Even though I have been fairly busy getting things sorted for the youth holiday (departing Saturday) nevertheless, like others I have been missing being in Taize. I've had less of a culture shock than in previous years as Taize itself seems more normal to me. It really felt very familiar in the classical sense of the word. It was like being home. I'm not saying that home is not my real home but Taize has a certain Bethany quality to it. It is an amazing place of refreshment. When you first go there it is so different from anywhere you have ever been that it takes your breath away. When you become accustomed to being in Taize you realise that actually it is its familiarity as well as its difference that makes it such a place of refreshment.
As I find Taize such an amazing place, I was absolutely astounded to hear of someone, in youth ministry, who thought Taize was a BAD idea. Apparently the criticism levelled by this person (who will remain anonymous for two reasons; I heard it second hand so I shouldn't attribute it and more to the point I can't remember the name!) was that the sessions at Taize are not run by people trained in youth ministry. What the...? I was furious. Of course I am a firm believer in training and professionalism but I was appalled at the arrogance to suggest that the Taize brothers didn't know what they were doing! It's possible that the criticism was levelled not directly at the brothers but at the fact that they allow "mere amateurs" to run the small discussion groups. Well... the small discussion groups are run by... hang on who is it? Oh yes... by the young people themselves. So that would be empowerment then surely? Or perhaps the criticism was directed at those who take the groups of young people to Taize? Those people who, unlike those of us in full-time minsitry, give up their holiday entitlement to spend time with young people and explore faith with them. These are people who have experience of working with young people for years perhaps without official training but with clear dedication. It just worries me that those in "professional" ministry can sometimes consider their certificates and qualifications, or licenses as a license to speak pejoratively of volunteers. Surely our role as full-timers is to inspire MORE volunteers not discourage them?
Sorry I don't rant often but this REALLY upset me.