Tag Archive: marvin the martian


So the other nite i was sitting on my step sipping coffee out of my uber cool Marvin the Martian mug and i had some life epiphany thoughts on things that make Jesus sad and then took it a step further by standing in front of the metaphorical mirror and asking what makes Jesus sad in my life with one of the simplest conclusions being that me not knowing the guy’s name who greets me by my name every time he sees me and who lives in the apartment beneath us… and i made some form of commitment to change that.

And i just got back into our apartment after what must have been close to an hour long conversation with Will – that’s right, his name is Will – and his beautiful daughter’s name is Suri [just like Tom Cruise’s daughter but with  little more street cred] and heard a whole bunch of his story and invited him and his family to come and have a meal with us sometime.

i know – awkward and embarrassed face – it was THAT easy.

i think it’s largely about Intentionality which i wrote about recently as being one of my favourite words not just because of how cool it sounds [come on – say it out loud, no-one’s looking, well they are but do it anyway] when you add the ‘ality’ part on to the ‘intentional’ part but because of the meaning and the action it promotes.

bee2so that’s just one step but it has lifted my spirits no end and will affect my relationship with Will and our relationship with his family from now on because I now know what he does and what his wife does and that is 14 year old son is in grade 10 and that when i went outside he was using tbV’s flower pots to teach Suri a little lesson about pollination…

[and that he has been the mystery waterer of the plants looking out for them and not watering them in the heat of the day because, like us, he knows it can burn them when the sun reflects off the water] and i know how he feels about the neighborhood and gangs and drugs and so on…

i hope these posts encouraged some of you to go and dig out your metaphorical mirror and see how you’re doing in the living-out-what-you-believe department, and that like me, if you noticed a bit of maggotry [it’s a word… now] that you will find something small and simple to get you on the way to aligning those things again…

it is tremendously life-giving and suddenly Jesus feels that tiny little bit less sadder… who knows, He may even be smiling down at me a little bit.

last time on ‘What makes Jesus sadder?’:

‘but it’s me. i mean that’s the answer right? the only person i can really change is myself, brett fish anderson [where fish seems to be proved more and more to be something i’m desperately aiming at as opposed to anything i hit regularly enough] and so that is really where i have to look.

and i do and i have and i am and a lot of it just leaves me with questions that i am struggling to answer.’

This is the picture of the exact mug i have.

This is the picture of the exact mug i have.

so i was sitting on my step the other nite sipping coffee out of my Marvin the Martian mug and thinking about life [which i definitely don’t do enough – i really do enjoy the times when i can slow it all down and just ponder great things… so maybe the start is to be more intentional about creating those times when i just move away from the busyness and distraction it’s so easy to fall into slash facebook] and i had a couple of thought [thinking will do that to you]…

the one which has been plaguing me for a while kind of fits into that category of ‘I’ll do that when…’ which so many of us have been taken down by i think – the idea that at the next stage of life or season of living or pay increase or whatever, that somehow miraculously the thing you aren’t doing now is going to happen. and for the most part it’s a lie.

and i imagine that often it is linked to following Jesus. I’ll get really committed when I’m done with exams… when my kids are at school… when my kids are out the house… when this project is done… when i have my own car… when i’ve finished paying off my studies… and so on…

‘WHEN’ WON’T HAPPEN UNLESS YOU MAKE IT TO BE SO

it’s a lie. if you’re not doing it now then it is unlikely to miraculously happen. something significant has to change for your current behaviour not to be your future behaviour.

i suspect that often it’s AS EASY [and AS DIFFICULT] as just getting off your ass and doing it.

for me, sitting on the step, it was the awful truth of me just not knowing any of my neighbours. like not really. and not cos i don’t want to [well maybe the ones next door who are so inappropriately loud and who scream at their kids most of the time, i don’t really have great desires in myself to know them] but just cos it hasn’t happened and it might be for a hundred different reasons but it still bums me out.

