Tag Archive: shane claiborne


No_bob

Many of you will know of No_bob, the world’s most famous stuffed dolphin. But you may not know the story.

In 2000 i flew to the UK to earn some money teaching [due to an unfortunate police clearance incident i only ended up doing five days of actual teaching which was a high-or-low-light of itself and mostly looked after old people or University professors, who were about equally competent] so that i could join Youth With A Mission in Holland and go and save the world, or something. Continue reading

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troll
today i happened to stumble upon this blog post titled, ‘Simple is the way’ announcing that we had been invited to move to Americaland to work with The Simple Way non-profit and live in Philly.

it’s not a particularly great blog post – more of an announcement for friends and family and just sharing the excitement at the time, but what was interesting, and what was again skimming through, was reading the comments [56 of them, including some responses] from people in South Africa who clearly didn’t think it was the greatest decision in the world:

Morne asked: Will you guys come back after getting a taste of the good life in America?

For Vanessa, it was the financial implications:

How are you going to get the money for the tickets as well as the Visas for such a long duration?

If a normal Christian wanted to go over to America, how would they go about it? Would people help any normal Christian out with cash? Or do you need to be quite high up in the Church in order to get the money?

Warren was on point with: People only have a certain amount of money. A certain amount that they can give. If they give to you, doesn’t it detract from giving to others more in need who are starving?

Joanne was worried about our family members, and the township children: Won’t you miss your friends and family here in SA? What about all the township children? But sounds like a fun opportunity to leave like the rest of the people. If others like doctors and whoever leave, then why not christians also.

And then returned with a statement that backed up the idea that when people use the phrase “Just Saying” they seldom just are: On your way to the airport, you’ll pass thousands of poor people in shacks…. just saying..

Joanne really seemed invested in our well-being, especially when she heard we were doing perilous transcription work to try and make enough money to set out: Why not get a job delivering pizza? Or a both of you work as waiters/ waitresses? This way you will interact with people instead of transcribing things all day which is quite boring I can imagine. You could save up quite quickly and get to go on your trip.

Joanne really did have a lot more to say but it seems like she really got to the heart of our leaving in this comment: If it was just for a change of scenery, then why not admit it. Why make out as if its about the poor in Philie? Are they then going to send people from Philie here and we shift people all over the world, costing millions when this money could just go directly to the poor. Or is it all about your experience, learning, your this, your that? Something like that.

Definitely something like that.

All the while these comments were interspersed with humour from a favourite commenter of ours at the time [Where are you now Brits?] who wrote to Joanne: You must leave that job of yours. Get a job as a bar lady! They pay well and you will be happy as you can suip [drink] and get paid and listen to music.

Filon was a lot more practical and helpful in his recommendations: Africa is a lost cause. Go to USA there are more opportunities.

While MJ was clearly swimming against the current: I like the bit where everyone got stoked for you and Val, and stopped trying to find something to complain about. That was my favourite part.

Jeff jumped in to question our quitting themness: I think what people are really saying is that we have poor here. We have poor there. Why there and not here? I understand that you’ve done much needed work here, but why quit us now? Surely we need more Americans coming to help Africa than the other way round?

[as a side note Jeff, Americaland in many ways could use more Africans of all shapes and sizes and backgrounds to come over here and help out – the grass seems to be of a very similiar hue in many ways over here]

troll2

Brits kept things light with his commentary [including some helpful suggestions for getting sufficient alcohol on the plane]:

Hi Brett I check your blog now and again. But lately not too much because I don’t know much about dating and that bell oke. Maybe some new age minister. I also slipped off the wagon again and took up my sport of drinking beer now I have gained kilos and moved to Aghulus for a holiday. I am starting exercise and am inspirated by your pushups. I am aiming for 20. Or maybe running is better, probably walking at first. must make a start of something.

It is funny to hear that whenever you argue with Christians, they reckons you’re the devil haha. I’m accused of this when I am too drunk and the bar lady says I am a wild devil for not paying the tab for 20 beers. I always come pay the next day or after. Besides she even drank 2 herself haha women are very bad with math. They very good at making shopping lists and spend cash.

I think it’s good that you go there as travel is an experience. I must not to a blog as Christians will moan at my beer drinking and say I must give to the bergies but I often give them beers they don’t understand. When I am more drunk I get generosity and buy takeout then buy for the guy outside also. So beer helps with that. Beer or sobeer haha you must not worry and soon you will be in Amerika.

