I’ve read two of Pete Rollins books and was blown away by both of them.
The Orthodox Heretic is a series of parables that explode, enlarge and examine scripture and faith in inspirational and sometimes uncomfortable reality.
How not to speak of God is a look at the emerging church but more than that, an accessible philosophical re-look at ecclesiology and theology.
I think he’s the CS Lewis of the early 21st century!
Anyway, if you’ve not encountered him: Check out Rob Bell interviewing him at Mars Hill
“Tending the Adolescent Soul” … the day at CMS led by Mark Yaconelli was definitely time well invested and I am really glad I went.
(btw, has anyone got an e-mail address for Mark as I want to follow up a couple of things)
Mark introduced the topic and revealed it to be not just about the soul of the adolescent but our own ‘adolescent soul’ too. He talked about a song that dwells in each of us (his metaphor for the soul and the place of God and of being ourselves) and our role being to hear the song in the life of the young people we work with and sing it back to them.
He explained this was in the context of a culture where:
1. Young people make adults anxious
2. Adults make young people anxious
and thirdly, Jesus makes everyone nervous (or at least will when we take his teaching seriously).
He used the “Anxiety vs Love” chart from Contemplating Youth Ministry to show how much ministry to young people has its roots in anxiety. Having explored and illustrated that anxiety he tackled the anxiety of young people who saw adulthood as a place of stress, zero passion and limited friendship/relationship. He talked about adults living in and experiencing the alienation of a culture dominated by an unholy trinity of achievements, affluence and appearance that so suppressed the song in adults that young people were not finding a place/space to grow up into that held any attraction.
Next we looked at Sabbath and how Sabbath is not easy (“why God made it a commandment, Mark speculated”) as when we slow down we meet the pain, loss and tears present in the world and in ourselves)
Mark was clear that we HAD to engage with Sabbath for our own souls. The more we have engaged and faced, the more we have spent time with God, the more we have learnt to know (and love ourselves) … the more we can be real, be present to others …. to live our song. The challenge to slow down, the challenge to know our pain or rage or hurt and follow them to the root in order that healing can occur.
This Mark believes is our work that we can bring attentiveness to our work with young people, to be real, to be present. He talked about ministers practicing presence that lived the following characteristics:
1. See (have soft eyes and no agenda) and allow ourselves to be seen
2. Pay attention to our eyes. Hear! Listen! (Over 60% of Jesus teaching in the NT comes after listening), allowed our selves to be heard (tell the truth)
3. Allow ourselves to be moved
4. Act with kindness
(and in all we do, have a sense of delight in who they are …… ‘sing the song back to them’)
This in Marks experience is what young people are looking for.
(We tried to think about a time when we had been really listened to, when someone had been really ‘present’ to us and described our feelings and their characteristics to embed the effect of this attentiveness)
We then looked how as a sometimes isolated youth worker we enabled and lived this not just on our own but in community.
(At this point I had to go as my eldest boy H was in hospital for a routine op’ ….. If anyone can add any of the latter part of the day that would be fab)
PS: The CMS day wasn’t recorded, was the Birmingham day?
Plus if you would like to hear some of what Mark has to say, the seminars from Greenbelt are downloadable for a fee
Details here for a Youth and Community worker in Oxford (one year contract)
I am considering doing a piece of research on the needs of Church volunteer youth leaders and importantly too, attitudes, fears, hopes and potential barriers of adults in the church in regard to working with young people.
Can anyone point me to any existing work?
I have had a friend request on Facebook, nothing too unusual in that. But in this case I do not know the person, nor have ever met them but they proport to be called, “Ian Macdonald”
This seemed to me a very spurious reason for seeking friendship, thus I was going to reject it on the same basis that people who have the same size feet as me … or equally also do not play the banjo would not be accepted unconditionally as FB buddies.
A thought occurred though that prevented the deletion. Supposing it’s me from the future (some sort of storm in the space time continuum that I inadvertently wandered/wander into) and I have an important message for myself in order to stop me doing that again, or to enable me to write the greatest selling Worship song of all time (or something).
I’d be foolish to reject an important friendship request from my duplicate future self.
Admittedly the picture accompanying the request doesn’t look like me BUT I’d have to do that in order not to freak my past(present) self out.
I may also need to stop drinking quite as much coffee (something my future self may also be wanting to point out!)