Tag Archive: facebook


love1

As a follower of Jesus, this really is my mantra. Love one another. This is how you will be known to be My [Jesus] disciples, if you have love one for another.

When i spend a decent amount of time online challenging people about their beliefs and actions, this often comes to mind. After all the church has a pretty bad history of typically being known more for what we are against than what we are for and so i don’t want to add to that. Especially when we are for such great stuff. Loving God, loving people, looking after the least of these, caring for widows and orphans, welcoming the marginalised, being pro all aspects of life, sharing what we have with the stranger, forgiving our enemies and showering them with love.

So when i find myself writing a post that is a little more tongue in cheek and contains the phrase ‘stupid people’ a whole lot, i think about it a lot. When i engage in yet another online dispute about racism or privilege or why it is never cool to make jokes using the word ‘rape’ or reducing it to something describing a much lesser thing that went wrong in your day, i check myself. Am i spending as much time and more championing things which bring people together, which build community, which encourage people to get involved with the poor and marginalised. Don’t get caught up in the mud flinging.

i saw this cartoon today and i really liked it:

Jesus

i think it is the patience of Jesus here that i love the most. No matter how many times i don’t ‘get’ it, Jesus takes time with me helping me to see the error of my ways, bringing me lovingly back to ‘You will be known by the love you have…’

But then i am also reminded of the time Jesus goes completely off at the Pharisees in Matthew 23.

i love the trailer to His rant, found in verse 3:

So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.

That seems to say it all, right. “Jesus, i think you covered it all right there. Let’s go get lunch.” But He doesn’t.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.

“Blind Fools”… “Blind Guides”… “Hypocrites”… “Whitewashed tombs”… “Snakes. Brood of vipers.”

If this was a modern day setting you can imagine Jesus dropping the mic and walking off stage. Oh, and just a reminder that these are the religious leaders of the day – so the pastors and reverends and very reverends and bishops etc.

And this is not an isolated event. When a woman is brought in front of Him to be stoned, Jesus tosses it back at them – “Go for it. Whichever of you has not sinned, you throw the first rock.” Everyone leaves.

When His disciples are fighting amongst themselves about who is greatest or who will rule alongside Him on His throne one day He calls them out in front of the group and embarrasses them.

At one point He gives a teaching so controversial or difficult to obey that everyone except for the close disciples leaves and stops following Him.

FIND THE BALANCE

Jesus saved His strongest words for those who followed Him, and while i am clearly not Jesus, i feel like i do that pretty well too. It is typically the christians getting pissed off with me on Facebook [which feels great when it’s issues of poverty and race and injustice, but less great when it’s about football salaries and movie pirating and content of tv shows although i tend to stay more out of most of those these days] and getting defensive and more.

And i’m okay with that. i hope people that don’t follow Jesus feel loved by me. i hope they feel safe. i hope i am someone they will call when their faeces has been furiously flung into a nearby fan. Oh, i also admire alliteration, apparently. i hope they expect that i will answer and come rushing.

i don’t see myself as ‘The Internet Police’ just as Jesus probably didn’t see Himself as ‘The Temple Police’… but when He saw people abusing their authority He went off… when He saw people practising extortion in a place meant for prayer He went a little ballistic… when He saw someone responding to a serious challenge and call to self-reflection on Facebook with a cheap and trite metaphorical saying that even the guy who came up with it probably didn’t understand then He went off… oh wait, that one was not Him, that was me. But i like to think He would have smiled and possibly even liked my comeback that involved the phrase “Christmas cracker inserts”.

Or not. He may not have. That might have been one time when i got it wrong. i will keep reflecting on where, what and how i engage. But i won’t keep quiet when it feels like words are needed. And in the background, all the time, i will be repeating my mantra over and over to myself.

love2

[For Ten Different Ways of Loving Well, click here]

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rebuke

This week has been a little fighty fighty on the Facebook and i’m not sure why.

i strongly suspect it is linked to the Rugby World Cup that has been happening as touching on that ‘holy grail’ in a country so passionate about the sport definitely touches a nerve. As does most conversation about race.

So in the midst of three days of more ‘taking people on’ than i am typically used to, i had someone post on my wall that he was “troubled by the fact that you have an opinion about everyone and everything” and concerned about something i’d called someone and suggesting i was not being consistent in my beliefs and actions.

Which hurt me a little bit?

