Tag Archive: Mike Pilavachi


From Worst Christian Book covers of 2014 to how to respond to Trolls or other people online you disagree strongly with, to a whole bunch of really helpful, insightful and great articles on race-related things and some reflections on our time at Robben Island, this has been another crazy  week of much to read, watch and ingest, and i would hate for you to miss any of it and so i have compiled this Don’t-Miss-Out summary of some of the greatest and lamest and most interesting moments from the web this past week.

Catch up on some of the gems you missed and share them with your friends:

 

MOST UNLIKELY CHRISTMAS GIFTS: If you haven’t finalised your Christmas Shopping yet, there will most likely still be time to order any of these, which i imagine will be sticking firmly to the shelves:

 

Worst Christian Book covers of 2014/2015

 
 

MOST HELPFUL.INSIGHTFUL IN THE ONGOING RACE CONVERSATION: i have continued to read a LOT around this topic and keep on finding SO MANY POSTS that are just so good. i took three of the best of them and stuck them together in this blog post:

 

The Wisdom of Others in Talking about Race
But then immediately found this interview with Christian Rapper Propaganda which made some of the aspects of it even clearer and it is worth reading the whole thing on Relevant Magazine, but at the very least part 2:

 

Interview With Propaganda by Relevant Magazine, Part II
 
 
MOST HELPFUL ADVICE WITH REGARD TO TROLLS AND OTHERS IN STRONG DISAGREEMENT: 

 

Why I run with Trolls: While a lot of people think that engagement with people who are strongly opposed to an idea you might be discussing is a waste of time, i give some ideas on why it might not be.

 
 

MOST HISTORICALLY SIGNIFICANT:

 

Journey to Robben Island series: Last weekend i was privileged to go with tbV and a group of about twenty young up and coming Christian leaders to spend the weekend at Robben Island and i posted some snapshots into that experience.

 
 

MOST INSPIRATIONAL:

 

18 Badass women you probably didn’t hear about in 2014: Suggested by my friend Lindsay Brown, here is a remarkable list of some stories that didn’t get as much noise as they could have this last year.

 
 

CLASSIC PHOTO MOMENT OF THE WEEK: Go and order some Thai food for my wife and this is the Customer name they assign to me:

 

dreads

 
 

MOST EPIC USA MEETS SA VIDEO: With over 200 shares just from my Facebook blog page, i imagine you have probably seen this already, but if not then watch how Trevor Noah takes on the might of Americaland in this clip from The Daily Show:

 

 
 

MOST INSPIRING SONG: Absolutely love Asumbonanga by Johnny Clegg and he released a new version of it to coincide with the one year remembering of Nelson Mandela’s death:

 

 
 

MOST CRINGEWORTHY MOMENT:

 

Watching The Ellen Show where Ellen is chatting to her ‘Most amazing teacher of the year’ who is this white lady working with mostly Asian kids and the moment in the video where the teacher says, “Some of them don’t even have English names yet.”

 
 
FROM THE TWITTERER:
 

“A movement starts when the founder really knows Jesus. You know how a movement dies? When the followers only know the founder.” Francis Chan @crazylove

“There is no point being in the right place at the right time if you are not then willing to do the right thing.” Mike Pilavachi @MikePilav

“Convictions don’t change the world. Rather, people who faithfully and tenaciously pursue and live out their convictions change the world.” Eugene Cho @EugeneCho

 
 
Analogies are like sandwiches; I’m making one right now.  @Benjamin_G_Lund

Assistant measured my feet and said “You’re an eight” I couldn’t.  @FemmeDomestique
 
 
Hashtag Game suggestions i’ve submitted:

When Harry met Slalom

Lacrosse and the Switchblade

The Good, The Badminton and the Ugly

And now for something completely discus
 
 
CELEB TWEET LOVE
 

Brought my Celeb Tweet love up to 4 with this Retweet from Parks and Rec’s own John Ralphio:

Jean Ralphio favorited your Tweet

Dec 11@rejectedjokes Oh no. Love us some Jean-Ralphio. Well played dude. So. Much. Fun. #ParksAndRec
 
 
What about you? What blog posts or articles caught your eye this week? What has been making you think or laugh or be challenged or go, ‘Wo!’? What have you written on your blog that is worth taking a look at?

