Not very confident

wes.jpg“I am in fact not very confident that we have it in ourselves to re-engage in the near future to any substantial degree with children, young people and people in the 20-45 age range, but would always be glad to be surprised on this one”
David Deeks, General Secretary of the Methodist Church
Woooa, that’s a quote! Scary, honest? defeated? Reading the related article in Youthwork magazine it’s clear that the Methodist Church do care about young people but are struggling with vision and resources. I believe that Methodist churches can (and in some cases are) ENGAGE. I hope and pray that mission and young people become a bigger priority not a lesser priority in light of the challenges faced.
*Please note the photo is of Wesley, not of David Deeks (More confusingly the first picture of Wesley I found was of Wesley Snipes!)

Flight announcement splurge

Welcome to Youthblog airlines, this is your Pilot speaking. Emergency exits are located here, here and here and in the unlikely event of a problem with Firefox we have a back up system provided by Microsoft. We will be cruising today with a nice positive attitude and I am not expecting any turbulence (although one can never predict what will happen in the comments). For those (un)lucky enough to have a Windows seat (or those in first class with an i-seat), here is what you might expect to see:
There’s a new online Magazine for teens called Streetbrand. It’s very cool in that is actually an online magazine, i.e magazine format and page turning etc BUT readable. It’s a Christian, youth culture mag and this is what the editor has to say about it:

“My name is Kofo Baptist and I attend Powerhouse Church in London; my husband is a youth pastor in the church and I have a heart for youth work. About five years ago, I got the idea to do a faith-based youth culture magazine; a publication that would be more than just a good read. I was tired of seeing boy/girl crazed, sex-oriented magazines with little to say to young people about achievement, purpose, spirituality or the importance of having a voice on critical issues of concern”

Moorlands college
(as attended by 12.35% of Youthblog readers*) run a course called ELIVATE. It’s a distance learning course that also include two residential weekends. It revolves around three focuses, Bible, self and mission. Definitely worth checking out!
If you want to explore 24-7 prayer and Bolier rooms more then here’s a programme of stuff that’s happening that may be useful. Download file
Additional: If you are in an Anglican church and know your Diocesan Youth Adviser then I could do with some info on them! I’m part of the team organising the DYO conference this year and we are collecting skills that DYO’s hold (they are often to shy to ‘fess up to all their abilities) and any funny info, skills, history (as they are too smart to want to tell me). Ta muchly
Youthblog wishes you a pleasant onward browse
(* This figure has its roots very firmly in the fact that 78.2% of statistics are made up on the spot)

My weekend by Ian aged 40

AArrrgghhh I’ve been pulled into the dark side of blogging, the place where boring chronological narration rules and the humdrum experiences of one’s life are posted in the absurd belief that they will be of enormous interest to millions of people. I’m going to have to go with it for a moment though and ………… write about my weekend. (any readers who do not wear slippers and don’t always religiously ask for de-caf coffee, may wish to switch off at this point).
worldend2.jpg On Saturday I went for a bike ride! Normally I wouldn’t mention this but I thought it’s title and organisation (by Newbury cycling group, SPOKES) was quite witty. In an ironic (and shorter) tribute to the famous end to end ride in the UK, we did “Worlds End” (really is a village in Berkshire) to the John O’ Gaunt pub in Hungerford, which including the journey out from Macdonald Towers and back was a pleasant 37 miles.
On Sunday morning (note clever chronological device to frame the writing structure) I was preaching by the river in Pangbourne. This was not some mad and maverick act in order to convert the ducks but part of a combined Churches together and Scouting Centenary service. I had a great time and it was a blast to be part of a fun outdoor service. I was introduced as the celebrity guest???!!!!!! LOL! You heard it hear first, there is now such a thing as a ‘z’ list celebtrity! (Mind you Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher were in Pangborne a couple of days before so maybe I was restoring some balance).
roman bods.jpgSunday afternoon, we took all the offspring (including one we seem to have acquired for a week) to a Roman re-enactment thingamajig. Lots of impressive Roman soldiers firing some nasty looking weaponry*, there was a Roman encampment, a Roman operating theatre and the like. They were all very passionate about understanding the whole Roman thing and producing an accurate portrayal. At one point they got all the kids doing Roman drill and it was hilarious to see the young people having a fab time WHILE being shouted at in Latin. (I’m sure that the more well schooled readers of this blog (for the record, not me) will only associate being shouted at in Latin as a bad thing!). If you get chance to see LEGIO SECVNDA AVGVSTA in action, then I recommend it, they Saxa!
Don’t know why I wrote all that but I think it’s got it out of my sytem and you will not have to endure similar postings such as “My quest for socks at Marks and Spencers” for a while.
*Even though the weaponry was very nasty they elected to fire onions instead of stones (this presumably wouldn’t have killed anyone, just made them cry)

Big Brother thought

Great reflection from Brian Draper thinking about TV’s, Big Brother
“In fact, for all its predictable superficiality and editorial manipulation, Big Brother remains intriguing (to some) because it commits to the long haul and allows space for its wannabe cast to forget about performing and start developing relationships – betraying themselves and others through what they say, dividing the group with arguments and acts of selfishness, and occasionally reuniting it with heart-warming flashes of grace. Although it appears that the contestants are as shallow as the popular culture they are helping to dramatise, in the end they really can’t help being themselves. Which begs the question: If we can’t stand them for who they are, how can we, as the Church, ever hope to love the millions they represent in the ‘real’ world?
God, who could have switched off from us years ago, doesn’t miss our own simplicity, stupidity and occasional duplicity. But thankfully he’s willing to look beyond the impressions we create of ourselves, to the heart of who we are. And that’s surely what we all need, whether we seek it on the TV or not: a healthy dose of reality”

Stop the pigeon

Reading the Church Times today I ended up cracked up with Laughter!
On page 3 of said newspaper is a full page article on the controversy revolving around the Playstation game virtually set in Manchester Cathedral. There is some outcry that shooting Aliens in Cathedrals is not something that Anglicans would do. Meanwhile (detailed on page 4) over at Norwich Cathedral they called in a pest controller to deal with a pigeon in the cathedral which should not be there, (presumably because it had avoided paying by flying in). The pest controller being a practical kind of fellow, reached into his pest-control bag, removed a gun and shot it!
The irony of one Cathedral being up in arms about armed gamers shooting non existent aliens while another cathedral is calling in people to shoot actual pigeons, was I thought, quite funny!
(See also Dave Walker on the Manchester controversy)