WHAT? Brett ‘Fish’ Anderson hurt by something someone said? Well… you know… there’s a difference between ‘Not caring what people think’ and ‘Not caring what people think’.

i think everyone likes to be liked by people. And so when there is a moment of that not happening, it bums us out. Or maybe that’s just me, but there is definitely a moment of: ‘Oh no, someone doesn’t like me’.

When a second person jumped on the first person’s comment to back him up on the fact that i do have rather a lot to say on Facebook and i could be less rude, that didn’t help. [Although we did manage to talk it out and come to a bit more of a happy ending i believe].

WHAT TO DO WITH IT

i’m okay though. i didn’t cry myself to sleep. She may have turned me into a newt, but… i got better! [obscure but brilliant Monty Python reference]

There are a couple of things i feel might be worth mentioning around this, especially for people who constantly challenge and question and wrestle and invite others to do the same: There will be pushback. Not all of that pushback is going to be good or accurate or helpful. But not all of it is going to be bad. Some of it might even be a little bit of both.

So what do you do? Well there is this amazing line in one of Paul’s letters to the Thessalonian church where he talks about ‘Testing the spirits. Holding on to the good and avoiding every kind of evil.’ Which is excellent advice.

Was what was said about me true? Was it totally true or was there any truth in there? If so, pay attention to it, learn and move on. [Maybe thank the person for pointing it out!]

If it’s not true at all, then let it go. i was talking to tbV about it in the car a little later and she reminded me about some things some other people had been saying to me recently which were helpful and true. They helped me to put both of these things in perspective.

INVITE ACCOUNTABILITY CAREFULLY

One thing that was interesting was that both comments on this particular thread came from people i don’t think i’ve had any interaction with for years. Which doesn’t mean what they said was not true. But it does suggest that there is a lack of relationship and so i hold it a little more loosely than when my good buddy Bruce Collins challenged me on a stance i was taking on Facebook a few weeks ago and warned me that he thought i had crossed a line.

You see, i have invited Bruce to speak into my life. i have no doubt that he loves me and he has championed me and encouraged me and cheered when i have done well and loved me so much that when he questions something, it still hurts [who likes to be told they are wrong?] but i know it can be trusted. i won’t necessarily always agree with him either [because we’re different people although we definitely agree on more than we disagree on] but i will listen and really dig deeply into what i said and question it because i know it was spoken in love.

truth

i imagine everyone’s process works differently. But the way it typically works for me is that if someone challenges me i will probably give immediate reaction push-back, but i will go and think about it later and it might take a day or two for me to process and realise, ‘Oh wait, actually they were right’ which means having to go back, tail between my legs and apologise to them and thank them for challenging me. But it happens.

And you don’t have to have good relationship with me to hold me accountable. i expect and invite everyone to hold me accountable for everything i say and do – i realise i live a bit of a public life and so that is completely necessary. But then there are certain people who i love and trust and have no doubt they love and trust me who i have invited to jump in when they see me out of line and bring rebuke and caution and challenge and so i am more likely to listen to them more easily and quickly than someone who is not.

Which makes a lot of sense. Because as i mentioned before, i am speaking/writing/sharing a lot about Race and Reconciliation and Christianity and Relationships and more and some of these topics get pretty heated. It would not be wise to agree with everything said to me in response to conversations had around those topics. But it is good to have some trustworthy people specifically watching my back on these to help keep me in line.

i am so grateful that my pool of people i trust to speak this kind of Truth in Love into my life is so huge. It is not easy being the person who brings the caution/challenge/rebuke as it is not easy being the person who receives it. But it is so crucially important and necessary to ensure a life that is consistent with beliefs, that will hopefully be used to be a part of significant conversation and action.

What has your experience with accountability been? Giving it or receiving it? Who are the people who you have invited to speak Truth in Love when it counts? 

[For some other thoughts on Friendship, click here]

South Africans are used to hearing bad news. We see it strewn across the front of newspapers, on our social media feeds and even hear it from our friends and neighbours.

But is that the only story? Back in February i started a series titled, ‘One person who Gives me Hope in South Africa is…’ and was super encouraged to see a number of you sharing stories about someone you know who is busy making a difference.

leadsa

i recently stumbled upon the LEADSA initiative on the Twitterer @lead_sa with over 148 thousand followers and another 65 thousand to be found on their Facebook group. With that much support it is clear that the positive stories are very much out there and this is one great place to find them.

As they declare on their site: “YOU can change the world. Lead SA is a personal call to every person to make a difference. We all have a responsibility to make the world a better place. It could be as simple as making a stranger smile or as big as fighting to further the rights entrenched in our Constitution. Each act makes a difference. This website tells the stories of people who are making our country a better place.”

