Monday, November 28, 2005

suffering - why?

Last week when I was in our local secondary school, taking questions on the (tiny) subject of why Christians beleive in God, I was asked about why God, and suffering. Does the existnece of suffering disprove the existence of God etc. How can I believe in God who lets it happen etc.

I gave the normal kind of - God, gives humans freewill, other people's suffering is a result of other human beings misuse of that freewill - answer. But it really didn't seem very satisfying, to the young people or to myself.

I'd be intrigued to hear other people's views on this - how to explain it to people, whether it is just a matter of acknowledging the fact that as humans we can't have all the answers....

did i really think we would keep winning?

On Saturday the bubble burst. Following 5 consecutive home wins, Chesterfield dropped two points, letting Blackpool get a draw out of a rather scrappy match.

Initially we had made it look very easy, Sammy Clingan firing home from a free kick early on, but then our captain, Shane Nicholson, set a wonderful example for the rest of the team by gettring himself sent off. Seems the referee didn't approve of him punching someone. Funny that.

Admittedly the recipient of the punch was dimissed as well, he had provoked Nicholson by kicking him when he was on the floor, but the match ended up being a disappointing affair. One all the final score.

Not to worry, we're still fifth in the league.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

the existence of hell?

An interesting article from the Taize website.

back to school

Today I've been into our local secondary school twice. The second time was for the ongoing after-school club that I'm helping at. But this morning was "So why do Christian's believe in God?' session. It actually went really well, I quite enjoyed it. It was hard work, and there were some of the young people asked some really good questions. We strayed off topic at times, touching on opinions on gay priests etc., but I managed to sit on the fence on most issues, and it didn't get too uncomfortable.

Going in to do a repeat performance next Friday.I'm not sure how that sessions is gonna go. I've been informed that the group mainly consists of Muslim boys. Could be interesting.....

Monday, November 21, 2005

why do we believe in God?

Ok ok ok. I have some inkling as to what I might answer when asked this question. Which is convenient, because on Thursday I'm going in to our local secondary school to talk with some GCSE R.E. students about why Christians believe in God (hmmm, that should be easy). Thankfully the R.E. teacher said she wasn't expecting me to convert them all (which is good), but I'm still not exactly sure what I'm gonna say.

If on the off chance anybody reads this before Thursday, do feel free to offer any thoughts/comments/hints.....

"no i'm not a proper scout. i just help..."

Last Thursday at Scouts we had the honour of being joined by former Chesterfield legend, David Reeves. 'Reevsie' was doing a bit of football coaching with the boys. It was fantastic.

On Saturday I helped a couple of guys put a new roof on the Scouts garage. It was absolutely freezing, but it was kinda fun. I say fun, I think what I mean is that it was different to the stuff I normally do.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

knock, ring, letters through your door....

So the postman came a little while ago....

Amongst the crap there were two things of note. Firstly a letter confirming that I had been unsuccessful in a job interview earlier this week. Second the new Howies winter catalogue arrived :o)

Regular readers might have notices that my posting frequency has been rather low over the last few weeks. Truth be told, this whole job thing has been playing on my mind. It's been something I've been thinking about a great deal, but I've not really wanted to share about it on here. As I like my writings on here to be about stuff that I'm currently thinking about, I've kinda opted for not sharing much at all.


Anyway, life goes on, I'm just off into our local secondary school to have a chat with the head of R.E., and then I'm helping out at their new after-school club. I get to play with computers and things. Tis a hard life I know.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

'reading week'

I'm currently taking two modules at university. On Mondays I study Religion in Contemporary Global Politics, on Tuesdays I study Post-colonial Criticism and Biblical Interpretation. They're both quite interesting subjects. Annoyingly the reading week for each module have come at different times. A bit frustrating. Anyway, I thought it would be best to make the most of the time I had so I caught up in somew cinema-going!!

Last week I went to see Lord of War, starring Nicholas Cage. It's not a bad film actually. It tells the story of an amrs dealer, how he has gone about his business over the last however many years. A chunk of the film is set in Liberia, where, in the real world, they are currently holding elections, and George Weah, the former Chelsea footballer, is one of the presidential candidates. Anyway, the film was really good, and I quite liked the ending. I won't say what happened, just in case you haven't seen the film, but I enjoyed it.

Yesterday I went to watch 'Good Night, and Good Luck' (couldn't find an official website). Theres a review of the film from the New York Times here. The film tells the story of CBS journalist Edward R. Murrow, as he reported on, critiqued, challenged and questioned the activities of Senator Joseph McCarthy (he of 'Communist witch-hunt fame). I didn't know a whole lot about the history of that time, and now I have at least seen one point of view. The film was very good though. It's directed by George Clooney, shot wholey in black and white, and has a pretty smooth sound track. The film isn't officially released in the UK until February next year, but when it does come out, it's well worth a watch.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

formalising the informal

This is something thats been bugging me for a while now. Formalising the informal. It can be really frustrating. Let me explain.....

There's a group of youth workers in Sheffield, of which I am one, who meet together every so often to pray, chat, share news, mainly chatting it seems. It's generally good, but every so often the question of what we're doing is raised. Why are we meeting? What are we trying to do? What is this going to achieve? Should it be a priority in my diary?

Every so often these times together are incredibly productive, people share something that's on their heart, people get to seek advice about issues that are real in their lives. But a fair amount of the time, to the outsider, and sometimes to those on the inside, it kinda looks like we're wasting time.

Now to be fair sometimes we do waste our time chatting about stuff, but I think it's important to just be together, to be in one another's company. These relationships that build up, create a safe space for us to share, to make ourselves vulnerable. I just don't think it would work if every session had an agenda, demanding set aims and objectives.

In one of these sessions (this afternoon as it happens) we were talking about certain elements of the statutory youth provision in Sheffield. This got us talking about the need to 'tick boxes', to count how many people we are working with in various contexts, etc etc - you get the picture. But for me this just isn't what youth work is about. Youth work should be to do with informal education, and I have to ask myself if this is really happening in its true sense of the term, when there are so many boxes to tick, so many generalised, non-context specific outcomes to be achieved.

I can't help but feel that formalising things that are meant to have a certain amount of informality to them, just doesn't work.

Now I know I'm rambling here, and I know I've made some generalisations. I also think that this rant could be condensed somewhat. But I do think that in this strive for efficiency (yeah I've read stuff about McDonaldization of society as well as of the Church), we lose the focus, we lose touch with reality, with the real people we are working alongside, with their real issues in their real lives.

assorted oddities

So this article amused me. It's good to see that being named after famous people is not just something limited to our country.

Also my friend Andrew has just started a blog. He's another youthworker-ish (or is that youth minister) type.

It's taken me a while to come to terms with it, but Chesterfield got a bit of a drubbing at the weekend, losing 5-1 to Swansea. (Lucy - be kind)

The other day there was a fair bit of concern about an pastor in East Timor, called Ferdie Flores. Apparently the situation was not as severe as was first thought.

As it has just been Halloween I'm hoping that pumpkins will be going cheap again, so I can make some more pumpkin soup.