The need is to just do it already.

The need is to just do it already.

tbV and i live in  four apartment complex [two upstairs, two downstairs] and a lot of it maybe has something to do with timing as we don’t often see the people. it may be because we are white and everyone else is black/African American and so there is not a natural cultural connection. it may be a stage of life thing as there are young children in i think each of the other apartments. and it may be because, apart from the one guy, our neighbors haven’t seemed particularly friendly but then maybe they are thinking or feeling the same thing about us.

but the one that bums me out the most is ‘African American guy’. you see what happened there? that is the part where his name was meant to go, but i don’t know it. and the main problem is that he knows my name. he learnt it the first time he met me and has greeted me with, ‘Hi Brett, how are you doing?’ ever since [and ‘Hey man’ feels more and more pathetic every time i mumble it back to him in the friendliest way possible]. The first time it was, ‘Oh no, I don’t know his name’ which quickly became, ‘Oh man, he knows my name and has called me Brett three times now’ to where we now stand at, ‘He has called me Brett 90 times and so it feels worse and worse to get my brain around the idea that i have to go to him and confess my panic [and just ridiculously bad manners] in that area.

do you know what the worst thing is? he looks really cool. he’s an older black man and i really want to get to know him and hear some of his story and hopefully we can be friends.

what sucks is that i feel like i have a strong heart for community and Val and i talk openly about how great it was in Potter street [at the Simple Way] where we knew everyone and life happened on the streets and we’d be in each others houses and so this all feels like an epic fail to me.

I THINK YOU’RE BEING TOO HARD ON YOURSELF!

and i don’t think i’m being too hard on myself. possibly not enough. there are definitely some reasons why it has been harder to stamp on my pride and just go and confess and put it right [the biggest being time – we don’t see him often and it’s usually between his car and the door and there are other family members around and stuff] but this last week i think i have come to the conclusion that this is something that i want and i will probably look for a chance while Val is away at the Wild Goose festival [she leaves tonite] to try and get that opportunity and put it right. so it feels definitely on the cards. and it actually not the biggest deal for me to have to go and make that confession and try and put it right. just a bummer that it has taken so long.

when i was sitting on the step though, the biggest question i faced in myself was the question of what is different between what i believe, or what i say i believe or preach/write that i believe and that which i am living out. and what am i going to do about it? and when?

the biggest problem, perhaps, is that the answers are not so simple. they are complicated. it is not as easy as it is with ‘African American man’ where i know what i have to do and just need to do it – there are a bunch of areas of ‘well i don’t know how to get from where i am to where i want to be?’ There might be a bunch of fears of ‘what if i try and it doesn’t work or happen the way i expect?’ and there are also some disappointments of things i have already tried or hoped for that didn’t turn out the way i was hoping for. where i did do the thing i needed to do but the person on the other end didn’t respond or not as i hoped. and so what now?

one small example of that is that there is a young girl in the house where ‘African American man’ lives and i don’t know if it’s his daughter or grandkid or anything but on the occasions i have walked past and she has been at the door and i’ve tried to be friendly to her [connecting with people in Philly was done largely by befriending and looking after their children] i’ve got the strong feeling that her mom is not super amped. she feels a lot suspicious of this dreadlocked white guy from upstairs. so that makes it a little harder cos i definitely want to respect the mom and so generally just try to be friendly to them when they’re out together and hopefully in time something will shift. or maybe i just need to bake something and take it around. that might be a plan.

the conclusion of all this for me is that the thinking part is so important. the noticing of ‘hey the reality i’m living doesn’t match up exactly with what i’m speaking or even what i’m hoping for’ and it’s insane to me to think that i will have amazing community in the next place i live if i haven’t even properly tried to reach out to those around me here [or remember one name! sigh].

but then it HAS to move to the action point. and soon. we don’t know how long we’re going to be here and if  want it to be easier to find it in the next place then the best way is stepping out here and even if things don’t go according to plan, at least i will know i’ve tried.

