God's Geek

Reflections and random thoughts of a geeky youth worker in North London...

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Get behind me satan!

Aaah well - what a rollercoaster couple of days. Things were looking rather good last week, as a couple of new youth projects are about to start and they are looking fairly organised and exciting. Everything seemed to be coming together nicely and it was feeling like a good September. I have been praying into this new stuff and I feel very strongly that God is leading the church to do these things. But then, I started having real trouble getting young people to sign up for the youth weekend that I have got planned for a week and a half's time. This was deeply frustrating as we went away last year and had the best time - it was really chilled and special and involved star gazing, beach trips and my incredibly cute nephew Joshua. However, people just weren't signing up to come. And for some reason, this got me really down. I felt really emotional about it and slept really badly Saturday and Sunday night. It was so frustrating as I knew that in the grand scheme of things it wasn't that important and it would work itself out... but I still couldn't get it out of my mind. And then, on Monday morning, I had a breakthrough - woo hoo! I sometimes cycle to N:Flame, which is a meeting of youth workers a few miles away. It is mainly up hill on the way and I started to pray as I dealt with the hills. And it just became incredibly powerful. The previous night, Mandy at church had been preaching about spiritual warfare and, as things slotted together I got thinking that maybe the way I was feeling wasn't just me being weird but maybe it was an attack from the devil... I am not the sort of Christian who sees the devil hiding behind every lamp post but there was something so odd about the way that the situation had developed and this seemed a good explanation. So, as I prayed I started telling Satan to shut up and get behind me. I prayed to God for vision about what to do about the weekend and prayed for focus to concentrate on the new projects as well. A couple of excellent Bible verses popped into my head as well and by the time I got to the meeting I felt so much better and I had a much clearer head. The other funny thing was that I had been praying out loud as I was cycling and I had been so engrossed that I forgot others could see and hear... I then realised that some of the people waiting at the bus stops looked pretty confused... oopsie. I am hoping that they thought I had a bluetooth headset or an iPod and that Get Behind Me Satan is a hip hop track.

Anyway, I decided yesterday to go ahead with the youth weekend and felt really at peace about it. I spoke to some of the young people and it now looks like 10 or 11 are going... which is brilliant and all I need to cover costs and also will create a lovely atmosphere. What is more, Revive! started today which is an after school fair trade cafe. It went really well and there were around 20 young people there, 9 of which had come off the streets and have had no previous contact with church. They were tempted in by the offer of a free doughnut with every drink but I am praying that they felt welcomed and very much at home, and felt comfortable enough to come back next week.

Even in the little things I know that God is at work and the last few days have reminded me how God has things all in hand and holds onto me tightly.

Friday, September 23, 2005


Last Sunday night was the first Passion[fruit] of the new academic year. It is the name for our youth - style service thing at the church that I work at and I think that it was a great night. We were looking at the theme of Make Poverty History and had a most excellent guest speaker Lewis. One of the most creative bits was the DVD that some of the young people made. The storyline revolves around the story of three ordinary lads sitting around watching TV. One of them decides to eat the slightly squashy banana... however, this was no ordinary banana - it was a fair trade banana - and when the lad ate it, he became the Fairtrade Fairy. The other two ate it and became Ecology Boy and Campaign Man aka the justice squad. They were now ready to fight poverty and fight the mouldy black swiss cheese that was on the loose... you know, the more I write of this, the crazier it all seems. Anyway, there will be another exciting installment next month. Full credit to those involved - it was a great piece of television!

There was a point to the drama... sometimes we feel that we can't make a difference to stuff going on in the world and that only the super heroes can do something... but actually there is stuff that we can get all get involved with and actions that we can all take. Yay!

Next month, we are looking at campaigning and the following month we are looking at the environment. In fact we have a guest speaker in October from Tearfund who I accidentally accused of having a sex change ... hhhmm one of my more classic Amanda moments.

