Wednesday, November 29, 2006

wireless woes

The wireless broadband seems to be playing up. Which is tres annoying.

The connection seems ok so long as it is actually wired up, but thats not great cos the phone line only comes into the house upstairs (not sure why), and my office is downstairs.

Yes I've got a laptop, but it's still annoying to have to take it upstairs just to check email. grrr

Saturday, November 18, 2006


Got my final MA results earlier this week. I passed which is good. And I got my best mark of the whole course for my dissertation. Which is also good.

I seemed to follow this exact same pattern with my first degree, coincidently getting the same mark for both dissertations.

Should anybody wish to read my dissertation then let me know.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

to tolerate or not to tolerate, that is the question

When I was writing my MA dissertation, one of the things I became aware of, was the way in which whether you call the activity I do 'youth work' or 'youth ministry', it's really all concerned with the same thing - the passing on of a set of values from one generation to the next.

Whether those values are passed on explicitly, through what we say, or implicitly, through the way we act and relate to people, (one of)the aim(s) is undoubtedly to pass on a certain set of values.

In recent weeks, this notion of different sets of values has come back into the forefront of my mind. With so much talk in the media about those groups in society who we feel threatened by, and the alledged negative influence of religion, it seems to be the case that secularism is being promoted as a more healthy, inoffensive, all-round-nice way of thinking. But surely, or is it just me, secularism is equally a fixed worldview, with it's own set of values, just as is Christianity or Islam. Isn't it?

It seems to me, to be a worldview which says, other worldviews and other sets of values, are not as good as this one. I just don't get it. It seems hypocritical.

What also seems hypocritical, is those who promote tolerance, but in reality mean, we are tolerant of anybody so long as they themselves are tolerant. One issue which I found myself questioning at Greenbelt was the view which seemed to be saying 'we're inclusive of anybody, so long as they're not evangelicals'. This is just like saying, 'we're inclusive of anybody, so long as they themselves conform to our view of inclusivity'. This seems odd.

Surely we have to recognise, do we not, that we are all affected by values, we cannot escape them. None of us is value free. We are all shaped by the societies, cultures, and experiences in which, and through which, we have journeyed. Similarly, the worldviews to which we subscribe, and the sets of values we adopt, they too are not value neutral, they have been formed, shaped and influenced over time.

Surely, if we acknowledge the role of values in our lives, and the way in which those sets of values have been formed, it is a more helpful approach to consider 'how then do i relate to someone who holds different values to me' rather than saying 'that set of values is not as good as mine'.

Does what I have written make sense to anybody outside of my head?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

youth work conference

On Friday I'm off to the Youthwork Conference in Southport.

I've actually never been to the conference before, despite having been involved in Christian youthwork for over seven years.

I'm not quite sure what I'll make of it. If I'm honest, I've heard mixed reviews, and for that reason I'm a bit apprehensive. Not in terms of a 'worried' sense, rather, a 'what will I actually get out of it' sense.

I'm looking forward to going as I'll be able to hang out with some other youthworkers from Sheffield, and some of my volunteers, and hopefully that will be fun. It's also an opportunity to get out of Sheffield, to get away from everything that is going on here, and just have a bit of time away. I'm certainly not expecting it to be relaxing, though I'm hoping it will be fun......we shall wait and see.

networking, or not working

Roy poses an interesting question about networking. How much of the time we spend networking is actually useful, and how much of it is done just for the sake of it?

I've asked myself this question before, as have a number of my friends who have 'proper jobs'. I was having this conversation just the other day with a friend of mine who is a music producer - all he does is 'listen to CDs all day'.

How useful is networking? Does it 'build the kingdom' as Roy asks? To what extent do youth workers create work for themselves to justify their existence? I think their might be occasions when youth workers/church workers take advantage of the situation, and meet for endless cups of coffee, but there are times when networking is useful, if not essential. Here are some thoughts:

We are called to be the Body of Christ. If different churches are to be the Body of Christ, they might actually need to communicate with one another. This might mean spending time with one another.

