Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Dave Walker solidarity post

I've not blogged on the Dave Walker/SSG story before as SO many other people out there have said wise things about it all. Have a look at David Keen, Richard Peat, Bishop Alan and Tim Abbot for some good summaries of the situation which has arisen and of course ASBO Jesus for a fellow cartoonist's reaction. Dave has basically been told to remove any blog posts relating to SSG and SPCK or face legal action which he clearly couldn't afford to contest. He has carefully posted nothing but what he has been able to verify and has even removed comments which were unsubstantiated. It's a horrible situation.

I was back at my old town at the weekend and it was announced that there will be a new Christian bookshop there in September. The congregation received the news, as you might expect, with great delight and anticipation. The idea that people will be able to buy Christian books and resources to support their ministry was fabulous news for them. This is what having a former SPCK shop in the city where I now work should feel. It just doesn't. When I started in post the lovely guy who worked there was ever so apologetic about the ludicrously pathetic "Youth Section" which contained three books none of which I even vaguely wanted to purchase (or indeed already owned). SSG have already taken the joy my old town is now feeling by doing what they have done to the SPCK shops and now they attack someone who has striven to respond honourably to the situation.

As Bishop Alan says:

"Plainly the skills required to sabre rattle for reactionary causes are very different from those you need to run a bookshop, let alone re-evangelise England."

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Understanding Generation Y

Interesting new research on Generation Y. As a member of this generous (though tenuously at the top end and married to someone outside it) I do feel an affinity with what they're saying about me and my fellow IPODs (as we're also apparently known! -Do you think when we're OAPS we'll be called Ipod Shuffles??? ) It also rings true for some of the young people I've been working with over the last few years who are now adults.

Anyway, bad puns aside, check out this new research or download the pdf of the report which summarises Generation Y with six tracks on an Ipod (desert island discs comes round again!):

Whatever people say I am, that's what I'm not, Arctic Monkeys. IPODs are members of many overlapping communities, virtual and conceptual as much as geographic.

Speed of Sound, Coldplay. They are busy and time-pressured, so expect sophisticated and entertaining communications.

I can, Nas. They are confident and demanding in work and home life. They want the tools to be as demanding of government.

Gold Digger, Kanye West. Value for money is crucial, but they don't want profit motive to be the driving force behind public services.

Standing in the way of control, The Gossip. They want to be offered a selection of good choices, but not the responsibility of having to make all the decisions themselves.

Digital love, Daft Punk. Unimpressed by the use of technology for its own sake, they want communication in surprising, elegant ways.

So the real question is - what six tracks define your generation or your life? I'm putting my thinking hat on for that one. I'd set it as a challenge to others but everyone's off on hols!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Bishops' Cru

I just love this picture snapped of our Bishop John and Archbishop John Sentamu sitting in front of the altar frontal made by the young people at our diocesan assembly. It just looks liek they're chillin in a diocesan posse. I'm rather hoping the Lambeth conference is going as harmoniously!

Genius from down under

Thanks to Dave for passing this on:

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Double time?

Ok, so is it only me that thinks McFly have been influenced by the theme tune for the Gummi Bears for their latest "song for the radio"?

evidence below...

Will the Real David Walker please stand up

Having moved from Oxford diocese where I was for a time in a youthworkers network alongside David Walker when cartooning was a thing he did on the side while being a full time youth worker, I've now moved to Worcester diocese where Bishop David Walker is the bishop of Dudley. This has made me smile every now and then, it has to be said. Well the two have now met up and been photographed in Dave's cartoonist in residence tent at Lambeth.

I've enjoyed following the shennanigans at the pre-conference retreat so far through Dave's eyes which may not be the most high-brow view of affairs but, as Dave says, the bishops seem able to laugh at themselves which must be a good start to a conference that may well be fraught with conflict. May the ministry of laughter continue as the week goes on.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Rabbiting on

Okay... so nothing for agaes and now a third blog in one day, I know, I know...

Contrary to popular belief (i.e. someone in the office this morning commenting), Dave Walker is not "not doing many cartoons" but in fact is clearly UP TO SOMETHING and he's also cartooning.

In fact his first cartoon of the conference is here. Which is not the usual place you might expect to find his cartoons which is here (or even here) but not normally here, where it actually is.

