have to appreciate Monty Python to get it – Margaret Thatcher does the Dead Parrot sketch

 

So which one was your favourite: Vote with A, B or C…

pearlsbeforelove

This right-on-the-button cartoon slash life commentary by Stephan Pastis’ gang on my favourite Pearls Before Swine strip and this one could be titled ‘The introduction of blogging’ [or Twitter] but in all honesty, to fully understand the depth of meaning of it, find any issue piece someone has written [on rape culture or a specific interpretation of the bible, on homosexuality or race for sure] and scroll down to the comments section where people let all their “honesty” hang out.

It’s no wonder we refer to them as ‘internet trolls’ [no offence to actual trolls] as there seem to be so many people who hide under their specific bridge [most trolls seem to pick a specific theme and scurry around the internet looking for posts related to it before diving in headfirst] and wait for an unsuspecting person to come along and make a reasonable comment before unleashing their Wolverine-type claws and venom.

And the “I’m just being honest” often contains the same level of subtlety as someone who starts a sentence with the words, “I’m not racist, but” before saying someone that is completely racist. “I’m not sexist but woman should stay at home and keep the house clean and the man well fed kind of stuff.” Yes, you are sexist. And now you’re also a big ass for trying to give off the impression that you’re not.

The ‘Get out of jail free’ card for insults only works for the conscience of the person who has just been doing the insulting and perhaps adds to the misery of the person receiving it, because not only have they just heard a bunch of stuff that makes them feel bad, but they have also had the tag on reminder that “it is all the truth.”

This book I’ve been reading [for ever!] has something to say about that:

14 ‘Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love,we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.’ [The Bible, Ephesians 4]

The heart of that scripture is the phrase “speaking the truth in love” which Rat is clearly getting wrong in the cartoon strip. But it starts with the premise of “If you get this right, then you are no longer acting like a spoilt and scheming child.” And continues on to show that if we can get this right, then the whole body [all of the people involved] will grow together in a good and healthy way.

I really enjoyed what Don Miller had to say in his blog a couple of days ago about his active decision to be a “lover and not a fighter” on the internet.

He highlights what this can look like with regards to christians here:

‘In my most negative moments, I think that the internet is a lot like cable news: yelling and drawing lines in the sand, drumming up controversy for the sake of ratings. There are a lot of bloggers who jump on every single slightly controversial aspect of Christian culture and church life.’

And gives what I think is a very healthy resolution for them when he writes: ‘You won’t find me taking shots at this or that public person ever, not because I don’t have strong opinions—I do, and anyone who knows me well knows that there’s no shortage of those strong opinions…but that’s the point: I share those strong opinions in the context of relationship, because I think that’s the healthiest place for them to be. And because I always think to myself, what if that person has a daughter?’

And Don has some harsh critics so I can’t imagine it is easy for him. But [although we do probably think a little differently on if and when to speak out about someone, because I do think there are times when it is necessary as Jesus did with the Pharisees and Paul did with Peter on occasion] I really like the solution he offers in terms of how he tries to use his online presence:

‘What I do know is that as far as the interwebs are concerned, I’m on the lookout for good—things that are beautiful and wise and helpful, things that connect us, books I think you should read, meals I think you could serve to the people you love.’

[and you can read the whole post Donald Miller wrote on this over here]  

So next time you are thinking about “just being honest” by pointing out a friend’s [or a stranger’s] flaws, try and remember the Truth in Love proviso and if it can’t be done in Love, then maybe you should just keep hold of that piece of “Truth” until such time as it can.

Stop being a Rat!

yes, flip we’re so over Rob Bell ‘Love Whinge’ controversy, this is not that post – what it is though is the best article – that starts off with a link to the Rob Bell whinge but goes much broader – that i’ve read on or near the matter [don ‘Blue Like Jazz’ miller ‘Love Wins’ parody notwithstanding] and well worth a read…

so click here to read it

or be less lazy and go here – this way uses up more calories – http://blog.beliefnet.com/omeoflittlefaith/2011/04/flexibility-heretics-and-love-wins.html

okay, this made my day [and it had a lot of work to do] but Donald Miller of Blue Like Jazz fame finally jumps on the bandwagon and offers his brief but frank review of the book ‘Love Wins’ – an absolute gem and will hopefully settle any controversy once and for all.

check it out here and pass it on.

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