Wednesday, September 27, 2006

ups and downs

Today has been a good day because I handed in my dissertation. Which means I need to do no more study for my MA. Fantastic. The title of my dissertation was "Youth work and youth ministry: a critical analysis of the meaning and significance of the terms in contemporary Britain".

I may well blog a bit more about this in due this space.

Today has been a bad day because Chesterfield lost miserably to Scunthorpe this evening. It wasn't miserable because we lost by a lot of goals. It was miserable because it was one of the most lacklustre performances I have seen in some time.

Oh well. You've gotta take the rough with the smooth I guess.

Monday, September 25, 2006

i really ought to go to bed but....

......I thought I'd post just before I did.

It's been a really long weekend, but a really good one. On Friday morning I (kind of) finished writing my dissertation - I've still got things like a bibliography and an abstract to do, but the main writing bit is done. On Friday afternoon I helped with some setting up for a youth conference/event type thing (more on this later), and then on Friday evening it was Youth Club, where we had a 'top-score' of 50 young people. I know, I know, I really shouldn't get hung up on numbers, but the fact of the matter is that we had 50 kids, inside all night, and there was no real trouble - that's the amazing bit.

On Saturday I was working at a youth conference. It went really well. The only downside was that it was a really long day.

On Sunday, which is yesterday now, I did three groups, though one of which was just some of the older young people hanging out eating cake, so that was almost relaxing.

All in all, I'm now knackered. But throughout the weekend, and throughout my knackered-ness, I've been reminded time and again how God does stuff in the midst of my weakness, our weakness. Despite the fact that I've been dead on my feet since getting up on Saturday morning, God has got me through the weekend.

I know that some of this stuff might seem pretty basic - it's possibly not what a lot of people would consider to be cutting edge theology - but maybe it is. Maybe we just need to get back to some of the simple things in life. Like the fact that God, who we can spend an awfully long time deciding how to worship, is there with us no matter what.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

good news

No, I'm not still going on about last night's cracking result, well, not too much. I've just been listening to Radio 5 Live, where Tim Evans (of Worth Unlimited and Dave Wiles (of Frontier Youth Trust)have been interviewed about a journey their making from Bristol to Liverpool via Cardiff and Birmingham. More details about their trip can be seen here.

If you missed it then you'll be able to listen again to the interview on Thursday's morning phone-in (that's Thursday 21st no Thursday 14th). The interview started at about quarter past 10 or there abouts. Not sure when it will be uploaded, maybe later today, but definitely tomorrow (Friday 22nd).

Tim was my boss when I worked in Birmingham a few years ago, we still meet up every so often. Caught up with him at Greenbelt this summer, where was did a good session about working with 'difficult' young people.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

oh what a night

Fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. Tonight the mighty Spirites have humbled Premiership opposition Manchester City with a wonderful display of teamwork and skill. Beautiful. Just beautiful. More can be read about this wonderous event here. This result made it as the top sport headline on this evening.

Paul Shaw and Kevan Hurst celebrate with Derek Niven

A cracking goal by Derek Niven secured the win after Caleb Folan had headed home an equaliser just after half time.

Caleb Folan and Derek Niven celebrate after the final whistle.

The final whistle sparked a pitch invasion, reminiscent of the final day of the season a couple of years back when Chesterfield's two-goal come back in the final three minutes rescued them from relegation.

The celebrations at Saltergate begin

This was, without doubt, one of the greatest games of football I have seen at Saltergate.

last night

Last night I went to The Boardwalk, in Sheffield, and was treated to a multitude of rather good musical acts. (Does three count as a multitude?)

King Quentin are Sheffield based duo consisting of Jo (my housemate) and Harry. I've been treated to a lot of Jo's song-writing and generaly musical ability since he moved in, but it was cool to see them playing a venue other than the living room.

Bill Mallonee is, erm.... Jo's hero - musically speaking at any rate. I'd never seen him live before, though I've been hearing his stuff on CD for a number of months now. Bill was fantastic. He was incredibly 'human' - good stories in between songs, and songs that told stories as well. Some of his lyrics were excellent, really clever use of words. He also finished his set talking about Jesus on myspace - "cos Jesus has done the whole incarnate flesh thing, how might God want to speak to us today?.......I like to think of God as an innovator"

The third act of the night was Stewboss. To be honest, none of us were massively bothered about seeing these guys. We wanted to see King Quentin, and we wanted to see Bill Mallonee cos Jo and gone on and on about him. But these guys turned out to be really good. I'd heard them briefly on the radio show of the legend that is Bob Harris. The crowd was, to be fair, pretty quiet for the most part of their set. But some gratuitous solos, ridiculous facial expressions and head movements (esp. from the bass player), threats of nudity and general raucousness livened things up. At one point the guitarist jumped down from the stage into the audience, and encouraged/forced us to sing along, while balancing precariously on a rather small table. I'd definitely recommend you to go see these guys live if you get the chance. They've got the potential, as they so modestly state on their myspace page, to be "your next favourite band".

