Tag Archive: Jamie the Very Worst Missionary


So one of my new favourite virtual [for now] friends, Dante, whose incredible Micropoetry can be found over at Original Dante, challenged me to a duel [well kinda, cos he already pulled his trigger in his own fight] which i had already kinda done in someone’s comment section, but there is no verifiable proof, so i decided to take him up on it…

OD is the reason i got interested in, and brave enough to try, Micropoetry and even though i still suspect my Micropoems are not short enough, they are WAAAY shorter than my regular poems [and getting there] so hopefully there is hope [ha ha, yes that!]. so how could i resist? And he already has a way too ridiculously nice nickname for me which also helps me to believe…

Step Away From The ‘E’

And the Rules to this No-Letter-That-Precedes-F-Or-Follow-D challenge are these:

The rules:

  1. Write a whole paragraph.
  2. Without any word containing the letter “e”.
  3. By reading this you are already signed up.
  4. Challenge at least five bloggers to do the challenge.

You should totally jump across the virtualness of space and go and check out OD’s submission, which was flawless.

But in the m antim , h r  is min :

Staring at cracks on a part of my wall I had not paid much mind to until this occasion, I thought about how much intoxication it might bring to a tiny ant, struggling to carry a biscuit crumb across its cliff-like contours. What quantity of obstruction would it vanquish or would this straightforward [from my outlook] provocation snap its will in two? In an instant though, I was shown that my lack of faith in my microscopic companion was without foundation, as it [I could not confirm if this was a boy or girl at this point] took aim and simply slid down a portion of flaking paint that I had hardly known was an option. As I was busy watching all this, my mug of Chai had grown significantly cold.

i would love to see the following people give it a try, just because i know they will totally own the challenge:

Megan Furniss

Dave Luis

Catherine Jenkin

Nick Frost

Valerie Anderson aka tbV

And she is probably way too busy for this nonsense but i would love to read the piece Jamie The Very Worst Missionary comes up with, and since she missed my book launch recently, i’m sure that this would be about fair, right?

Apologies If you’ve already been nominated before, otherwise If you haven’t, I hope you accept. Looking forward to reading your posts!

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Jesusfem

Sarah Bessey is one of my favourite people on the Twitterer.

She is a Canadian who loves Jesus and pretty much any time i have read one of her blog pieces i resonate deeply with it and really feel that she writes both truthfully but also lovingly [often a tough mix to get just right] and so she is one of the few go-to blog people i have. Others being Nate Pyle in a similar way [truth and humility, far  too rare in a Christian leader] and then also Jamie the Very Worst Missionary [who i don’t always agree with, although i mostly do and when i do it is usually with loud cheering and huge smiles cos of her in-your-face presentation].

So i was super excited to FINALLY get hold of her book, Jesus Feminist, which i’d been wanting to read for years but never made any steps towards until my sister came to visit from the States and  suggested it as a gift she might want to bring me.

Jesusfem3

In chapter 1 as Sarah explains part of her journey, she writes:

‘At the core, feminism simply consists of the radical notion that women are people, too. Feminism only means we champion the dignity, rights, responsibilities, and glories of women as equal in importance – not greater than, but certainly not less than – to those of men, and we refuse discrimination against women.

Several years ago, when I began to refer to myself as a feminist, a few Christians raised their eyebrows and asked, “What kind of feminist exactly?” Off the top of my head, I laughed and said, “Oh, a Jesus feminist!” It stuck, in a cheeky sort of way, and now I call myself a Jesus feminist because to me, the qualifier means I am a feminist precisely because of my life-long commitment to Jesus and His Way.’

And a few pages later she nails home the point:

‘After years of reading the Gospel and the full canon of Scripture, here is, very simply, what I learned about Jesus and the ladies. He loves us.

He loves us. On our own terms. He treats us as equals to the men around Him; He listens; He does not belittle; He honours us; He challenges us; He teaches us; He includes us – calls us all beloved. Gloriously, this flies in the face of the cultural expectations of His time – and even our own time. Scholar David Joel Hamilton calls Jesus’ words and actions towards women “controversial, provocative, even revolutionary.”