Christians must not be boring. Traveling is fun and a good experience. The budweiser in Amerika not so good but whiskey is more cheaper than here. Are you going to Bronx. You must please be careful as there us gangsters there and pimps on the alert. Bruce Springsteen sings about the Bronx snd Philadelphia. Listen to that to get in the mode.

On the plane you must drink the wine and the beer. If you see an old lady or someone not drinking you must ask for their wine. They limit you to 2 or 3 drinks.

In Amerika you must tell on a map as they not very educated with geography. Do buy a good map to show them where you from.

But we must drink when I’m back from Aghulus. I will pay as you saving up now. I will try calm down before then. What day you flying?

To get donations you must put your account number up. Or maybe use paypal. You must open FNB account to do that here. Not sure exactly but I know it’s FNB. What amount do you need? I can help as well and leave out beer for a month.

To be Christian is not just misery, you must have fun aswell. I think Keanu reeves in little budda even said we must not just live on bird poo. We must have a balancing act of fun and hardness. The Bible also us sometimes too serious and they must have left out many fun times and jokes Jesus had. Christians must be more fun. We not living in old castles with dungeons and crazy priests.

Nobody wants to be a Christian who is miserable. It must be a fun thing or else people will not join up. Just out up photos on your site so we can check out where you are. Keep up the jokes. Your wife must blog more as she is slacking. But she must keep it easy to understand.

I am back next weekend and we can suip a bit or drink coffee. But ya put up an account or whatever. Check it out. Wish you guys good blessings.

And then a bunch of our family and friends ruined the whole thing by jumping on and saying nice things about us and reminding us that it was a good idea to go. Phew. What a fun walk slash sTROLL down memory lane… and looking back on three years, certainly NOT the easy option.

reading all those comments reminded me of the time i wrote a post on forgiveness [well shared an audio thort i had done] and got 59 comments of which i don’t think any related to forgiveness at all but were more focused on how christians like me hate animals and how i was personally going to be responsible for the closing down of the world of birds which you can read about over here – on the other hand, it has been a long time since i got anything like that as a response to anything i’ve written so i have to wonder if that means i’ve been writing too safe..?

well with under two weeks to go til we head home to South Africa, i expect that will change – last few months have been posting more of other peoples’ thoughts such as this marriage series we did, most of the posts on race [which i am looking to dive into a little deeper when we get home] and these recent series on Porn and Sex, because, well, you know.

if someone is not Troll’ing, are you really speaking the Truth? i don’t think writing to offend is particularly helpful, but writing knowing that it will more than likely offend is completely necessary, especially if you are writing Truth. so sometimes the amount of naysayers and virtual stone throwers can be as helpful, if not more so, than those who are clapping loudly and winking knowingly.

looking forward to a new phase of writing more from me as opposed to simply being a space where i share others thoughts and stories [although hoping to always be a place where that can happen]…

are you ready, world?

truth

2014 brett pool duncs

so today we fly back to americaland and i leave a changed man.

but maybe not in the way you would expect… i don’t feel like i have grown so much as i have regressed, but in a good way though. as in ‘returned to former state’ – or returning at least.

in some Christian senses i guess we have been living the dream – 19 months at the Simple Way [you know, the mecca of christian intentional community… will write something about that sometime], attending Wild Goose Festivals, CCDA conferences and involved in two non-profits… you know, changing the world. or something.

i was having lunch with my new mate Bill yesterday and i heard him say the words… he was talking about living an actively following Jesus life and really taking this stuff seriously and he threw in the line, “But of course you know all this, you’re living it”, which is great to hear of course, but my heart thudded a little bit when i heard it, because i feel i still have so far to go.

AMERICALAND: land of the free… king confused.

oh Africa, who looks jealously across the ocean at Americaland

land of hope, land of plenty

land of money and opportunity and adventure 

land of blockbuster movies and high speed internet and space tourism programs

and really bad mayonnaise. no seriously, i’m talking that stuff needs a new name cos that is NOT mayonnaise.

what the raiSIN-infested-custard were you thinking?

