What are you going to do today?

When Ferris Bueller picks up Sloane for a day bunking off school she asks:

Sloane: What are we going to do?

Ferris: The question isn’t “what are we going to do,” the question is “what aren’t we going to do?”

Cameron: Please don’t say were not going to take the car home. Please don’t say were not going to take the car home. Please don’t say were not going to take the car home.

Ferris: [to the camera] If you had access to a car like this, would you take it back right away?

[beat]

Ferris: Neither would I.

We have more than a car – what are you going to today?

Resonnance and disconitunity – Reflections on Wright and Cron GB12

There was some great stuff at GB this year, and I didn’t get to very much of it. Two I did were Tom Wright and Ian Cron, both were excellent but in two very different ways. Ian spoke about his memoir and much of his personal story resonated with my own, (not that my father was in the CIA). His personable style and content meshed well with my own experiences of my father, and offered cracks where the light of his story could penetrate the darkness of my own. Tom on the other hand was simply excellent on the content as he outlined 4 typologies present in the gospels to hold in tension as we explore the wholeness of Jesus. However in some ways his strength of being so clear about each type although excellently delivered, well structured,etc seemed discontinuous with my own experience. As a Gen X and post modern product the idea of holding these types in tension is second nature to me and most of my contemporaries, with a level of theological literacy. So I came away wondering what was the agenda?

One Minute Man

A good friend of mine James and occasional blogger on this site has started an on line blog/site one minute man here. I have to admit my own lack of emotional intelligence but am finding the tips really helpful. The site is worth a visit for the Bill bailey clip and tip alone.

15 things I love about the StreetSpace Community of Practice

1. They help me with my spelling
2. We have a laugh
3. They hold me to account, and most have no problem telling me whats what.
4. They are not too quick to label themselves a movement
5. We share, experience, stories, hopes, dreams and a generosity of spirit.
6. We gathered from Scotland to Southsea
7. The creativity is amazing,- practical and ideas wise
8. The gathering tried different ways to include those who couldn’t be there
9. We have a vicar who knows Wu Tang Clan, and another growing church in a coffee shop that used to be where Two Tone records were based
10. People have no problem with disruptive experiences.
11. We apprentice one another
12. When we gather, unless you know you cant tell who is paid and who is voluntary
13. People read stuff, write stuff and ground it.
14. They don’t take the easy road, and they make sacrifices for others and their communities.
15. If you asked me what does it look like to have a heart for young people on the edge I could say look at any one of our projects!

read up on Community of Practice HERE

The Gathering Part one

This weekend I am at the StreetSpace Gathering. It is a coming together of about 35 people from across the network with 18 of the 36 projects represented. The whole event is developed using a participative processes. Last night we kicked off with a pictionary ice breaker (draw an activity you do the others dont know you do). The aim is to encourage an equality across the group and not go for the I am XX with this many young people in our contact etc.

We then used a random word generator to spark a creative thinking process as the begininng for the themes we will discuss as a group over the weekend. The Random words were:
– Turntable
– Leaflet
– Mystic
– Passive
Each table mind mapped the words and then people swapped tables to gather the wisdom from the other.
We ended up with three themes we will discuss as a whole group this morning:
– How do we develop mysticism and next level spirituality with young people?
– Social media – Practical advice, Benefits, and Communication
– Being Authentic Us and Others
We also developed a further 6 themes we will use in break out groups.
– Values
– Mentoring Peacemakers
– Change what does it mean?
– Learning Passive and Active – How do you build emotional intelligence in an active learning style/ with chaotic yp
– Money
– The Balance Mission/Personal/Professional

A parable for Occupy

Making money had not been difficult for Jimmy, he had a good stack of cash from his dad, invested it in property, employed builders, did up houses and soon started to diversify.

At first he bought the building supplies yard, that way not only could he control the builders but also the prices. After having some stuff nicked, he started a private security business which was soon being used by most of the local shops.

Then he diversified into rentals, buying land and building small properties for renters that couldn’t afford much. It wasn’t generosity, it was an economy of scale. Lots of small flats brought in the same rent a large house.

In an age of no welfare state or government handouts, he pretty much controlled the town, owned most the land and was mayor in all but name. He had a close selection of business associates who he thought of as friends, but they knew which side their bread was buttered.

As he and a few people grew richer, the town grew poorer so Jimmy extended his security business as a sort of local police force to keep the locals in line. This meant he could increase his charges to other businesses to keep them safe and everyone knows it takes money to make money.

Jimmy thought himself happily married, with a mistress or two on the side, and two children (that he knew of). When his daughter turned 21 it was time to celebrate with a masked ball. The theme was winter and everyone would be provided with appropriate clothes, to ensure the elegance of the event and that the theme was suitably expressed.

After many months of planning he sent out invites to the great and good of the community, the people Jimmy thought of as friends. A few simply didn’t reply, probably because Jimmys private police force had been too heavy handed recently and the taxes felt more like extortion money. A few replied and said they were too busy to attend, not really wanting to come but trying to keep Jimmy on side.

As the day drew near the marquee for the party was put up covering the football pitch. Two others were erected for changing rooms for guests. Caterers were bought in, musicians prepped and waiters found. The only hitch was that no none was coming. Jimmy arranged a second invite but grew impatient. However, sending out a second invitation made good business sense,a good party was a chance to network, make a few more contacts.

