richard passmore offers a very moving reflection on memories of being 16 and that he wouldn't survive today with the latest government proposals on young people which demonstrate
a society that has lost its way, a society of selfishness, greed and power
i have written three articles on pioneering for youthwork magazine. the first is in the current (sept) issue and the next two will be in the following two months. i decided to write for youthwork because a lot of pioneers begin in youth ministry, i learned about mission and pioneering while doing youth ministry and youth ministry is the back door to renewing the church - what happens there happens in the church about 10 or 15 years later! i'd love to know what anyone thinks if you see the articles. give me a shout. at cms pioneer mission leadership training we have a few people who have done training with cym over the years who are joining us for modules or to do an MA. so if you are in youth ministry and excited about the notion of pioneering give me a shout. in oxford we actually have a great combination going on because oxford cym and cms pioneer training are in the same building so there is lots of opportunity for collaborating. the articles are not online - you have to get the magazine...
there is also a grove book on pioneer youth ministry out written by richard passmore and jo dolby which is excellent.
we had a wonderful resource weekend in bradford...
the sophia network have a day today (sorry i forgot to blog about it before) - on men women and the bible. i'm sure it will be really good! a while back the network had an online discussion group exploring what the bible says about men and women. as a result of that jen has edited a book in the image of god with various contributers from that original group. it's being launched at the day today. it's a series of eight sessions, ideal for a small group.
it obviously depends on your tradition on whether this is relevant or new, but if like me your background is evangelical then it's pretty important to do the work on exploring what the bible has to say. it seems weird to say but we did a lot of thinking around this about 25 years ago now! part of jen's motivation for setting up the sophia network a few years ago was that it didn't seem like a lot had changed in the world of youth ministry which is a rather depressing thought in some ways. though the sophia network is definitely doing its part to help change that!
we're proud to have this book as our latest release on proost. as ever it's available in print or download. if you are elsewhere in the world than the uk and want a print version you can order through the proost lulu bookshop - this certainly should work in america. proost subscribers it's included in your subscription in the downloads area.
terry linhart and dave livemore have co-ordinated a huge effort in pulling together global youth ministry which is released today. i have a chapter in the book. it's been a while since i wrote it so i can't exactly remember what i've said but it's along the lines of the development of seeing the practice of youth ministry through the lens of cross cultural mission. but looking forward to the book landing on the doormat and seeing the contributions of people from round the world. there's an excerpt here it you want to get the flavour.
oxford centre for youth ministry and cms are hosting a two day conference in oxford on sacred spaces in public places - see details and book here
This two day non-residential conference will explore 3 strands
- Recognising the sacred in the seemingly secular places - where are God's fingerprints in the world around us?
- Creating a sacred space in public place - artistic visual expression of God's presence
- Being aware that we may be the sacred space in the public place - looking at our inner space, an incarnational engagement with the world.
Day 1: Theological and theoretcial input with workshops from our contributors on our threes trands of sacred space
Day 2: Putting our learning into action! Creating sacred spaces in public places in Oxford
a friend rick bartlett who i used to work with maybe 20 years ago is one of the authors of consuming youth. i always welcome books reflecting on what it means to follow christ in conusmer culture - that's the water we are swimming in, and in that sense it's the six million dollar question. and there don't tend to be that many focused on youth ministry - graham cray's grove booklet, tom beaudoin's work, branded, liquid church, practising passion are ones that spring to mind. and then there are others like tom sine, al and debra hirsch, vincent miller who have written more generally about faith and discipleship in consumer culture.
the thing i liked most about the book is a section that suggests working with young people vocationally - helping young people discover who they are, what their gifts and contribution to the world could be and dreaming how that might happen. and suggesting that this comes out of an alternative imagination, or what the authors call an alternative script to that of the western dream. i'd like to see more youth ministry doing that. i was talking with someone yesterday working with young people who seem to feel very hopeless and who are not dreaming of the futures they could contribute to out of who they are. this approach seems a perfect fit for that.
the thing i liked less about the book is that consumer culture and the media are portrayed as the bad guys manipulating and controlling and dominating youth. in cultural studies this would be close to the take of the adorno school of thought in the 70s - big bad culture industries duping and manipulating the masses. very few people subscribe to that view any more at least in the world of cultural studies. there's a lot more negotiation gong on and a lot more meaning making that is possible that is counter to the media industries intentions. i don't for a moment want to underestimate the power of the worldviews of consumer culture. and i think we need to reflect hard on how faith relates to culture, help young people be discerning and learn how to practice faith in this culture. but it's the posture towards culture writ large that i struggle with. i made exactly this point when i reviewed al and debra hirsch's book. from a mission perspective discipleship has to be worked out in the culture and we should pay attention to how god and spirituality are mediated and flow in the culture. this is what we learn about good practice in mission in other cultures - where is god present and how do i join in with what god is already doing? you don't start by rubbishing the culture and saying everyone is manipulated! every culture has good and bad aspects of course but connect positively in mission and background judgement. engagement and resistance are both important reflexes but knowing which to do and when and about what is not so easy. i sound like i'm a fan of consumer culture and i'm not - it has huge problems and i think paying attention to the scripts and so in is important. it's more the tone or posture towards culture or that the book seems solely focused (as evangelicals are won't to do towards pop culture) on resistance...