and i will be speaking in generalisations here so please don’t see it through a one-size-fits-all lens, and remember that Americaland is a huge country and our experience of it is largely Philadelphia and Oakland, and the church tribes we have encountered there and online…

but we have noticed that as advanced as Americaland is in many areas [and it is, or maybe developed is a better word because being more developed does not mean more advanced – i remember a glorious time when telephones were not able to be carried around with us and people at restaurants actually looked at and spoke to each other] there are some where it seems completely backward or in need of catchup. mayonnaise is one such area [throw all of yours out and start again] and another is banking systems [so much of backward in many areas of that] and public toilet doors [mind the gap!] and so on.

and your church. while there are incredible church congregations doing incredible things and while we have met some truly amazing and brilliant people and also been super privileged to find a congregation we enjoy being a part of in Re:Generation, your church as a whole [or in large pockets within the whole] feels very confused and in need of a bit of a shake up [and not because it’s not new or post-post-modern or ‘with it’ enough].

the church of Americaland has for a long time seen itself as the Saviour of the rest of the world in many ways – must. save. Africa. [wait, where is Africa? oh, there it is… must.save.Africa] but you seem to largely [remember the generalisations, if this is not you, let it go and move on] be taking your lead from the world and not from Scripture or the Holy Spirit [or the glorious combination of them both].

tolerance has become the big deal where the definition of tolerance has become ‘whatever you want to do or be is fine, anyone who tells you you cannot do or be what you are doing or being is intolerant and judgemental and Jesus who loved and embraced and welcomed all people is sad with those people for not just accepting everyone, however they choose to be. ‘

the church was always meant to be modeling the love of Jesus and the worship of God the Father and the power, love and discipline of the Holy Spirit to the world in a ‘Deny yourself, take up your cross daily and follow Me’ kind of way which feels like it has been largely been replaced by a ‘this feels good’ or ‘this will keep people happy’ mentality which is just not evidenced all that much in the Bible.

there is also a strong sense of 1 Corinthians 1 dejavu going on…

12 What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.”

13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so no one can say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

Christ Crucified Is God’s Power and Wisdom

18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Except that we have replaced Paul and Apollos and Cephas with John Piper and Mark Driscoll and Rachel Held Evans and Shane Claiborne… being influenced by people is great [follow my example as i follow the example of Christ – 1 Corinthians 11] but when you start following people, that is when it gets dangerous and the cross of Christ starts to be emptied of its power.

church of Americaland – the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing… once our message starts to make sense and be completely acceptable to all those around us, we need to be checking if it is still the same message of God.

26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him.30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”

and so, church of Americaland, there is so much good in you and so many passionate and committed people doing some incredible and amazingly creative things, but as a whole, you do seem quite confused and really in need of plugging back into your source and being led by Him. also it wouldn’t hurt for you to take some time in Africa [and beyond] just simply looking and listening and learning… you might be surprised at the work God has been doing there and what they might have to offer you.

REFUSE THIS THING

so for me, this trip has been so good, and two things stand out:

[1] connecting with people who are passionate about following Jesus – i have been leaning towards staying in Americaland for longer because i love the Re:Gen community we are part of and the opportunities to preach and work with young and older people there. God is doing some good stuff there and it has been great to be a part of it and i definitely feel like i have a lot to offer and hopefully learn from them… but it was one night in Hillbrow [my first, back in South Africa] that changed everything for me and reminded me how African my blood is. and i’m not so sure it was Hillbrow. it was spending time with Nigel Branken and his family, who in the messiest of ways, are trying to re-imagine their faith in Jesus and live where they feel He has called them, as well as meeting some other great people in that community that night. it was reconnecting with my buddy Rob and his wife Nicky who are in the midst of planting a church with some friends. it was breakfast with Bruce and Bex and hearing how they are wanting to have an impact in the community where they are. it was listening to my old youth mate Fezile and how he is wanting to create a program to clean up the township where he lives. and it was lunch with Bill, listening to how he is wrestling with really wanting to follow Jesus completely and how that feels like it looks so different from the regular Sunday church meeting he has been attending and how that affects finances and hospitality and work ethics and beyond. and it was sitting with a bunch of people over a meal discussing how we could give away the pot of money we had all contributed to, to meet the needs of other people we know. and more. conversations, people, ideas, passion for kingdom things and transformation of the world as we know it – seeing the kingdom come on earth and not waiting for the big escape from this messed up world