Leave us a link in the comments for our weekendentertainment…

 
 
Christ

[Continued from part ii]

as i said before, one thing i take really seriously in life, is humour:

‘I think that sick people in Ankh-Morpork generally go to a vet. It’s generally a better bet. There’s more pressure on a vet to get it right. People say “it was god’s will” when granny dies, but they get angry when they lose a cow.’

[Terry Pratchett, my favourite comedy author, creator of the Discworld series which you should read]

So continuing the story of my quest for funny and if anyone has made it this far, well done, because this has been lengthy stuff, but it really has shone a bit of a glimpse into a big part of my soul and psyche and just gives an idea of how i think about one aspect of life…

And in a couple of posts there is no possible way i will be able to summarise a 30 plus journey of humour-seeking, but hopefully this has given a bit of an overview with some of the best [and worst] parts.

SOME KEY BULLET POINT MOMENTS ALONG THE WAY

# i used to be really good at sarcasm – no, i mean really, really good, as in hurt-you good. and i remember in high school one of our teachers mentioned that ‘Sarcasm was the lowest form of wit’ and i disagreed because i was good at it and really wanted to keep doing it. but then one day i remember answering sarcastically to some question that had been put to me [and maybe there was a build up and this was the culmination] and i remember seeing a small glimmer of hurt in the person i directed it at and that was the beginning of the realisation for me that not all humour is fun for everyone – some of the fun comes at peoples’ expense, and that is not cool. i know there will be people who think differently to me on this one and all power to you, but i really try my best not to hurt someone else [or make them feel stupid] in the process of trying to get a laugh. i imagine this is one i don’t get right a lot but i think since becoming aware of it and intenti0nal about it, i do it a lot less than i otherwise might have – i really believe that humour is not worth it if it makes someone feel bad. [because different people have different sensitivities and humour preferences this can be a very tricky one but i am at least talking about intentionally making someone else feel/look stupid for a joke]

# there was a specific moment – and i remember that i was sitting at the table in the kitchen of Highbury [the student digs our church ran back in the day] when i had this internal conversation and decision-making moment – when i realised that i am not a big fan of small talk for the sake of small talk. when we are talking about movies or certain sports then i would probably differ on those as movies in general and cricket and formula 1 back in the day i can definitely get into… but it was a time when i realised that i hung out with a bunch of people who got caught up in small talk a lot of the time… and made the decision that in those circumstances, if the options were neutral or funny, i would choose to be funny. don’t get me wrong – i love deep conversations – if we are going real and deep and trying to solve the mysteries of the world or wrestling with an aspect of Christ following or poverty or war or something like that and the conversation is genuine and people are into it, then that is probably my go to place… BUT my realisation that day at that moment was that IF we were not going deep, then i would change my setting to FUNNY [or attempt to] because i enjoyed making people smile and laugh and have a good time.

i imagine that is why in some circles, to some people [and maybe many people] i got the reputation of ‘he can never be serious’ which is not a great reputation to have when you are involved in any form of leadership or you are hoping people will invite you to be part of important things or speak at places… but it was generally the periphery people who would think that. anyone who knew me and took time to spend time with me and wanted to go deep on any conversation would have realised how ridiculous that statement was of me. but, if you only saw me in the neutral situations where it didn’t look like it was going to go deep and i resorted to trying to be funny, then i can understand how you might get that idea. and it’s also not like i am differentiating between serious=good and funny=less good because there are certainly times when funny is the right and best place to go to, but it was simply a distinction i made that linked to how intentional i was at certain times with certain people and it was quite a defining moment in my life.

