The Tao of Tech

Loved this article from the Guardian regarding ‘distraction addiction’ or the resultant ‘continuous partial attention!’ There is some really wisdom in here and I was also surprised to find elements of the contemplative being engaged with in the search for a healthier relationship with the all pervading technology.
I think my retirement from Scrabble was probably timely but is only one element of the ‘Black Hole’ like gravitational pull of internet distraction and a flitting virtual unhealthiness.

Urban Saints Internships

level up.jpg
Urban Saints have put together an interesting Internship project called LEVEL-UP that offers a wide range of experience, opportunity and training. (A serious amount of money to find though).
Musing more generally:
There is an absolute explosion of internship opportunities and I’d be very interested to see what percentage are filled (Might see press-gangs operating for various agencies in the resource area at Soul Survivor at this rate). With youth unemployment such an issue then internships could be a great opportunity, I am concerned that some though (and they are rare but dangerous) are keener on the free labour dimension than on the experience and training dimension. Where they work well though what a great opportunity for growth, discipleship, learning AND young people helping to shape the organisation they are serving with.
I was wondering about compiling a list of internships but I can’t see how I’d even start to do justice to the opportunities.
Has the phrase “Gap Year” been confined to the recycling bin now?

Inclusivity (Special and Additional Needs)

Browsing through the bookstall at YWS13 I spotted this book being prominently displayed! It was only when I looked at it that I remembered that Martin had asked me to scribble something for it on inclusivity. It looks and reads much better on the page than I was expecting having just e-mailed a stream of consciousness type e-mail to him.
If you have the book (I don’t) you can see how much editing happened as below is the text of the e-mail.
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“Writing something generic about inclusion, given the range of additional or special and additional needs that there are, is quite a challenge. However coming from the perspective of a youth worker who has faced the challenge of inclusion, and my own experiences of having a son who has cerebral palsy, I wanted to try and frame some advice and thinking.
Being inclusive is a great way of modelling (and experiencing) the Kingdom. Young people with additional leads can be a great blessing to the group as well as being blessed by the group.
Don’t worry about what you don’t know! Talk to the young person first and foremost, get to know them. If speech is a difficulty for them, don’t be frightened, listen – really listen, and admit if you are struggling to understand. See the young person, not the disability. If you want to know more, talk to the parent(s), they’ll be more than happy to help you understand the young persons’ needs and challenges. Come to this conversation though having got to know the young person a little. Remember you are good at relating to young people, don’t become something different because they have a disability. If they have a diagnosed condition, a bit of time on Google can also be really helpful.
Having worked with the parent(s) to understand the needs, make sure you work with the young person in the context of the group. Parents can have a limited view of what their son/daughter can do and wants to do (All parents rightly want to protect their child but parents of children with disabilities can sometimes develop quite concerned and restrictive views of what they are capable of ) The group may be a great opportunity for them to explore more of who they are and what they are able to do. Listen – really listen.
Inclusion will require additional thought, planning and/or people depending on the young person. (On a very practical level some young people may not fit into neat age divisions and you may want to include them at ‘stage’ not age.)
Work to make activities work for all the group. Review regularly with the young person and the parents.
And finally as a parent can I just say what a blessing it is to see your child loved, valued and included regardless of their ability”

Friday Fun

Someone from the community of Youthblog readers has become a Sea Scout Leader. Very cool!
He does though have to come up with a new name for himself though as each leader is known as the Aquatic animal they have elected to be called. Even funnier is the fact he has asked for some help in arriving at his Maritime alter-ego.
A bit of googling and my suggestions are
‘Whitemargin Stargazer’ (something of the mystic about that I think)

‘Squidworm’ (nicely Voldermortesque in tone)
Other suggestions via the comments I’m sure will be appreciated
(another thought occurs: In terms of full disclosure I’m hoping the leadership ‘nom de plume’ appears in the CRB/DBS job title documentation, it would be much more fun to be countersigning for the role of Shovelnose Guitarfish)

Curates, Mission & Young People

“If you look at something 999 times one is perfectly safe, if however one looks for the 1000th time, you are in frightful danger of seeing it for the first time” GKC
Really enjoyed an afternoon with the curates exploring mission and attempting to take a “thousandth glance” at church engagement with young people, community and culture.
If anyone is calling in from the session then please accept my thanks for the level of engagement and for the humour/fun. If you are looking for some notes or links.
We looked at:
Vincent Donavan Christianity Rediscovered
Bishop Lesslie Newbiggin (whose work I failed to even come close to doing justice to)
Mark Yaconellis work detailed in the book Contemplative Youth Ministry
Richard Passmore (see FYT)
I’ll upload the slides as handouts. Any other things we talked about can probably be found via the Search function (top right) or by e-mailing me
Downloady gumph: mission course 2013 Curates.pdf

Fitting a car below the Kayak

First attempt to carry the Kayak on the new car this weekend, it’s a smaller car than the Astra … but hopefully not producing this effect:
Not related at all BUT reminded me of a story from back in the day. At the wonderful Crusader camp “Stoke Fleming” there was a tradition of the activities for the day being advertised so that the teens’ knew what was available to sign up for. The ‘adverts’ tended to become more and more visual, creative and funny as the week progressed. I have a very fond memory of one of these promotional endeavours.
Picture if you will everyone munching away on their cereal in the Marquee when there is the sound of a car engine and the honking of a horn. A Ford Fiesta is driven into the Marquee to promote the kayaking trip that day. How so? Well the car had two kayaks strapped to the roof with kayakists in, kitted out with helmets, buoyancy aids and spray decks … in fact the full gear, with paddles. Then, whilst being sprayed with the hose (that was used to fill the urns), they delivered a challenge to join them on the water that day!
Now that’s what I call doing the notices!

Olive Conversion

I had a couple of meetings at CYM ( the knights who were until recently called the ‘Centre for Youth Ministry’*) and so ended up having lunch with the students, always an interesting/fun thing (They are an awesome bunch).
One of them was musing about Olives and postulated a theory that maybe everyone at some stage has an ‘Olive conversion’, that is … they go from not liking them to liking them.
There was not universal acceptance of this thereom but it then turned into a quasi theological reflection as we strayed into the whole topic of conversion, but very much still on the topic of Olives. The conversation ruminated on those who stumbled onto Olives having not known of their existence (or their need for them) before, and a very middle class experience of never knowing a time when their weren’t Olives!
I’m really hoping someone develops a journal out of the conversation!!!
(With 156 verses in the Bible mentioning Olives, the potential is huge methinks)

* No longer CYM but now iCYM or maybe ICYm or even IC ym!, but technically now called the “Institute for Children, Youth and Mission”