Friday, June 17, 2011

'Unfiltered Youth Ministry" # 02 Andrew Root in Canberra

It was a great weekend last weekend, exploring the writings and presentations of Andrew Root, at the Chapel of the Centre for Christianity & Culture in Canberra!! It was a weekend of mixed feelings for me... I welcome learning and really enjoy the gymnastics of figuring out how something affirms or challenges my views, teaches me something new and/or relates to my understanding of God, practice of ministry and or who I am... The fractures, apathy or missed opportunities in our networks makes this a rare occasion and that's a shame. Darren, Duncan and Matt are to be congratulated for pulling it together...
As I had written before, Andrew's re-emphasis on authentic relationships for their own sake, drew me back to my beginnings and the things I hold dear... more recently expressed as the notion that 'every person has a story and every persons story is worth hearing.' The Day Two focus on 'children of divorce' was something we were privileged to be participating in... deep sharing and a dose of reality around an issue that has nothing whatsoever to do with the 'naval gazing' of a church struggling for survival and all the ridiculous distractions this provides... Instead it highlighted what a significant thing 'engaging in God's activity in the world' is when our desire to share compassion and grace with others coincides with a burning need and while feeling 'at home' in the conversations I am convinced of it's wider relevance and my ability to 'transition' my gifts/skills/knowledge/self into a different setting, bringing the same 'above and beyond' energy!!
Alongside this, the girls came with me for the weekend, enjoying Cockington Green, a six hour visit to Questacon and the National Space Museum/NASA. I skipped Saturday night for a family dinner in Manuka and so we enjoyed the space and time together. I'll get them to the National Museum eventually.
Trying to sort out my future before or after December this year, I found myself fitting what we were talking about 'like a glove' but unable to picture where or how it will be applied.
It brought an edge to the fact I know I'm entering a time of change and the very real possibility of needing to find employment elsewhere... while I jest about the door greeter role at Bunnings [stay tuned]
I cannot commit my hopes, frustration, anger, willingnesses and recent reminders that the church does not get 'youth ministry' as anything other than playing in the sandpit, to cyber space because it comes without context or conversation...
Anyhow... it's that conundrum...
Every so often the 'wheel turns' in this crazy flawed thing called the church... and you're reminded of how vulnerable you, you're self image and your passions are... amidst mixed messages and very human fallibility... while those you know and trust happily re-affirm you!!
I've been re-reading Andrew's book 'Unfiltered Relationships' and was reminded of a film clip which fitted the weekends themes really well. It's the story of teacher Erin Gruwell as told in 'Freedom Writers.' Erin sets an assignment but notes one student who is struggling with setbacks as his brother receives a jail [US film/US spelling] sentence and he has given himself an 'F' in the self assessment task. Erin invited the students to fill in journals which she offered to read to learn about their stories and he had written about feeling 'invisible.'

"I see you... do you hear me, I see you... and you are not failing!!"

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