Thursday, November 29, 2007

Contemplative Youth Ministry

I don't normally like posting quotes in my blog and I especially don't feel comfortable with quoting a book that I am only 40 pages of the way through. However, I really wanted to post the following quote of a book I'm reading now because (a) I think it's so spot on it hurts and (b) if I wait until I've finished the book...well I will probably never finish the book because I never do. Anyway, this is from Mike Yaconelli's "Contemplative Youth Ministry":

Most ministries with youth in the West are ministries of anxiety. In fact, most Christian communities don't even consider the spiritual needs of young people until there's a critical mass of anxious adults. Look behind most youth ministry programmes and you'll find pastors and church boards nervous about declining memberships, parents afraid their kids lack morals, congregations worried that the Christian faith has become irrelevant to younger generations, and the persistent frustration among adults that something ('anything!') needs to be done with 'those kids'! To be unaware of adult anxiety toward youth is often to misperceive what drives most youth ministries.


Young people are about energy; they have bodies they want to move, they have emotions they want to express, and they have developing relationships that are incredibly interesting and important to them. Adults - especially in a faith community - want young people to listen, to behave, to be still, to stop talking, to soothe adult fears, to fulfil mission statements and support programmes. This makes young people wary and anxious.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Confessions of a 10-Year-Old - Part 4

Monday 27th September 1993:

On Friday I went to Aaron's house and it was fun, first of all we looked at Aarons magazine and then we wathed some t.v. and had some tea. Then we played on the super nintendo and then watched the generation game.

Ok, I know this isn't my most profound (or even vaguely interesting) entry but it warrants a special mention because of my super awesome accompanying picture. Check out Blanka's deadly electric shock move from Street Fighter. One word - awesome!!

(I'm also quite proud of my depiction of Aaron's hair but I appreciate that not many people who read this blog will be able to verify that)

Once Upon a Time...

...Glyn Harries blessed the world with his music.

Once upon a time, Glyn Harries sported a rather smashing nineties haircut.

I went to see my parents last night and they showed me a Christmas card they'd been sent with this photo in it. It made me smile and I thought I would share.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

In Need of a Cure

After being called out of the shower by Matt this morning for taking too long, I was prompted to reflect once again upon the fact that I'm pretty certain I have a disease. It's a condition which I've suffered with from a very young age. A severe and very specific psychological defect. You see, ladies and gentlemen, I suffer from Showerlingeristus.

Showerlingeristus (noun) - A condition of the mind which blocks memory, anxiety and concern of external matters when the body is brought into contact with streams of steaming hot water. Those affected by Showerlingeristus will likely experience symptoms of severe punctuality deficiency, social tension and wrinkled fingertips.

Here's how it works: I wake up in the morning and find that, due to an overzealous affection towards the snooze button, I am running ever so slightly late (this might be for a meeting or a lesson or just to get into the office at a reasonable time). I spring out of my bed and set a time limit to everything. I need to pack my bag with everything I need for the day, leave it lying by the door with my coat, pick up my clothes, run into the bathroom, jump in and out of the shower, brushing my teeth and shaving while I'm in there, get out, throw my clothes on, pick up my bag and coat, and then, if all has gone according to plan, I should be able to get out the door within 15 minutes. But everything has to be quick. Ok? Ok. So go.

I grab everything I need for the day, stuff it into my bag, leave it lying by the door with my coat, pick up my clothes, run into the bathroom, get the shower gel, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush and razor ready, turn on the hot water, jump into the shower...and then it all goes wrong from there. I physically and mentally cannot have a quick shower. As soon as I step under that water, that's it. You've lost me. I could be rushing to the hospital with a cure that will save millions from an epidemic (a breakout of acute showerlingeristus for example). But as soon as I get in that shower, it all fades away. My mind drifts to all sorts of philosophical quandaries and imaginative daydreams and I completely lose track of time and awareness that I'm running late. Fortunately, it rarely becomes an issue in the Whitehouse as everyone tends to get up at different times but it's a real pain when I'm trying to get somewhere on time.

Does anyone else suffer from this debilitating illness? Is there a cure?

Monday, November 26, 2007

New Hair

What do you think?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

In Need of a Drive Transplant

So my blogging as of late has been on the slow side. And by slow I mean, of course, simply not happening. I've been blaming this on various things. Facebook has featured quite highly in my list of reasons. I was also about to name my lack of inspiration as a culprit but as I was doing so I realised that I worked in a bookstore for a year and during that time I was the Blog King (officially named at the 2006 blogspot awards in Stockholm). I am out and about so much more these days that I should have inspiration oozing from my sweat glands. But inspiration has not been oozing from my sweat glands. Sweat has been oozing from sweat glands. But no inspiration. And anyway, even without my sweaty inspiration I still have plenty of ten-year-old diary entries to regale you all with and I know how much you love those (when I say "you" I am, of course, referring to the one person who has not given up on this blog - hello Glyn. Sorry. Still no comments. Try again in 5 minutes).

So if it's not inspiration lackage that is to blame, where can I point the finger? Unfortunately, it would seem that my lacklustre blogging efforts (and by "lacklustre" I mean, of course "non-existent") is part of a much larger problem. I am suffering from drive failure. I am losing my drive. You know the way Austin Powers lost his mojo? That's kinda like how I've lost my drive. Except I'm not going to go on a time-travelling adventure to reclaim it from the hands of my arch-nemesis because, well, I can't be bothered.

I've lost drive in most things. I've lost drive in my church. I've lost drive in my writing. I've lost drive in doing a lot of the things that I really want to do. I wouldn't say that I've lost my drive in my job so much but I'm certainly starting to feel it slip. And the reason I'm losing my drive in these things. Well it's lots of reasons but I think mainly just because I'm fed up. I'm fed up with the way things are and I want to do something about it but I don't know where to begin and nothing's changing and no matter what I try to do, someone will convince me I'm wrong or naive or incapable and a lot of the time I'll convince myself that I'm wrong or naive or incapable and I don't know what I want to do or which of my hairbrained schemes to persue or where to start with any of them and I end up not working towards any of them and get really frustrated and then start using words like hairbrained and it all goes to pot.

This weekend a group of us went to Eastbourne for the youth worker's conference and while the others seemed to come away from it feeling really inspired and strengthened I came away feeling really bogged down by all the things I want to do but can't. I felt like I was hearing from a lot of great Christian youth workers who were doing great Christian youth work and that was great for them but how would I start putting that into practice. And where do I start? Do I start up the theatre company that I've wanted since I was 16? Do I spend more time fighting the traditionalism in my church? Is that even an issue worth worrying about? Do I do more detached work in my job? Do I do more assemblies in my job? Do I spend more time with fewer young people or less time with more young people? Do I work to feed myself or do I stay where I am so that I can serve no matter how frustrating and draining it gets? Do I do this or do I focus on that and how can I do it all and whinge whinge whinge whinge whinge...

And with all this confusion and fumbling around and whinging my drive has decided to take a vacation until my brain gets back into gear and I can begin to focus. I think I need to come to the realisation that "Here Lies the Man who Saved the World" will probably never appear on my gravestone.

But the reason I'm blogging now is that I feel that maybe there's an answer and as much as I hate to admit it (so I won't - not yet) I think it's an answer that I've known for a while. I've had a couple of really positive conversations over the past few days that have helped me realise that the answer to my lack of drive and general feeling of peace may well lie with something I've been putting off for the past couple of years. It's really scary but at the same time I'm feeling a certain peace and excitement about it that I haven't felt in a long while.

So I guess what I'm saying is: I need more drive and watch this space....