Posts Tagged ‘brett fish anderson’

in the name of love

I have decided to retire ‘The Weekly Mash [and Peace!] blog after 14 good weeks.

With the pace of life at the moment the pressure to produce 5 specifically themed blog posts as well as what I passionately want to write has at times felt a little overwhelming and I hate producing sub par stuff. So I am wanting to put more time, energy and focus into my main blog, Irresistibly Fish and so encourage you if you are a subscriber of the Mash to head across there and subscribe to that.

In the meantime, if you are looking for something to read today, here are the three most popular posts on Irresistibly Fish that I would want you to read:

For those of you who are single [but also those of you who are married – it is excellent for you to hear this stuff!] these stories by some good friends of mine on their journey as single people [desiring not to be] has been such powerful reading and very popular – read and share away cos this is encouraging stuff.

I also did a Taboo Topic [rarely spoken about topics, in church and elsewhere] on Parenting young children when it’s not particularly been easy and this post by my friend Candi for some reason just blew up – people resonated with it, it got a gazillion shares and she has been invited to write and speak in places because of it which has been so exciting for me to watch. Read this one and also the one by Steve Wiens which got a lot of airplay and share it if you haven’t because you have friends with young children who desperately need to read these.

Thirdly, largely due to a comment and link I posted on this excellent blog post, ‘How I know my wife married the wrong person’ by Tyler Mackenzie, which became a four part [and growing] series, there was the series I ran a while back called How to save a marriage [before you need to] in which I invited something like 18 of my friends who are in strong marriages to share one or two things that for them are the foundation for a strong marriage.

Seems like relationships are what a lot of my readers are interested in but one non-relationship one [well not people with people] that I would like to recommend is the series called ‘Aslan Jesus’ that I have just started which is looking at aspects of Jesus that show that He is good, but definitely not tame. I am very excited about writing [and seeing written – have some guest posts coming in] this series.

In terms of looking back over the 14 weeks of ‘The Weekly Mash [and Peace!]’ the top blog that stands out for each day would be:

By far and away Cloud man for Monday – I am glad so many of you enjoyed this with me… gets me every time…

For Tuesdays it was surprisingly celebrity marriage advice [there you go again on the relationships!] with Ben Affleck and Will Smith.

No surprises that for Wednesday it was wife with nail in her head which sounds horrible but is just such a powerful thought-provoking piece that you have to watch and share if you have not seen it yet. Incredible and so hard to explain in a way that would make anyone want to watch it. But do it!

Thursday the top-rated post was the one I did titled John Piper and the three little pigs, but the one I want to put here is yesterday’s post ‘Time to let the church die’ as it hasn’t had the time to be read as much but no doubt will – an excellent article and an excellent video clip giving some strong prophetic voice to the church and the gospel message.

And lastly, Friday being my day, well interestingly enough ‘Blessed are the Geeks’ was the most viewed post for that day and it was all about the labels we put on people and so a really good read.

Thanks for being part of this experimental journey. And please come on over to Irresistibly Fish if you are not already there. There will continue to be humour and news-related posts, relationship advice and stories as well as spiritual hunger pieces and every day will in a sense be my day. As for this blog it is not going to be vaporised and so you can continue to catch up on old posts by using the day tabs at the top of the page which are archives for the whole journey. And as a going away present, if you feel up to sharing this post, then it will give access to a lot of great blog posts to your friends and fellow ‘Farmville II’ players on Facebook.



So this week has been a profound digesting week for me.

Articles, links, video clips, you name it – I have ingested some pretty incredible stuff. And almost all of it has been mind-blowingly good. I am not usually the reader-discoverer [you know, like hunter-gatherer but with words] although I do enjoy reading. But Val is normally the one that finds amazing articles and passes them on to me and I send them on. But for some reason, from a variety of sources and even just stumbling upon stuff this week has been a rich one. So so much.