anyway i'm in danger of getting in trouble on this issue again. but the book is definitely worth a read, opens up some good suggestions on working positively with young people around vocation and should be a good tool to catalyse a conversation about the culture we are all in which is so often invisible to us because it's the water we're swimming in.
i am sat on a resource weekend in a session being led by richard passmore. he's talking about his approach to listening and hearing and trying to discern where god is present in a culture and talking about god with young people from there, from below (theologising). i've blogged about this before and his use of flow as a name for god with one group. but he shared a reading of one of jesus parables of the wedding banquet through the eyes of those on the edge or the margins. it is totally brilliant - i won't repeat it but go and get a cup of coffee and read this take - the wedding banquet from below. how come jesus managed to tell parables that can still come with such newness - genius!
we have 3 amazing new animated parables on proost this month. they are the lost son by joel baker, benny the boss by jon birch and the gaga samaritan by andi mac. watch the promo below to get the flavour. this project is a partnership with stapleford house who will be producing lesson plans for secondary schools to use with the movies at the beginning of 2011. you can download the movies through proost and if you are a proost subscriber they are in the download section on the site.
myx - a new web site and more importantly vision for christian and muslim youth to share friendship.
i am delighted to say that we have a couple of days in oxford - september 1 and 2 - one with mark yaconelli whose work on contemplative youth ministry is simply brilliant, and one with dave andrews, a radical who has inspired me over the years with his writing and living in the way of christ in communities. it's the week after greenbelt but that's because they are over for that! there's also a shalom youth conference that week in birmingham so if you are an urban youth worker you may be at that so it's all happening. you can book online here and i'm expecting these to be popular so you may not want to leave it until the last minute. please pass on the pdf (see below) to your friends and networks. anyway here's the blurb...
Join Dave Andrews and Mark Yaconelli in an exploration of rootsy youth and community work and radical spirituality.
Church Urban Fund, CMS and the Centre for Youth Ministry are hosting a couple of days in September at CMS House in Oxford to explore further useful ideas, thinking and practice to do with radical community and youth work. Inspiring and practical, with time to dig deeper and discover more, each day will help to equip you in the work you do. We’re really pleased to welcome Dave Andrews on Sept 1 for a day on community work, and Mark Yaconelli on Sept 2 for a day on youth work, spirituality and young people. Both Mark and Dave are well known and highly respected practitioners making rare visits to the UK.
1st September 10am-4pm: Growing Radical, Rooted, Distinctive Community work, Dave Andrews
This is a great opportunity to reflect on your own community work with a rootsy activist working at the grassroots. Dave is particularly interested in radical spirituality, incarnational community and the dynamics of personal and social transformation.
During the day you will:
1. Explore frameworks for effective community involvement that don’t assume large numbers or funds.
2. Develop skills to encourage and mobilise others in ongoing community work.
3. Provide perspectives to keep the fire in the belly, avoid burn out and help sustain ourselves.
4. Confront questions and seek answers about work.
5. Connect with other activists and organisations involved in compassionate community work.
Dave and Ange and their family have lived and worked in intentional Christian communities with marginalised people in Asia and Australia for nearly 40 years. With their friends they started Aashiana, Sahara and Sharan - three well-known community organisations working with slum dwellers, sex workers, drug addicts and people with HIV/AIDS in India; and they are currently working alongside Aborgines, refugees and people with disabilities with the Waiters Union, an inner city community network in Brisbane Australia.
Dave is an educator for TEAR Australia and an elder for Servants to Asia’s Urban Poor. He has written many books including Christi-Anarchy, Not Religion But Love, People Of Compassion and Plan Be.
2nd September 10am-4pm: Wonder, Fear, and Longing: Tending the Adolescent Soul, Mark Yaconelli
How do we slow young people (and ourselves) to the speed of God? How do we help young people discover their capacity for love, generosity, compassion, and kindness? How do we cultivate the heart and life of Jesus within the young people of our communities? How do we as youth workers, ministers, pastors and parents become transparent to the suffering and needs of young people without burning out? Through story, discussion, and spiritual practice Mark Yaconelli will share his experience and practical research from twenty years of ministering to the souls of young people and the youth workers who serve them.
Mark Yaconelli was the founder and director of the Youth Ministry and Spirituality Project at San Francisco Theological Seminary which received attention across the United States for its ground-breaking integration of spiritual direction, contemplation, and ancient spiritual practices within adolescent spiritual formation programs. Mark is author of four books including Contemplative Youth Ministry: Practicing the Presence of Jesus and most recently, Wonder, Fear, and Longing. Mark currently serves as Project Director for the Center for Engaged Compassion at Claremont School of Theology.