Jesus loves us.

In a time when women were almost silent or invisible in literature, Scripture affirms and celebrates woman. Women were a part of Jesus’ teaching, part of His life. Women were there for all of it.’

Jesusfemquote2

i completely resonate with the heart and message of the book, which might be why i was a little bit disappointed with it. Which is a hard and horrible thing to say about the book of someone i admire and respect so much [believe me, having just written a book, it really does feel in some ways like putting your baby out there for everyone to comment on, or not].

BUT, i think i know why.

THIS BOOK WILL BE INCREDIBLE IN THE RIGHT HANDS

i have identified two reasons why i may not have enjoyed ‘Jesus Feminist’ as much as i hoped to and none of them have anything to do with it not being a good book.

# The one reason is that i already think so much of what Sarah is talking about in the book whereas for people who still think in outdated, patriarchal-society-enhanced ways this will either be a breath of fresh air [women] or a hugely challenging read [men] but really good for both of them. i didn’t need any convincing and yet i think the book does really well if you are stuck in a mindset that believes that in the church men are more important than women or should have higher status.

# The main reason though is what i would call the Terry Pratchett syndrome. i love Terry Pratchett and he is my favourite read-for-entertainment author. i was fortunate enough to start with ‘The Colour of Magic’ which is his first Discworld novel and read them largely in order and then suddenly, around the time of ‘Guards Guards!’, ‘Moving Pictures’ and ‘Pyramids’ [all three of which i read close together] he suddenly jumped to another level and just got increasingly better and better. Then one day i reread ‘The Colour of Magic’ and it seemed so bad in comparison, just because Pratchett had gotten so good.

That’s what i feel with Sarah Bessey. It is not that anything is particularly wrong with ‘Jesus Feminist’. But it’s just that i discovered her through her writing after that, and it has been a couple of years and she has just gotten so much better.

Jesusfemquote

So for any women out there who are feeling ‘less than’ or ‘insignificant’ in the church, this is a great book for you to be reading. If you know someone who struggles with that, then buy them a copy and stick it in their hands – it might very well be life-changing. But if you are someone who is on the same page with that conversation then i would highly recommend following Sarah on the Twitterer which you can do @sarahbessey or bookmarking her blog over here as one worth visiting regularly. In a world with so many voices and people and posts and too little time, Sarah Bessey is someone who, at the moment, is one of my favourite people to watch and listen to and learn from.

i have a bunch of turned over pages in her book and so i imagine, when i get a chance, i’ll be sharing a few more extracts, cos there really was some great stuff in it…

[For a passage by Sarah Bessey on Unwelcome Questions & What Happens after you Crash?, click here]

So i was nominated for this Spread Love Challenge by TheFabLetters which is this super interesting blog i stumbled on a short while ago where two women write letters to each other which become the premise of the blog posts. Some really good stuff there.

The Rules:

Write ten four word sentences about what love means to you.
Share your favorite quote on love.
Nominate ten other bloggers for the same.

Now normally i wouldn’t be down for this type of thing, but the opportunity of misdirecting with a classic Jack Handey quote:

loveAnd then writing some stuff on love and highlighting some bloggers i think you should check out [altho doubt i will come close to ten] makes it feel worthwhile…

TEN FOUR WORDS SENTENCES ON WHAT LOVE MEANS TO ME

Let’s be honest, that concept was clearly drawn up by someone in the bath reading a romance novel – can anyone come up with ten four word sentences that do love any justice at all?

i tried…

Love is messy. [Too few]

Love is a messy. [Too clunky]

Love requires work. [Too few]

Love is incredible. [Too few]

Love is really incredible. [Feels like the word ‘really’ got thrown in there just for word limit]

and so on…

The point being that you can’t adequately sum up love into sentences of four words or less. In this microwavic instant gratification culture and society most of us live in today, it is easy to be fooled by the idea that everything can be squeezed into 140 character or less Twitterial moments, but the truth is they can’t. Not adequately anyway. Which is the second time i have used the word ‘adequately’ in this paragraph, making it now three times too many…

Relationships cannot be jammed into tweets or even blog posts. They can’t be summed up in a song or even fully contained in a book. We can give hints and whiffs and ideas and metaphors and the audience can feel like they ‘get it’ but they never really do. Love has to be experienced and lived out and figured out and patched up and chased after and clung to and only those love-ing will ever really truly ‘get it’. Get it?