The danger, and this is another post sometime, and I’ve alluded to it before, is that we get so excited about these life-and-world-changing ideas that we remain in the excited-about-the-idea phase and instead of every actually doing anything new, different or life-transforming, we simply bounce from exciting idea to idea and forward and paraphrase for our blog and retweet and yet nothing changes. This week’s ‘Kony2012’ becomes next week’s post or video on poverty or abortion or gay rights or whatever it is. We feel good because we posted, shared, liked, but we are still sitting in front of our computers screens playing point-and-click. So that’s the danger. And we need to be constantly checking ourselves on that. What are we actually physically doing to bring about change, beyond just the hype on our screens?

But I read this one article today, that was forwarded to me by my friend Jeremy Herman, which was titled ‘Your Lifestlye Has Already Been Designed’ and which I will include the link to at the bottom, and it really felt like such a potentially important piece.

I have understood the principle of Parkinson’s Law and was even thinking about it earlier this week, before I even heard that such a thing existed, but it goes something like this:

‘You may have heard of Parkinson’s Law. It is often used in reference to time usage: the more time you’ve been given to do something, the more time it will take you to do it. It’s amazing how much you can get done in twenty minutes if twenty minutes is all you have. But if you have all afternoon, it would probably take way longer.’ [David Cain]

I know this to be true. Thrown in a deadline and suddenly the work happens. Maybe it is super relevant for me because I was always a ‘night before’ kinda guy at school. So however much time you gave me for a project or homework, the likelihood was that if it could be crammed into one evening, then that is how it would happen [the evening closest to hand-in time preferably]. Part procrastination and part the adrenalin of knowing that it has to be done in this moment.


I learnt an important lesson when I worked in the UK for 6 to 8 months in 2000 when I was saving up money to go on a Youth With A Mission Discipleship Training School [aka YWAM DTS]. Nobody works over there. Now this is clearly a wild generalisation, and so huge apologies to British people who do work, but in the company that I spent eight weeks in at one point, it was definitely true. And the second thing I learnt is that South Africans are very popular in the work place in the UK and I think it is because generally we do work well. I remember working as a membership assistant for a teacher’s union and my boss would have a coffee break and then a smoke break followed by a chat at a colleague’s desk, followed by another smoke break and then a trip to the ladies room, walk around the office, smoke break, lunch, you get the picture. She just never seemed to work. I was given a thick file of work to do which the previous membership assistant had taken three months to hardly dent and I was done with it in a week. I had to work very hard at the ridiculously horrible task of ‘trying to look busy’ as I kept running out of work faster than they could make it up for me.

But read David’s article and there are some very interesting things that come out such as:

# small-scale, casual, promiscuous spending on stuff that doesn’t really add a whole lot to my life – think Starbucks…

# he refers to ‘a Culture of Unnecessaries’ and the media and society’s influence in creating the idea of how necessary these things are to us.

‘This is only one small example of something that has been going on for a very long time. Big companies didn’t make their millions by earnestly promoting the virtues of their products, they made it by creating a culture of hundreds of millions of people that buy way more than they need and try to chase away dissatisfaction with money.’

# David also digs into ‘The real reason for the forty-hour workweek’ and this was one of the things that really struck me.

‘The ultimate tool for corporations to sustain a culture of this sort is to develop the 40-hour workweek as the normal lifestyle. Under these working conditions people have to build a life in the evenings and on weekends. This arrangement makes us naturally more inclined to spend heavily on entertainment and conveniences because our free time is so scarce.’

This was revolutionary stuff for me. Not because it doesn’t make obvious sense, but just the way he leads into it through the example of the travelling he did where he spent a lot less money in foreign countries than when he was at home. And it was the shift in perspective that caused him to think a lot about this and notice some of his conclusions. The 40 hour work week was a respite for factory workers who were being exploited with 14- or 16-hour workdays?