# lastly, and i should maybe keep this til the end, cos we’re going to suddenly get all serious and you were hoping to read something light and fluffy, but this is such an important one for me. Rape is never funny. Ever. i know that Ricky Gervais and others think differently on this. i know a certain group of people feel like every topic and situation should be able to be joked about, because some of them are so difficult that that is the only way some people can deal with them. but i disagree strongly. more strongly than i am able to say right here. for me there are a few things that should never be joked about and rape is right at the top of the list [along with molestation, sodomy and other related issues]. because i know people who have been raped and sexually abused and it must be one of the most devastating violating experience and the idea that someone would make light of it, or even joke about it when someone who has been raped might be in the audience, is just for me one of the most awful things ever.

when ‘raped’ started to become a light-hearted descriptive word for ‘got the better of’ as in the context of a sporting team losing badly or someone really being taken down by an exam [and you can read my rant about that here] that frustrated me no end and i took on a couple of people [mostly in their inbox rather than their facebook wall where they said it] every time i saw it being used in that context and just challenged them on the hurt it could bring to someone who had been through that seeing the word being used so lightly [many still disagree]. ‘

i believe there has to be a line. and for me ‘raped’ is it. i also am not a fan when people joke about marriage or divorce, simply because i know how under strain marriages generally are and every little joke or side comment can act as a hammer and a chisel chipping away at the relationship and each single comment might be completely harmless in and of itself, but you start adding them up and you start even-half believing the chauvenism or belittling that usually forms part of those jokes and it can really add to everything else that already might be there below the surface. it is just not worth it and too often words are spoken without thinking. race and disability, which also tend to be easy targets, are very sensitive issues and so will probably fall next in line for me here.

i have a saying, ‘When in doubt, don’t!’ and for the most part, i try to apply that to my humour. If saying this risks hurting someone, then the possible laugh i get is really not worth it.

[and i imagine there might be a line of people standing in front of the comments section ready to share examples of where i might have gotten it wrong and to you i deeply apologise – i am talking about my heart and intention here and am aware that i have hurt people with my humour, and i am not proud of that in any way or form]

MY STAND-UP COMEDY PULPIT

the most important thing to me in life is my faith in God which manifests in my attempts at following Jesus [who i believe was and is God] and His teachings [which, if you look at the core of them being ‘Love God, Love people’ are not quite as horrendous as the mess we christians have been able to make of them through the ages – i’m sorry! however, thankfully, that has also been the core foundation for SO MUCH GOOD that has been done in the world in terms of medicine and education and relief and so much more and so it’s a bitter sweet relationship]

so it was natural that there would be some crossover between my focus on humour and my love for God and fortunately it seemed to happen for me when someone gave me a pulpit. [to be honest i’m not a big fan of pulpits and more the metaphor of being invited to speak God things to groups of people – personally I’ll take barefoot and a stool any day].

while my desire to give stand-up comedy a go has not [yet] materialised, standing in front of a group of people in a church or at a camp, and being able to weave humour into my speaking is the closest i have gotten so far. and that has been a lot of fun.

i have a lot of respect for a guy like Mike Pilavachi who, often when he preaches, does 90% stand-up comedy material involving stories from the Bible or his own life and then finishes off with 10% of point which just nails you between the eyes and often is a lot more powerful as a preach than some people who do a forty minute exegesis.

i don’t think i’m quite there, but i do have three jokes i invented, which have helped along the way, as well as a stuffed yellow-and-white dolphin called No_bob who i often take with me to preaching gigs.

Let’s be honest – most jokes we tell and even the majority of analogies – are things we heard from someone else and are just recycling them and maybe adding a bit of a twist to them, but for the most part a lot of talk material at some stage belonged to someone else. i do that shamelessly [and openly] – if i hear a great analogy about something then i often will incorporate it into my talk and if i do the talk enough times then eventually it will start to feel like it was my analogy in the first place. fortunately, we’re in the business of getting the message across and not so much of claiming fame for whichever parts of the message felt like they were made up by me.

The ‘No_bob factor’ is an interesting one and really helps give a deeper glimpse into the type of humour that i have [which i feel is quite eclectic and ranges from Jim Carrey to Monty Python to Jack Handey to Parks and Rec and even touches on moments from Naked Gun and Bob Newhart and The Mighty Boosh and Flights of the Conchord] – for the most part i would probably lean towards British and a more subtle, dry humour but i do like a lot of bits of everything and so it is hard to tie down. BUT i do enjoy what i call ‘The Higher Grade’ joke and what that means is rather than the joke which everyone in the room finds funny, i prefer the joke that maybe only four or five people will get and especially if there is a pause for a few seconds [often when someone is explaining the joke to their neighbour] and then the laugh comes. In TheatreSports that is my favourite laugh of all.