So we can make four words bumper stickers on the ‘Love is…’ theme but they will be completely and ridiculously inadequate.

‘Love is messy’, comes close but behind those three words lie ten thousand more. Experiences and moments and glances and sorrys and frustrations and make-ups and silences and ballads and bad movies and walks on the beach and sunsets and great meals and hard decisions and money issues and commitments and single tears and out of control laughter and… did i reach my word limit yet?

Jack Handey has it close enough. Love is liking someone a lot and choosing to do life with them in all its beautiful, painful and messy ways and not letting any of those categories be too much to continue on with the commitment you have made. Whether we are talking marriage or friendship or family. Love is saying, ‘i will see you again tomorrow.’

And so much more. [Ooh, ooh, four words]

There are a bunch of bloggers who i appreciate but the big ones like Sarah Bessey, Nate Pyle and Jamie the Very Worst Missionary are way too big and important to use their valuable time compiling Spread Love Challenge challenges…

But some lesser known types who i enjoy and would love to see tackle this [in a legitimate way, not in the cheatery way i did] are Bek Curtis whose blog Perfectly Flawed says it like it is… Lily Ellyn who, when she is not pushing out articles on Relevant magazine, has an eclectic collection of different thoughts and words called Such Small Hands… and of course my beautiful wife Val, aka tbV, who i would just love to see blog on anything as she is ridiculously talented, as you can see in On Afternoons and Coffeespoons, but rarely makes the time to do so… [there’s something worth starting a petition about] and also Candice Fourie and her most excellent Moments with a Mom is another one who writes powerfully but too infrequently…

i will finish this off with one of my favourite quotes about love in the guise of being a quote about being real and it is from The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams:

real

[For a post titled ‘You Will Be Known by the Love’ click here]

[For a piece looking at Ten creative Ways to Love, click here]

So i now have a few great things written about this topic and was struggling to find the best place to put them so i thought i would create this space over here:

Let’s Talk about Sex – my friend Lily Dunn exposes ‘4 Lies the Church Taught her about Sex’ 

Sex Before Marriage – one of those topics that keeps coming up that there are a variety of opinions on – with input from Jamie the Very Worst Missionary

Sex During Marriage – this is a topic we hear a lot less about and some friends of mine graciously share their stories with us.

How Much Sex in Marriage – cos, you know, we like numbers

Let’s Talk About Sex [To Our Children] – a shared blog from Anne Marie Miller that went viral because this is something parents want to know!

 

What would i do?

i remember the day my pastor boss from the Vineyard church in Stellenbosch asked me something along the lines of:

IF YOU COULD DO ANYTHING IN THE WORLD, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

and my answer really seemed to impress something upon him, as he brought it up on many occasions after that, but it was something like:

THIS. THIS IS WHAT I WOULD DO.

we like the idea of being ‘called into something’ [us christians do, at any rate] – the idea that God [who created the Universe in a moment and a breath and a few words, or quite possibly a process taking millions of years, depending who you listen to] has a specific task and purpose and calling for one brett “Fish” anderson…

it’s a nice idea and everything, but it feels a little too western to me, and i’m not quite sure that i really buy into it theologically…

calling

i mean i do kind of have a theology of God’s will that has the idea of specific will [“Moses, go and lead my people out of Egypt”] and general will [“Hey Israelites, Moses is leaving tomorrow, wanna go?”] and so within that i do believe that there are times and moments when God breaks in and gives a specific leading or call or plan to someone…

but for the most part i think He has given us a lot of clear instruction [love God, love people, forgive everyone, look after ‘the least of these’, don’t be a douche… we get that last one SO right all the time – team christian!] and expects us to follow all of that and life a Christ-like life wherever and around whomever we may be. not so much the WHAT or the WHERE as the HOW[unless of course He has given us a specific ‘what’ or ‘where’ and then, if so, we should really avoid being all Jonah about that!]

