No Sex Please we’re Teenagers

There is a 3 part 1 hour documentary series starting next Tuesday (6 September) on BBC 2 around 9.00pm entitled ‘No sex please we’re teenagers’.
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You’ll find more details here! I reckon this could start some important conversation. Loads of respect to the two christian youth workers in the programme, Rachel Gardner and Dan Burke!

And now lets move into a Time of nonsense

I’ve finished reading Nick Park’s book on Worship! The tag line for the book is “Why worship songs are failing the Church” and I was interested to read his thoughts, particularly having just experienced Soul survivor.
and now lets move into.jpg Nick takes a look back at how sung worship has developed (always fun to be reminded that Hymns were radical and unaccepted by mainstream denominational church) and produces a useful “map” of how we got where we are today.
He critiques our current crop of worship songs as being too musically complicated for an average church and with lyrics that not only don’t connect with people’s lives but actually use obscure and archaiac Biblical imagery that confuse people. I thought this was a really good point in that we expect Preaching to be relevent, understandable and connected with everyday life but we don’t expect that from worship songs!
His call is for the writing to be vital, practised and developed (not just left to the musician who may not be as gifted in the writing area or have sufficient time to develop in this area when their primary focus is the music). He asks for writers of worship songs to:
Take it seriously
Work hard at your craft
Make every word count
Test your words
Share the load
Never stop learning
Not use old words if new ones are as good
Find new images
Tell us about God
Go deeper

I enjoyed the book and found it a useful piece of work as I think about young people and worship. I enjoyed the fictional worship leader and songs that he created by way of illustration as he wouldn’t/couldn’t name and shame individual songs. The one thing that I really struggled with was the page at the end of the chapter that had a list of “Key Points” and “Key Questions” …. it felt a bit patronising to me and detracted, in my mind, from the argument Nick was developing ….. but maybe that’s just me being old-school and it is a useful way of summarising!
Well worth a read.

From the book stall

help i'm a woman.jpg Spent some time at the book stall today and bought a couple of books. Picked up “Help! I’m a Woman in Youth Ministry” by Kara Powell & “And now let’s move into a time of nonsense” by Nick Page!
Impressions to follow but I’d love to hear some thoughts from any female youth workers who’ve read Kara’s book and whether it resonates with their experiences (especially in the UK)

Spirituality of blogging

How’s this for a cool seminar? Tall Skinny Kiwi is delivering a seminar on the Spirituality of blogging. I recognise a few of the bloggers present, some of whom don’t know each other…. Random moment when I got to introduce a couple of them, obviously there has to be a step before proper names. So this was the act of introducing two bloggers to each other:
Cool but Weird this is Deep Thought
Deep Thought this is Cool but weird!”
… obviously I didn’t introduce them in html but I couldn’t do the quote without including the links 🙂
I was hoping to blog-along with the seminar but the signal kept cutting in and out. It’s probably sensible anyway to wait for Andrew Jones to post his notes as I couldn’t do justice to what was a very inspiring and full seminar. He did a fabulous job of painting a picture of blogs (and other web stuff) as making up a framework of what is the cyber church, from there looking at the opportunities, possibilities and importantly, the responsibilities of our ministry, story telling, commentry and event-recording in cyberspace.
He also revealed that there are now 50 million blogs (eek) which begs the question:
Of all the blogs in all the world, how come you wandered into mine?

A Dandelion in Zion

Morning worship at Greenbelt 2005 this morning was awesome. Hosting a service for 20,000 that’s consistent with Greenbelt’s idelogy of love, justice and creativity …. a piece of worship that’s radical but inclusive, not easy! Thoroughly enjoyed this morning though and the way that the service and the communion was built around “The Tree of Life” theme was wonderful.
One of the opening pieces was a poem by Stewart Henderson which we all said together, in his words, “Karaoke liturgical poetry!” I really liked the middle verse …
“The luscious blooms of Babylon
The pastures of Orion-
I’d swap such verdant wealth
To be a dandelion in Zion”

My camera and my laptop are now talking to each other 🙂 But there’s some far better photo’s of this morning on the GB pages.

