Never went to Church

Linking in with the spirituality discussion, these lyrics from The Streets struck me (from ‘Never went to Church’)
‘Two great European narcotics,
Alcohol and Christianity,
I know which one I prefer
We never went to church,
Just get on with work and sometimes things’ll hurt,
But it’s hit me since you left us,
And it’s so hard not to search’

Robbie Williams, Sin Sin Sin

Some interesting lyrics that could provoke an interesting discussion in your youth groups …
robbiewilliams.jpg ‘Sin sin sin
Look where we’ve been
And where we are tonight
Hate the sin not the sinner
I’m just after a glimmer of love
and life deep inside
Hush hush hush
To speak is a sin
And neither of us need rescuing
Just relax
It’s what Jesus would do
We’re made in his image baby
Let’s ride this thing through
Oh it hurts when you’re to blind to see
What about us? Well it was just for me
Sin sin sin
Look where we’ve been
And where we are tonight
Hate the sin not the sinner
I’m just after a glimmer of love
And life deep inside
I won’t sing of amore
It don’t sound sincere
Love is a cliché
But if its not here I’ll disappear

Kenda Creasy Dean

kenda.jpg Kenda presented a well constructed theory that all young people are intuitive theologians, that their lives demonstrate a search for Fidelity, Transendence and Communion. That at a pre-conscious level there is a search for a salvation figure, a quest that’s acted on without thought. This exploration was well backed up with film, story and example and was an insightful analysis of the passion and quest of adolescence.
A Study of young people and religion from the States had produced the following (my note form)
1.Teenagers are not hostile towards religion (not rebellion, actually they don’t care …. It’s off the radar screen) ‘benign whateverism
2. Teenagers faith mirrors their parents faith
3. Teenagers are incredibly inarticulate about religion (but are incredibly articulate on other stuff)
4. A 40% minority say that religion is important to them and makes a difference in their lives (although only about 8% we would recognise as devout)
5. Most teenagers adhere to Moralistic Therapeutic Deism as their unacknowledged religious creed.
This fifth point of teenagers ascribing to a Moralistic Therapeutic Deism was an important one and its creed was expressed thusly:
God exists and watches over life
God wants us to be good
The central goal of life is to be happy
God doesn’t need to be involved in my life unless I need God to solve a problem
Good peoplel go to heaven
But this is not the God we know, the God of relationship, the God of suffering love. So where have young people picked this theology up from. Explored how much of it actually mirrors what they see in christians?
Challenging question: How much of our ministry could quite easily happen without Jesus?
Kenda then explored some of the Rocks that make a difference:
1. A creed to believe …………… A God worth worshipping
2. A community to belong to ……….. Who has the sense that they belong
3. A call to live out (a sense of meaning and purpose)
4. A hope to hold onto (an explicit eschatology)
and further to this, talked about our role of helping young people have a language to explore faith. Using this metaphor there was a call too …
Teach the grammar of Christ
Surround youth with those who talk to God, who speak the faith, who tell the stories … who live baptismal lives.
Foster Faith fluency
Immerse youth in a baptismal community where people practice dying and rising in Christ
Practice Diction
Create opportunities for youth to participate in the baptismal life of ministry … to claim God’s call for themesleves
Keep your accent
Live advent lives alongside youth ….marked by un-anxious, expectant, and articulate presence
I’m not sure these brief notes do the day justice, it was a critically important day for me in terms of the way that we do youth ministry and the way we view young people.

Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter

The Kenda Creasy Dean lecture is awesome. It’s coffee break and I wanted to flag up a film mentioned this morning (not in a positive sense). It’s called Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter. I thought this review was hilarious ….
‘Combining kung-fu action with biblical prophecy and a liberal dose of humour, the film teams the Saviour with Mexican wrestling hero El Santos against mythological horrors and science gone mad, and also manages to address contemporary sexual politics. And did we mention that it’s a musical?’

