Tag Archive: positive


How do you judge good character?

As i have been thinking about the idea of ‘Character’ and ‘A person of good character’  it seems to be a bit subjective or elusive in terms of definition.

One of the dictionary definitions Uncle Google came up with was ‘the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.’

But the problem with that definition is that it uses the word moral [which in itself, these days, seems to be a subjective term] which Uncle G describes as ‘principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior.’

And so, instead of trying to come up with any kind of definitive definition [is there such a thing as a non-definitive definition?] of what i mean when i talk about a person of character, i thought it might be more helpful to describe some aspects that i [and possibly some others, and hopefully also you] think of when i think of the idea.

This could be a multi-parted post and as i suggested, instead of trying to find ‘the answer’, i am rather wanting to explore a few ideas and concepts that might give us a clue and you can decide out loud in the comments section whether or not you agree with me. These are in no way in any kind of order of more or less importance but simply as ideas come to mind, i will look at them and invite your opinion and please do give it.


I was alerted to the fact [again!] today that a LOT of Facebook statuses tend to be negative – people complaining about the weather [too hot or too cold or too rainy or too snowful] or moaning because their sports team lost [usually carefully disguised as a rant against the biased ref] or a whole bunch of other things.

This made me think of my own. Do i tend towards being more positive in outlook or more negative? And what message do my social networks carry about me in that way?

And positivity or negativity are both highly contagious. Hang around with either type of people continuously and you will find yourselves likely to start sounding the same…

Maybe a good character check when it comes to Social Networkings is subtracting my negative/complainy/dissatisfied with someone/something messages from all the positive/life-giving/gratitude ones and seeing if i can come up with a positive number? How would you do on this?

A few months ago i started removing some of the constantly negative voices from my The Twitterer feed and it has done me the world of good. I am not talking about people who speak prophetically into a broken system and call for change, but simply those who always seem to be moaning or complaining and not offering any solutions or seldom focusing on the good and the great. Same with Facebook – if someone is constantly negative i eventually turn down the frequency of their involvement in my newsfeed.

i would suggest that the ability to be positive and hopeful and see good or the possibility of change, even in the most difficult and trying of circumstances, is a strong indicator of character.

i would love to hear your thoughts on how character can be defined for you…

[For the next post dealing with consistency, click here]

so a while ago i wrote a post called ‘Reasons to leave SA’ and basically broke it down to people who incessantly whine and those who either feel specifically called somewhere else or are in another place for another reason, but that for the most part there are so many more reasons to stay in South Africa…


obviously tbV and myself are not there at the moment [my heart is definitely largely there although at the same time we place huge emphasis on really just being where we are and so try to be completely rooted in Oakland while we are here, which is important] and can’t contribute to this one right now, but i’d love to hear from you, in the comments section…

won’t you take a moment and share JUST ONE reason why you stay in South Africa… it can begin ‘On reason i stay in South Africa is…’ or else ‘One reason i really love living in South Africa right now is…’ but please, only one per person, but if you are someone living in SA right now, what is one reason that contributes to you staying?

And go. [no, don’t leave, write an answer… sigh.]

Continuing my sharing of positive news:

Anyone who has heard Nick Vujicic speak or seen him on a video will have been deeply inspired… Nick’s Wikipedia page gives a brief intro to this giant of a man:

‘Nicholas James “Nick” Vujicic (born 4 December 1982) is a Serbian Australian evangelist and motivational speaker born with tetra-amelia syndrome, a rare ‘disorder characterized by the absence of all four limbs. As a child, he struggled mentally and emotionally as well as physically, but eventually came to terms with his disability and, at the age of seventeen, started his own non-profit organization, Life Without Limits. Vujicic presents motivational speeches worldwide, on life with a disability, hope and finding meaning in life. He also speaks about his belief that God can use any willing heart to do his work and that God is big enough to overcome any and all disabilities.’

today on the ‘book there was this picture of Nick holding his new son simply with this comment:


‘Dream come true. Holding my Baby Boy Kiyoshi. Amazing grace and gift from God. Love you all so much. Thank you for your showers of prayer.’

i feel like that is inspiring and positive to the nth degree…

to visit the site Nick started, Life Wihtout Limbs, which has a lot of inspiring material on it, click here

in the light of the Oscar Pistorius case and other heavy negative stories that are filling up the newswaves, it is good to be reminded of some of the good stories that are taking place out there:

‘At the end of January, eight days of rain left the people of Limpopo reeling. The district of Vhembe was one of the worst hit areas. Homes were damaged, water pipes broken and uprooted, and at least eight lives were lost.’

flyingforlifeso begins this article which highlights an organisation called Flying for Life which literally swooped in and saved the day – read the article here but even a bonus story is the site that i found it on called The Good News South Africa which is already doing daily what i am trying to attempt with a couple of blogs during this week – and that is reporting the good news – stories of life and celebration and cures for rabies and book-reading days, so read the story of how Flying for Life got involved to bring life and hope to the villages in Limpopo, but also perhaps bookmark that site as one to head to regularly to encourage you and add balance to all the negative news reporting we often fill our lives, minds and attitudes with.

‘Now, after the flood, once the rescue personnel have long since left the area and life has returned to “normal”, Flying for Life will continue to use aviation in its work to find solutions for education, healthcare, HIV/AIDS training, enterprise development, housing, water solutions, and skills and agriculture development.’

[to be inspired by the story of the man with no limbs, Nick Vujicic, and his new baby boy, click here…]

in the midst of all the recent focus on murder and rape and negativity that has been jamming up the media and our minds and social networks, i figured it was time to seek out some inspirational life-giving stories of positivity and hope – what a gem to begin with:

Nicholas McCarthy

Just 23 years old, Nicholas McCarthy also appeared at the 2012 Paralympics ‘although McCarthy’s moment of fame came as a musical performer when he played in the closing ceremony with the British Paraorchestra.’

This young British pianist, born without his right hand, has been making an international name for himself as a exceptionally talented and hard-working one-handed pianist.

Read this story here and be ready to be deeply moved by someone who embraces life to the full against all odds and is wowing people the world over.

Watch the video clip with your eyes closed and you won’t believe the dude is playing with one hand only, it is in-sane!

What stories have you found that celebrate life and are worth sharing and being inspired by together?

[to move to the next story dealing with water supply and a whole site of good news for South Africa, click here…]

wine knot

so i suspect this will be a recurring blog theme cos like an incessant ‘are we there yet?’ passes through the long-holiday-journey hourglass of eternal automobile moments, so seems the latest bottle of 2010 SA choice wine – a somewhat bitter-sweet cabinet with subtle hints of preach, cynicmon and sulktana – and so quite possibly the remedy is to keep on writing ‘shutuporleave, shutuporleave, shutuporleave, shutuporleave’ as continuously and in as varied an array of hues as possible so that maybe somewhere, somehow, at sometime someone does shut up or leave

although even that will not leave a satisfying taste in my, well, in our collective, mouth or mouths

because the answer is not shutting up

the solution is not for the whiners to be quiet or leave

it is for them to continue to speak and to even up the passion with which they speak at the moment

but the key is for them to change their…um key, their tune, their vibe, their direction

we need to the message to be screamed and shouted but before that occurs we need someone mischievous, maybe more than one, to reach behind them and sneakily snatch away their ranky red and replace it with a natural sweet south african

we need a dessert, not a deserting

we need a nation to stand together and be a part of a positive anthem being shouted, screamed, sung together and lived out in the public eye

and not a part of a nation standing apart from the nation throwing stones at the nation

away with the ‘nay’ in with the ‘shin’

shin – the part of the leg that needs a guard when playing sport to protect it – we need a people who will stand strong and speak life to protect our nation from the frenetic paced activity that is happening all around it and threatening to cause it some pain if not

shindig – party – community coming together to celebrate, and be celebrated, to thrive, to live

and we do need to live

so if you have decided to live here, then please, live… here. be present, be involved, speak live, live life, reach out, reach up, lift up, look up, grow up, speak up

um like just quite whining is all

i write a weekly thort for the week aimed at challenging Christ followers to actively live out what they believe – longer than my normal blog posts but i think this is important reading, living.

Dear friends

This week’s thort is specifically aimed at people living in South Africa but feel free to relate it to your specific context – i just feel after this week that God is calling up people who will speak prophetically to the church in this land and this is what has been laid on my heart.

