Votes for 16 year olds and other news

The Government has announced the first wave of 40 Respect Areas. The Department for Education and Skills is investing a further £6 million for parenting classes in the 40 areas in 2007/2008.

‘Raising inter-agency working to a higher level’
The National Association of Connexions Partnerships are being funded through the Children’s Workforce Development Council to run four one-day conferences for the different occupational groups who work with young people. It will be a chance for practitioners to reflect on the implications of the ‘integrated working’ agenda and have conversations with colleagues.

Futurebuilders England, the government-backed investment fund to help the third sector deliver better public services, is running a series of free regional roadshow events for regional infrastructure bodies to help build understanding of how Futurebuilders works and how to help others to apply for investment.

Votes at Sixteen
Jo Swinson (LD, East Dunbartonshire) has put down an Early Day Motion calling on the Government to allow a free vote on giving people over the age of 16 the right to vote.

The sound made me do it !

Last weekend I had to do a presentation on the history of therapeutic drumming. Like many others on the course the discussion went back to sound and vibration. The first sound we hear is our mother’s heartbeat, a pulse, the life force.

My presentation was about sound and movement (dance) I started by describing how it is so natural for young children to move to the beat. When my 2 year old hears music he moves his body, he can’t help it, it is impulsive, natural, part of who he is. The older we get – we lose this ability and lose connection with our body.

While researching I was reminded that sound was at the core of creation – when God spoke.. “let there be light� there was light. Sound was connected to something physical happening. In Hebrew the word “Dabhar� which we translate as ‘word’ implies deeds and actions not just words, accomplishments not talk and creation not verbalising.

Dabhar is active, imaginative and playful.

I like this… so much better then boring old words….so many said, texted, written that are meaningless, pointless and powerless… less is definitely more.

Let there be Dabhar !!


Another thing I won’t be able to attend but a good conference for full time youth workers. The Matrix is here

and if you have not been before or were not sure sounds like a good line up and worth the time and effort. You know when you reach that point and are not sure if you have the energy to go and listen to someone else talk but feel it would be good and could do with a pick me up ….well Iain Hoskins who I work with at Bristol CYM is one of the key note speakers, and is a great communicator I find listening to him better than a crispy toasted cheese sandwhich after a freezing night on detached work. And I dont mean dull cheese on toast but when you take out the grill bit and grill the cheese in the pan till it goes brown and crispy and you have to prise it off then slap it between two bits of bread with mayo. Never tried it well try the Matrix as well!

freedom to flourish

200 years since the abolision of the transatlantic slave trade how do we express freedom in Christ today?
Take time out to think about how today’s youth worker can help to continue to make an impact on the lives of young people.

the matrix 2007 will examine through four averarching themes the role of the youth worker

…. as theologian

…. as leader

…. as missionary

…. as prophet

This will enable you to develop as a youth worker, drawing on the theological and socialogical perspectives. There will be space for personal reflection, dialogue with other practitioners, relaxation, laughter and focussing on God.

Organised by:

Churches Together in England
Baptist Union of Great Britain
Centre for Youth Ministry
United Reformed Church
The Church of England
Frontier Youth Trust
Youth for Christ
Scripture Union

Gideon Salvage Duty

MSC Napoli beached ship

On Sunday afternoon my family and I went down to Beer Head (cliffs) to have a look at the beacked container ship MSC Napoli off Branscombe.

From this BBC News item I see that foreign language Bibles are being washed up. As a Gideon (! who’d have thought it eh?) part of me wonders if I should try and procure these items, however there does seem to be a bit of argument about the legality of picking up salvage. I just hope that they won’t be wasted. I’ll keep my ear to the ground (or should that be seabed?) on this one.

Flyer and booking details for Pete Rollins

Bristol CYM is hosting Pete Rollins in March, unfortunatly it is smack in the middle of when the baby is due so it is unlikly I will be able to attend. I have heard Pete speak twice and read his book and blog, and am really impressed by what he has to say. There are a few people who are saying anything that new, but Pete does bring a challenging paradigm of thinking and I think he is one of the people we really need to listen to. Find the flyer here

and come and hear, engage and question.