Actually, that could be a new feature of the blog... Jonny Baker has worship tricks on his blog - maybe I could have Amanda moments where I record my blunders and social faux pauxs. It could be a resource for all those people that need embarassing and humiliating things to do at public events. Man, this post is going in some bizarre directions. If I had categories on my blog, I think that this would need to go under overtired. Goodnight all.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Pride and Prejudice

Aaaahhh... from Dick and Dom to Mr Darcy. I went to see the film yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed it. I still prefer the BBC adaptation but allowed myself to get whisked away in the world of the 5 Bennet daughters. I thought Keira Knightley was lovely and played Lizzie Bennet with real spirit. And her and Matther MacFayaden(?) showed that smouldering glances and accidental touches of the hand can reveal much more than a short skirt and a low top. (Last comment made sense in my head.)

Jane Austen - your legacy lives on.

Dick and Dom

Dick and Dom are back! I missed them last Saturday but caught some of the show this morning. I really love them and think they are so hilarious! I no longer need to watch the DVD (yep I really have the DVD) but I can watch their exploits live! There are some serious(ish) reasons why I think they are so great, for example, they encourage kids to be really silly and uncool which I think is really important. And I previously loved it as they didn't have any celebrities on the programme although it looks as if that has changed now. And they are just so silly. Brilliant stuff.

Arthur and Betty

Since Merseyfest, I have been meaning to write about a couple that we worked with while we were there. Their names were Arthur and Betty and they led the project that we were working on. Getting to know them was one of the best parts of the week and maybe the greatest challenge as well. They are probably in their late fifties/early sixties and seem to have both spent their entire lives loving and serving Jesus. As I talked with them both, i found out that they had spent years working with young people, done loads of summer camps, been actively involved in the leadership of the local church, raised 2 children and loads more stuff. Arthur was retired but had been a deoputy head. Betty still works in social services. However, it wasn't all this activity that left such an impression on me, but their humility and obvious love for others. The incredible things that they had done was only revealed by catching glimpses of these things as we chatted together. They showered us (literally!) with love and hospitality and me and the young people were all blown away by their attitudes and lifestyle. They are still involved in church leadership and they told me that they haven't been to church on a Sunday morning for weeks as they have been going to the local car boot sale. The sale runs every Sunday morning throughout the summer and attracts 1000 people every week. They felt really challenged to go and meet these people and started something called church without walls, where they set up a stall at the car boot sale and served passer bys in various ways, culminating in inviting some of them round for a cup of tea and a chat at the end of the summer. So... they are involved in emerging church as well! They truly are incredible people and so full of the love of God and i want to be like them.

Also, last night, I was at a beautiful thanksgiving service for a woman from the church who recently died. As people spoke about her, their words held such genuine warmth and love and came away wishing that I had known her better and hoping to have a laugh with her in heaven (depending on your theology of heaven!) Like Arthur and Betty, I felt that she had so obviously lived her life loving God and loving others and that showed through everything that was being said about her. Incredible.

I feel really challenged at the minute as I believe that so many of us are called to live in ordinary places doing ordinary jobs and having ordinary lives but living these lives out in extraordianry ways. We are called to faithfully serve God in whatever situtation we find ourselves in and show his love in all that we do. I find it tempting sometimes to get noticed for any 'good' stuff that I do but I know that Arthur and Betty are challenging me to live my life honestly and openly and in service to Jesus. They also reminded me of the importance of getting older people involved in youth work as they have so much to offer. My prayer is that I will live my life today in an extraordinary way in the name of Jesus.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


It was really good to get a comment from Beth who lives on Merseyside and was part of Merseyfest. She has mentioned an article about Merseyfest and has thanked us all for coming from London to support the projects.

Thanks Beth - it was a pleasure!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Go canaries!

Norwich's first win of the season - 2-0 against Plymouth. There's no stopping them now.

No Sex Please, We're Teenagers

Weeellll.. seems like everyone has an opinion. I have held off posting as I am kinda wondering whether I have got anything of value to say that hasn't been said.... which I probably don't but y'know, I'll stick in my tuppence (hhhmm not sure that is the phrase now but you get the drift)....Anyhows, I think that the programme was fascinating. I think that it's really brave for Christian youth workers to get involved in the medium of tv cos it is so easy to get misrepresented and misunderstood. However, I felt that Dan and Rachel handled things very well and I got a real sense that they were generally concerned for the group and the individuals that they were working with.