[2] getting hijacked with worship music – we had an amazing gift from an old youth friend Kerstin and her husband Carl in being gifted the use of their car which has been an incredible present to tbV and me while we have been here. but it took us a while to realise there was more than one cd in the car and until we did, there was this worship compilation that i would just play over and over and two songs in particular stood out for me, the one being by a guy called Ben Howard titled ‘I will be blessed’ [anyone who knows me well knows that that is a unlikely title for a song that would be liked by me] – just a completely haunting song that just overwhelmed me in some ways and the lyrics don’t do it justice at all without hearing it so head off to Uncl Google, but here is the chorus:

Oh hey heaven is the place we know
Heaven is the arms that hold us
Long before we go
Oh hey, heaven is the place we know
Heaven is the arms that hold us
Long before we go

but just the gift of worship and having it around me every time i have been in the car has been so great for me and an even bigger gift than the car itself. it feels like my very soul [the whoness of who i am] has been bathed in this river of just holiness and love and grace and brought me so much closer to God and helped me focus on Him. a reminder of Who and what this is all about.

i have a plane to go and get ready for although i feel like there is a whole lot more to say, but the focus of this post is that for me this trip has helped me to become a little more unsettled than i’ve been – hence the regression [which is usually seen as a negative thing but can also be describing something that returns to a former state] – one of the biggest dangers of life as a follower of Jesus is that we settle – with the way things are, with the routine of life, with the squeezing down of our passion and belief that God and His church can actually make a difference in the world and actually just kind of semi-give up and start to resemble everyone else, in a kind of boring and bland and grey kind of way…

that is NOT what we have been called to – we have been called to live and thrive and be agents of transformation in a world that is desperately in need of God… i am so glad this trip has rekindled some of the fire in me and so expectant [and nervous] about what lies ahead… we have been in Americaland for a reason – it has been both great and hard and amazing and difficult and frustrating and exhilarating and angrifying and more… but it has been good…

and i’m not sure what is next or how it looks or anything like that [we are committed to church and non-profit work til August] but i want to continue to fan into flame the things that God is starting to work in my life.

if you’re a praying person, i can definitely use a lot of that. we both can.

my nickname is FISH which stands for Faithful In Serving Him – i am definitely not worthy at all of carrying that as a description of who i am, but as a path i try to follow and live out and aim towards, that is something i hold strongly to.

i love Jesus. i love His church. and i believe that when the church starts being the church, every one of us, then the world will be completely turned upside down.

which, ironically, is right side up.

i found this quote somewhere [ironically not in the Biography of Desmond Tutu which I am close to finishing reading] and posted it on Facebook and it really resonated with people:

‘I know of no aid dropped from a helicopter or dictated from afar that has ever taken root. Whenever, Jesus entered the slums, he came on the back of a donkey and in a cloud of dust, face to face with poverty.’ [Archbishop Desmond Tutu]

footwashWhat tends to happen though with inspiring quotes, acts or books is that we see them and give them a standing ovation, but then a week later our lives look no different and so surely the message there is that it was really a waste of time…

One thing that was exciting about our time at The Simple Way was meeting a large number of people who has read the book ‘The Irresistible Revolution’ by Shane Claiborne whose lives had completely been transformed as a result. People who had started ministries to people living on the streets or who had opened their homes to people in need or who were volunteering at places or giving money to place or whatever. When transformation takes place then you know that God is at work.

I met and had a conversation with a man called Nigel Branken recently [who you can read about in this post] who moves into Hillbrow with his family, into one of the toughest most crime-filled areas in the country to try and be part of the change he wants to see. So not just standing and clapping and waving and getting excited and hitting like or share or send, but taking an action that would no doubt have a huge cost attached. And then living that out day to day.

On the back of a donkey and in a cloud of dust, face to face with poverty.

There was the story of Temar Boggs recently, which largely went unnoticed in the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case that was all over the news in Americaland. Normal kid doing an extraordinary thing in the face of huge injustice and becoming a hero, at least to one family.

And the closer to home there was a lot of introspection that happened on the step outside my door, involving coffee in a Marvin the Martian mug, where i started looking at the bigger picture of what must make Jesus sad, before bringing it back to the guy i see when i look in the mirror – Well, what are YOU doing, Brett? And so this three part series came from there culminating in me making the first tiny step [part III] towards the shift to more actively living out what i believe. And the change in that one relationship has been incredible. Daily greeting has progressed towards some type of relationship where we know a little bit more about the other person.

What about you? Do you cheer the Tutu quote and then return to life as is? Do you applaud the things Jesus says without letting them dictate inform how you live your life? Do you nod agreeingly when reading the bible yet live a life so differently from that which you read?

