Tag Archive: the irresistible revolution

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.

i was busy responding to a hospitality house [part of my job at the simple way] email when i saw this link to a shane claiborne uk tour happening later this year – if you watch the brief video clip you will get an idea of why val and i are hanging out in these parts with these people – it is an exciting dreama nd vision – what if Jesus actually meant the stuff? what if we lived like we believed it?

so watch the video clip to be inspired, encouraged and challenged [if you haven’t yet read ‘the irresistible revolution’ by shane that will give you a much better idea] and if you are in the uk or know of people who are then encourage them to get along to one of the venues below where he will be speaking – more details can be gotten on this site – http://www.upsidedownkingdomtour.com

Ballymena, Co Antrim
Coleford, Gloucestershire
The Black Country
Burslem, Stoke on Trent
Bromley, Kent

[fri 19th august to sat 3 september]

this is an article written by shane claiborne for relevant magazine that encourages the church to get creative in their imagination of what a new world could look like – what are you dreaming up?

i have started a separate blog for posting ‘the simple way’ adventure related stuff so that people who are wanting to follow our journeys and have an idea of what’s going on can simply sign up there and read whatever i get to write about things that are part of our philly trip – if that’s you, you may want to bookmark this link where i have written a basic idea of what it’s all about for those of you who don’t know but more will be written as we arrive there and start to live on the other side… http://thesimpleweigh.wordpress.com

i was thinking about this the other day and it’s a pretty silly semantical thort but it was mine and that it was too. [eh hem]

and hopefully someone is already penning me an email [can one do that?] to tell me i spelt ‘faithful’ wrong, without reading the blog post [those are some of my favourite people] but actually that was the thort that ran thru my head the other day

God is faithful, for sure, i have no doubt of that and especially so after experiencing it [albeit on many 11 hour 56 minute occasions] many times the first half of this year, but He is not faith full as in full of faith, because God doesn’t need faith like we do.

Why not? Because He knows Himself. i think some dead english guy wrote the phrase “to thine own self be true” which is what God absolutely is. God cannot not be true to Himself. He is Love and Justice and Mercy and Grace and Faithfulness and Wisdom and all of those descriptors get a capital letter when speaking about Him because that is when they are at their absolute truest.

So God doesn’t need faith in Himself – hope that He will act in the way He should, because He is God and that is who He is and He will absolutely always act true to Himself and His character.

So God is definitely not faithfull. He doesn’t need any faith.

But what He is, is Trustworthy.

Which we have learnt from experiencing His faithfulness.

the beautiful val and i started the year trusting that the belief i had that God was wanting us to wait on Him for plans for this year was a valid one and so we waited and prayed and asked and answered other peoples questions using the phrase ‘i don’t know’ to good effect and then two possibilities came up – the Simple Way which we are doing and an internship [for tbV] with IJM [International Justice Mission] which we are not [at the moment anyway]. the process happened pretty smoothly and at the end of april we were invited to join the Simple Way in Philadelphia [those who have read ‘The Irresistible Revolution’ will know what it is, those who haven’t should!] for 19 months with val working in crisis management and emergency services and me being involved with the hospitality house which deals with people coming to check out the work and happenings of the Simple Way and hopefully some communications stuff as well.

which left us with the big 5 – getting someone to take over our apartment, selling both our cars, getting visas, buying air tickets and getting rid of our stuff [with a 6th one – paying off val study visa and car loan – lurking quietly in the background] which have now largely been taken care of thankx to incredible provision by God and people who love Him [and love us which is really cool] – getting no salaries from Feb [and then having the two salaries we were meant to get in April not arrive due to a clerical error] meant that we really had to trust God a lot that we were being obedient to what He had said – and sometimes literally the night before we needed money it would appear in our account, with no-one knowing that we needed it. The visas are on hold as we wait for some info from the Simple Way which we should get later today and it seems like we will get better ones than we were applying for. We were blown away by a gift from a good friend last nite that will allow us to, as val would say, punch number 6 in the face. So it is all looking good.

Did we triumphantly trust God the whole way with no doubting or second-guessing or getting ready to panic or stress or make a plan B? Absolutely not. We had moments of weakness and struggle and panic and doubt. But we continued to trust through it all and God, as always, continued to prove faithful and show us, in His perfect timing that He has us. And a lot of the time He did it through His church, the Christ-following people we are fortunate enuff to be in relationship with. And not always the ones we suspected it would be. We have been pleasantly surprised time and time again.

