Thinking the Journey

Mountaineer, Friend, Partner, Youth Worker, Spiritual Adventurer of No Fixed Abode.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Hoods, Yobs, and Access.

Hat tip to Richard for this link.

At first glance the refusal to allow a group of young people into a public space (which particularly wants to '...embrace it's broard community...' and '...generate a spirit of participation...') seems out of order.

Before I'd have pointed out that it's not all young people who are like this, just the minority.

But just recently I've been sitting talking with the librarian and security guard in a locked library, trying to advocate for the young people in the area who are banned from the building... all the whilst the young people concerned are intimidating the security guard and pulling up bollards. Sadly I've come to the conclusion it's true, the young men I currently work with have a long long way to go. The trouble is, I'm working in an area where this is the norm, not the minority, and I feel like I'm losing the faith that there is a way forwards for young people, especially when they're outside demonstrating backing up the points of the people who I'm trying to convince that actually they're a good bunch of young people.

I want to believe in the young people, I want to know that they are indeed 'good lads really'... but just now I don't know how to. When we work with them they're fab, they seem to be making good progress, they're engaging, participating, being pro-active, developing skills, and then the next day the bus stops are all smashed again, and the security guards are challenging me to explain why they behave the way they do if 'they're good lads really'.


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Too much to do, too little time to procrastinate in

Therefore I'm not going to write any long deep and meaningful blog posts until this batch of essays and uni work is done.

Piet however, has managed to find time to write a blog post about procrastination.

And so, without further ado or procrastination, I'm off to bed to get a good nights sleep before a busy day tomorrow.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Cancer Cure is all in the Wrist

To all you self righteous Christian men who see m*sturb*ting as a sin and spend hours and hours repenting over it and then not being able to stop yourself, and then repenting and praying, and having those painfully embarressing accountability conversations with your prayer partners....

It's good for you! Maybe your 'sinful' desires are all part of God's plan for a healthy prostate?

Have a nice day everyone.


Monday, November 20, 2006

Broadband is back.

And now it's wireless! Yeah baby yeah! 10 days with none at all was obviously an idle threat- my old one went offline on Fri, and my livebox from orange arrived today- and took about 30 minutes to set up and is now flying!

yeah baby yeah-


Is youth work too task focussed?

I have the privilege of working alongside a fantastic colleague in the project we're setting up. She's a volunteer and works her *rse off for the young people and the project, and has the confidence to challenge me when she thinks I'm off on one or doing things the wrong way or my practice could be better.

The other day she pointed out how focussed on objectives I was. Always wanting to sit down at the start of the evening and work out what we wanted to achieve that evening, and then evaluate at the end, often focussed on the outcomes of Every Child Matters and Plymouth's youth work curriculum. She suggested that I was focussing too much on these, to the detriment of building relationships with the young people. When I started in youth work this was my main objective- a relationship of trust where I can get alongside the young person in whatever they need me alongside them in, but since I've trained professionally, I think I agree I have become very outcome focussed.

So is youth work that is as outcome focussed as we are encouraged to make it today doing so at a detriment to the supportive relationships we can build with young people? Have we become too outcome focussed? Are we trying to take young people on a journey of our own agendas (or Every Child Matters' agendas) too quickly these days? What would happen if we went back to making our main objective 'building positive and supportive relationships with young people'?


No Broadband

For 10 whole days as I'm changing providers.

Did everything really always used to be as slow as this? It can't have been it would have driven me nuts!

Labels: ,

Thursday, November 16, 2006

To what shall I compare the Kingdom of God?

Recent conversations with a fellow youth worker have reminded me of the time I realised how huge and covert my agenda in youth work was.

We had just started a project which was looking like it was going to be a huge success. We were working on a council estate with young people between the ages of 8 and 20. We were supporting them in life issues, talking with them about relationships, housing, finance, their rights, and whenever we could we were turning the conversations to God, gently and lovingly explaining to the young people that they needed to be ‘saved’ and ‘become christians’. Our intentions were good, we wanted to save these young people from a certain ‘lost eternity’.

The shock of waking up one morning and realising that out strategy for ‘Building the Kingdom of God’ involved targeting a vulnerable group of society and telling them that we had all the answers to their lives issues, still lives with me. We were doing things with the best of motives, at the time I genuinely believed that the young people if they did not ‘become Christians’ and step over the line into the Kingdom of God were going to a real, literal and physical hell. But deep down, we were trying to build the kingdom of God by swelling the numbers in churches.