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

just some thoughts

Last night I went to the first session of "Spiritual Growth and Discipleship: A course in Listening to God, self and others" - which is a course run by Sheffield Diocese, which I will be undertaking over the next few months.

To be honest I don't feel like I've given the course a whole lot of thought. Last night was suddenly there. Not quite sure how I'm feeling about it really. I'd been warned in advance that the majority of the people on the course would be middle-aged women. And they were.

I think it might be an interesting experience to be a minority group for a change. Most youth workers round here seem to be young-ish males. I think it might do me good to be in a different situation. One thing that I am looking forward to having that time and space to pray, and to be silent, and to be. That's one thing that I've really learnt this summer, to appreciate times of silence.

Speaking of which, at the moment the tv aerial in my house is broken, which means no tv. Obviously. But actually I've come to quite enjoy it. Its great not having the distraction there when I'm meant to be working at home during the day. And its meant that I've rediscovered listening to the radio. All good.

Monday, September 11, 2006

this is really useful

For those of you who use Firefox you can download this rather cool extension that allows you to see what other bloggers are saying about any particular web page that you are viewing.

Thanks to Matt for alerting me to this.

what a fruitful weekend

On Saturday I went to my first Chesterfield match of the season (with Moog). We won 2-1, against Rotherham. Fantastic.

Also on Saturday I spent some time with Jo (with whom I was at uni), her husband Al, and various other relatives/friends of theirs. It was Jo's birthday. While we were out and about, we managed to procure various fruits, namely damsons and sloes. Yesterday and today, I have made damson and apple jam, some damson cheese (a really thick set preserve with a similar consistency to cheese) and have started off some damson gin. I'll get the sloe gin started once I've been to Tesco later today. This follows last weeks production of plum jam (plums from my Mum n Dad's house) and some lemon curd. Soon I'll need to go get some blackberries.....

I love autumn. I love the fact that there is so much food you can get for free from the countryside. I think it's healthy to remind myself where food comes from, and not just go to the shops everytime I need to get something. I also enjoy making preserves like this, cos it just slows down the pace of life for a bit. You can't rush it, you just have to be patient. In a world where everything is about speed and efficiency, I think it is good to slow down every so often.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

first match of the season

This afternoon I'm off to watch my first Chesterfield match of the season - against Rotherham. I've hardly watched any football this season so far, due to our TV aerial not working, thus meaning Match of the Day and Football Focus are mere memories from seasons past.

Little bit nervous as to how we're going to do, in our last two games Chesterfield have conceded 6, and scored 0. Maybe it is time for a change in fortune......Let's hope so.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

sad news

Saddened to hear of the death of Steve Irwin. Read more about it here. The man was, and will continue to be, an absolute legend.

Steve Irwin
1962 - 2006

Monday, September 04, 2006

this weekend.....

.....I have mostly been writing my dissertation. Apologies for not blogging.

I've got a tutorial on Wednesday and thought it might be prudent to do some work in advance of my trip down to Birmingham. Amazingly I got the work done that I needed to get done in relatively good time. I'm not entirely sure how satisfied I am with what I've written. I think this bit may need looking at again, or at least some loose ends tying up when I write my conclusion. We shall have to see.

When I started thinking about writing this dissertation, I had in my mind the idea that it would be possible to accurately define where 'youth work' ends and 'youth ministry' begins. At the moment I'm not sure this is the case. Now some of you youth workerish/ministryish types reading this might be thinking "duh....obviously", and some of you might disagree, thinking things along the lines of "stop being so vague and wishy-washy". But as I've written about both 'youth work' and 'youth ministry', I have started to think that the two disciplines are actually pretty similar in many ways, and that while it may well be possible to distinguish between different practices, perhaps the dividing line does not fall neatly along the line where people start giving different names to the work/ministry we do. Maybe there are other factors such as our attitudes towards values, education and empowerment that are more helpful in categorising the different practices which exist.

Friday, September 01, 2006

it really is the end of the summer now....

Back to work properly now. hmmmm. Tis good really I suppose, but it does mean the summer has ended, and the current weather is making it feel autumnal all too quickly.

At the moment I'm in the middle of writing my dissertation. Those of you who read this blog every so often will know that I'm writing about the terms 'youth work' and 'youth ministry'. If I may be so bold to say, it's actually going quite well. I know I've got loads of work to do yet, but it ain't going badly.

Initially when I started writing my disseration I quite wanted to come up with a nice clear cut definition of what constitutes 'youth work' and what constitutes 'youth ministry'. I'm not sure I'm really gonna manage that. I'm not entirely sure that is a manageable task. However what I do think I will do is explore different understandings of the two terms, and discuss some ways in which they differ, but more interestingly (imho) some ways in which they might actually be very similar. We'll see. But I'll definitely post some more on this by the end of the month (when I have to hand my work in), so keep checking back to see what I've got to say - if you're interested that is.

Anyway, thought I'd also link to some friend's blogs which I've recently discovered. In no particular order: Matt, Andrew and Jen and Harry and Zoey.

So there you go.