Margaret Mead Quote on changing the world

Every month LEADSA highlights a Youth Hero of the Month, from nominations that you can give via the site. In June it happened to be 6 Youth Hero’s as the focus was on 6 grade six girls from Micklefield Primary School, who started a bracelet selling business for their EMS subject at school for the purpose of raising funds to sponsor a child for a year’s care at the Christine Revell Childrens Home [R9600].

Luke Links is another grade 6 people, who at eleven years of age, was inspired by an English lesson on LEADSA to mobilise his whole school into donating non-perishable items to a night shelter, run by the local Bellville Presbyterian church.

One hundred and seventeen pages of Inspirational Stories can be found on the LEADSA.co.za site as well as news of projects they have been involved in and a series of pages to help inspire you in a number of ways you can be part of making positive change in South Africa. And also the all important tab for nominating a young person that you have noticed doing something significant in your community to possibly win Youth Hero of the Month.

leadsahero

In fact, it was just the other day [4th August] that LEADSA celebrated 5 years of existence and really seems to be picking up steam now. From a #StopRapeCampaign to a #NoToXenophobia lead vigil, and from a #MissingChildren installation to the #TeamUpToCleanUp campaign, it seems there is no end to the number of exciting and transformative projects that LEADSA is helping inspire and draw attention to.

As LEADSA reminds us on their site:

It is overwhelming to think about all the campaigns and projects we have done over the years, the many organisations we have partnered with, the citizens we have met and how quickly the time passed.

We will continue to promote the philosophy of active citizenship.

It is thanks to many ordinary citizens that we stand five years later – stronger, more determined and infinitely inspired to continue building a South Africa that we can all be proud of.

You don’t need to walk on the moon in order to bring about positive change, but rather that whether an act is big or small, incredibly personal and painful, or simply uplifting, the impact can be massive.

i have to say i am thoroughly inspired and excited for this growing movement that seeks to focus heavily on the positive news and change that is happening around us, rather than doom and gloom us all into abject depression. Here’s to you LEADSA as you continue to inspire, raise up young heroes and call us all towards being Change Agents in our country.

[For other posts looking at South Africa and some of the positive ways ahead, click here]

rose

i somehow got into two Facebook argumersations yesterday at the same time. TWO! i can’t remember that happening before. i usually try pick my battles one at a time, but somehow, two different articles i shared, generated two different fairly strong push backs.

Which i love. i love it when people push back and are genuinely committed to the conversation and engaging and not simply being trolls or palookas. But sometimes [especially when it’s people i don’t know so well] it is hard to tell. So i continue to engage while i think there is some point to the conversation [and as i’ve probably written before, often i am writing more for those who are looking on at the conversation as they tend to be more likely to change their mind or be affected by what is shared] and for me it really is a deep search for truth. A truth i typically have a strong belief in [otherwise why bother engaging] but also one that is in the midst of being wrestled with and grown and adapted as it is challenged by what i read, experience and by what people say.

BUT IT CAN BE REALLY HARD. And lonely. And so when a second person joined in to the one conversation and said some things backing up what i was saying, it felt like the hugest breath of fresh air and after a few posts i actually jumped on her Facebook page and simply said – thank you.

But like i said, it can be really hard. Is this going to make any difference? Am i really right about the things i am arguing strongly for? Why doesn’t this person see that they are wrong [if they are]? Is this person being genuine or are they a troll or someone who doesn’t even really care about this stuff.

Both conversations yesterday related to Race and Privilege in South Africa, two topics i care so much about and which affect so many people i am in relationship with [well they affect everyone in South Africa but there are a lot of my friends that are deeply invested in this conversation and life going forwards] and i have put a whole lot of time into research and reading and listening and watching and trying to understand. Does that mean i’m the expert? Absolutely not. But it means i’m deeply invested in this stuff and quite often the person arguing has not put as much into this particular conversation’s journey. Also if i have five of these in one week [one per day plus the weekend off] then at the end of the week each of the people i have been chatting to have had one and probably feel completely fresh and yet i have invested in five and feel completely exhausted. Especially cos often it feels like i am alone or in the minority of people who are prepared to invest in this way.

A lot of people think i’m wasting my time engaging. Or engaging so often and so deeply. And so obviously that question constantly swirls around my head as well. What difference is this going to make?

Well, this morning i received an email from a friend who shared some thoughts about one of the conversations i have been involved in. They shared what it meant to them personally and they shared some insight into their personal friendships with white people and other spaces of wanting to and trying to engage with these kind of situations.

