February 2010 Archives

Exposure to sexualised images

home office.jpgThe media today have been responding to a Home Office report which rightly raises concern about young people's exposure to sexual images from an early age.

The BBC pick up on this with a piece entitled "Why can't I look like that?"

This is the press briefing and you'll find more discussion here from the Guardian.

This would be a great topic to be exploring with young people in a piece of group work.

Diocesan Youth Work Update

If you are in the Diocese and the Parish mailing hasn't been punted on to your good self with the youth work and ministry news, you can find it here: Update Feb 2010finalpress.pdf

Talking Stick

You have probably come across the idea of 'talking sticks' or the equivalent before (an item that is held by the speaker, identifying them as the person to be speaking at that time, and calling on everyone else to really listen; which is then passed to the next person who wishes to speak and be heard).

talking stick.jpg

I was at a families fun-day drumming workshop last week and we made talking sticks, based on a native american tradition, in a way that I think would work brilliantly for a small youth group (and especially on a residential)

There was a pile of wool of various colours and textures. Each family had a stick and members of the family were encouraged to pick out bits of wool that they (for whatever reason) linked to something important about their family ... or an important memory or event. They then told the story whilst wrapping the wool around the stick. Eventually there was a vibrantly coloured stick to be used in future as the family 'talking stick' whereby everyone could be assured of being listened to.

For a small youth group this could be a great activity; making the stick and telling stories about the group and its key memories and values. It could then serve really well in discussions and debates, creating greater listening and participation.

Transformational Youth Ministry

yp from chucknorris.jpg"Youth ministry doesn't have to spend a fortune or put on a rock concert to be effective in reaching junior high and high schoolers for Christ. Personal relationships, adult mentors, honest conversation, and opportunities to help others create an atmosphere where students feel they belong, and eventually are able to believe"

Trawling the web this morning I came across this article about transformational youth ministry It usefully reduces and demystifies faith based work with teens to five key points. Article is here, thanks to Chuck Warnock.

40 days of YES

I'm loving 40 days of Yes, the CMS lenten blog that carries the tag line: Day by day during Lent - reflect on your call in mission.

I particularly enjoyed Day 1. Setting Out that included this reflective piece:

by Dom Helder Camara

when your ship,
long moored in harbour, gives the illusion
of being a house;
when your ship
begins to put down roots
in the stagnant water by the quay: put out to sea!
save your boat's journeying soul and your own pilgrim soul,
cost what it may.

An Agenda for youth engagement

If your up for a dip into the above government report then you'll find the pdf of it here.

an agends for youth engagment report.jpg

Young People today

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This is the cartoon that emerged when Jon (of Asbo Jesus fame) and Dave Wiles (of FYT) had breakfast together, nice! Thanks Asbo

young people stats asbo jesus cartoon.jpg

(please don't link to me on this, make sure all credit and links go to the original post on the Asbo site)

Christian Cottage

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Popping onto Face Book yesterday in order to engage in a little word to word combat via the Scrabble board, I was amused to find one of the adverts (presumably tailored to my interests) was for some Christian Cottages in France!

christin cottages2.jpg

This immediately set me off wondering how one could have a Christian cottage without spiritualiising and anthropomorphizing a set of bricks and mortar. The obvious answer was that it was probably the same as a secular cottage but with walls displaying cheesy posters incorporating out of context bible verses.

Further reflection though led me to the conclusion that it must be a converted (praise God!) Farmhouse built on a sure foundation! *groan*

And be called whatever the French for 'maranatha' is

Job in the Diocese

Cogges in Witney are looking for a Youth Pastor youth pastor job Witney.doc

Taize in Oxford


Taize will be in Oxford ahead of Oxford being in Taize!

taize 400.jpg

I've already flagged up the Diocesan Trip heading out on July 24th BUT I'm also pleased to announce that Brother Paolo is in Oxford on March 18th, and we'll be running a couple of events together.

Network Meeting: March 18th 1pm - 4:30pm at the Mish. Employed Youth/Childrens workers and School Chaplains invited for lunch followed by a chance to listen to Taize's experience of working with young people particularly in the area of reconciliation and worship.

Taize taster: An evening (7:30 to 9) for youth leaders, young people and in fact anyone keen to hear more about a week in Taize, and to experience Taize worship. This will be at St Clements Church in Oxford.

More details from me or in fact the Taize web site!

United in Mission

The Rev David Gamble, president of the Methodist Conference, told General Synod, the Church of England's governing body on Thursday:

"We are prepared to go out of existence not because we are declining or failing in mission, but for the sake of mission. In other words, we are prepared to be changed and even to cease having a separate existence as a Church if that will serve the needs of the Kingdom."

As a Methodist Local Preacher and as an Anglican Youth Minister I find this really exciting ... as when churches can put denominational preoccupations aside to focus on mission in the world, Kingdom stuff happens!!