Word had spread amongst the business leaders that no one was attending and so they became bolder, as in solidarity they felt more secure about their excuses or non replies. But their ‘security’ was short lived, in a rage Jimmy ordered the police to break their windows, and when the owners went for replacements he hiked the prices of repairs and controlled the supply. He increased the rent of these ‘friends’, and ordered the mayor to evict those who didn’t replace the damaged windows as it wasn’t in keeping. Soon Jimmy had driven away, beaten up, or simply killed his supposed friends and business allies.

Not wanting the party to fail he invited the tenants from the flats, knowing that people would scrub up well enough and he had the right clothes ready for them to wear. He would need to replace the business leaders he had driven out anyway and might recruit suitable people at the party. The invitation was delivered by the private police force and it was made clear attendance was required, besides which rumors and stories of what had happened to the great and good of the town were rife.

As one of the tenants explained to her husband, they had to go, even the people who had a bit of money behind them and had refused Jimmy’s invitation had been had been attacked, who were they to refuse. Besides which there may be a future in it and at least she got to wear a fine dress and eat well at Jimmy’s expense.

The party started, and was going with a swing, contacts were being made as Jimmy identified a few people to rent the shops and agreed to replace a few windows at cost to get things moving again. The only blot had been the appearance of a small tent occupying the mouth of the goal on the football pitch. No one pointed it out to Jimmy and besides, what did it matter? But Jimmy had noticed it, and started to make plans to get them removed the following day, he would do it legally, and without fuss, whilst tonight he would focus on the party, after all life goes on.

It was later that evening that Jimmy spotted him, well he could hardly be missed in his ripped jeans and t-shirt that simply said ‘Occupy’. Everyone else had worn the clothes provided as instructed. The audacity, the sheer nerve, Jimmy thought, to come in here eat the food, drink the wine, and not wear the right clothes. But by wearing a simple t-shirt the occupier showed the fine dresses and suits for what they were, a nothing, a falsehood to open doors and enable the same mistakes to be repeated. Jimmy saw the irony, the threat, and how powerful the powerless man in a t-shirt was. He called security, had the man stripped naked, beaten, and killed.

The lack of resistance from the man was breathtakingly, his quiet humility seemed to pave a way for all the onlookers to take a different path if they too would lose the trappings of power, but for many the cost would be too high a price to pay.
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Also see The wedding banquet from below

Uneven Cuts

Hope has sustained me, but as I look at the situation in our country and how uneven, unfair and unjust a situation we find ourselves in, my hope is waning. The reports coming out from organistions such as the highly respected Joseph Rowntree Trust, or the National Council for Voluntary Youth services show how the poorest and most marginalised are bearing the brunt of the cuts. The wholesale dismantling of the youth service at a time of highest youth unemployment is one of the stupidest and shortsighted practices of the last 100 years. Usually the optimist in me would see the idea of the Big Society as an opportunity but already I see that again that it will be the most marginalised that will be most affected. It is already becoming clear that the investment needed to resource work with hardest to reach young people will simply not manifest itself, either in terms of people, skills, or money, as the voices of a powerful few sweep up the crumbs of what money is left, or baton down the hatches and become even more insular, to weather out the storm, and unfortunately this is a pattern I see both in the church and the local authority.
Occupy offered me hope, and as the leader of StreetSpace which has to be one of the fastest growing youth work agenicies my hope is still an ember, but I have to remind myself and challenge to church to recognise the inequality of the cuts, the simple injustice, that the poorest communities and young people are not to blame to for the situation we find ourselves in… so here is my reminder……

One of those days

Every now and then I have one of those days, where I cant get motivated, want to lounge around and do not a lot. I returned to work on Thursday after a great sabbatical, and had two fantastic days, with loads of stuff just falling into place, had a small grant confirmed, and good meeting with a funder, met John who had held the fort brilliantly, wrote two major reports, and set up a heap of meetings.
It is not tiredness but more lethargy, it works one way or the other – sometimes I have loads of work energy and sometimes loads of home energy. But today there is lack of home energy which i find more difficult to deal with, and life is not quite happening today. Note to self – SORT IT OUT

Choose Youth

Dear Colleague,

An unprecedented 25 national organisations have come together to organise an indoor rally for the promotion of young people’s services on February 12th 12-4 in the Renewal Centre, Lode Lane, Solihull, B91 2JR. Support organisations include as you will see from the attached leaflet NCVYS, NYA, NUS, BYC, UKYouth Parliament, and many others.

Our campaign is called Choose Youth and we are seeking to arrest the decline of essential services to young people. Your support at this rally could make all the difference.

We will be celebrating good youth work, looking at the threats and challenges to it and discussing a way forward to support us all against cuts and closures.

We have had high press profile recently and feel sure that this rally will
achieve even more. But a good turnout would help.

I therefore write on behalf of the partnership to encourage you to circulate details of the rally and strongly encourage your members to attend and promote it.

Bookings for attendance can be made via the website www.chooseyouth.org where you will also find details of transport co-ordinators who will be able to offer support for group bookings.

I very much hope that you will help build for this rally, the largest in youth work’s history.

Your voice will make a difference.

All the very best.

Doug Nicholls,
On Behalf of Choose Youth.

(Kerry Jenkins)
Community and Youth Workers in Unite
National Section Operations Officer
0121 6436221
www.cywu.org.uk and www.unitetheunion.org
Follow us on Twitter – @CYWUnite