Live from Greenbelt

It’s good to be home. Greenbelt is bigger, cooler and funkier than ever with a great layout and everything running smoothly for the 20,000 GBers here. Just got back from a great gig by Iain Archer and am now blogging from the tent as there’s wi-fi across much of the site.
This is a fascinating place to be, there are so many christians here who aren’t certain what denomination you’d describe them as but feel “at home” here. People who’s faith is fed here through Worship, creativity, celebration, challenge and a cry for and engagment with peace and justice! I guess that’s why there’s so many people here who are involved in new expressions of/emerging Church. Tomorrow David Tomlinson is being interviewed on “The Post Evangelical” book … 10 years on, should lead to some interesting discussion.
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I’ll also try and check out some of the Youth stuff tomorrow IF they’ll let me in! Great to see really good numbers of teenagers here.

Greenbelt and the invasion of the bloggers

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I blogged before about putting together an I SPY book of bloggers (which made me laugh)! If anyone had taken this seriously then Greenbelt festival this weekend would be THE place to be. So far I reckon among the potential spotable GB Blogroll are such blogmeisters as:
Matt Rees, Mark Berry, Dave Walker, KTvS, Dr Sarah Hamilton, Jonny Baker, Andrew Jones, Phil, Maggi Dawn, Pip Wilson and about 20 Wibloggers!
And also the following blogsters who are pseudo-Greenbelting i.e retreating to the comforts of a B&B at night: Amanda and Phil 🙂
Really looking forward to the festival. I undersatnd that the scope/size of the youth work provision has grown and am looking forward to checking that out. I have a Press pass to do some stuff for the Diocesan newspaper and website, I shall try not to be like Wayne and Garth backstage at the Alice Cooper concert but will probably fail.
For those at the festival, If you want to drop by I’ll be camping in the Disabled area and the Youthblog flag will be flying. If not, see you somewhere in the village …… obviously by that I mean the Tiny Tea Tent!
For those not at the festival I shall hopfully be blogging day by day so you can virtuially join in.

Youthblog: One year on

Weird but cool, Youthblog is one year old today! It’s 12 months today since the site took it’s initial faltering steps and uttered it’s first words of html!
Over the year I’ve written quite a bit about youth ministry and youth work and, indeed, the emerging shed movement and will continue to do so. Any pretensions I may have had about making a serious contribution to youth work in this country were very much held in check last night! How so? Well someone searched for “Horse Muck” on Google and in doing so found Youthblog! LOL

“Spirituality is” Conference at Salisbury

Some of us heard Phil Rankin at the CTE day in April where he presented some unique and fascinating research into spirituality in the UK. Sarum college are now hosting a conference building from Phil’s research:
“The conference aims to bring together those working in youthwork, church leaders and training officers, academics working in religious studies and theology, those teaching in schools and young people themselves in conversation. At a time when spiritual and ethical values in society are under scrutiny, the contribution of the findings of the research project will be of great interest and significance to churches and society.”
More details here

I survived Soul Survivor

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Soul Survivor B continues until Wednesday at Midnight but my visit is now over. I had a great time and I realy enjoyed catching up with people, random conversations with teenagers I’d never met before and the whole vibe/novelty of being at a Christian event where adults were in the minority by a long way. There were 11,000 there which I think is more than usual?
It was good to catch up with some Full-timers from the Diocese and I chatted to Dawn, Hannah, Nicky, Matt, Kathryn, Simon, Ally and David. It was great to have a chance too to meet/hear Mark Oestreicher who is the boss of Youth Specialties!
Fustratingly though hardly any churches had banners or signs and despite my trying I found virtually none of the volunteer led groups where I didn’t already know the leader.
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My favourite random moment was when I was able to provide some cable-ties and doweling and was able to engineer a splint to repair the fractured leg of a Gazebo for a group! Who says that DYO’s don’t have their uses!
Oh big thanks to Greenham for letting me join them in using their weird alien foot cooler thing, Nice!
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