It was one of the most powerful emails i have received in my life. Both in terms of encouragement but also a lot of punch-in-the-face reality call about “life out there” for many people. More than anything it gave me the encouragement and the boldness to carry on.

i don’t always get it right. i am certainly not a Race, Reconciliation and Privilege expert in any way. But i believe this conversation is so vitally important in South Africa right now [Americaland has its own very similar conversation that white people seem hesitant to get involved in, possibly because of the potential cost involved there] and so i’m not going to stop any time soon.

But i do hope more people who feel the same kind of passion and heart for the topic will jump in more. And i do hope we will create more conversation spaces around meals, face to face, and within our friendship groups that there can be safe space to speak about uncomfortable and sometimes awkward topics such as these. We have a long walk to go before any kind of everyone-freedom is realised and the more of us that commit ourselves to the conversation and the ensuing action, the better…

Thank you thank you thank you, to my friend, for the most powerful, encouraging and inspiring email. i will fight another day.

You go away on a houseboat for a week, come back home, turn on your computer and it’s like a paint factory sneezed all over Facebook.

fbrainbow

Or something like that. Actually the graphic on my buddy Steve Heineman’s page expressed it best:

rainbow

And i think enough has been said from either side of the rainbow for me to need to add anything specifically about that, although i definitely have some deep sadness for some of the christian response which seemed significantly compassion-free in places.

i did, however, respond with this line, which i hope people on both sides of the spectrum will seriously consider:

May whoever ends up being proven right not lose their rightness in the way that they respond and relate to whoever is proven wrong.

As a follower of Jesus i don’t know that we will know the absolute answer about whether or not we were right or wrong in the particular stance we took on this until one day when we are standing in front of God. But i’m pretty convinced that whether or not we responded in love will be quite obvious. And i’m fairly confident that God is less likely to be focusing on “You said it was okay to be gay” or “You said it was not okay to be gay” and more concerned with, “How well did you love those who thought differently to you?”

Cos that’s the greatest command, right? Love. Not good theology. And that is not saying that good theology is not worth pursuing and putting time and energy and effort into getting as right as we can. But it is saying that it is crucial that we major in love.

After all,

34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

So, whether you agree or disagree or continue to wrestle with how you feel and what you think or believe, at least be kind. Can we all do that? Is it possible to disagree with someone and love them at the same time? i feel like Jesus was big on that.

Every now and then i will post a status on Facebook or the Twitterer that starts with the words ‘Sometimes love looks like…’

Which will then go on to mention something [large or small] that my wife, tbV [the beautiful Val, yes folks the ‘b’ does not stand for ‘lovely’!] has done for me as a way of celebrating her more publicly.

The latest one looked a little something like this:

Sometimes love is walking into your bedroom two hours before you go watch the new Avengers movie with your wife and friend and finding a Hulk and Black Widow suit layed out on the bed ready to go…

Because largely of this:

HulkAndBlackWidow

Black Widow and the Hulk

The best part of it for me was that she thought it up spontaneously on the day at work and then went to find a place she could hire marvel suits from. And when i walked into our bedroom two hours before the film, both costumes were laid out on the bed without a word being said.

We don’t typically dress up as Marvel superheroes and go out in public. But this ended up being a hugely fun night with our buddy Regan and we made a whole lot of peoples’ days at Blue Route Mall [and in the car on the way there] including the two [grown-up] people who asked to have their photo taken with me [possibly not so much the Kauai lady who refused to come out of the back initially].

A couple of points from this:

# We need stories – fun, crazy, inspirational, risky, weird, touching – every now and then just step out of the ordinary and create a story that you can hold on to for the rest of your lives – one that you do with someone you really love or even a group of people as it becomes your story…

# Take time to celebrate the people in your life. No-one wants to hear gushy ‘my wife is the best wife in the world’ statements all over your social media every day, but just every now and then highlight a person you care about – your person, a good friend, family member – with a public one liner every now and then you can really make someone’s day. Or moment. Or hour.

# People are always watching [especially if your face is pastelled green and you are wearing a Hulk suit] – that argument you are having on someone else’s wall on Facebook, that blog comment you are pouring your heart into, that piece of paper you are casually tossing out of your car window, the way you look at and speak to the beggar lying in the street… there is almost always an audience and you will often not know who they are – which is why we are called to live well because we are constantly mentoring or discipling people by our attitudes, our words, and our actions, even though we didn’t particularly choose to.

