Participation, Youthwork and Social Networking

Tim Davies is into particpation work in a BIG way and his blog (with some useful posts/links) is here. Further to this though he is doing a survey into “Youth Work and Social Networking” and is interested in how SN is being used (with a further interest in whether Faith-based and Statutory workers use of these sites vary). So, be useful. Be an information donor here. Thanks
ALSO: The Church of England are launching a Facebook Christmas card App’ this weekend that if the media pick up on the press-release I may get asked about. Any facebookies that can check it out for me today? (e-mail for details)

An online Advent

Although most Church youth workers I know do not consider an “Advent Calender” to be spiritually and theologically correct unless it contains chocolate, here are some online ones anyway:
BRF have produced a Calender with a daily video, it’s about resourcing your spiritual journey in Advent.

have been producing an Advent Calender since back in the day, it’s a real mix of stuff.

Episcopal Diocese of Washington
, meditations, carols, podcast and pictures from nativity scenes.
image from BBC Cornwall’s advent page and calender

Yes but what’s the question?

Reading the Guardian today ( I read the Guardian on a Thursday* as they publish the technology supplement) I picked up a story involving a rather complex 40 page proof (I read the story, NOT the proof) that suggests a simpler model of computer processing is possible. The computer scientist, Alex Smith aged 20 is to be awarded a hefty prize for his breakthrough work.
Very boring post so far Ian!
Ok, stay with me.
As the article continues, it turns out that this proof is not without controversy and charges have been levelled that it contains ‘a fundamental fallacy.’ Smith argues thus:
“The proof itself is fine; I’m pretty certain of that. The problem is determining exactly what it is that I’ve proved”
Douglas Adams2.jpg I loved this, got me thinking about theology and how when we try and make theology tidy and tidily packaged we may (note ‘may’) have a proof of something but at the same time it remains uncertain of what it is we’ve actually proved. This got me thinking about Douglas Adams and his postulate from his trilogy in five parts, that knowing the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything precluded knowing/understanding the question!
I heard a quote recently that described theology as “nonsense on stilts!”
This is a ‘think’ in process as a sit in a coffee shop in Burford on my way to a meeting in Moreton-in-the-Marsh (don’t we have great place names?) but I’m left reflecting on paralells with theology:
Whether sometimes our theology is a re-assuring proof or attempt at certainty but fundamentally we don’t know what we’ve proved.
Wondering how often our theology is framed from the point of view of not really knowing the question, or artificially framing a question that we can theologically answer.
Don’t know where this is going (or even has gone) but here’s to a changing, exploring theology that embraces mystery, that constantly questions and is a dialogue, rooted in our communities and experiences. Here’s to a journey of theological exploration with young people.
(* I guess that statment kind of begs the question what I do with the Guardian on other days?)

The Next time

xcuses.jpgThe next time you feel like God can never use you, just remember… Noah was a drunk, Abraham was too old, Isaac was a daydreamer, Jacob was a liar, Leah was ugly, Joseph was abused, Moses had a stuttering problem, Gideon was afraid, Samson had long hair and was a womaniser, Rahab was a prostitute, Jeremiah and Timothy were too young, David had an affair and was a murderer, Elijah was suicidal, Isaiah preached naked, Jonah ran from God, Naomi was a widow, Job went bankrupt, Peter denied Christ, The Disciples fell asleep while praying, Martha worried about everything, The Samaritan woman was divorced, more than once, Zaccheus was too small, Paul was too religious, Timothy had an ulcer, AND Lazarus was dead! no more excuses now.”
Source unknown

At Vertigo we are having a ball

On the 15th December it’s the Vertigo ball, it’s a BIG party and should be more fun than a fun thing that’s a lot of fun.
As per usual I am heading up the beverage team and as per usual I will, therefore, need a team to head up! So …… How about it? Please form an orderly queue in the comments section below!
Person Spec:
Required: You will need to have a sense of humour, think that spending the evening with 300 teenagers is fun and be able to add-up (a bit).

Facebook concerns

Facebook (et al) has been hitting the news quite a bit recently, here’s a summary of the latest three concerns to have emerged over security and privacy on the site.
1. Banks have said that they may not pay out in identity fraud cases where the victim has posted the information on a SN site, which was used by the fraudster! The Times article.
2. Warnings have been posted that once something is ‘out there,’ it is always out there and may harm future employment prospects. This is a key issue to help young people with as thy see their social selves as being entirely seperate from their career. US News on the Subject.
3. Facebook Beacon is a new application that is creating a storm. In a nutshell your purchasing or ordering can appear as infomation on your site without your permission. In the example here, a guy went onto the Blockbusters website to reserve some hire videos then discovered that list of videos appeared on his Facebook site. ht to Richard for the pointer. Times article here.
I still think that Social Networking is great BUT requires considerable wisdom in how you use it and what you upload. We should be exploring this with teenagers!

Training in the Diocese 2008

Greetings fellow Diocesan dwellers:
I’m setting up the training dates in my diary for 2008. If you would like to host a training eve (or Saturday morning) then please be in touch. Topics available from the menu below or by negotiation. Other subjects/trainers also available if you give sufficient notice!
All that’s needed from you is a venue and a willingness for the invitation to be extended to Youth Leaders in your local area (oh and some tea and coffee).
a la Carte Menu

Running a residential
Discipline and Young people
How to discuss Sexuality
Ministry with Tweenagers
The basics of youth work
Should we have a God Slot
Starting from Scratch
Sharing your faith with young people
Contemplative Youth Ministry
Developing your Youthwork
Unpacking and challenging worldviews
The Bible in our programme

A mondegreen moment

submarine.jpgLast night at Macdonald towers my wife and I were eating cheese and biscuits and enjoying a mellow Sunday evening. We were streaming some self-selectable internet radio and had, to go with the snack, selected a cheesy batch of music. The selection being all stuff in the stylee of the Carpenters! As well as The Carpenters the channel selected, Barry Manilow, Olivia Newton-John, Carly Simon and the like. All good sing-a-long stuff and we were having a blast, even more so when a bit of Bee Gees came on. We were singing along heartily but decided the line,
and you come to me on a submarine!” was a bit odd even though “deep” was part of the metaphor of the song?
So a quick google later and it turns out the submarine is in fact, a summer breeze! Cue much hilarity and probably the inability to ever sing the song correctly again.
“And you come to me on a summer breeze
Keep me warm in your love and then softly leave
And its me you need to show
How deep is your love?”

Before I get too much grief about the musical selection I need to say that I am not the only post-Radio-1 Youth worker out there who has succesfully embraced his inner-Radio-2! I’m not! am I?