And then he brings it back to my newly discovered Parkinson’s law: Most of us treat our money this way. The more we make, the more we spend. It’s not that we suddenly need to buy more just because we make more, only that we can, so we do. In fact, it’s quite difficult for us to avoid increasing our standard of living (or at least our rate of spending) every time we get a raise.

So if we could somehow make the work week shorter [Val and I currently work 30 hours a week, although at a non-profit being funded by support raised largely from friends back home, so not a typical case] then we would have more time for things like exercise and hobbies and family and also to get involved with the deeper issues of social justice and community and even world transformation. We would likely be happier, more fit, less likely to get sick and stressed out. Such a hugely positive, possible side-effect.

It seems impossible. But in the 19th century, when people were working 14 or 16 hour a day shifts, anything less than that probably seemed ridiculous and unreachable. So who knows what could happen if we got together and started planning and dreaming and then doing. This seems a lot more possible in our modern world of easy access to technology, entrepreneurship opportunities, inter-community connectedness and interdependance.

Am getting more and more excited daily I think about the idea of connecting and sharing space with people who really believe that a different world is possible and are up for the risk of trying to live life in some different ways that might make this true. Which, I guess is partly how Val and I find ourselves over here, working for Common Change as one of those very ideas.

[for David Cain’s full article, ‘Your lifestyle has already been designed’, click here]

[For next Friday’s Passing it Forward, click here]

[for last Friday’s Blessed are the Matrix-filled, click here]

Whether this particular post does it for you or not, I hope you will find something today that helps you start this week with a smile…

It takes a lot to make me laugh out loud. I appreciate humour and find a lot of things funny but it is usually inside appreciate-it-on-a-deep-inner-level smiling or laughing that takes place, even if I find something really funny.

This picture though, the first time I saw it [and still now] got an out of character out loud laugh from me. It still makes me smile [and sometimes makes quiet laughy body shaking movements happen with my body]

The great and I guess frustrating thing about humour is that we’re all wired differently and so what’s funny for me might not be funny for you. But leave your name below if this got a reaction out of you…

They said i could be anything...

[for next Monday’s portrayal of Wild Animals Eating Food, click here]

[last Monday’s Importance of explaining all the rules in a Trust Fall video, click here]

On Wednesdays on this blog i will look to focus on an aspect of relationship from singleness to dating to marriage – i have a huge heart for relationships and seeing people be in a great space of contentment wherever they may be on the continuum – making the most of where you’re at and finding ways of celebrating and thriving or stepping things up a little.

Man in the mirror

I think this is both a simple thought and also one that is quite profound. It goes out to both singles and married peoples [and anyone in between]. And it is simply this: The person you need to work on in all of your relationships is you.

If you are single and wanting to date someone because of who you think it will make you. If you are dating someone and think that when you get married then you will be this and this of a person or do things differently. Or if you’re married and thinking, “If only the other person was such and such, then I would be more loving/caring/patient/lovable.” You are fooling yourself. The only person you can really change is yourself.

It is important to work on your character and attitude and integrity no matter what stage of life or relationship you are in. You are for the most part responsible for who and how you are. And if you are wanting to change someone else, then you are going to be bitterly disappointed. And probably cause a lot of damage and frustration.

You can influence people. But you can change yourself. You can hold other people accountable if they invite you to. But you can work on your attitude.

If you are single, then instead of looking for the perfect person to make all your dreams come true in relationship [if a relationship is something you are desiring] work on making yourself a better person for someone else to discover. Not so that they will discover you. But so that you become a better person. If, after you have done that, you end up finding someone who wants to be in relationship with you, then all the better, but at the very least you have improved as a person. Working on your faults before you enter into a relationship will save you a lot of grief later, although I’m sure you’ll manage to keep some for when you’re there, so don’t stress that you’ll somehow run out.

If you are in a relationship, then instead of compiling a list of all the ways your person needs to change, go and stand in front of a mirror and ask yourself some tough questions. If you’re feeling brave and really want to deepen this experience to the nth degree then ask your person to point out areas for you to work on. That will get the ball rolling.

