Saturday, December 31, 2005

coming up for air

Well I've finished one of my two essays now. Which is good. Especially as I've now got the shorter one to do.

With a bit of luck I'll be blogging regularly again in a little over a week. Just think, by then there'll be even more football to reflect upon.....

Tomorrow (ok this afternoon) I'm off to Nottingham, to see Chesterfield take on Nottingham Forest. But, its like, they're, a proper club. Tis madness.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

fair trade - home and away

This story (which was linked to by Mark), together with a conversation I had with a friend this morning reminded me of the importance of campaigning for fair trade, and to make poverty history, not just in the developing world, but also in our own countries as well.

My friend was telling me about a couple of incidents which had happened recently. A few days ago she had a knock at the door - it was a milkman (what's one of them you might ask), trying to drum up business. Things had gotten so bad that he was at risk of going out of business. My friend, being suitably caring and compassionate, decided to start ordering milk from him. Compare this with the fact that a certain supermarket just down the road, was doing a promotion whereby they were giving away milk. FOR FREE. Just because they could.

Yes of course we need to campaign for fair trade across the world, and buying fair trade coffee, tea, orange juice (my personal favourite) is great. But I can't help but think we need to remember that fair trade should apply everywhere, in our country as well. It's not just 'in Africa' where multi-national corporations are screwing over the little guy.

but this is just genius

Ok, so I'd kinda made a bit of a self-conscious decision to not post to 'tat', but this is just genius.

Well I think it's quite funny anyway.

(via Ian)

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Today, while in Oxfam picking up some Christmas essentials, I also purchased Ceasefire, an album by Emmanuel Jal and Abdel Gadir Salim.

Emmanuel Jal perfomed at Greenbelt this summer (though I missed him). He also performed at the Live 8 do dah in Cornwall. The two artists are both originally from Sudan, though from the opposing sides in the civil war there. As the comprehensive album notes say, both artists have been deeply affected by the civil war. Jal was a child soldier and Abdel Gadir Salim narrowly survived a brutal stabbing.

I can't really imagine what either of those experiences would be like. To type it so easily doesn't really do justice to either man's experience. Reading some of the lyrics (they're available through the above link), reminded me of what a screwed up world this is, what a mess we've made of stuff. But in the lyrics there is also a sense of hope, a sense of 'what if', a sense that things could be better. Listening as two men, one Christian, one Muslim, perform together, reflecting on what that symbolises, you get a glimpse of that hope.

Go buy it, or at least check out the lyrics.

Inside the album cover there's a striking picture of a while Make Poverty History wristband on a black persons wrist. Sometimes I really can't believe how unfair the world is. I've been in school again this week, answering (or at least trying) young people's questions about God and stuff, including questions about suffering. I just don't get how we (I say we cos I know I'm guilty) can think that it is fair, right, 'Christian' that there is such inequality in the world. How can I as Christian talk about peace and love over Christmas time, when there is such oppression, inequality and neglect going on in the world? When I am oppressing others, by the products I buy, the decisions I don't challenge, and the things I let go cos I just can't be bothered to do anything.

Monday, December 19, 2005

another sheffield youth work blogger. woohoo

Have just discovered that as well as Andrew having recently started a blog, so has fellow South Sheffield youth worker Pete Everitt.

Ok so we're a little behind the times up here.

erm, sorry. i'm a bit busy at the moment

Just thought I'd apologise for the general lack of activity on here at the moment. It's my favourite time of year you see....essay writing time :o(

"How has globalization contributed to the de-privatization of religion?" (5000-6000 words)


"The use of the Bible in Latin American Liberation Theology" (4000 words)

Tis gonna be a fun Christmas time methinks....

Monday, December 12, 2005

curry with kendrick

At the risk of sounding like a terrible name-dropper, I had a curry with Graham Kendrick the other night.

He was up in Sheffield to present BBC 1's life Sunday morning worship which was being filmed at All Saint's, Ecclesall (just up the road from me). On the Saturday evening I had been helping at a youth event, which originally grew out of All Saints. Following the rehearsal for the following morning's broadcast, 'Graham' popped along to the youth event, where he was squeezed into the running order and performed a song. I've got to admit, despite my intial dissappointment when it became evident he wasn't going to play 'Shine Jesus Shine', he was rather good.

Along with some of the other leaders who run this youth event, I then went for a curry with Mr. Kendrick afterwards. It was all a little bit bizzare. I can't remember what he had, but I had a very tasty chicken balti.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

not so white band

I'm loving what the Make Poverty History campaign have done with the white band that appears in the corner of my blog.

If you haven't got one on the corner of your blog then go here and get one. You also might wanna think about sending postcards and letters and stuff to the politicians that MPH recommend. Get involved.

i'm so excited

Well I think I'd have settled for that draw at the beginning of the evening. Thankfully the pundits on BBC were helpfully tempting fate by using words such as 'formality'. When will they ever learn???

Thursday, December 08, 2005

chav nativity

I was fowarded this by Andrew. I quite like it, so thought I would stick it on here.....

There's this bird called Mary, yeah? She's a virgin (wossat then?). She's not married or nuffink, but she's got this boyfriend, Joe, innit? He does joinery an' that. Mary lives with him in a crib dahn Nazaref.

One day Mary meets this bloke Gabriel. She's like `Oo ya lookin at?' Gabriel just goes 'You got one up the duff, you have.’ Mary's totally gobsmacked. She gives it to him large 'Stop dissin' me yeah? I ain't no Kappa-slapper. I never bin wiv no one!'