Basically is your faith real, honest and authentic? Do you look and smell a lot more like Jesus than you did last year? Is it a continuing process of growth and change or was it a once off decision you made one day sometime in the past when you stuck your hand up and repeated some prayer?

We are called to so much more. Jesus promised us life to the full and that is what we should be embracing, every day every day.

simple way

Wow! 19 months flew by, just like… well 570 days, really.

June last year, after about four months of weekly Skype calls with our present and to be future bossman Darin Petersen, the beautiful Val [tbV] and i arrived in Kensington, Philadelphia, Americaland to live and work at the Simple Way non-profit as part of the first batch of an internship program [which was later upgraded to a residency program when they saw our skills, or something]…

[a fun fact is that i was born and raised in an area called Kensington in Johannesburg, South Africa, the country and so in one sense it was a return to my roots but not really]

We joined Erica [aka Amy Winehouse meets activism], Aaron Condo…n [aka Monkman, master, my lord] and Beth [aka Beth or the Doodler, or quite possible milkwoman, altho we never called her that] who was doing a shorter three month internship and we became known as ‘The Village People’ [the house we stayed in was called the Village House, we did the YMCA a lot less than you would probably imagine]. The first internationals to be invited to be part of the program, so quite a bit of a risk really. Shane Claiborne and his new bride Katie Jo lived a few houses down the road, Darin and his wife Meeghan and their kids Just Ice [as i called him, because i wanted to give him a little space] and Madix… and then a handful more people who lived in other places but worked with us in the office… and later Sueihn Lee and Dan Brearley were added as Erica, Aaron and Beth [twice] moved on…

This is the passage that indirectly got me there, that i had been wrestling with when i chanced upon Shane’s book, ‘The Irresistible Revolution’ 6 years before, which resonated with a lot of my struggles with how church looked like now compared to then – ‘They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.’

and tonite we fly out… season over… back to South Africa to hang out with friends and family and watch some live cricket dressed as a Hobbit and hopefully get some hockeying and improv in and meet my new nephew Joshua and get to see if i was telling lies about South Africa mayonnaise for the last 19 months and have some braais and my mom’s secret birthday dessert she makes for me once a year and possibly pool party and hopefully get my dreads touched up and get some rest and relaxation and reflection and more…

before a new season begins. which will be with the same boss, different no-profit [Relational Tithe, or as it is about to be more commonly known Common Change] but the absolute same task of following Jesus [or trying to] and seeking to be a part of His kingdom growing here as it is in heaven.

and so the big question i guess, as we enter one of those reflectful times of both the end of a life season and the end of a calendar year [sorry Mayans, the Romans were right!] is how was the time? Good, bad or ugly? A combination of all, perhaps? Was the way simple?

i guess you will have to take me out for coffee [or a rack of Spur Ribs with extra basting] when we get home and you can ask that in person…

i can tell you it wasn’t easy. well, not all the time, some parts were really easy. Val and i love Kensington. we absolutely love Philly. we love so many of the people we got to meet and hang out and do life with.

i can tell you we would definitely make the same decision to do it all again – good, bad and ugly.

but it is time to go. and so later today i think we will.

i do still very much love Jesus and am hungry to see His kingdom come.

after years and years of loving Him [or trying to] and serving Him [ditto] i have found that His way, although simple in concept, is very rarely simple when you actually try to actively live it out. [fortunately He never leaves you to do it alone…]

so a new year, a new location, a new mission…
but still the continuing overall theme of ‘Love God, Love people… and all the rest is commentary!

Meat Romney?

so i wrote about the elections the other day and think some people may have been disappointed by me not actually talking all that sepcifically about the elections and voting in it, as the bottom line of my post was that ‘we vote every day by our actions’ which is completely true and probably a lot more specifically relevant than the actual vote i do or don’t cast [well i don’t cos i am from africa… you know, the country, and they won’t even take my blood here to save peoples lives so they definitely don’t want my vote]. but for those of you who felt cheated by it i thort i would look at some of the myths or statements people make [or just downright lies] when it comes to voting… these are all ideas that came out of our midrash the other night and so i am not saying they are all my points or ideas, but are definitely an interesting perspective on some aspects of voting [so please view these as interesting points to get you thinking rather than definitive absolute truth statements]:

# my piddly little single vote doesn’t count – a lot of people feel like this and with the voting being in the millions, mine surely doesn’t count at all right? Only if you haven’t seen ‘A Bug’s Life’ and I’m talking beyond the brilliance that was “Stay away from the light!” “I can’t, it’s so beauuuuutifiuuuuuulllll FZZZT” or Antz… one bug vs the big scary insects – impossible – but a million bugs vs the twenty big scary insects… life-changing… one of the people at the midrash posed it this way – what if people said the same about recycling? with the millions of kilograms of recycling needing to be done, how does my little bit count? well, for it to count it needs each of the millions of little bugs to do their bit but whether it is recycling or voting, each one adds up.