Let me give you an example. We play a game called ‘Accent Rollercoaster’ in which the actors play out a scene and at different points the MC will call out different accents [provided by the audience before the game begins] and the same story will carry on, but the accent will change. An easy laugh that everyone gets is anytime the accent changes to ‘Xhosa’ and one of the actors says ‘Eish’ or it changes to Russian and someone asks for or mentions ‘vodka’ – instant laugh, but an easy one. And satisfying because it’s a laugh, but what i prefer even above that is a subtle pun or a misdirection where you lead the audience to a really obvious place and then don’t go there. For example, when you are singing a song and you rhyme heavily through out the song and the last two lines you set up the most obvious rhyme:

They were looking for a pilot so they grabbed a poor baboon

then they stuck him in the spaceship and they sent him to the…

The next word is ‘moon’ right? And if i sing ‘moon’ the audience will be impressed because i just made up a silly song and made it rhyme all on the spot, but for me in that moment i will generally go for the misdirection, put huge emphasis on the first rhyming word and then go for the twist, as in:

They were looking for a pilot so they grabbed a poor babOON

then they stuck him in the spaceship and they sent him to the Space Station…

For me it is a cleverer laugh. Possibly the best example of that [and REALLY hard to do but I’ve got it once or twice] is in that game, ‘Jonathan’s Lisp’ i mentioned before where all of one consonant in a scene has become another consonant… if you are really quick and clever and able to think fast while still concentrating on the scene that is happening around you, then there is the possibility of saying a sentence that makes sense both with the old letter and the new letter… and you really have to see it to understand how ridiculously amazing it is when it works but say for example all ‘B’s have become ‘C’s and you are doing a murder mystery and as the detective you announce that:

Aha, I have solved the mystery by looking at all the blues [clues]. The murderer killed him with a Cat [bat].

It actually worked twice in that sentence, but the ridiculousness of killing someone with a cat and then as the audience there is that moment when you are realising, ‘wait all C’s are B’s’ so he actually meant ‘killed him with a bat’ and it’s a double whammy. That is what i mean when i talk to higher grade humour. For me misdirection and a double joke are up there. And because it is so complex, you might find that everyone laughs at the sentence, but a few seconds later you get the people who saw the double joke and there will be the follow up laugh. That for me is priceless.

Introducing No_bob [because he doesn’t!]

Which brings us back to the ‘No_bob’ factor – the original reason i started taking No_bob to talks with me was partly cos i thought it was a cool gimmick, but largely and more intentionally it was as an reaction to the idea of ‘the big man of God speaker on the stage with power and authority’ – i never wanted to become that [see your typical tv evangelist for a great bad example of what i’m referring to]and so i thought to myself, well if i arrive on stage carrying a stuffed toy dolphin, then if anyone in the audience is challenged or changed by anything i say, they are going to attribute it to God rather than ‘that weirdo with the dolphin’ and so this is a way of helping keep the focus off me. The great thing about introducing No_bob is that generally the most i get out of it is a groan [occasionally a laugh and more so as I’ve added the word ‘bob’ to the explanation, where before i used to just say ‘i call him that because he doesn’t’ and a lot of people didn’t make the connection] and then later [the second time i speak or a future occasion] he has become this celebrity dolphin and that is when it kicks in – for most of the first times of using him, i just get weird looks but i’m in it for the long haul and so i continue – i feel like the introduction of a stuffed dolphin at the start of a Christian talk also helps people relax a bit and be open to what might follow.

And it is a true story – i won No_bob on the pier at Brighton by throwing yellow balls into holes and my wooden dolphin ‘swam’ faster than all the other ones and so i won him. I wanted to call him ‘Bob’ because i really liked the name [based on a Rowan Atkinson ‘Blackadder’ sketch where a girl is pretending to be a boy in Victorian England because girls aren’t allowed to work and Blackadder meets ‘him’ and asks his name:

[Blackadder]: What’s your name, boy?

[girl]: Kate.

[Blackadder]: Isn’t that a bit of a… girl’s name?

[girl] It’s er, um, short… for Bob.

Brilliant. But there seemed to be a lot of people or things being named ‘Bob’ at the time so i decided to switch it up a little and because my dolphin is made of material, i realised that if you threw him in an ocean he would not ‘bob’ but sink and so ‘No_bob’ was christened.