There is a story in Numbers 13 where Moses sends 12 men to explore the land of Canaan – which God had promised He was giving to the Israelites – to spy out the land. They go out and take a look around for forty days, find an amazing stash of super fruit [‘they cut off a branch bearing a single cluster of grapes. Two of them carried it on a pole between them along with some pomegranates and figs’] and go back to make a report to Moses:

“We went into the land which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey. But the people there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan.” [Numbers 13.27-29]

And it carries on, ‘Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”

But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” [13.30-33]

Then in chapter 14 the people continue to grumble and complain about how they should rather go back to Egypt (slash the UK)

‘Then Moses and Aaron fell facedown in front of the whole Israelite assembly gathered there. Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through is exceedingly good. If the Lord is pleased with us, He will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”

But the whole assembly talked about stoning them.’ [Numbers 14.5-10a]

And the rest is history. Forty years of wandering around in the desert history and Joshua and Caleb are the only two out of all the Israelites who make it into the promised land because of the punishment for their disobedience and lack of trust in God.

I am not saying that South Africa is the promised land (as much as those who live in Cape Town love to profess that it is.)

Our land doesn’t flow with milk and honey which is fine cos i am not the hugest honey fan – but we do have minerals and more importantly incredible people resources and potential – rich culture and skill and ability to survive and adapt and thrive in the most difficult of situations.

What i am going to say – and what i believe to be of God – is get up or get out. A lot of people have chosen to leave South Africa for whatever reasons, some of which may be valid, some not, but this is not addressed or aimed at them (except when it comes to applying this wherever you have moved to). What i am saying strongly to you today, what i am exhorting you to, is to choose life. If you have chosen to stay in South Africa (and it really will take an act or a strong calling of God for me to do otherwise – although i am not sure what or where next year holds so it may just be) then stop whining, stop complaining, stop pointing fingers at the government (corrupt as they may be, and a lot of them are), get over your opinions of Jacob Zuma or Julius Malema, and get positive. Be the change you want to see. Get on your knees once a day (or a 100 times) and start praying for the government, start praying for the overcoming of the giants in our land (giants of Aids and Poverty and Crime and Racism and so on…) start praying for the church to be more united and to be really known for the love they have for one another;  pray for the police and those involved in education and medicine.

And get involved. Go through your cupboards and take out all the clothes and shoes you have not worn for the last year and take it to a church or shelter or somewhere where they will pass it on to someone in need, or better yet, find someone in need and give it to them. Go and join Habitat for Humanity for a week and build a house for someone. Challenge your church leaders on how your church is involved in social justice and find a cause to support or be informed about (human trafficking on the eve of the Soccer World Cup for example). Get involved in a Soccer World Cup Outreach so you can take advantage of all the natural excitement and enthusiasm there is in that regard and there are many organisations doing many things you can get involved in. And so on – get creative – ask God to show you where and how and how much you can get involved.

Just stop whining and complaining and being pessimistic PLEASE… or please just go. You’re bringing the country down and we really don’t need that. If you’re not being part of the solution then you are part of the problem and THE CHURCH IS THE SOLUTION FOR THIS COUNTRY. Well rather God is the solution for this country but He operates largely through the body of Christ which is us. [if you are outside South Africa then get involved in whatever context you are in but by all means PRAY FOR US – we are on the edge of something that, unless God’s people take a stand and raise a collective voice and get involved – could end up looking very much like Zimbabwe]

I am not speaking in fear at all. I am speaking in hope. I love this country. And i definitely believe the God i serve is able to do immeasurably more than all i can hope or imagine (Ephesians 3.20). And i hope and imagine a LOT for this country.

‘the thief comes to steal and kill and destroy [look around] but I [Jesus] have come that you may have life, and live it to the full.’ [John 10.10]

That is the call for us as South Africans.

That is the call for us as the church of South Africa.

Do away with negative speech, have your mind transformed by the possibilities of what God can do when the church in South Africa unite and stand together for positive change.

This country can be transformed one more time.

Do you believe that?

Even if you’re struggling to believe but you want to believe that, that’s something. Give it to God, He’ll grow it.

Mother Teresa once said ‘we can do no great things, but we can do small things with great love’ and Love is going to be the key to turning this country on its head (in a good way)

“If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my Face and turn from their wicked ways, THEN will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”  [2 Chronicles 7.14]

If you’re in, be in. Otherwise, please, just go.

God bless you

Love brett anderson

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