Faith does breed charity

Fascinating article by Roy Hattersley in yesterdays Guardian in which he, as an athiest, looks at the response to Katrina, then explores why faith groups are at the forefront of relief work. He considers his own position intellectually superior but admits that it’s faith that makes people admirable.
Civilised people do not believe that drug addiction and male prostitution offend against divine ordinance. But those who do are the men and women most willing to change the fetid bandages, replace the sodden sleeping bags and – probably most difficult of all – argue, without a trace of impatience, that the time has come for some serious medical treatment
Filing this as encouraging! Read the full article.
While I’m flagging up interesting articles, this piece on the iphone is interesting. It looks at why, in this case, previous innovation has made innovation untennable.
It has got me reflecting on how you maintain innovation/risk et al in Church or Youth ministry approaches to mission. What is it that stifles innovative outreach even when that’s how something began?

Fair Trade Cafe

choc.jpg I need to put together a cafe for the Vertigo event on October the 1st and want it to be Fairtrade! Mass drink catering seems to be OK if you want tea and coffee but not cold drinks or hot chocolate! Anyone run anything similar and have experience to share? Did you manage to ‘do’ all Fairtrade or was it Fairtrade plus Cola etc? Any wisdom gratefully received.
I have got web pages for Divine Chocolate, Traidcraft and Fair Trade Foundation. Are their others I should know about?
A thousand thanks for your help!

Continue reading “Fair Trade Cafe”

Racial Justice Sunday

I had the privilege of being at such a cooool event last night. It’s difficult to describe but it was called “Love Justice” and took place at the uber funky St Laurence Church in Reading. It was a kind of celebration, challenge, concert around Christian justice. St Laurence focuses on work with young people and so the hosting of this event meant it already had great energy as well as being a fantastic venue.
There was an art exhibition, various organisations and a number of bands/artists and a cafe. In-between each act someone would briefly explain their work or campaign and some of the artists were connected with those, Ben Okafor for example was very much part of the Coalition against Child Soldiers and had experienced being a serving soldier at 14. It was a powerful evening and great fun (good combo I thought)
I don’t know the names of the Hip Hop acts but enjoyed them, loved this line and the way it came across:
Dream of the hour
when the sweetness of God
will sweeten all the sour

Ben Okafor was brilliant and he’s a seriously cool guy and an awesome musician.
Highlight of the evening for me was a Ska band playing worship songs (How often to you get invited to Skank along with worship?), they were called Sounds of Salvation and I definitely want to catch these guys again!
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Yaconelli is still challenging me

I blatantly nicked this quote from Roy’s site but I thought it was worth re-quoting and challenging myself with too.
What happened to radical Christianity, the un-nice brand of Christianity that turned the world upside-down ? What happened to the category smashing, life threatening, anti-institutional gospel that spread through the first century like wildfire and was considered (by those in power) dangerous ? What happened to the kind of Christians whose hearts were on fire, who had no fear, who spoke the truth no matter what the consequences, who made the world uncomfortable, who were willing to follow Jesus wherever he went ? What happened to the kind of Christians who were filled with passion and gratitude, and who every day were unable to get over the grace of God?”
Mike Yaconelli
Reminded me of a couple of Biblical testimonies:
In the old testament Joshua and Caleb are declared to be “Men of a different Spirit
In the New Testament the early followers are refered to as “these men who have turned the world upside-down
Am very aware how easy/safe it is to be an employed Christian in a mainstream denomination, how far away I/my role can be from turning anything upside down! Mr Yaconelli, ouch but thanks!

No Sex please ……

I’ve read plenty about “No Sex Please ..” but I now have the video of the programme and am looking forward to watching that tonight. It’s clearly had quite an impact and the search engines have been busy with searches for Dan Burke, Rachel Gardner and the TV Programme.
Dan left a comment saying:
In the next 2 programmes you will see some amazing things
How’s that for a teaser? He also mentioned the Romance Academy website which has got some great info on the project.
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There are more comments on the programme a couple of entries back!
I have now watched the first episode and am incredibly impressed, I may use it when I’m training people in small group work. The piece I was asked to write for the Diocesan Newspaper is below (click “continue reading”)

Continue reading “No Sex please ……”

Matrix Conference 2007

I’ve just got back from a consultation about the next Matrix conference. Today was just about reflections, ideas and broad thinking about how it might look, there are no specific details yet.
Having said that it will most likely be in March 2007 and the venue is probably High Leigh again.
One of the questions that came up was about every other year when Matrix doesn’t run …. Where (if anywhere) do youth workers go then. If you are a Matrix goer, what else do you go to in terms of conferences and professional development? Is Matrix failing by only being bi-annual or is this freeing?

Health and Safety

I found this picture on Planet Telex of a school fund raiser! Before you get excited about this as an idea you need to know that it nearly killed the teacher involved!
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Never under-estimate the benefit of a proper risk assesment!
On the radio was a report about a fire in a theatre which was caused by a member of the cast knocking over a candle. Ordinarily that wouldn’t have been a problem BUT the entire set in this experimental production was made of paper bags!
Todays equations
Risk assesment = good
Duct tape + person + wall = bad
Candles + paper bags = very bad
I hope the above equations have not runined too many pieces of alternative worship for Sunday 🙂

No Sex please, episode 1

I didn’t see the first episode of “No Sex Please we’re Teenagers” last night as I’m trapped at Swanick conference centre (escape plan being hatched though).
A colleague has recorded it for me though and I’m looking forward to seeing it. Richard has written a helpful and thought provoking review and I guess there’ll be more thoughts posted during the day across youth ministry blogdom ….. I sincerely hope so as I have to write an article on it for the Diocesan Newspaper and need all the help I can get 🙂