God's Geek

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

Saturday, December 09, 2006

In Other News...

I have recently given up my subscription to New INternationalist magazine, as although it wasgood I just wasn't reading it. The last issue in particular was fantastic, with loads of articles looking into fair trade and the impact of ethical living going mainstream. I love the fact that it dares to suggest that the most ethical way of shopping is to go without. I am trying to do this but am nowhere near perfect. I think buying stuff second hand can be a compromise, or, as with Daniel's stuff, being given things. If you feel you need to repent, why not check out Revd. Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping? And there surely must be a limit to ethical shopping... the arms manufacturer BAE Systems has recently announced that it is producing ethical weapons. I kid you not... apparently lead bullets can 'harm the environment and cause a risk to people.' I awlays thought bullets were fairly risky. Now, if you get shot, it could well be with an eco-bullet. Now things are just getting silly.

Cartoon Blog - Thank You!

Thanks to Lewis for pointing out Dave Walker's cartoon blog. Dave is very generously providing a free calendar for 2007. I love his cartoons as they make me giggle and people don't giggle enough these days. I think I am going to get all creative and make the calendars into Christmas presents (creative being printing them out and sticking them onto card). Thanks Dave.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Youngest Urban Saint

I have to admit that I wasn't too keen on the new name for Crusaders when I first heard it, but it is growing on me, especially when Neil came home from the staff conference wearing the new hoody. I just think the logo really works. It is eye catching and clever. Also when I started thinking about it, most Christian organisations have got rather naff names, and Urban Saints is fairly good. I think they will grow in to the name. Anyway, I liked the hoody so much that I have 'borrowed' it from Neil (meaning that he never wears it and it has made its way into my chest of drawers). Here, it is modelled by me and the youngest Urb.


Well, Lewis tagged me a while ago. The idea is I have to answer all of these questions in just one word. V hard for me as I am fairly loquacious...

1. Yourself: LAMS
2. Your girlfriend/boyfriend: Neil
3. Your hair?: shiny
4. Your mother?: countrygirl
5. Your Father?: countryboy
6. Your Favorite Item: book
7. Your dream last night: Daniel
8. Your Favorite drink: Wine
9. Your Dream Car: None
10. The Room You Are In: Office
12. Your fear: Snakes
13. What you want to be in 10 years: loved
14. Who you hung out with last night?: Neil
15. What You're Not?: cool
16. Muffins: chocolate
17: One of Your Wish List Items: Books
18: Time: 1925
. The Last Thing You Did: type...
20. What You Are Wearing: bathrobe
21. Your Favorite Weather: sunshine
22. Your Favorite Book: Loads
23. The Last Thing You Ate: banana
24. Your Life: blessed
25. Your Mood: chilled
26. Your body: postnatal
27. Who are you thinking about right now? This
29. What are you doing at the moment?: This
30. Your summer: Pregnant
31. Best part of your life: Family

Well, there you go and to maintain the spirit of the thing, I tag my new blog friend Gim:D and Lev...

Monday, December 04, 2006

An Epiphany

I have just finished the first year of my Diploma in Youth Mission and Ministry and have been eagerly awaiting the return of an assignment on the subject of mentoring that I completed in September. Little did I know when I opened the envelope that the result would change my life...

I hope you are suitably intrigued, even though the post so far reads like the trailer to a cheesy film. Anyway, I had got really involved in the assignment and it made me think loads about the significance of mentoring and how to implement a more formal mentoring scheme in my church. In many ways, it has been the most relevant and challenging assignment for the ministry that I am a part of. Anyway, I tore open the envelope, only to find that I had got the worst mark that I have ever got for an assessed piece of work! I had a quick read through the comments and turned to Neil and said, 'I feel fine.' No big deal, you may think, but for me, this was absolutely huge. Let me give you a brief tour of my education:
  • At infant school, I read the school out of books and was praised often for my abilities, especially in reading and writing stories. I remember a particularly imaginative one involving a talking beach ball...
  • Throughout Junior School I was around about the top of the class. And I loved being there.
  • At secondary school, I was one of the swots and much enjoyed the feeling of superiority that this gave me.
  • I did very well at GCSE and A Level, going on to study Biblical Studies at Sheffield, where I got a first
  • During my first year of this course, I think I got the highest mark I have ever got for an assessed piece of work.

I hope you are still reading, rather than kicking your computer in disgust at my arrogance and boastfulness, because actually this is rather a sad story. You see, from a very early age, I have got my self esteem all wrapped up in academic achievement. Being praised by others and getting high marks has validated me as a person. And I am ashamed to admit it, but I enjoyed feeling better than others when I did better than them. Of course, getting self esteem in this way is dangerous as a bad mark can easily knock my confidence for six. Also, I realise even from reading other blogs that there are so many people with much greater intelligence than me that express themselves with so much more eloquence... and, according to my twisted version of self esteem, they are therefore better than me. This may sound fairly standard stuff, but it really has had a hold over me and although God has been gently showing me time and time again the meaning of real esteem, worth and love, yesterday was like being released from chains as a lot of stuff that has slowly been moving from my head to heart moved to my heart with a big bump.

You see, I have been looking forward to all the praises that will flow when I get a Distinction, despite being pregnant and then with a small baby for the majority of the course. Already in my head I could hear people saying, 'Oh, you are amazing. I could never have achieved that.' But yesterday's mark now makes that a lot less likely and it felt like a huge weight had lifted. I mean, who cares about the mark? Although the truth is, a lot of people care.

  • Neil cares. His constant support and love is amazing and I know his love and respect for me is not tied up in my achievements. His encouragements over the last 8 years have been (and God working through him) have been the major reason for this epiphany
  • Daniel will care. I want him to know that his worth is not based on any sort of achievements. We love him. End of story and God loves him even more. And unless I model this to him, he will end up down my twisted path...
  • My church cares, not about the mark, but the huge impact the course is already having on the ministry as I am constantly challenged and impassioned
  • God cares. He has given me a reflective mind that I believe he wants me to use for the good of his kingdom. But his love for me is not based on this. He loves me he loves he loves me, so much so that his son died for me. His grace is sufficient.

So, although I love learning and reading and always will - which is a very good thing- my response to the mark on that assignment managed to order things properly in my head and heart and I felt such relief and also deeply loved. It is not often that a low college mark fills someone with such confidence, but it is typical of God and his topsy turvy grace and love.