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Trivial and a sell out to consumer culture !!!! wot?

- funnily enough I came across your blog and blogging generally thanks to Youthwork magazine. They recommended yours and Maggi Dawn's blog and a couple of others I seem to remember. I've been reading both ever since
ps your link to the magazine seems faulty - and all that I can find is December's details - never mind I sense an email campaign to start the minute they post anything.


LOL... and their Ready prepared Meeting Guides aren't? Mind you I would say 2 things... a- Youthwork magazine doesn't seem to have moved on much since I first bought it back in the early 90's and b- a bit cowardly of the writer not to have the courage of his/her convictions, if they are going to be critical at least be open and honest and name names!


Jonny, whatever you do, please keep rattling the cages!


don't have a go at youthwork magazine at least not over me. and i have no problem at all them publishing an article critiquing me or what i do - that's fine. i'm all for free speech and being provoked and disagreed with. and how to live in consumer culture is a challenge that is pretty hard to work out. i'm sure i haven't got it right by any means. but it would have been a better informed article if the writer of it had actually contacted me to ask my opinion and then had named me rather than writing cryptically about a blog that has worship tricks! it's not great journalism. what's slightly weird is that i have met the author in the US a couple of times and he seemed nice enough. so i'm not sure why he wouldn't have made contact. anyway it's no big deal at all...
the link is correct - youthwork seem a bit slow to put the latest magazine online and they don't put articles online anyway as they want you to buy it! so you won't be able to read it anyway.

Jeff Moulton

Jonny - the url has an extra backslash in it. See, right after the "www." there is an extra slash. http://www./youthwork.co.uk/magazine/

The question I have is do I want to get a subscription to it here in the US to read the article.... It isn't something I expect that they carry at my local Borders.


i wouldn't have thought you'd want a subscription just for that. but if you are interested in uk youth ministry it's the main publication here and it's from the evangelical stable, though that is softer edged than evangelical in the US. anyway a friend matt kindly e-mailed me the quote. i had forgotten it also has a go at the labyrinth tin which we also produced!!! the article is by dave wright from south carolina and here's the quote...

"The real question on my mind was this. Are we catering to consumerism? Do we need to appeal to the pop interest of teens in order to reach them or enable them to worship God? If we are in fact catering to consumerism, how long will it be before our product is no longer relevant to the market? Will we need to keep adjusting our tactics in order to keep pace with the youth culture? Many of those who lead alternative services around the globe visit an Internet ‘blog’ featuring a catalogue of ‘Worship Tricks’, fresh ideas for creative worship experiences. The very term ‘Worship Tricks’ seems rather crass as if we need clever techniques to stay ahead of the curve. All of that might imply that what we are marketing is in fact experiences of worship. This can be seen in America quite blatantly as one youth ministry resource organisation sells a labyrinth kit in a paint tin, ready to be set up and used to bring the experience to our youth groups. In a consumerist society are we wise to cater to the culture and emphasise the experiential aspect of worship?"


In a way he seems to be answering his own questions. The fact that many people who lead alt worship services use the worship tricks indicates that a static approach doesn't work for many. Anyone who has any dealings with young people knows that they are up against an overstimulated culture and that in order to communicate effectively you have to buy into that, if only temporarily. Just maybe, the experience comes first, the relationship follows. Is this a million miles away from the ecstatic experiences of the great mystics, down through the ages? But hopefully it leads onto something deeper. There is something in the writer's tone which expresses his own defeat on this one. By the way, I think the Labyrinth is great, but it's not exactly new, just a new twist on an old idea, revamped for a new generation.


Knowing both people involved a little. I can say that culturally there are gaps. US christian expressions are different because they are in a different context which seems obvious. I think DWs location in the US south does have something to do with this in part in looking for something more counter-cultural than what might be normative. Language is also another issue that we can all get misunderstood. Also there is a lot going on in the US(anglican church) at the moment and this is a little of it also. The US is not used to the language of 'compromise'.
Anyway, DW expresses an opinion and I have no problem with JB. Each bring value to the whole.

Ali Campbell

Long time since I commented - but had to on this. DW is just plain wrong. I am all up for debate, and, at times, have felt alt worship stuff can be a bit pretentious - BUT, to question the common sense and integrity of those involved in leading different types of worship events and services is going beyond a fair minded critique. DW is also implying throughout the article that youth workers don't contextualize or set the scene for stuff they use, whether labyrinth or something else . . . who just opens a box and uses something as it is? Everything needs adapting for the group concerned. Self Control, which Dave also mentions, is not about the emotions . . . it's about having a robust attitude towards our sinful desires - our emotions are not (in and of themselves sinful), I'm getting emotional as I write . . . !

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    i have been blogging for a decade or more in fairly eclectic fashion. i am an advocate for pioneers, lover of all things creative, an explorer of faith in relation to contemporary culture, a photographer and writer. explore the presences section below to find me in other spaces

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