THE SOMEWHAT CONTRADICTIONARY HOLD-THESE-TWO-IN-TENSION PIECE

at the same time, i do believe we have the Holy Spirit living in us, guiding us and leading us, but not puppet-mastering us, if we have chosen to follow Jesus [as He kinda said that would be the case] and so there may be some ‘specific will’ that happens for all of us there in a priesthood-of-all-believers kind of way…

i don’t know how it all works, but i believe that somehow it does and that God is bigGER and that this post now has way too much christianese jargon for any not-connected-to-the-church person to make too much sense of, so seems like this one is just for you [or maybe just for me, but hi anyways!]

THERE WAS A POINT?

WWYDLogo

Oh yes, so same question, Brett…

IF YOU COULD DO ANYTHING IN THE WORLD, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Different answer this time though.

And not because i think i am doing anything wrong right now. Really love the fact that we have been able to see a bunch of needs being met by different people across Americaland and beyond who are combining resources and meeting needs of people they know. Have absolutely LOVED our time at Re:Generation church and the preaching opportunities i have had there and the community of people we are part of and the Improv class i am currently running and have really appreciated the opportunity to work with some amazing youth leader types as we have tried to locate some youth to actually work with [and have loved the few youth we have managed to find from week to week]

This time over year [3 years now] in Americaland has felt very necessary and good and really difficult and challenging in many ways. I completely believe we needed to do this.

But i am also ready for something[s] new.

And i don’t know how possible my dreams and wants and hopes are, because the majority of them don’t involve any kind of money-for-paying-the-bills-kind-of-work at all… but if this was a wish list space of answering that question above, then here are some of the things i would like to do…

[1] Be a fulltime blogger. Absolutely. i feel like this is something i could gladly spend my life doing. hopefully in a way that influences people and helps strengthen relationships and bring people together and challenge people to go higher and live fully amazing lives and more.

[2] Get my book published so i can write my next one. i HAVE written a book. it is called ‘i kissed hating [the church] goodbye’ and has sat on the virtual shelf for the last three years since i moved to Americaland waiting for some self-publishment to take place [with my lack of CAPS in all the wrong places and the damage i do to punctuation and write-as-i-speakment, all publishers have fled far and wide, thus far]. it is aimed at those who have walked away from the traditional idea of church, those who have felt burned by church or by people in church but still love Jesus and are trying to make sense of it all… and i actually realised later that it is definitely for all of those still very much engaged with church as it is basically a simple but challenging look at the idea of church – God’s idea and promise and tool for the building of is kingdom… and i do have other books in me busting to get out.

[3] Find my funny –ah, i would really like to get this one right… develop a Jamie the Very Worst Missionary style but one that is very much my own of being able to be both humourous and deathly funny/witty/clever all at the same time. i would love to get over the fear and come up with a set and try stand-up at least one time. and i would very much like to dive back into the world of Improv playing and develop as a performer [and maybe have more opportunity to teach!]

[4] Be part of a conversation on race – i don’t have an idea of how big or small or what this will look like, but it feels like something God has been laying on my heart of late [see earlier God’s will contradiction vibes] especially as we prepare to head back to South Africa and i feel like being part of a Race conversation in some way and some Reconciliation might be something that could be life and community and country changing which feels like a good thing to be a part of

[5] Have more opportunities to write and preach – after almost two years of largely no preaching [and having my writing seriously reduced] it has been SO GOOD for me [and hopefully others] to have had some opportunities since being in Oakland… there is a possibility of a youth speak on a houseboat retreat coming up before we leave, but really hoping for more opportunities to practice and unleash and grow and develop something i believe i have some level of gifting at.

