Still much taken with the art of being
“I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it” Jesus
One of the things that really winds me up is when people say to me (or anyone else with a playful zest for life) “You’re just a big Kid!”
Is the idea that adults don’t play? Bizarre. Our society seems to have a really bizarre view of maturation, that is, becoming mature equals becoming boring! Maturing is about handling responsibility, growing in wisdom and developing empathy NOT losing a sense of wonder and play. (People often fail to make the distinction between Childish and Childlike). Maybe its the striving to “do” that squeezes out fun. Maybe the fun of being a youth worker is time spent with young people … just being.
Mike Yaconelli (one of my youth work heroes) wrote a fab book called Dangerous Wonder. In it he explore the attributes of a Childlike faith:
and a final thought:
“Mistaking the active life of faith for an institutionally backed and culturally bound belief system is similar to reducing the Mona Lisa to paint-by-numbers” Dan Taylor
I think it was reading some Pip Wilson where I first came across a challenge to be a Human Be-ing not a Human Do-ing. For us to be be more fully the people we are, the people God made us to be!
Soul Shaper has some great stuff to say on this in it’s entry on Silence and Solitude (p53):
“For we find our true selves when we’re swallowed up in God. We discover our true identity, not as do-ers but as be-ers. Our tasks in this life boil down to “Be still and know that I am God.” indeed this is why many of us avoid silence and solitude, because our self-identities are bound up in our busy-ness” ……. the section goes on to quote Richard Foster,
“the fruit of solitude is increased sensitivity and compassion for others. There comes a new freedom to be with people. There is a new attentiveness to their needs, new responsiveness to their hurts”
Could silence make us better Youth Workers?
“Little Round Planet in a big universe
Sometimes it looks blessed
Sometimes it looks cursed
Depends on what you look at, obviously
But even more it depends on the way that you see”
“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else”
Just watched “School of Rock” and I have to say, I loved it!
The premise of the film is this:
Hell-raising guitarist with delusions of grandeur Dewey Finn (Jack Black) has been kicked out of his band. Desperate for work, he impersonates a teacher and turns a class of 10 year olds into high-voltage rock and rollers.
Its kind of “Dead Poets Society” but with Rock Music as the inspiration and a zany, crazy humour in delivery and wry observation. It, quite Literally, Rocks”
Bloggable bit is this! Its a great piece of Youth work (yes, I know the kids are only ten so it’ll definitely turn up in the Tweenagers training evening) but we are talking, youth work!
Dewey Finn is bored by the idea of teaching, the kids are not excited about being taught. It’s only when they find something they are passionate about and use, develop their gifts and talents that some great learning starts to take place … for the group and for individuals. The Kids are dominated by a strict school and pushy parents (I liked the way the car park on parents evening is full of safe but dull Volvos) but once they are given opportunity to do, they discover lots about who they are and grow through that process.
Ready to use Training Evening:
Watch “School of Rock”
Question? In what ways is our programme, the school? In what ways is our programme, Dewey Finn? How does this challenge our programme?
Following on from yesterday, I was at a service recently where we were encouraged to use the “modern” form of the Lords prayer! Not sure that “sin” and “trials” is anymore understandable culturally!
It’s been around for a while now but I love the txt version of the Lords Prayer and really enjoyed being at a Youth Led service once where the whole congregation were led together in saying:
[email protected],ur spshl.
we want wot u want
&urth2b like hvn
giv us food
lyk we 4giv uvaz.
don’t test us!
bcos we kno ur boss,
ur tuf&ur cool
And lets not debate how it fits into a liturgical framework!
Supplemental: Over at Coyote Mercury you can see the Lords Prayer’s English translation in both Old and Middle English.
Fantastic training session this week led by Nigel Pimlott of Frontier Youth Trust. We were looking at mission and how we understand the culture we are working in. We all know that we are in a post-Christian country but need to be recognising what that means for the way we communicate.
Nigel gave a great example: The question to a teen was,
“do you think the Christmas story is true?”
“No” …. was the reply
“Well, Reindeers can’t fly can they!”
I was doing some work in a School a few years ago and the Vicar came in to do an assembly. He led the whole school in a rendition of the Lords Prayer, which they recited, word perfect.
I was surprised/impressed but wanted to see what it had meant to them so in one of the lessons I asked,
“You all prayed the Lords Prayer this morning ….. what does trespass mean?”
There was a sea of thirty blank expressions but one lad was determined to have a stab at it and attempted to give the word, as he understood it, some sort of religious context. “Is it,” he asked, “Walking on Jesus’s grave?” (Good try I thought)
Huge assumption from the vicar that anyone would understand what they’d been taught to pray, I wonder what assumptions we make?
We’re missionairies in a culture where all the reference points have gone!
Short termism is the Kryptonite to the heroic work that goes on with young people!
At the network (of youth workers) meeting yesterday we were encouraged to “Fly Kites” and work out where we’d like our ministry to be in 10 years! It was an exciting way to be thinking but with funding struggles, two or three year contracts and visions that tend to be short term ….. not practically useful.
It’s not by any means limited to the faith based sector and is apparent across the board. Neighbourhood Regeneration projects suffer greatly …… just when trust and ownership is beginning to emerge, funding runs out breeding more cycnicism and frustration.
West Berkshire Nightstop (emergency accommodation for homeless young people) have been running succesfully for two years but are now looking for continuation funding. Amazingly many trusts will only fund new (unproven) projects but will not offer any continuation funding to projects that have proven to make a difference.
All very frustrating but some good news! My friend Yvonne has been the youth and community worker at a church for 9 years and is on a permanent contract! May this catch on!