On a practical level, the young people I work with do not live their entire lives in the local geographical community which may, or may not, form the parish. In the consumeristic society in which we find ourselves living and working, young people go to different events at different churches, as they journey through different experiences in their lives. It can be helpful to talk with other adults with whom these young peoeple are building relationships.

Youth workers need peer support. Let's face it - we're a funny lot. People don't entirely know what we do. Partly because we all do different things, partly because we're a relatively new phenomenon, and partly because it can be hard to tangibly demonstrate what we do. Postive, healthy relationships are not the most quantifiable outcome. But we need people to talk to, to be with. We need people to accompany us, just as we accompany young people. We need people who will listen to us, who will understand us, who can appreciate the struggles we go through in relating to the monster that is 'church'.

Sometimes we need people outside of our immediate work context to bounce ideas off, to inspire us, to challenge us, to dream dreams with.

All these points, I believe, are justifiable. Yes there are times when coffee will be drunk, and these things are not discussed. But just as in relationships with young people, sometimes the important thing is just being, being there, being together, listening, talking, sharing.

Yes there are times when it might appear that nothing constructive is being done, but equally I know that there are lots of times, outside of 'set hours' when my mind is devoted to thinking, praying, worrying about my youth work, and about the young people I work with. I have no problem with the amount of time I spend going for coffee, networking, being with other youth workers. I believe I'm self-disciplined enough to not take advantage of the situation.

But then, I suppose, just like all vicars, youth workers only do any work on Sundays ;o)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

google searches

Now, when I've checked my site statistics, you know, just under the little counter in the left hand column of this blog, and clicked on referrers, I've been intrigued to see some of the pages from which people have been referred to my blog.

It's particualrly interesting seeing the Google searches which lead people here. There have been some quite random things which have led people here, all of which slip my mind at this moment. But when people seach for "phil goodacre sheffield church", I'm guessing that they are searching for me.

It'd be really nice to know who you are, if you are looking for me. So feel free to leave a comment......;o)

alas, the dream is over

This evening Chesterfield were knocked out of the Carling Cup by Charlton. But we pushed them right to the limit. Having taken the lead at the start of each half, Charlton managed to pull back twice to make it 2-2 at the end of normal time.

With Charlton having snuck an early goal in the first added period, Chesterfield fought valiantly right until the end of the 120 minutes, when Wayne 'The Chief' Allison headed home to make it 3-3, and take the game to penalties.

Unfortunately it was not to be our night, and we lost, 4-3, on penalties.

The lads were fantastic, and were absolutley shattered by the end. Well, truth be told, some of them looked shattered half way through the second half of normal time. Having claimed the scalps of Wolves, Man City, and West Ham, this particular cup run has come to an end.

We play non-league Basingstoke in the first round of the FA Cup at the weekend. There's every chance we will transform from giant killers, to a killed giant.

Monday, November 06, 2006

today i bought....

...two new cds. Somewhat indulgent I know, but I thought I would.

I bought the new Damien Rice album, '9'. Which is good. I've only listened to it once through so far. But I'm liking it so far.

I absolutely adored his first album, 'O'. And second albums are always so much harder to write, but I do like it, and I'm sure it will grow on me in due course.

I saw Damien a few years back at Brixton Academy. He was utterly fantastic. I remember one of the support acts being particularly odd - a Scandinavian (poss. Norwegian) dance group. But Damien was brilliant, he help the audience wonderfully.

The second album I bought was Ray Lamontagne's 'Trouble'. I'm liking this a lot.

I first heard this album a few months back at a friend's BBQ. It rained that day. We attmepted to shelter from the rain whilst cooking, to varying degrees of success.

As some wise bod at the Guardian said, "Trouble sounds like a long lost masterpiece". It kind of does. I'm listening to my copy right through for the first time as I type, but it does have a kind of familiar feel to it. Not in the sense that it is just copying what someone else has done, but in the sense that it is almost comforting. Does that sound odd? Not sure. The vocals and the music are just sumptuous. I think I'm going to enjoy owning this album.