Or your friends. Those you trust. Put Proverbs 27.6 into practice [Wounds from a friend can be trusted but an enemy multiplies kisses.] and invite some people who love you to speak openly and honestly and hopefully gently about some stuff you could look to work on.

Then go for it. It will change your life.

[for next Wednesday’s Love When You Don’t Feel Like It, click here]
[for last Wednesday’s Importance of Having Fat Friends, click here]

On Wednesdays on this blog i will look to focus on an aspect of relationship from singleness to dating to marriage – i have a huge heart for relationships and seeing people be in a great space of contentment wherever they may be on the continuum – making the most of where you’re at and finding ways of celebrating and thriving or stepping things up a little.

Bruce Collins, legend

My most recent best friend [I have a number of these, best is not a ranking figure as in “better than all the rest” but more a descriptive statement of “this is a really quality mate”] is a guy called Bruce Collins or Barista Bruce as he is known on Twitter [follow him @brskln especially if you are an appreciator of coffee] who I met years and years ago at Baptist Summer camp, but who in recent years has become more and more of a really great friend to me.

Our relationship began on somewhat shaky ground if I remember correctly as the group of youth he had brought to Summer Camp was transgressing in some way and I, in whatever role I had on camp that year, had aligned myself with the camp authorities and so I was cross with him and his troops for something or other and he was trying to defend them and I don’t actually remember a whole lot more about that. But a couple of years later I was on camp again as camp pastor and created a space for any of the youth leaders who were struggling with life or love or God or anything and just wanted to talk about it with someone to come and have a meal with me, and I remember a lot of what happened as I got time to really meet Bruce in some of his pain and struggle and our deeper friendship probably started sometime around there.

And there are a LOT of reasons why I love this guy, but one that comes to the fore is that Bruce has thick skin. In the best of ways. He has invited me and allowed me and even encouraged me to watch his life and feel the freedom to speak openly and honestly to him if I see something that is out of line. [and I have done the same with him – I hope I’ve told him that…] And I have done so on a bunch of occasions [and to his great credit he has taken it well every time] and sometimes he has agreed with me and other times he hasn’t. I imagine sometimes I hurt him with the things I said [who ever likes it when someone tells them they’re doing something wrong? I know i don’t!] but he has always listened and then gone back and looked at his life. If he has felt like he needed to change he has done so and often in dramatic ways. And on occasions when he has not, he has come back to me and let me know that he has heard me, but at the moment he doesn’t think it’s a problem.

He has literally lived out one of my favourite friendship verses in the Bible found in Proverbs 27 verse 6 which says, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.”

You see I believe Bruce knows that I love him. And so he knows that if I say something to him that might hurt as he hears it, that I have said it to him because I care about him and think it is something that he needs to hear. And so he is able to trust a ‘wound’ from me. There might be other friends of his who have cheered him on, even when he has been wrong in something. An enemy multiplies kisses.

I have often told my closest friends, ‘I may not be an easy friend, but I am a good friend.’ And I hope that is true. Because if you invite me to speak Truth into your life and help you to become a better person [and believe me I extend that invitation back to the nth degree] then I will do that and hopefully I will get ‘Truth in Love’ right more than I get it wrong.

What about you? Do you have someone like this? Someones? I have a few of them and I value them so much because they help me become a better person. They will jump in if my attitude is out of line. They will question my motivation if it looks like I am doing something for the wrong reasons. They will ask the tough questions. And I LOVE that. I desperately need that in my life. Because I have blind spots. I have areas where I may not be able to see the bigger picture. In my relationship with God or my wife, life on the sports field or in improv, how I spend my time and what I say or write…

So not fat friends per say, but people who Love you and have thick skin and invite you to Love them back well…

I would love to hear a story or two about someone in your life who does this for you…

[for next Wednesday’s look at The Man in the Mirror, click here]