so i imagine Jesus gets sad when we just get caught up in living lives that are self-absorbed and focused and miss out on the opportunities He may have been prodding us towards

i imagine Jesus gets bummed when we say and think one thing and live a completely or even somewhat different thing [He may have calmly mentioned that to the Pharisees that one time]

i imagine Jesus is a little disappointed if i get stuck in the thinking phase and never step out of the boat He has called me to step out of and take a bit of a risk

this is not condemnation [which leaves you in a loud and stinky mess on the floor, paralysed and unable to change] – this is conviction [which inspires you and directs you to change]

oh and something about God putting His Holy Spirit in me so i should be alright in the empowered-to-do-this-whole-thing department.

you might not be cool enough to have a Marvin the Martian coffee mug, but i would still recommend grabbing some form of beverage and a step and taking some moments on how your life is looking right now… let’s do this thing. for real.

This might be comedy if it wasn't so tragedy.

This might be comedy if it wasn’t so tragedy.

i preached a sermon in church last night about how to “correctly handle the word of truth” in terms of reading and knowing and trying to understand the Bible well and not just simply grabbing a verse here and there and using it to back up something we are trying to say.

that is not usthe example i used as an extreme form of example was the Westboro Baptist church who i imagine most of us have heard or seen something of in the media – the ones who pitch up at gay pride marches with “God hates fags” on their signs [often with young children holding these signs and spewing the same kind of hatred their parents do] and who protest veterans funerals and all sorts of crazy things like that.

what i didn’t know when i asked Uncle Google to direct me to their website is that the church website is actually called Godhatesfags and can be found at Godhatesfags.com – that is their church website – it is unbelievable and makes me embarrassed to think that a lot of people might view them and me as pretty much the same because we both fall under some christian banner… [which is why personally i prefer to go under the Jesus-following banner if i need any kind of label ever because as christians it seems to have been pretty easy through the ages to get up to all kinds of crazy stuff, but as people who are truly seeking to follow Jesus it is impossible to end up as part of a group that uses “God hates fags” as a slogan, or a website address].

i mean Westboro makes it easy. there is not a lot of debate, or any, needed when looking at them and their actions and coming to the conclusion that this is not of God. Certainly not the God i am following. Or would want to follow.

…and i’m pretty sure the Bible commands us to call out that kind of garbage… and bring it to the light for what it is.

i imagine that ‘church’ and a lot of their actions make Jesus sad.

WHAT IS WORSE THAN SOMEONE LIVING ACTIVELY NOT-CHRIST?

as i sat outside our apartment earlier thinking about life and the kingdom of God and things that make Jesus sad while drinking coffee out of my Marvin the Martian mug [could that be one of them? i hope not. i wonder who made the mug. uh-oh.] i pondered to myself [while inviting the Holy Spirit to ponder back] what could be worse than someone living actively not-Christ? [although not in those words – them are just fancy blog words]

could the answer be someone not actively living Christ?

people whose christianity consists of believing the right thing, and going to the right place [church every sunday and maybe home group or cell on a wednesday night] and trying to not be too bad, but otherwise living for themselves.

i’m just not sure that’s enough.

at the same time, i’m not completely sure what the solution is because we can’t all stop human-trafficking or reach out to all of the homeless or visit everyone in hospital and prison and we can’t all be taking on racism at an institutional level or fighting sexism in the workplace or reaching out to victims of sexual abuse and rape and trying to find ways of addressing those two things that don’t make the victors feel like the guilty parties… we can’t do it all. absolutely sure about that one.

but i do strongly feel that we can all do something, or maybe somethings.

with our money. whether tithing it into a church where we know the money is going to greater things than simply buildings and salaries or putting it in programs like Common Change that help us to meet needs of people we know or committing to an organisation or a specific project like my photographer friends Bex and Bruce who came up with a plan to fund some wells in Africa with some of the money they bring in or assisting the woman who cleans your house or the man who takes care of your garden to find ways to get their children through school and into university. and  hundred thousand other great ideas.