This was four years ago. My concept of the Kingdom of God has totally changed. Before we would try and encourage people to come into it, (albeit in meeting them where they were at first etc etc). We saw the growth of the Kingdom of God as young people learning to acknowledge Jesus as Lord, as young becoming christians and behaving like Christians. As my concept of the Kingdom of God has changed to seeing it as a kingdom of fairness, justice, wholeness, a kingdom of Shalom, the way I see it growing has changed. Rather than pulling people in, maybe we are called to expand the kingdom so that it covers more people.

So, to what shall I compare the Kingdom of God? As I see it, the kingdom of God is like a wave of the sea, gathering momentum, bursting it’s boundaries, soaking and gathering up those living on the parched dry land of injustice and oppression, catching them up in the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Shalom, swelling further, and spreading it’s boundaries further.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Spray Paint Artist

This rocks! Enjoy the process as well as the finished result!

Labels: ,

Monday, November 13, 2006

Remembering and reflecting

This weekend of remembrance has somehow involved me more emotionally than previously. Was it watching the service on Saturday evening? Everything was certainly portrayed as very tragic yet glorious. Or was it sitting on the train on Sunday with a veteran returning from ceremonies in London? Or maybe it's to do with having friends in the forces who have friends or partners in active service overseas in some of the most dangerous parts of the world just now.

I don't want to lose my idealism. I don't want to stop standing on my convictions that armed conflict is NEVER the right way to solve problems but...

Few would argue that Hitler had to be stopped- could this have been done without force being used? Are our modern wars, although fought remotely really so very different? Do I need to concede that sometimes military force is necessary and the lesser of two evils? I hope not.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Word of God...

... or not?

I believe the Bible was written by man, inspired by God. I believe it to be the story of a nation and their interaction with the Divine, not a book of instructions and one hit answers for 21st Centuary Living. I believe it was written from the man's perspective, not from God's.

I'm not saying it's 'Just a story' I believe it's a very good very important story.

I'm not saying it's 'irrelevant' I believe it's very relevant.

But with all the room for human errors and human perspectives that this allows for, I'm not sure either that I can be convinced it's the 'Word of God'. And I'm not sure if it's ok to be not sure about this.

On the subject of Bible's, a lecturer commented that this was very amusing. How do you like your Bible's everyone?


Friday, November 03, 2006

Snowdonia, Chapter 2, Return to the Hills!

The trip to snowdonia with the GOC was fantastic. Marvellous food, marvellous company, and great fun all round.

We took a group up
Crib Goch, quite a challenge in the wind, fog and rain for those who'd never scrambled before, although members who'd done the ridge before commented that it can be less scary in the fog coz you can't see the drops!

The Snowdon Summit was somewhat dissapointing, having been left with building site surrounded by that wire fencing stuff you get at... er... building sites after the demolision of the cafe! It was amusing though watching lots of fed up tourists in their jeans (shorts in some cases), hoodies and trainers who had ascended the tourist routes discovering that there were no views, no cafe, lots of cold wind and rain, and no train back down!

Anyway, some of the lads seem to have found time and space to take some much better photo's than I ever manage in the hills, and they can be found
here, here and here. I wish they'd managed to make me look less podgy and frumpy in all the wet and cold weather gear though. Does anyone know how to wear a buff as a balaclava without making yourself look like an old lady in a head scarf?

A sore knee, lack of fitness and no energy forced a rest day for me on Sunday while others did the North Ridge of Tryfan.

On Monday I did
Cniefion Arete with two great lads I arranged to meet with through UKCimbing. As I was unfit and we needed to move fast they kindly carried all the kit on the walk in and walk out leaving me with nothing but lunch tourch water and water-proofs. I'll have to look into the this 'porterage' malachy a little more!

Tuesday saw another meeting up with a random stranger from UKClimbing (oh no, I'm becoming a climbing whore) to do a diff on Tryfan Fach (good consolidation for newly aquired leading skills) before the long drive back south for a lovely rest of the week and weekend with my lovely Girlfriend (mwah).


flippin eck, is that the date?

Dear lurkers who are still bothering to check to see if by any slim chance I have updated my blog,

your patience is rewarded, although there is little deep and meaningful to say just now. Somehow in term time all my deep and meaningful space in my head is full of college work, and in holiday time I exchange the 'deep and meaningful' files for 'enjoy the weather and run to the hills' files.



PS, any chance you lot can start commenting sometimes? :)