The comments from the young people showed that they were really engaging with the Academy and getting valuable stuff from it. The comments about people having sex in less than ideal situations were in one sense heart breaking but in another sense it was great to hear young people being so honest and up front about what they had experienced. It was also good to hear of the positive impact that the project was having - one girl said something about receiving more respect and felling better as she was choosing to not have sex etc at parties. It seemed as if the young people were starting to evaluate their choices and think through their decisions, which is fantastic.

There was an obvious link between drinking and sexual activity and I've read some criticisms of why the project chose to focus on sex rather than the 'overdone' subject of teenage drinking. However, as far as I could see, the academy is all about getting young people to think through their actions and I could already see that the teenagers were linking bad choices being made when under the influence of drink - at the weekend away.

The trip to America was... interesting. However, i think it was relevant cos the abstinence thing is so huge over there and I think it was beneficial for the group to engage with other young people from a different culture and social setting . The American pastor didn't come off too well but in the clip that I saw, he didn't listen or respond too well to the young people... this could partly be a cultural thing though.

It will be interesting to see what happens next week as the website suggests that the remainder of the project had a great impact on a number of the group.

The programme looks as if it will be fantastic for clips and fits with the way that I like to approach the sex/relationship thing... I think that it is important to look at the subject of relationships holistically, rather than unhelpfully separating sex and making it a list of what you can and can't do, which is often unhelpful and irrelevant. It looks as if the Romance Academy is not simply about asking young people to abstain for a few months, but looks at the deeper issues surrounding relationships, commitment and making informed decisions. Looking forward to Tuesday... (9pm on BBC2!) Tired now - must sleep.......

The Blobs!

I had a get together with a few of the young people last Wednesday and we spent some time reflecting on the last year and thinking and praying about the new school year. We ate honey and sucked lemons to reflect on the sweet and sour times in the last year and we talked and prayed about how there will be sweet and sour times this year but that we can trust in God throughout. However, the thing that was really popular was the blob tree. I picked up a whole book of blobs at Greenbelt and used them for the first time last week. The blob tree was phenomenally popular and generated some really good discussions and thought as we considered which blob we felt we were at the moment and which blob we wanted to be in a year's time. We also thought about this for school, church/God and mates. People came out with some amazing insights and I will definitely use the blobs again! If you have never heard of them and think I am sounding a little crazy, look at the website to find out more. They are a really useful tool as a discussion starter and i hope to use them to dig a bit deeper in the future.

Monday, September 05, 2005

The Spirituality of Blogging

Following from Greenbelt, lots of people have been writing about why they blog. I have found the post from Tall Skinny Kiwi and an older post by Under the Acacias to be most helpful as I have been thinking about this.

No Sex Please. We're Teenagers

Thanks to Roy for pointing out this documentary that starts Tuesday 6 September 2005 at 9pm on BBC2... looks fascinating and I will be setting the video!

Friday, September 02, 2005

Hurricane Katrina

Praying for all of the people affected by the hurricane and hoping that order is resumed soon. Articles like this make me shudder.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Lovely Neil

Hhhmm... feel I should balance my rave about Andy with some soft stuff about my husband. Neil has done a couple of things recently that are really quite lovely and I am writing them down for posterity...

The first thing happened at Greenbelt and involves my husband's complete and utter commitment to being uncool. I was really in my element at Greenbelt with so many fabby seminars, bands, theatre groups etc, funky people and plus there were loads of groovy stalls and places to eat and drink. This is great, but if I am completely honest, this sort of thing can bring out my pretentious side. As if...

Anyway, I rang Neil to see where he was so we could meet and chill, or go to a session or be cool somewhere and what is he doing? He is in the pub drinking a pint and watching the cricket... at first I was a bit annoyed cos there was so much going on and yet he chose to do the thing that he does all the time!!!! (substitute cricket for football) But on reflection, I think it is great that he is unpretentious and just does what he enjoys regardless... pretty cool(!)

However, there are many sides to the man and isn't as neanderthalic (?) as the last story could have suggested. Last night, I went out for a curry with the girls leaving my husband at home. And what does he do with his spare time? Make fudge. What a man... he makes lovely chocolate cake as well.