I’m speaking at a couple of conferences in the next few weeks, both times on the theme of discipleship.
For so many years it seems to me (in general) a lot of the energy and narrative has been about ‘becoming a christian’ and considerably less about being the christian you’ve become. Ok maybe that’s a bit unfair BUT much discipleship discourse has been informational, not one that embraces the doing, questioning/doubting, discipline, honesty and theological reflection that several hundred years of spiritual wisdom, writings and grappling have to offer.
This is not meant as a judgment, this is reflecting on my own experience as well as that which I see around me.
For years as the youth adviser I’ve been asked about the ‘problem with young people’ as an assumed reason that the church is struggling to engage with teens. I’ve consistently argued that there is not a problem with young people …. it’s an issue of adult discipleship. It was really interesting when Mark Yaconelli’s book “Contemplative Youth MInistry” came out and he recorded that young people were only growing spiritually where the adult leaders were still growing and journeying themselves.
Something is happening though it seems. ‘Discipleship’ is really on the agenda as a serious grappling with what it means as collectively we adjust to the Post Christendom landscape … and what it might mean. “to sing the lords song in a strange land. The new monasticism that mines the wisdom of Benedict, Francis, the Desert mothers and fathers et al is an exciting re-discovery of what being christian might be and the considerable challenges that the journey of growth presents, a real Pilgrims Progress.
In the Diocese we are running a series of days in the next few weeks entitled “Confidence in Discipleship” which nearly 1500 people have signed up to!
One of those posts where I’m just musing out loud.

Forty Five

Officially in my mid 40’s now. I rejected my mathematical friends offer to round my age up to the nearest 10, choosing instead to be, and owning, the 45 that I am.
It’s been quite a journey from 1967 to here and has involved a lot of learning, some big fashion mistakes, a whole bunch of wonderful friendships, as well as adventures in travel, loss, love and faith.
A big thank you to my companions on the journey …… especially the young people I get to work with who think that 1967 is so far back in the midst of time to be some sort of primordial swamp.
PS making me laugh today is this Joke which only works if you are familiar with 80’s soft rock lyrics:

Bowled over

I occasionally nip down to the local hostelry for a bowl of soup!
Being a gastropub type of chain (and being in Oxford) it does have certain pretensions. The plus side of which is that it is generally really good soup … the downside is the nouvelle-cuisine miniminalistic approach to the supply of croutonage. First visit of the year illicited only five, the second visit (and I got considerable sympathy on Facebook for this) was a paltry four croutons! You may wonder why this is an issue but you need to understand NO BREAD comes with the soup, the croutons being the totality of accompaniment.
However on hearing this sad state of affairs, the lovely Barbara from reception made me a tub of emergency croutons. The idea being that were I to be heading out for soup I could smuggle these contraband cubes in with me to bolster that which is supplied.
Today I did just that and even though the accompanying supplied croutons had reached the heady heights of seven (albeit quite small), I was able to apply supplemnetal croutonage to the proffered pottage. Happy days 🙂

IJT Direct

Can I recommend a company that maybe useful. IJT direct sell technology really cheaply, offer really good value consumables and have a nifty line in refurbished but guaranteed Lap-Tops (decent Dell with 2gb memory and 30gb HD for £136 for example). They also offer free printers when you buy a certain amount of cartridges.
If you do see anything of interest please please e-mail me so I can refer you which maybe to both our advantage. Thanks 🙂
PS Yes, I have used them!

Professional development

Greetings fellow Youth Ministerial types and associated faith practitioners (and in the stylee of Radio shout-outs from quiz contestants, “Anyone else who knows me!”)
In an attempt to be useful I thought I’d put together a list of ‘professional development’ opportunities that are useful blips on the Youthblog radar monitor.
Young People, Nurture and the Church: A day of input, reflection, challenge and resources about confirmation, discipleship and nurture with young people in the Anglican Church. Saturday 25th February 2012, 10am until 4pm, Church of the Good Shepherd, Crookhorn Lane, Waterlooville , PO7 5QB. details
Chaplaincy in Contemporary Context: CYM Oxford 6th – 8th March 2012. Details: CPD – Chaplaincy booking form 2012.doc
Practical, Theology of Youth Ministry: Exploring the theological understanding of youth ministry with speakers, Nash, Root and Ward. London, 13th March. Details
As You Go: “A Conference for all those seeking to disciple children and young people” 20th – 21st March 2012 CMS House, Oxford. As you Go brochure.pdf
Youthwork Summit: 19th May London. details
Please ping anything else across and I’ll add it to the list, thank you 🙂
(Stuff in/from the North especially welcomed)