Self Awareness, change and control

Following on from my previous post on theology and control I have been thinking about the type of resources we need to ensure that our thinking is not restricted or controlled and yet linked with the wisdom of the past. A basic model many use is the triangle of Culture, Scripture, and Tradition. However my practice encounters recently have challenged this and I wonder if the pull of theological norms that come from the traditions are too powerful. As I further reflected I was drawn into thinking about personal change and if this change is to be real and lasting how this stems from self awareness.

Now I have a conundrum in that I am more aware of the issue and the pull of the theological norm, but also aware of my own desire for change and self tendencies to push for this. There is an issue for me in the static nature of theological norms verses the dynamic nature of scripture. Whilst I recognise that tradition does change and evolve it is more gradual, whist culture is far more dynamic. Can scripture be a way to hold the tension and what role does self awareness play? It is bit like all three (Scripture, Tradition, Culture) are moving at different pace and yet I am also moving, so in order to do justice to the model I need to aware of my own tendency for change and this desire, and make sure that this does not mean I make too many jumps in my thinking (which would be easy as I am emerged in the fast moving culture) but work harder on the tradition to slow me down and the surplus in scripture to hold the tension.

Another issue for me is a growing awareness of how modernist and logical this approach is, which in itself causes me issues around control as I firmly believe that by working with different disciplines and traditions and engaging in mission progress is made and God moves in paradigm changing ways rather than in a gradual process (see redefining church

National Lampoon’s ‘Pledge This!’ Naughty Version release

) and that borrowing from different perspectives other than the christian tradition and reflecting this with scripture can help us see the changes needed. Yet this often leads to orthopraxis and the logic and knowledge base takes time to catch up.

Debt Money v. Banked Money – a Confidence Problem

After some thought and reading I’d like to post a follow up to this last post on money and debt.

Debt money, which is basically based on an assurance from one person to another that the debt will be paid (you may wish to re-read the above mentioned post) can suffer from a confidence problem.

When you accept a promise from someone you are trusting that it will be kept in the expected manner. However, over history many governments (the largest promiser of IOUs) just attempt to print their way out of trouble, creating more and more ‘IOUs’ (credit notes/cash that doesn’t have intrinsic value) thus making the existing money more and more worthless.

So the promise of efficient money by using promises to repay (debt money) is tempered by the risk that the promise will be undermined.

On the other hand using valuable assets as money is far less risky – what is the risk that an asset that is considered to have worthwhile value will plummet to a tiny fraction of it’s current worth? However, it can happen, asset values do vary. So what kind of asset would you want to bank with – something which is useful perhaps, something which is rare?

Ultimately, it is a speculative choice either way – debt money (promises) or asset money (valuable commodities).

With regards to yesterdays post “Having All in Common” I’m tempted to imagine that money isn’t something that would exist in the full on coming (and here) Kingdom of God. After all isn’t money something that gives us ownership of something, something we use to trade something we own for something someone else owns?

So, does God prefer asset money to debt money? I don’t know! He says don’t owe others stuff, but then he says that we should continue to return the debt of love…

Ah well, maybe the above discussion is irrelevant? Maybe I’ll have to give it some more thought…

Having All In Common

Acts 2:44
All the believers were together and had everything in common.

I was thinking for a few moments about this today and I found myself framing this issue with a question:
What is it that worries us about sharing possessions?

I think it is the fear that our contribution will be abused – that our generosity will be taken advantage of, that we will not be able to count on others to be fair and considerate.

In itself, sharing your possessions or having shared possessions is quite a joyous practice. You get a heightened sense of usefulness, a sense of giving, as sense of helping. The sharing is a positive, it is the abuse that is negative.

Why is it that we cannot trust our brothers and sisters, that we cannot rely on them to be considerate? Is this a shortcoming of our relationship with them. Is our fear of having common property simply an indicator about the state of our relationships?

If so, what can be done? I’m challenged to be closer and more involved with the people I call my Christian friends.

These thoughts have sprung my considerations about what is private property and what is ‘common’ property. Are even our labours (perhaps our most personal and private resource) common property in the new Kingdom?

Youth work standards


New occupational and professional standards for youth work consultation – events NCVYS is holding two free events this month to discuss the New Occupational and Professional Standards for Youth Work, currently being developed by the Sector Skills Council Lifelong Learning UK. Events will be held in London and Birmingham; book online here.