So God doesn’t need faith. Therefore He cannot be faithfull.
But God is trustworthy, not always in the ways we expect, and so He is absolutely faithful.
Church, when it works, is incredible.
and some other fourth thing…

so after weeks and months it is finally official – the beautiful val and myself received an invite letter from the simple way to join them by 15 june to start a 19 month job slash ministry…

for those of you who don’t know anything about the simple way i suggest you get hold of a book called ‘the irresistible revolution’ by a guy called shane claiborne – one of my top three books ever and definitely changed my life – the simple way is the community that shane, who wrote that book, lives in and is a part of ministering to – it is in a place called Kensington, Philadelphia [ironically i grew up in a place called Kensington, Johannesburg] and the idea is that we will go and live there and work and minister in the community. we see it largely as a huge learning, stretching experience as we want to live among some people who we think really seem to be doing a good job of seeking God and living it out in real, pratical and world-transforming ways – we also hope that we will be able to add to the community in the different ways we serve

tbV is going to be involved in a few things, the main one of which is managing daily crisis control stuff – so dealing with day to day crises that present themselves and also some community development stuff…

i am going to be largely responsible for the hospitality house which is where people who want to go and check out the life and work of the simple way get to stay for a weekend or week or night or whatever [so if you come and visit my official job will be to look after you, hm] so organising people visiting and staying in connection with those who have and maintaining the house and hopefully getting involved with the magazine they produce called Conspire so hopefully contributing to that.

i think it will only really sink in and feel really real when we are sitting in a plane flying americalandwards but it is nice to finally know [many skype calls and emails since end jan/beginning feb] what we are heading towards. at the end of last year i quit my job believing we had to wait on God for the next step and His hand is really all over this and in seeing us survive after 4 months of no salary [sometimes literally day to day] – val and i have been doing transcription this month so we will have money coming in again at the end of april and may but we are still going to need to trust big and probably extend an invitation for others to get involved when it comes to organising vias and airplane tickets and so on.

in part i think the idea of this, living and working alongside one of my heroes, is a dream come true – one i never actually had but which God has brought to the table and which has captured our attention and excited us – this is the next step in the hunger that started developing maybe 6 years ago for real, authentic, world-and-community-transforming church and it is exciting.

i don’t think the way ahead is going to all be easy, but at least know we know it will be simple.

anyone who knows me even slightly well will know that one of my top three life-changing books is “The Irresistible Revolution” by shane claiborne who is one of my real life heroes – i met him briefly a couple of years ago when he was in J Bay speaking at an international Christian surf conference and got to chat to him for a bit and interview him for two magazine articles i was writing. i have visited ‘the simple way’ which is the community that he started in Philadelphia and his writing was partly responsible for my decision to move into Kayamandi township for a year and a half before i married the beautiful Val. In fact we are currently looking at a possible opportunity of hanging out in that community (now called ‘Village House’) as the next thing we do…

so we were looking around on the simple way site [thesimpleway.org] and came across this article where shane speaks out on the ’emerging church’ – i have generally had issues with people who speak against the emerging church as i believe it is such a broad definition that covers such a range of different ideas and ideologies but i really think shane nails it here in definition and response… and of course i loved the metaphor – here is that paragraph but go and read the rest of the article as well:

from ‘The Emerging Church Brand: The Good, the Bad, and the Messy’ by shane claiborne

“Eventually, books and brands began identifying as “emerging church” or “emergent.” So it got a little messy. In my opinion, “the movement” became a bit narcissistic, and often became little more than theological masturbation: feels good but doesn’t give birth to much. It’s one thing to talk about theology. It’s another thing to talk about talking about theology. There is some sloppy theology out there. Some “emerging church” folks have repeated some of the mistakes of fundamentalism (only with more tattoos), and others have repeated the mistakes of liberalism (only with more wit). Meanwhile, there are many folks who seem to know exactly what “emerging church” is and think it is the anti-Christ. However, neither of these, I am convinced, represents the silent majority of young evangelicals of all colors of skin who love Jesus with all that they are and are not willing to use our faith as simply a ticket to heaven and ignore the hells of the world around us. There is a new evangelicalism that loves Jesus and wants to change the world.”

you can read the rest of his article here

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