Primrose Hill

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Ian Macdonald comedian.bmpI had the most extraordinary gig on Friday night in Primrose Hill in London, wonderful joyous laughter and applause from a clever, fun and warm audience. The evening was well organised and expertly MC'd but the more I muse the more I think there was something else going on too. I think the gathered community needed to laugh together that night, all of us; community, guests, and comedians. At the end of a day of unfolding madness, the humanizing absurdity of laughter was the only possible healing.

Waking up to an entirely different world to the one imagined had been a strange experience. Britain was heading out of the EU, the vote had not gone the way that many had expected. Uncertainty, confusion, and bewilderment abounded ... perhaps even more so in London that as a vibrant multi-cultural internationally connected city had not envisaged that 'out' was in any way a sensical or entertainable notion.

This environment I think gave the comedy an additional sparkle and edge, laughter was not only a great tonic to be collectively enjoyed, it was much needed.

I think I was already in some kind of imaginary GK Chesterton novel on the walk from Camden to Primrose Hill in the strange bustling atmosphere where everything and nothing had changed on Brexit day. The glorious evening of comedy where the laughter had created a refuge of sanity temporarily separate from the unfolding craziness of a self-destructive ill-informed protest vote ... only reinforced this notion.

So this morning over a coffee I decided a re-read of "The Napoleon of Notting Hill" was in order. Sadly neither Primrose Hill or Camden Town featured but I found a quote that emphasized why it is that laughter matters:

"Madmen are always serious; they go mad from lack of humour"

I wonder if a few key leaders should spend a little more time in Comedy clubs, and whether the reinstating of Court Jesters might be the wisest decision made in the next few weeks.

I believe in comedy, not just because it is a joyous art but because it is a serious one and an important one. Laughter is not just a laughing matter, it is a place of deep connection, humanity, vulnerability, and oddly .... sanity.


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Stories of tears, frustration and anger at the Brexit vote from young people today. Space needed for listening and conversation.

Peter Ball

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Laughter and tears today at the Memorial Service for Youth Work inspiration and legend Peter Ball. I love this picture of him and me in conversation a few years ago. Blessed to have known him.

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Peter Ball: A Godly, gentle, and great man. You will be missed


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Letter in the FT as I understand it, apt summary I thought

The Christian vote

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"Young Fogeys"

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Young people today are more clean-living than any generation since before the 1960s, BBC article:

"Every generation has enjoyed bemoaning the excesses and irresponsibility of the young. But for today's late adolescents and twenty-somethings, hedonism has given way to hard work - wherever you look, Britain's young people are breaking records for good behaviour and social restraint. You could even call them the best-behaved generation since the rebellions of the 1960s"

Spotted on Twitter

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Made me smile (especially as I am just having to re-write my Job Description)


ht @Keetleydave


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Great critique from Ed Cyzewski of anxious Christianity ... that goes on to advocate a re-engagement with the contemplative. It's a lovely piece of writing that I want to be able to quote when I encounter negativity and opposition to practices of prayer and silence.

The article is here.

" In fact, the problem that plagues evangelicals today may best be described as a selective amnesia. We have fought tooth and nail to uphold the scriptures and doctrines that the early church passed on to us, but we couldn't give a flying fig (that's an evangelical swear word) about the practices of the early church.

There is a stream of Christianity that takes the foundational teachings of our faith seriously--so seriously that they are viewed as givens--without devoting our entire lives to defending them from skeptics. This is the contemplative stream that pre-dates the canon of scripture. This stream has been practiced in quiet and solitude, as well as in cities and small towns. It has driven some to serve actively and it has driven others deeper into the desert. Ironically, those who traveled the furthest into the desert were eagerly sought out by many from the cities. These desert contemplatives exercised tremendous influence and their words remain powerful, relevant, and formative until this day"


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Adolescent Faith Development

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Lifelong faith have made the pdf Journal collection available on 'Adolescent faith Formation'.
Initial look suggests there is a lot of wisdom and thought provoking discussion therein ... So I'm heading to the Cafe with a printed copy to read over a Baked Potato (and TWO fillings, oh yes!) and I'll leave you a copy here

Perhaps we can compare notes later?

The Activists guide to Contemplation

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Deeply wise article from Richard Rohr
Well worth a read (and so helpful in my work around discipleship)

"What is contemplation? Simply put, contemplation is entering a deeper silence and letting go of our habitual thoughts, sensations, and feelings. You may know contemplation by another name. Many religions use the word meditation. Christians often use the word prayer. But for many in the West, prayer has come to mean something functional, something you do to achieve a desired effect, which puts you back in charge. Prayers of petition aren't all bad, but they don't really lead to a new state of being or consciousness. The same old consciousness is self-centered: How can I get God to do what I want God to do? This kind of prayer allows you to remain an untransformed, egocentric person who is just trying to manipulate God.

That's one reason why religion is in such desperate straits today: It isn't really transforming people. It's merely giving people some pious and religious ways to again be in charge and in control"


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Just when I think maybe it's time to end Youthblog something beautiful happen through it that confirms there is life in the old blog yet.


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