volunteerwith our time. whether baking some goodies or making a meal for a new family that moves into your street or complex or for the couple that have just had a new baby, or writing a postcard to someone in prison and building a relationship with them or visiting someone in hospital. volunteering at the local homeless shelter or seniors home. offering to babysit for a couple you know who have been finding it tough being parents of young children and just giving them a night [or a weekend] off. grabbing some friends and some gardening equipment and arriving at someone’s house who is too sick, tired, or old to get to the work that needs to be done and volunteer to do it for them.

with our creativity, education, knowledge, transport, cameras… the list goes on – there is someone who doesn’t have what we have and is not able to do what we can do and so drawing alongside them

[oh and yes books like ‘Toxic Charity’ and ‘When Helping Hurts’ and others have made the idea of helping other people very scary in many ways because what if we harm the very people we are trying to help because we are doing it the wrong way? You know what i think? Start with building some kind of significant relationship with the person you are trying to help and it will probably be a lot harder to get it horribly wrong. don’t let the fear of doing it wrong paralyse you from doing anything. just be better prepared maybe.]

so while the Godhatesfags ‘church’ makes God very sad, i imagine the people who profess Jesus with their mouths but don’t follow it up with their actions make Him sad too. [there is a lot of stuff about plants producing fruit and salt losing its saltiness in Matthew 7 and other places around the Bible, i’m not making this up]

WHAT WAS ALL THAT STUFF JESUS SAID ABOUT PLANKS AND THROWING THE FIRST STONE THEN?

which brings me to the third category and maybe the most significant one for me to be pondering on. because i doubt i can do a whole lot about the Westboro Baptist church and pretty much the majority of the people in the second category are not going to be the people who are going to be reading this and nodding and heading off to change anything [a quick ‘we’re not supposed to judge’ note in the comments section below perhaps] and so i will still continue to speak into and preach into that group of people when given the opportunities…

but it’s me. i mean that’s the answer right? the only person i can really change is myself, brett fish anderson [where fish seems to be proved more and more to be something i’m desperately aiming at as opposed to anything i hit regularly enough] and so that is really where i have to look.

and i do and i have and i am and a lot of it just leaves me with questions that i am struggling to answer.

and that is really the purpose of this post [and posts, cos i imagine there will be more, this is already getting a bit long] – not to point the finger or judge other people who are not getting it right. but to stand before the mirror [as i will stand before God one day] and really genuinely ask, what is the shape of your faith at the moment? of your life? where are you living out the message? where else do you need to be?

with the hope that there is someone else out there who maybe needed a little prod like this to sit alongside me and ask themselves the same question.

what i do know is that the end point of this exercise if not condemnation. i believe there is a very thin line between condemnation and conviction and for me the difference is in where you end up. condemnation leaves you in a weeping mess on the floor. whereas conviction inspires you and lifts you and propels you to action. the problem is that they can both feel the same. but only one is helpful. and i believe that only one is from God [if you’re not sure, it’s the second one!]

it is important though that we take and make times to look in the mirror, prepared to deal honestly and effectively with whatever we see when we look there. that is the place where i am trying to be right now. there is space on the floor next to me if anyone wants to join me.

mirror

 

[For more thoughts of a more me-focused nature in the post ‘What makes Jesus sadder too, click here]

marvin the marshoes

so it’s my birthday today – happy happy – and after a super special breakfast made by my wife – the beautiful Val – and delivered to me in bed – that involved jacobs coffee and chocolate-infested and smartie surrounded yoghurt and a wad of range-free bacon – yum – i finally got given the present my wife has been building up intrigue to the last week and wow what a gift – marvin the martian – my favourite loony toon cartoon character – decorated shoes – stunning – be jealous

what a wife, and along with a few phone calls and samesses and countless facebook messages an amazing start to the day…

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