[6] Something about some form of longer term connection to an area and also some level of pursuing different things to tbV so that i can cheer her on in her stuff – In almost 5 years of being married we are about to hit our 4th major transition [getting married – moving to Philly – moving to Oakland – moving back to SA] and are ready for this one to be at least a little bit longer… and also we have for the most part been in each other’s space 24/7 living, working and being in the same space almost ALL of the time, which, when you are as strong and intense personalities as both of us are or can be, is not always the easiest or necessarily the best thing, and so we are looking to create some spaces for each of us to really be in our element and cheerlead the other in theirs. I really love the idea of Stability [to some extent – we’ll start with 3 years as opposed to 18 months and it will be a great step forward] in terms of relationships and community and context and am excited to see what that will look like.

and i’m sure there is more… but those feel like some of the big things i would love to see happen in the next phase of life, and maybe they will have to happen combined with a part-time coffee shop server position or something else, and maybe some of them will not happen at all [or will be bigger or smaller than i can think or imagine right now].

one thing i do know for sure is that i’m not going to settle. we’re not going to settle. as in ‘fall into the rut and routine of life and just look like everyone else’. There are adventures to be had and laughs to be made and a marriage to be worked on and a kingdom to be building and an Africa to be gotten back to and friends to hang out with. and more…

til then though, we are looking to finish strong here. loving the opportunities and relationships we have around us here and there is definitely going to be a sadness and a sense of loss when we do leave. but we’re not thinking about all of that now.

how about you? if you could do anything in the world right now, would it be what you are doing? and if not…

i was sitting innocently in our church, Re:Generation, evening service last nite, when suddenly a shot rang out…

it wasn’t fired from a gun. but it still felt like it hit me between the eyes. and there was nothing i could do about it.

a woman called Andrea, from an organisation called ‘Disarm the Dark’ was invited to share a little about the work she is doing in anti-trafficking.

one line she said really just blew me away:

‘While you can sell guns and drugs once, you can sell a person many times.’ [Andrea, Disarm the Dark]

disarm

 

That is why it is so lucrative – you sell a gun once and it’s gone. Drugs you still have to replenish. But a person? You just keep selling them over and over again.

Human trafficking is something that really moves me but which I feel so completely powerless about and so I get really excited when I meet people like Andrea or when someone like Jamie, the Very Worst Missionary [she’s not!] gets really practical about getting involved.

I do think the majority of people probably live without the real belief or understanding that this is actually going on or to what extent, and so the very smallest thing I can do is at least blow my little whistle and highlight groups such as Disarm the Dark and Not For Sale but it still completely feels like not enough. 

I feel completely overwhelmed by it all and hope that one day I will have something significant to offer the fight.

At the same time, it is not something i feel directly called into, which can be hard sometimes, but am definitely passionate about.

So i will keep my ears to the ground and hopefully continue to sound the alarm and cheer on those who are doing such incredible work and trust that this form of slavery is something we can end in our lifetime and for all those lives that follow.

 

 

 

i read an incredibly interesting post this morning by one of my favourite bloggerists, Jamie aka ‘the Very Worst Missionary’, titled, ‘Say Anything’

there was a lot of incredibly honest truth in it, such as this description of how quickly the whole internetting phenomenon eroded into a big pile of ‘No your momma is fat!’:

evilinternet‘What we quickly learned is that a keyboard and computer screen make us brave, maybe braver than we’ve ever been. And we learned we could say anything – literally anything.

And that changed everything.

That is exactly when The World Wide Web stopped feeling like a huge family room and started feeling like a little court room. Every post is a trial. Every word will be argued, debated, juried and judged. Every photo will be inspected thoroughly for signs of… anything that anyone can find wrong. Every flaw will be pointed out, every comparison will be made, every right will be invoked, every meme will be created, every unicorn will be interrogated. There is no end to it; this great, big, stupid argument we call the internet.

Say anything. Hear nothing. This is the New World Order.’