You can download a pdf with the information on here. Please spread the word - e-mail it to your friends and networks. Drinks and lunch are included in the ticket price.
ycml are hosting a day in london and in leeds on the subject of gender. i think it's really good news that someone is putting this sort of space together to reflect on youth ministry issues. go along and support it...
this day is actually one of a number if you are in london that is being held at LICC - some of the others look excellent - young disciples and cross cultural missionwith andrew smith or richard passmore on creating faith communities with young people on the edge... anyway scroll down this page to see those
do something small to make a big change for young people - text the word MITE to 82540 and help frontier youth trust raise £100 000!
ok it sounds optimistic right but if all of you who read this do so then that's a good start (i admit i am not in the league of 100000 readers) but then if you tweet or blog or facebook send it viral and keep pushing it on. how difficult can it be?! it's called widow's mite based on the story in luke 21 where jesus praises a poor woman who gives a little as more generous than the rich who make a display of their giving. in these credit crunched times it's a story that connects.
here's why i am into it...
richard passmore is a briliant youthworker. i have known him for years. he is better than anyone i know at doing and developing detached youth work with young people beyond the edges of the church. i have been involved with him (in the background on the support group) as he has developed and piloted church on the edge. the project has at heart the intentionality of growing church with young people on the edge as a missionary endeavour and to develop a framework that can facilitate locally grounded and resource light expressions of church. since piloting the project we have learned a lot and now have requests to support others and grow new church on the edge expressions across the country. richard works with a group of skaters and bikers and you may remember me blogging about flow before. i love what richard is doing. this is not about bums on pews as that isn't going to happen with these kinds of young people. it's about growing something new. it's also got a young edge. many of the fresh expressions and emerging church communities are reaching and working with adults (which is great but we need to renew the younger end too).
richard has got plans to now develop this into a dozen new projects a year each year over three years - that is 36 new projects. he has secured a bundle of money (£60 000) to help resource it and this appeal is to make up the rest. in terms of what i am up to with cms we hope we can help encourage and train some of the pioneering leaders and connect where appropriate the church on the edge communities into the cms community. details yet to be worked out of course... but you get the idea! the projects go by the name of church on the edge or streetspace
if you are outside the uk don't fret - you can still donate your mite here - what a mite is in your currency i have no idea but every little helps. and if you want to donate a big mite that's always welcome too. i'll keep you posted of how this campaign goes. i love it's audacity really - surely you can't raise £100 000 in this way?! spread the word...
shalom - conference for youth workers working with young people at risk
kore is a new website, care of matt and juls hollidge. i remember sitting in the scooter cafe hearing their ideas about it a couple of years back. it's a very neat looking site. their passion is equipping the church creatively with resources and helping with training. the likes of proost's jon birch and andi mac have helped contribute resources/media. there's lots on there. go and explore....
jenny launched the sophia network and has put a ton of hours into it over the last eighteen months. the network exists to connect women in youth work and ministry, to access training, develop skills and share wisdom.
it had it's own web site running under a content management system but following the redesign of my blog at the start of the year jenny asked if i thought it would work to run the sophia site in a similar way. that conversation got me helping. jenny created the structure conceptually then i have designed the site. the animated walking woman took the most time - i shot a video of a julian opie installation in new york and grabbed and cropped some stills from that and turned it into an animated gif.
i think the site is a pretty good example of how powerful a tool typepad can be for not just running a blog but creating a web site with it's ability to create pages and so on. it's the first time i've tried creating a bar of buttons along the top and i had to mess around a little with the style sheet but it was all easy enough and i really am not a web designer.
the TWO PIECES OF BIG NEWS are
Speaking of silence: a reproach
The sounds of women’s silence run deep
Let us attune our ears to the sounds of women’s silence,
to attend and listen to what is not said,
what has never been said,
what is only now beginning to be said.
Let this silence cry aloud in our ears,
let it resound and reverberate inside our heads,
let it deafen our whole being with a colossal roar.
This silence is eloquent, articulate of women’s pain and women’s lives.
It is compelling, hypnotic, fearful, overwhelming.
It speaks louder than words.
It utters volumes of speech.
It drowns out all other language.
Where are the women in our history, in our heritage?
Where are the stories of our women heroes, mystics, leaders and teachers?
Who will guide the footsteps of our daughters?
born today into a deafening silence about their ancestors, about themselves?
So many women’s voices have been lost in the pages of history,
erased and blotted out and passed over in silence
by the rulers of patriarchy, the makers of culture.
So few have survived in the pages,
and their stories have so often been ignored,
trivialized, marginalized, distorted.
jen had done an amazing job with sophia - it's exciting to see it develop
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