Often i will be engaging with someone on Facebook or in the comments section of my blog and it seems obvious to everyone that this person’s mind is not going to change and people are urging me to stop engaging because it’s a waste of time. And largely i agree. But my response is always that my engagement is not primarily about them – there are always more people watching and not commenting who will hopefully [on a good day] see my attitude and way of dealing with the person or else be taking in the words of the argument and be chewing on those – it is seldom about the actual person in a situation where you can see they are not likely to change – so i still give them the opportunity to change, but more often than not it’s because i know people are watching. This might be something helpful to them.

# And lastly there is that well-known saying – ‘Always be yourself, unless you can be the Hulk, and then be the Hulk.’ 

What story are you going to be a part of this week? And who are you going to celebrate out loud?

Twitter has been making me a little mad lately.

Angry mad, that is, not chop up all the vegetables and throw them in the bath tub and declare it ‘Salad Bath day’ mad… and sad mad as well – somewhere in between the two.

And by Twitter i don’t mean the whole of Twitter, and i do mean Facebook to a lesser extent as well, but christians on the various social networking sites, especially the Twitterer.

And not all christians on Twitter, thankfully. In fact, i can probably divide it into two camps [and this post in my mind originally contained a bunch of names of people but i think i will leave half of them out, so as not to become that which i am railing against – use the ‘test and see if this is me and if it is take it on and if it’s not don’t’ approach if you read this] and this is somewhat generalised but i think largely true, and of late seemingly worsely so.

THE FIGHTERS AND THE LOVERS

now i have been in the first camp for the majority of my life, i think, and so i am trying to keep my mind on that, while at the same time being able to critique why it has been frustrating me so much lately – but those who more often than not seem to be picking fights with people or issues [although the issues tend to be linked quite closely to people more often than not] and these might be people and issues that are deserving of having fights picked with them, but i think there comes a point when all you are doing seems to be picking fights and take a breather and smell a flower or celebrate something good for a change. not to say these people don’t do that, but the overwhelming nature of some of their voices has seemed more belligerent and fighty of late.

in the midst of all the fightiness and arguing and point-making and name-and-shaming [which, as i’m saying, i feel definitely has its place] on Twitter, i am hit by huge big breaths of fresh air – and this is where i will mention names – Eugene Cho [@eugenecho]talking about One Day’s Wages and the work they are continuing to do in the disaster areas of the Philippines,  Donald Miller [@donaldmiller] who is currently on honeymoon and tweeting out some gems he prepared beforehand but often sharing exciting stories from the Storyline blog he helps put together, Mike Pilavachi [@mikepilav] who generally shares exciting things about exciting kingdom happenings that he gets to be involved with all of the time, whoever is tweeting for Pope Francis [@pontifex] which tend to be inspirational Jesus-focused messages and calls to live like Him, and the Tim Keller Wisdom [@dailykeller] tweets which are often inspiring quotes or scripture verses. as well as anyone who shares C.S.Lewis quotes.

and in the middle of that, on her own planet [and what a fun planet it is] is Jamie Wright [@JamieTheVWM] who bounces between completely serious and mouth-wateringly-sarcastic and vulnerable and crazy and inspiring and fun… so often fresh air in the midst of the fresh air.

light

MORE LIGHT, LESS DARKNESS BASHING

i do believe there is a time to take on the darkness [slavery, woman’s rights, human-trafficking, racism] and maybe there is a case for some people feeling the need to do that more often than not [there are certainly some Old Testament prophets who didn’t get their fair share of the friendly messages to deliver] but i do believe that it is a lot more helpful and inspiring and all-around-fun to shine the light more often and more regularly and with more intensity than taking on the darkness.

so when you need to take on the darkness, by all means do so… but if there is ever a choice, rather shine some light. 

you see, light drives away the darkness simply by being light [not by any active drivingness on its part] and Jesus called us to be light [not hidden light, displayed light]

also i don’t know too much how people are swayed by Twitter fights and Facebook wall arguments and i imagine the watching world does not take away the hugest declaration of ‘You shall be known by the love you have one for another’ from a lot of what has been going on of late.

the responsibility is so huge when you have a huge following as people are strongly influenced by the how as well as the what.

may we be faithful in every aspect of our online presence and may we be surrounded by people who love us well who we invite to call us on stuff when we get it wrong.

thank you to all of you who are drawing people towards Jesus and a Jesus-following life through your efforts, whether it be light-shining or darkness-taking-on.

together for the kingdom. but let us always ‘err’ on the side of Love.

[how about you? who do you follow on Twitter who brings life and light to your day? please leave their name and Twitter handle in the comments section]

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