Jamie subtitled her piece on Twitter with [Because everyone I know and like is ready to quit the internet] 

[hoping i fit into the ‘not known’ category] because i don’t think i’m quite there yet.

Do shtupidt people annoy me? Absolutely.

Do the judgers and the haters and the posters of annoying cat and christian cheese and trite ‘motivational quote poems’ get to me? Of course.

Do the people who jump onto comments to pick fights with me [and then like a hungry dog with a very huge and overwhelmingly tasty bone refuse to let go. and sometimes that ‘bone’ is an old smelly tennis ball.] and then move quickly to name calling, character judging and unfriending [relief, you just gave me a gift former friend] get to me? For sureness.

But, as i tried to capture in this post on the judgement i have received in my life, fortunately, for me, the good outweighs the bad. And it’s the same with the internet. Once we realise and come to grips with the fact that trolls exist [man, just reading through comments on most articles on any subject that gets any kind of attention provides proof of that] then it is easier to not take it all so seriously, and also to tune in to the voices and people that matter.

Jamie continues with some wise words on how it can be:

But know this; A computer screen may make you brave, but it does not make you smart. And a keyboard may make you free, but it does not make you right.

I want my communities to be family rooms, not court rooms. I want the people I cross paths with on the internet to feel like they’re in my home, where they can say anything to me. There’s plenty of space here for differences and disagreements, but I will not save room at the table for aggression or harassment. I won’t converse with people who don’t respect or understand appropriate boundaries. I won’t respond to condescension. And I will never ever acknowledge Anonymous.

Let me make this clear. I love people. I love real life people. People in person are great things. And if i have to choose between internet people and real people then real people are definitely going to win. But having said that, sometimes the internet allows you to go where you can’t always physically go and to meet who you can’t always physically meet. And i have met and made some incredible friends on the internet [and i know a whole lot of people who think this is impossible, but clearly they haven’t met my internet friends].

Just this last year i got to connect with my English/Scottish [hard to tell these days] cousin David and many members of his family and family-to-be on the internet which provided a whole lot of fun and sarcasm and shared wit and contemplation and challenge to my faith and story-telling and sharing. And it was great. I have connected with other now-friends through a post or a story that was shared or a common interest and have received much love and encouragement and challenge [even though we are yet to meet in person].

But also, i have been able to maintain and grow friendships with real people who i have met with and spent time with and grown to love who are now in different states or countries or even just towns than me.

Skyping friends and family back home in South Africa while living and working in Americaland. Sharing funny pictures and silly videos and deep thinkings and poetic musings with those who have helped shape my world and place in it and who continue to do so.

Yes, the internet is so so bad. But yes, the internet is SO SO good.

And actually, it is neither. Because it is the people who use the internet who form the goodness and badness of the experience of it. The internet is the innocent little kid who has been pushed out of the line and when he got to the front they had run out of mashed potatoes. [Sorry little internet] It’s a tool. And sometimes it is used by tools [as we like to call them!]

So don’t do away with the internet… but perhaps, there is a way that you can minimise the negative effect it might have on your life…

And there are many ways to do this [and i hope you will share some of yours below] but one that i have recently decided upon and am trying to do is this:

trollOn the Twitterer [@BrettFishA] i have largely stopped following people who bum me out. People who are always negative or always picking fights or just complaining about things [unless they do it in a fun and satirical way].

And i have started trying to follow more people who are inspiring and encouraging and who link to fun or important or life-giving things. It is such a simple change to make, and yet it can have such a huge effect on my mood and outlook on life and general feeling. It’s like listening to a certain type of music that affects your mood and always leaves you angry or ready to pick a fight [for you that might by Screamcore but for me it’s generally Christmas carols]. Just stop listening. It is that easy.

Unfollowing someone doesn’t mean i hate them, it just means i am lessening my ‘being influenced by them’.

Try it. And let me know what other ways you have found for making the internet a nice and fun place to play again.

[For the time Jamie TVWM allowed me to share a very excellent piece she wrote on Sex before Marriage, click here]

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