He also seems to be masquerading as a blogging bishop but then it's hard to tell that they are in fact blogging bishops as they only seem to have one laptop and none of them is wearing a mitre. If it weren't for the familiar face of Bishop Alan and the hint of purple I might have my doubts - oh me of little faith!

Building links

I had a fabulous meeting this mornign with the visitors to the diocese from our link diocese in Peru. I told them all about the youth work that goes on in the diocese and my role in enabling that and resourcing it. It was fantastic to discover that Rosario, one of the group, has an incredibly similar role in Peru. She even blogs!! So I've added a link to her blog as a beginning of really making the link with Peru something tangible and real rather than just a theoretical thing on paper which I guess it has been for me (and others?) before now. Her blog includes the joy of a picture of our Bishop John wearing a Peruvian style hat at the Diocesan Assembly and lots of other wonderful photos of their visit here to the diocese.

I managed to understand some of what they were saying without the translator but far from all and, as usual, found myself deeply lacking the vocabulary to say anything like as much as I'd like to have said to them in Spanish. For some reason I could remember REALLY useless words and like Merluza (which is Spanish for Hake!) and not the useful things! I did give the translator a few challenges by talking about skateboarding, juggling and morris dancing!

The three of them were such lovely people and, far from having a formal meeting, we had a great chat about youth work, life, music, young people and building community. They were also so lovely in giving me a Peruvian link wristband, a CD of some fabulous young Peruvian Christians singing and the most beautiful small carved nativity made by those most affected by violence in the area over the last few years.

It was a real blessing.

There's also a real chance I might be able to take some young people out there in 2010. SO EXCITING!

UPDATE: Rosario has posted about our link too.

Breathe In, Breathe Out

The blog has been rather silent lately - apologies. It has been rather a busy time. I am now looking at a rather calmer few weeks, including some leave to go to Stratford and see David Tennant in Hamlet then go to M's cousin's wedding and then a few days back down in the wilds of Buckinghamshire with my dad.

So what's all the busyness been? Well I was guest speaking at Yellow Braces (arguably the best weekend of the summer in Oxford Diocese!) and then I was running the youth stream at the Worcester Diocesan Assmebly which was AWESOME but utterly exhausting as there wasn't a spare second in the day! From Friday 2.3opm til Sunday 8pm when I pulled into the driveway at home, it really didn't feel like we stopped except when we slept. The Assembly was fabulous as I got the chance to meet a fantastic group of young people and get to know some of the youth council a lot better.

I also got to meet lots of people from the diocese which was great as I tied up lots of connections between people and churches. Unfortunately, the youth stream kept us away fromt he main business of the assembly but I've got the DVD coming soon so I can catch up on all that was said by Canon Susan Hope, Father Ken Leach and Bishop Gerry Wolfe. The teenagers did join the main group to hear Archbishop John Sentamu as he came in for a flying visit and talk on his way down to the Lambeth conference.

One of the things that, a little ironically, made the conference hectic, was setting up for Breathe, the exploration of spirituality for 16-19 year olds which Dare2Engage have produced and which the diocese has bought. It is a marvellously relaxing and centring experience for those who participate. It does, however take a little while to set up and we had to chose between missing one of the Eucharists or missing lunch to set it up. I'll let you guess which we chose.

Breathe is an absolutley wonderful resource which I will be using around the diocese in so many different contexts. I can't wait.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Useful sites for posters and all that

I was chatting today with a youthworker who used to design magazine layouts professionally and we were talking about the various things we use for backgrounds.

I've used typogenerator which works very simply and transforms text into a funky background. You sometimes have to wade through some dull ones until you get a good one as it is randomised.

Also I've loved the discovery of this website with fonts from films and bands. A really funky font can really transform a dull poster into something rather special.

You can make ordinary photos look pretty funky with magnigraph. It even works on our dog who is black and white already!!

The other trick I use is painting something and then using it for a background. I guess this is kinda more labour intensive but it's pretty effective!

Today Jo had a link to this thing called wordle which creates lovely word clouds from text or websites. I've seen this kind of thing before but I rather like wordle. Here is a wordle of youthblog - had to include this because of the prominence of creosote - just for you youthblog me old chum!