Oxford is so cool

Yesterday I had a meeting in central Oxford so I unfolded my trusty folding bike and zipped into the City. So in a bizzare confluence of stuff, I am then meeting a Youth worker in the Krispy Kreme Doughnut Cafe which is in the grounds of the castle outside of which a TV crew are filming some stuff for Lewis (the spin off from the Morse TV series). I thought this mix of the medieval, the modern, American fast food and the British Media all in the same place was quite fun!
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I note that the camera was positioned so that you’d never know that Colin Dexter (pictured) was standing right by the doughnut shop, I took the photo from the entrance! I do however like to think that if you listen carefully when this programme is finally aired that you’ll hear the click, click, clunk of my bike being folded/unfolded in the background 🙂
Also, if you are in Oxford go and try Krispy Kreme! They were very supportive of a youth event we ran so I’m giving them a plug by way of thanks!

Spirituality of generation Y

The Spirituality of Generation Y day at LICC was great. The unpacking of the research has come quite a way since the preliminary findings were presented at the CTE day last year and we got into more reflection on implications today! The intervening 18 months have also seen a better understanding of the way that Phil Rankin’s research and that of Sylvie and Bob Mayo’s, complement each other.
The two different types of spirituality that Bob flagged up last April (2005) were still the main foundations that the exploration was built on, those of
1.Formative Spirituality (a private, often unarticulated approach to life, prayer etc)
2. Transformative Spirituality (A spirituality that affects public areas of life)
buried spirituality.jpg Today the concept of a “Happy Midi-narrative” was a key theme. That Young People look for and believe in the possibility of happiness, that this is their prevelant worldview. This may possibly bury the formative spirituality beneath this world view and leave it unexamined. What was clear however is that there was very little evidence that young people thought they had a need for a transformative spirituality and therefore, that the “God shaped hole” that needed filling was a myth (at least in the experience and quest of young people), Bob referred to this gap between these two spiritualities as a ‘black hole’ to emphasise the vast gulf. The “Happy midi-narrative” posed some interesting speculations as to what happens when a young person fails to achieve happiness? Is the gap between the worldview and what a young person is experiencing when hurting a cause of self harm etc?
Phil Rankin was usefully able to show how willing young people are to talk about their spirituality providing it’s on their space and that us REALLY listening is the goal. Bob was also very interested in both the right space and place to move toards the transformative, but further than this believed that the ‘when’ and the ‘with whom’ were vital pieces and it was at the place where these met the ‘where’ that the move towards transformative might happen.
The over-riding question of the day though (that was both examined and left with us) was

How do we enable a bridge to be made between Formative Spirituality towards that of Transformative Spirituality?

I’ll write more as I get the day clearer in my head! Great to see so many youth minister friends there.
Other reports and reflections:

Deep Thought

Ben Bell
Tim Abbott
And finally: Mark Berry was asking related questions to passers by in Telford today.

Will you?

I love this postcard! I can’t remember the exact context but it came from a web site that encouraged people to send in cards that expressed their confessions, thoughts or hopes. This one is kind of sad but beautiful and hopeful at the same time I think.
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I got me thinking about teenagers we work with and I wondered what their postcards might be? (in fact next time I work with a group I’m SO going to do something similar!)
Reflecting on teenagers I’ve worked with though and my own experiences I wondered what they might ‘ask’ about who we are as youth ministers?
? Will you be THE PerSon WHO wants tO KNOW and like who I REALLY AM and be the Adult Friend who takes ME SERIOUSLY ?

Best Tuck bar in the Diocese

I am pleased to announce the winner of the BEST Tuck Bar in the Diocese awards, henceforth known as the TiBDA awards. I know I forgot to actually tell anyone they existed but nevertheless the 2006 award goes to
*Drum Roll*

The CORE Youth Club
at St Peters and St Leonards Church in Iver *Cheering, Applause*
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There is a serious point to this as so much GREAT relational stuff can happen if there’s a place a youth group to sit and chat over food (or Tuck) and so I’m now taking nominations for the 2007 TiBDA aards which will include a new catergory of “Best non permenant (or improvised) Tuck Bar”
I also hope we can have a serious discussion on non junk alternatives that various groups have discovered to sell. At the moment a lot of the merchandise is an ‘e’ filled sugar fest at most youth groups. Simon articulates the struggle well, here AND Sarah suggests a definitive answer here although I’d probably disagree 😉
Can of Coke and three packets of smarties, anyone ……….

Geography is a flavour

Wandering into my local Starbucks (as I do) I as surprised to discover that ‘Geography is a flavour!’
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This led to some latte induced musing. In a similar vein ……

Chemistry is a smell
Physics is a headache
English Literature is an (acquired) taste

I also seem to recall that Geography wasn’t in fact a flavour BUT more, a LOT of colouring in.