I love this site! Jon should be given his own exhibition at Greenbelt. Cartoons that make you laugh, make you think, make you say ‘ouch’ BUT more often than not celebrate the Kingdom of God.
(please do not lift this image as it’s not mine, visit Jon’s site for more info)
As part of my job I get asked to preach at various places at various times, everything from a homily as St Whatnots in Lower Snoozington to a full-on ‘preach’ at large youth events. This morning I preached at Stowe School. I hadn’t thought too much about it until the start of the week when I checked the details and noticed that it was actually quite a significantly grand school. Even having realised this though I was utterly gob-smacked this morning when I drove up to the school, the driveway was impressive enough BUT check out the building!
I usually get a tad nervous before a preach BUT by the time I’d checked in with reception and then found the chapel I was feeling more than a little apprehensive. Preaching at a compulsory attendance formal morning chapel to 600 or so pupils and staff was quite an experience!
Actually had a great time and although I was a little weirded out that no-one laughs in chapel, I’m really glad I got to visit. It’s a very cool school and the chaplaincy crew were fantastic, as were the pupils I got to talk to. It also turns out there is an informal (voluntary) service in the evenings that is driven by some of the pupils, one of whom is also planning to run a Youth Alpha, cool huh!
The suit is, very definitely, now back in wardrobe! Next preaching gig is a youth weekend in Chepstow.
Scott Adams has posted a really interesting reflection on “Cognitive Dissonance!” Wondering if most of us are pre-disposed to hearing the areas in which we disagree with the other person rather than areas in which there is common ground. A useful reflection of confusing arguments we may have had or (ouch) times where we’ve not really heard/listened.
Chatting to my daughter (who is not called Sarah) about the stuff she does at school as a peer counselor, I discovered that they have a great mnemonic framework for the approach they take, it’s called ‘SARAH!’ Check this out:
STOP Talking and switch off your own need to be listened to. Check your body language shows that you are listening.
Actively listen to what your speaker is saying. Listen well and only ask questions if you are unclear about something, to find out how they are feeling or if they stop talking. Let them decide what they want to talk about.
Repeat a summary of what you heard them say. Be as accurate as possible. Make sure you reflect back to them how they said they were feeling. Your speaker should appreciate that they were listened to and their feelings understood.
Accept what they are saying even if you think they are wrong. Show your acceptance that they have a right to feel anyway they please. Remember: Feelings are facts. Act with Empathy
Help them to think of ways forward. Your listening to them will have helped them to be more positive. Make sure you don’t give them advice, either directly or indirectly. Only they know what they need.
Essentially it’s Rogerian non-directive counselling but I thought this summary for 10 year olds was actually more instructive and useful than most text books 🙂 The ‘H’ phase would be different from a ministry point of view in terms of prayer for and with the person but it’s still a useful guideline to listening, not assuming and also, not thinking it’s our job to provide the solution. Let me know if you re-write this for any cell group leaders or the like!
Escaping from the office yesterday (this is good for my sanity and that of the office, having already been told off once this week for bouncing a tennis ball while I was thinking) I visited a youth project in Buckinghamshire. I’m used to Church youth rooms being equipped with cast-out sofa’s but thought this example was fab! The photo doesn’t really do it justice but it has carved wooden framework, decorative legs and luxurious purple velour cushioning! If your youth room has anything that compete with this then let me know and send a photo! (Oh and come to think of it, if you are from the National Trust and discovered this piece was missing after a youth group visit, er …… well it’s just coincidence!
Some dates: October 13th, VERTIGO (I need volunteers for thee cafe’ team please). This coming Saturday (29th) I’m training in the Sonning deanery on working with Tweenagers! (Should I mention the book?) This Autumn, Urban Saints (nee Crusaders) are putting on a series of one day training events for volunteers. These days are usually EXCELLENT and I highly recommend them. I’ll probably be going to the Bristol day! Diocesan NETWORK days for employed Youth ministers: Nov 1st and also a 24 hour retreat next year, Feb 26th, 27th 2008. It’s called ‘DEPTH’ ask for more info!
You read it here first: The newly named “Sophia Network” (an affiliation of female youth ministers) will be launched at Youthwork the Conference!
Preacher required: I have details of a ‘Sail and Surf’ camp that’s running 9th-16th August next year in the lake district and they are looking for a speaker? (suggestions welcome).
And finally: Long term readers of this blog (on a slight tangent from youth ministry) followed the building of my workshop! Well the latest development is a built in hoover! I had an old vacuum so I partially disassembled it and built it into the cupboard below the workbench. I now just need to open the cupboard door and it is the work of moments for all the sawdust from a project to just disappear! How cool (sad) is that? Now all I need is a really comfy chair for the shed. (This may necessitate a visit to the national Trust or a Buckinghamshire Youth club!)
“If you are not living on the edge
you are taking up to much space”
(Having said that, unicycling on the edge maybe taking things a little too far!)
I saw some films over the summer and having a spare moment, thought I’d give you the Youthblog cine-summary of what I thought:
SURF’s UP: A great Mockumentry style story that follows surfing anti hero and slacker, Cody on a journey from his Antartic home to the world Penguin surfing championships. Surreal at times, touching, fun and a wonderful tribute to surfing. I loved this film! The CGI is awesome but more importantly the documentry style of interview and camera work is genius. Kinda predictable in it’s story but at the same time, highly original in it’s rendering. Go See!
The Bourne Ultimatum: Jason Bourne find the ‘Blackbriar” piece of the jigsaw and goes on to completes the picture, surviving no-end of threats on the way with some very cool and highly intelligent strategic moves as well as his usual physical supremacy. The film was clever, witty at times and a highly paced thriller. It was the MOST exhausting film I have ever watched! The combination of the frenetic pace and rapidly moving hand-held camera work was quite tiring (although extremely engaging). If you liked the first two, you’ll love this one!
Mr Bean’s Holiday: For once Mr Bean comes up trumps and wins both a camcorder and a trip to the South of France. Not surprisingly though the journey does not got to plan and he battles to master a culture, a language and transport problems armed only with a compass and absurd Bean like initiative. I expected to hate this film but actually loved it. It’s upbeat, positive and witty with a really great life affirming ending. The film could have been awful but by having a genuine story wedded to Mr Bean’s visual comedy that played with hope as well as the inevitable bad luck was good fun and at times quite touching. Not going to be everyone’s cup of tea BUT as a comedic family film, Nice!