Do you know your tables?

short circuit5.gif

I’m currently sorting out new furniture for the dining room of the residential centre I am one of the trustees of. I need something durable and long lasting? I reckon I’m going to go for Gopak unless anyone has any other (UK)suggestions. ALSO has anyone got the Gopak tables with benches in a dining type set up? If so, on the 6ft tables/benches how many young people can/do sit on each side? Are they wide enough for dual sided dining?
(this may be my most obscure blog post ever …. and there’s some weird ones competing for that title, still I thought it was worth flagging up)
Any other bits of wisdom you can furnish me with (pun intended) would be great!

A splurge of news and info

trafficblog.jpg In the world of youth ministry here’s what’s hot and what’s not, the questions (but not the answers) and anything else that struck me, as it were.
I’m looking forward to catching up with a whole stack of people at Kenda Creasy Dean tomorrow in Oxford (hope the Guildford session went well today!).
Youth Emmaus 2 is out and received a good press.
Nosuchthingastoomuchcoffee in Shropshire is looking for some bands/DJ’s for a couple of summer events. Trying to track down localish rather than national bods. Leave suggestions on her site.
Bumped into my friend John at the CRE and he’s looking for a few more bods for a great project they’ve been running in Austria for a number of years. Its from 26th July – 5th August. You need to be 16-25. The project in a nutshell is to head out to Austria and be sharing faith, teaching English and gaining leadership training while helping run an event at a Bible School. More details: Download file
The next VERTIGO event is all systems go and will be on July 1st. A day of social action WITH communities and a mahoosive BBQ. Please get it in your diaries now! Prayer meeting for the event, Monday 5th June at 8pm at St Andrews Church
There’s a training event around ‘Teenage Pregnancy’ on June 6th at Didcot, details from me
Christian Aid are running a competition in BLISS magazine. Its basically a chance for a teenage girl to be a reporter, travel to India and write an article. Sounds pretty cool but the deadline to submit a letter as an entry is REALLY close.
* The picture at the top was made possible by the funky Atom Smasher site

The CRE thing

Well, made it to the Christian Resources Exhibition at Esher and like Phil, I’m not really sure what to make of it?
But even so I had so much fun. I took a former member of my youth group with me and we ended up laughing so much as we engaged in obscure conversations with stallholders and spotted stuff that was just crazy! Every year there seems to be less and less youth focused stands/books/initiatives and that’s a big concern to me, If the exhibition is genuinely about resourcing churches and christians then why does this crucial area of ministry diminish? (Did pick up all 12 Nooma DVD’s for £99 though which is a result!)
On the useful side, it was, as ever, the networking and the bumping into people that rocked and I was able to have some very productive conversations. The event was extremely well organised (credit where it’s due) although I’m not entirely comfortable with being barcoded as I walk round.
I also enjoyed the gospel magic show 🙂
We ‘manned’ Dave’s stand for a few minutes while he went and got a cup of coffee. That was an absolute blast, it’s not often I get to use my sales skills from my previous life and I had a great deal of fun promoting Dave’s brand of humour to the bods who were passing 🙂

Create a newspaper fragment

All creditr to YS Marko for finding this really cool site that creates a newspaper fragment for you. You could really have some fun with this for a treasure hunt, part of a teaching session, publicity or (and I reckon you should use this Rev Doc DS) creating a snippet for a sermon illustration on the old powerpoint 🙂
Off to the Christian Resources Exhibition in a few minutes ….

There’s no such thing as difficult people

‘There’s no such thing as difficult people
just difficult behaviour’
Pip Wilson
I know this quote appears on my blog SO OFTEN but I think it’s a really important one. I was at a mini conference this morning on Domestic Violence, Professor Audrey Mullender was presenting on Children’s perspective on Domestic Violence. It was encouraging to hear about young people really being engaged with BUT heart breaking to hear some of the stories. As so often there were stories of young people whose behaviour was deemed a problem by the school et al BUT know one had engaged with the young person sufficiently to find out what was triggering the behaviour.
It was a harrowing morning hearing about experiences of Domestic Violence BUT a useful one. I was glad of the five mile cycle back to the office to sort my head out a bit.