# i’m going to vote for the lesser of two evils – party one has people who want to raise taxes and increase the burden on the poor, party two has people who want to make it okay to kill babies… well i can’t pick any one because they both have bad things about them, so let me pick the lesser of two evils… this is probably a punt for the ‘don’t vote’ people but the question raised was, ‘Why would you pick any evil?’ – i remember someone arguing against someone else years ago and it turned out they didn’t even strongly believe in what they were arguing for – “Well, how can you argue that then?” asked the first person. “I’m playing devil’s advocate,” was the response/ “Well why would you ever want to work for him?” was the comeback. And i think there is some truth to this – the phrase ‘lesser of two evils’ is not a phrase that you would ever hear Jesus advocating because He always picked the route of no evil and as far as the Bible is concerned it seems to indicate that there will always be a way for us to do this [No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Corinthians 10.13] as well. And maybe not voting is that way.

# voting for one of the smaller parties makes no difference – this used to get me so mad in South Africa – there was a Christian party that came along with some really good people in it who really seemed to have some good ideas about education and other important aspects and i heard so many people use this excuse as to why they didn’t vote for them – in fact many people chose what they saw as the lesser of two evils over a party that many of them believed in… and so it became the truth… but if the amount of people i heard say that line was a small representation of everyone thinking that line and voting that way, then if all of them had voted for the small party it would have made a significant difference, even if it only meant one or two more people from that party would have gotten into parliament because that would have meant one or two more voices of sanity and Godliness… [this reminds me of the little kid with the starfish on the beach making a difference to them one at a time but WHAT IF EVERYONE WHO WAS MEANT TO BE ON THE BEACH WAS ON THE BEACH – then suddenly you are making a difference to hundreds and thousands and eventually millions] – the more people who vote for parties they believe in, the more representation those parties will have which will hopefully encourage more people to vote for them and eventually get them to a place where they can make a difference.

# if you don’t vote then you can’t complain – there was a great response to this one which was turning it on its head and saying actually if you voted someone in then you can’t complain, but if you didn’t vote and someone who you didn’t want to get in got in then you definitely have a right to voice concerns whereas if you voted someone in and they turned out to be not the person you were hoping for, well, then it is your vote that got them there and can you really complain?

# as followers of Christ it is my duty to vote – a lot of people play this card and i just don’t know if it’s true – i think a lot of us grow up with the line of ‘voting is a responsible thing to do’ and so even considering not voting feels like a completely alien concept – and i don’t know that i have settled on whether voting or not voting is the answer [which is why i will continue to focus more heavily on voting every day with how i live my life, decisions i make on recycling and what food and clothes products i buy and where i eat out and so on] but i imagine if we are trying to put spiritual pressure on people to vote then we really need to go back to the bible and ask if that is really what we are being commanded to do. Jesus didn’t overthrow the Roman government [which many of the people were hoping he would] but He also didn’t always align Himself with the religious or political leaders of His day. so i think it becomes a question of conscience and as a follower of Jesus what might be more important than voting or not might be how i treat my friends and others around me who arrive at a different opinion than mine…

to vote or not to vote? that is a question…

but to love God, to love people, to always forgive anyone who has wronged me, to look after the least of these [especially widows and children] and to make disciples of all nations and teach them to obey what Jesus taught us… no question! So let’s start with that.

Or Broccoli Obama?

for some radical and revolutionary thoughts from Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw in the ‘Jesus for President’ mould, check out this updated article on Red Letter Christians where they share some creativity about how we can engage healthily and in a way that may spell out revolution.

so for those of you who missed my post on my ‘the simple weigh’ blog, here is a link to that and the story of the first week of aquaponics building that has been taking place at the simple way communtiy in kensington, philadelphia where we stay… aquaponics is like hydroponics but with fish [sustainable food growth]

click here to see…

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