So introducing No_bob became a staple to a lot of my talks… and then there were my three made-up jokes [which, i remind you, is rare, cos most often we just steal other peoples’ much better jokes]:

# The first one is my fake testimony, which i know works well with older [middle-aged and above] audiences and yet i keep falling into the trap of telling it to younger audiences and getting pity looks or groans. But older people tend to laugh at more stuff and so this works well in church audiences and bigger crowds:

I was born into and raised by a family of lions. [in fact that is usually the moment that gets a laugh for some reason and so sometimes i will add a ‘it could happen – we all read Jungle Book – which is maybe why it doesn’t work so well for younger audiences, who haven’t!] Then one day i became a christian and God took away my pride! [drum roll]

# The second joke is my ‘The tie joke’ which i am ever so proud of as i came up with it in matric [grade 12] and it generally goes down really well, especially when people know me a little, and has gotten the biggest laughs [and sometimes groans and often a mixture of the two] and it has morphed and grown and evolved through time and i can’t tell it here because it is a visual gag and i usually save it for the last talk on a weekend camp where i have built up a bit of a rapport with the audience. But i made it up and it is quite funny [often, especially the bits i have added in] and other people have copied it and performed it which is the absolute compliment for a joke.

# The third one is my bilingual joke which only works for a very small audience who understand [or have some understanding of] both Afrikaans and French [you know, that huge set of people] but i will try it on you anyways and the bonus is that it is a Knock Knock joke that is genuinely fun or funny [as most of them aren’t, although three are!]

So you have to respond in Afrikaans [maybe Dutch?]

Me: Klop Klop

You: Wie’s daar? [Who is there]

Me: Cellar 

You: Celler wie? [Say this out loud and the French understanding of you will get it]

I think i enjoy that one just cos it’s more nice than funny. It’s just such an aaaahhhhhhhhh joke.

I did recently invent a fourth joke which i think was quite funny, but for the life of me i can’t remember at all what it was, so i am going to have to stick with three unless it comes back.

So armed with my three made-up jokes, my No_bob intro and then often one of the smurf joke [which involves stutter smurf and so is one of those do i or don’t i jokes although everyone i have met who stutters absolutely loves it], the meat hanging from the ceiling[more groan than laugh – the steaks/stakes are too high – so pretty lame pun but works on the young] or my dog “true story” joke [ ‘i,m going to have to put your dog down’ – ‘you’re going to put my dog down just because he’s cross-eyed? –  ‘No sir, he’s just getting really heavy’] which can go either way but i don’t tell it so much any more since i made some people cry the one time by being so convincing in the first half of the telling of the joke [and then they got mad with me] i usually have a good entry point into a message.

my messages tend to be more 10% humour up front and then 90% seriousish with humour moments scattered along the way as i do the thing i think i am more gifted at, which is reading the crowd and improvising humour lines or adding to moments and happenings that present themselves. so generally people end up being entertained but also challenged or convicted or encouraged if all goes well.

i really do think the difference between actual stand-up and my preaching which many might describe as stand-up-esque is the fact that with the preaching i have a base idea of the story i am trying to tell whereas i have not been able to figure that out as far as the stand-up is concerned.

and i am still not done… this is starting to feel like a bit of an autobiography and i imagine the length of it has lost a lot of people, but i am enjoying writing about this stuff, and perhaps glimpsing into my own soul, and so i will see it to its end, which i really do imagine will be the next part – i think we only have silly videos, one liners and trying to get a Valerie laugh to go…

but thanks for reading, if you have, i appreciate it.

[the truth about the fame of No_bob, who had a song written about him by a really popular band back in the day called Serving Suggestion which audiences loved, is that on two occasions i went to speak somewhere and i was introduced and maybe 5 to 15 people clapped or registered some kind of ‘oh, Brett Anderson, i’ve heard of him’ response [in a room of well over 150 people] and then i got up to speak and as i pulled No_bob out of my pocked a third or more of the room erupted in applause – that’s when you know!]

‘Build a man a fire, and he’ll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he’ll be warm for the rest of his life.’ [Terry Pratchett]

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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