Transformation on the journey of faith

chrysalis book.jpgJonny Baker has posted a review of Chrysalis by Alan Jamieson. I was really struck by this reflective list on aspects of a journey to a deeper faith, it’s a list which really resonates with my (ongoing and developing) experience:
from black and white to an embrace of black and white and greys
from dependence to interdependence
from answers to mystery and childlike wonder
from doing to being (a deep sense of being accepted by god)
from playing a role to a new giving of self for others
from trust in external authorities to an integration of internal and external voices
from effortful faith to resting faith
from martha’s faith to faith that expresses mary’s heart and martha’s hands
from needing leaders to co-discerning with others
from external truth to communal and paradoxical truth

I think this would be an interesting list to hold alongside our youth ministry programmes for reflection.

The bears will eat you …

Bishop Gavin Reid has been delivering some input to the DYO conference and was reflecting that there is only one section of the Old Testament that directly relates to youth work. The passage in question being from Second Kings:
23 From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some youths came out of the town and jeered at him. “Go on up, you baldhead!” they said. “Go on up, you baldhead!” 24 He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the LORD. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths. 25 And he went on to Mount Carmel and from there returned to Samaria.
His reflection being that in a culture which was built around multi-generational family, this is the only example of young people being together as a peer group!
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I was quite amused by the idea of this obscure episode being the only directly applicable Old Testament reference to work with young people. A bit of trawling around also revealed this passage to be among Cracked dot coms most bad-ass Bible verses.
So …………… don’t ‘mess’ with Prophets!

Musing on Universal Truth

peter kay SOL.jpgPeter Kays list of 35 universal truths has been circulating the web for a few years but it still makes me laugh ‘cos of it’s well observed shared experiences. May favourites are:
Triangular sandwiches taste better than square ones.
Despite constant warning, you have never met anybody who has had their arm broken by a swan
One of the most awkward things that can happen in a pub is when your pint-to-toilet cycle gets synchronised with a complete stranger.
You’ve never quite sure whether it’s ok to eat green crisps.
Rummaging in an overgrown garden will always turn up a bouncy ball.
Everyone always remembers the day a dog ran into your school.

Anyway, re-encountering this list this morning made me wonder about ther universal truths of youth work. What generalisations would resonate with nearly everyone’s shared experience of youth work? This is what I shall be pondering today when the conference I am at is running beyond my attention span BUT I’d love your ideas ………

Media Watch: Flava

flava.jpgI love this, Flava are a teenage dance group that appeared on Britians Got talent this weekend and were really well received. You can watch the video here.
What was really encouraging though were Simon Cowell’s comments:

“You have done one thing incredible, you’ve just made hoodies acceptable. I love that you have done it yourself, you are raw talent and you are as good as what I’ve seen in America. There a lot of people getting a hard time in this country at the moment, particularly young people and I just think you are an incredible representation of the good that is out there”

Opera meets flappy lips, hell yeah

If you are in the mood an absurd feel-good piece of pointless video then look know further.
(although I admit that if you were to pitch this as a film concept then interest for close ups of people blowing raspberries to an operatic accompaniment wouldn’t make it further than the Tate Modern). Ht to Chris

This is the work of genius, possible skewed genius, but definitely genius!

Disability Inclusion 2

I am passionate about youth ministry being inclusive not exclusive, and groups being a community of difference not a collective of sameness. This does however require an intentionality, a flexibility and an openness ….. it also means additional challenges in the outworking of this, but at the same time often leads to a greater depth, learning and understanding in the experience of the group. (I will step down from my youth-work Soap Box now)
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In terms of being welcoming to young people with additional needs or disabilities though, what does this mean?
From a legislative point of view it means looking at and amending policies and practices that would prevent someone with a disability taking part. It also means being willing to make “reasonable adjustment” to enable someone with additional needs to participate.
In many ways this is a natural outworking of our faith, and I see lots of Church groups that extend a welcome and a value to all, offering a place of being and belonging to all sorts of young people who otherwise may be marginalised. I’ve also been blessed, encouraged and helped by the welcome my son has received in so many places.
I do think though that it requires an intentionality, flexibility and openness. What I want to try and write then is something from the point of view of disabled young people and their parent(s), something that is practical and helpful. I am however finding it hard to write, So think of this post as the 2nd Indiana Jones film, i.e not very good but paving the way for a great part 3!

Here’s the joy and fun

Last night I was helping a group of leaders from various youth groups in a Church to look at a number of issues and help them explore ways forward. (*laughing* I think I just lapsed into consultant speak, eeeek). As a way in, I got them to shout out all the aspects of the work where they found Joy and Fun, then to list the aspects that were a source of heaviness.
It proved a useful exercise to work from BUT I especially loved how passionate and energetic they were about the aspects of youth ministry where they encountered joy and fun. This is their two minute shout out …….
Relationships, buzz, crowd, laughter, noise, quiet, eating together, sharing, talking,
being challenged, new thoughts, team, energy, the privilege.