So Mary goes and sees her cousin Liz, who's six months gone herself. Liz is largin' it. She's filled with spirits, Barcardi Breezers an' that. She's like 'Orright, Mary, I can feel me bay-bee in me tummy and I reckon I'm well blessed. Think of all the extra benefits an' that we are gonna get.' Mary goes 'Yeah, s'pose you're right'

Mary an' Joe ain't got no money so they have to ponse a donkey, an' go dahn Bethlehem on that. They get to this pub an' Mary wants to stop, yeah? To have her bay-bee an' that. But there ain't no room at the inn, innit? So Mary an' Joe break an' enter into this garridge, only it's filled wiv animals. Cahs an' sheep an' that.

Then these three geezers turn up, looking proper bling, wiv crowns on their heads. They're like `Respect, bay-bee Jesus', an' say they're wise men from the East End.
Joe goes: 'If you're so wise, wotchoo doin' wiv this Frankenstein an' myrrh? Why dincha just bring gold, Adidas and Burberry?'

It's all about to kick off when Gabriel turns up again an' sez he's got another message from this Lord geezer. He's like 'The police is comin an' they're killin all the bay-bees. You better nash off to Egypt.' Joe goes 'You must be monged if you think I'm goin' dahn Egypt on a minging donkey'

Gabriel sez 'Suit yerself, pal. But it's your look out if you stay.' So they go dahn Egypt till they've stopped killin the first-born an' it's safe an' that. Then Joe and Mary and Jesus go back to Nazaref, an' Jesus turns water
into Stella.


Monday, December 05, 2005

another tough day at uni...

This afternoon, following my final 'Religion in Contemporary Politics' lecture, I slacked off and went to the cinema. I went to see Flightplan.

It was a pretty good film, starring Jodie Foster and Sean Bean. Admittedly Sean Bean was a little stereotypically English - how many real English people use the term 'Godspeed'? Really? But it was suitably exciting, and I didn't know how the story was going to unfold until it did. You get hunches about certain characters, but not all of them.

I'm not saying you should rush out and see it at the cinema, but when this film comes out on DVD you could do far worse than check it out.

The other great thing about being at uni, is the continuous free high-speed internet access. This has led to my discovery of the wonders of the BBC Radio site...there's so much cool stuff to listen to.

youth ministry?? ordination??

Theres an interesting post here on Mark Berry's blog about whether there is a need for youth ministry ordination. It's in the comment's where things get a little more interesting.

It's in the comments where things get a little more interesting. I've said my piece, and as I've said on here before (and again), I am still confused by what people mean when they talk about youth work and youth ministry. Is there a definitive answer to what each of these terms means? If there is, I'd really appreciate it if someone could enlighten me....

challenges and opportunities facing youth ministry today

Below is a collection of thoughts I put together for a job interview presentation a few weeks ago. I was asked to consider the challenges and opportunities facing youth ministry today. I'd be interested to here anyone elses thoughts/comments....

Support and Develop existing ministry
• Help churches take ownership of the youth work
• Mobilise volunteers
• Raise funds
• Support and empower leaders
• Appropriate and adequate training

Explore, Imagine and Create new models of ministry
• Acknowledge our short comings
• Explore what the Gospel means for young people today, in the differing contexts in which we live
• Equip and empower churches, leaders and young people
• Remain accountable
• Create sustainable and effective models of ministry

Work together
• Communicate with one another
• Learn from one another
• Be accountable to one another
• Appreciate different models of ministry
• Help people recognise the potential that already exists
• Think strategically, as we look to serve young people, schools and local communities
• Model behaviour and attitudes to young people
• Remain flexible

Fulfil our calling
• Be a part of God’s mission, sharing His Good News with all young people
• Create space for young people to think, to explore faith and spirituality
• Support and nurture young people as they grow
• Help young people experience fullness of life

Sunday, December 04, 2005


One of the questions that has come up repeatedly in the RE lessons I've been doing, has been about how Christians can believe in God, when there is so much suffering in the world.

Up until now my answers have kinda been based around the idea that God gave humans freewill, to act as we choose, but that the choices we make can affect others, and possibly cause them suffering.

I guess that I still hold to this, and I know that this doesn't really explain natural disasters and stuff like that, but as I was watching Joseph last night, I was reminded of how many people in the Bible suffered.

It got me thinking that perhaps yes, humans do cause some suffering to other humans, but the Bible provides us with examples of how people live through suffering (or not), of how people can trust God in the midst of their suffering.

Just a thought....but one which encouraged me...

the last couple of days...

...have been rather manic.

On Thursday night I was helping out at Scouts again. We were cooking. It was a bit messy. We finally finished clearing up at about half ten.

Friday morning saw me back in our local secondary school doing another RE lesson. It went really well. I'm going in again in a couple of weeks to do another, which is pretty cool.

On Friday evening I spent all evening constructing Santa's grotto, getting ready for our Christmas Fair on Saturday. As if that wasn't enough, I then made my way down to the Scout Hut, ready to set off on a night hike. It was good fun, but kinda wet. It rained most of the time we were out, but thanks to my new waterproof trousers I didn't get too wet.

I spent all day Saturday manning Santa's grotto at our Christmas fair - NOT being Santa as various people had suggested. It went ok, but I was pretty tired by the end of the fair. (I did treat myself by getting my nails done, alas there is photographic evidence).

Yesterday night I finally got to relax. I went to see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat at the Lyceum in Sheffield. I was really well behaved and managed to restrain myself from singing along. The show was fantastic. It was just slightly better than the version I saw when I was about seven, and my brother was performing in it at school.

Thankfully it was family service at church this morning, which meant I wasn't responsible for doing anything. I have to admit that I was struggling to remain focussed during the service (ok ok I'm not very focussed much of the time, but it was worse than usual), and I was very glad when we were invited to sit down.

Anyway, I've got a fun drive down to Birmingham for university to look forward to tomorrow morning....