Celebration and Loss


The scribbling here on Youthblog has always been a mix of Youth Ministry and a personal blog (with a huge overlap given that youth work/ministry is the lens through which I often observe my life) and I sometime wonder about what the balance should be. So far it seems to have lurched along retaining some sort of coherence, at least this is my conclusion given that some readers are friends who are not connected with youth work, some readers connect only in the arena of youth work and some people are either both (or have come to be). Furthermore, all of these groups and sub groups seem to happily continue to read the blog from time to time via a Feed or 'actually' visiting

That was a bit of a pre-amble, I was thinking aloud about the fact this is a purely personal entry and the place of this.

It's been my birthday in the last few days and the same day saw my dad dying. (The same day in fact that Dad's mum (my Nan) died many years ago on my 18th Birthday). I now find myself to be 43 and a newly become orphan. As well as mourning my dad I am also feeling that loss of connection to the past quite profoundly.


Charles Macdonald
1931 - 2010
The man I was proud to call Dad

For my birthday each year during the life of the blog I've added to a kind of semi-random autobiographical 'snap-shots of life' list . It feels a little self-indulgent but hey there are bigger blog-offenders out there. You'll find '43' in the extended entry if you wish to look.


Robin Hood Tax

robin hood tax.jpg

The campaign for a Robin Hood Tax is really gaining ground, have a read and/or watch the video

Apps for iphone



I'm really impressed that Dave Walker has written an app' for the iphone. This got me wondering:

What would be a great idea for an app' that would be REALLY useful for Youth workers?
Please post the mad, the funny and the useful via comments


What is this life if full of slog
We have no time to stop and blog.

No time to post, and pose the how?
Or why, or if .... or just the now.
No time to blog the thoughts that pass
Or comment when a reader asks.

No time to see if someone's right,
When pointing out our oversights.
No time to click and gently glance,
At other bloggers' circumstance.

A poor life this, if full of slog
With no time left to stop and blog.

I've already posted this re-write of Willam Henry Davies that I penned BUT it's so apt I'm going to fling it into the blogosphere once more and hope you'll merely blink and ascribe it to de ja vu rather the lazy re-posting.

Life is somewhat brisk at the moment with my dad still extremely ill in hospital in Birmingham and the frequent journeys that involves, as well as the usual melee of work (and there seems to be a lot happening at the moment), family and random other stuff.
In order to retain some balance (something I'm passionate about) some things have had to take a back-burner; blogging, cycling and deadlines being the main casualties.

I have managed to complete Youthwork update, the Yellow Braces info, oh ... and the Taize flyer. If any of these are of interest to you then please click and download:

Update Feb 2010finalpress.pdf
booklet 2010completedfinal.pdf
Yellow Braces main flyer 2010.pdf

Off to run a day for Clergy on 'Confirmation Preparation' now so I'll catch up with you later.


Breeding ignorance and feeding radiation


I have a new favourite game! It involves walking through our shopping centre and being accosted by the salesman for "Sky," whose opening gambit is always,
"hello sir, have YOU got Sky?" *(satellite TV company)
to which I reply, "er ... no!"
He immediately launches into a pitch extolling the virtues of the whole Sky package and I innocently ask a very relevant question?
"Will this work given that I don't have a TV?"
... and here's the fun bit, watching someone trying to comprehend someone not having a TV and struggling (but failing) to imagine that this is possible.

Last night I happened to catch a few minutes of TV at someone's house and was painfully reminded that the "drug of the nation" is still not for me and I remain in agreement with John Stott ("TV makes people: physically lazy, intellectually uncritical, emotionally insensitive, psychologically confused and morally disordered")

Ok, maybe that's over stating the case a little as there are some great programmes, BUT the self important, sound-bite driven, speculation fuelled, posturing and blatant judgemental voyeurism of TV does annoy me ..... more than a little!

So, I REALLY enjoyed Charlie Brookers' dissection of the mechanics of a news report!

Furthermore I'd like "24 Hour News" to be made to entitle themselves more accurately as "Endless speculation!"

A McDonalds for everyone

The radio was on in the Barbers shop this morning while I was in for a trim and I heard the end of an advert from a well know fast food chain that claimed,

"There's a McDonalds for everyone!"

I've clearly misunderstood something but a business model that involves have 63 million branches of said store seems all ill conceived strategy, but could, I admit ... dramatically impact unemployment.

Self correcting phenomena

book_future.gifI was listening to an outstandingly brilliant talks yesterday by Business Guru Gary Hamel
(recorded at Willow Creek) and in which he was exploring leadership that can innovate and adapt. The whole talk/analysis was phenomenal* (may have to blog more of it) but there was one line that leapt out:

"You have to remember that success is a self-correcting phenomena!"

This was musing that the methodologies that brought success become trapping, and an organisation often continues on the same tack even though the culture/world has changed rendering the previous method increasingly ineffective.

* use of superlatives deliberate and accurate


Just about to head off to Douai Abbey where my colleague, Yvonne and I are leading a retreat for Youth and/or Children's workers.

As part of the framework for the retreat we've bought everyone the Pearls of Life resource (kind of a protestant rosary) as a prayer framework and something that could be used with young people. Anyone tired using this with children or teens?

Douai abbey has patchy phone coverage so I'll not be on t'internet, but I look forward to catching up with YOU on my return.


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This page is an archive of entries from February 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

January 2010 is the previous archive.

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