A new-to-me entry in to the top five all time ever dumbest theories about the existence of Jesus is the theory that the story of Jesus Christ was ‘fabricated to pacify the poor’ by the Romans. Despite this claim not making any sense whatsoever when –instead of hitting the retweet button– you stop and think about it, it gives the impression of authenticity by being claimed by a ‘biblical scholar’. The person is a biblical scholar in the same way that BP are climate change experts, or Fox News viewers are Hawaiian birth certificate experts. Jesus’ historical existence is actually quite similar to climate change, in that pretty much every single expert who has ever studied the issue properly has decided that yes, this is true. The people who inevitably deny it either haven’t read the research properly, have a vested interest in it being false, or most likely both. Here’s noted disbeliever in the divinity of Jesus and actual biblical scholar Bart D. Ehrman on whether Jesus was real:
“the claim that Jesus was simply made up falters on every ground”
“These views are so extreme and so unconvincing to 99.99 percent of the real experts that anyone holding them is as likely to get a teaching job in an established department of religion as a six-day creationist is likely to land on in a bona fide department of biology.”
Could you be the leader of Festive? Festive is a bit like Fusion or UCCF but for FE colleges. In their own words:
Festive was formed in 2007 by a small group of people with experience of ministering in Further Education who were keenly aware of and concerned about the lack of support available to Christian students staff and chaplains in this part of the education sector. Working in partnership with Scripture Union and UCCF, through prayerful obedience to God and through His gracious provision of resources, much has been achieved.
If you want to encourage your children or young people to be actively listening during the service, then some kind of worksheet is not a terrible idea. This is a good example below. I know someone who asks one of his daughters to draw quick pictures of what they think the preacher is saying. It helps her think through the passage.
(Found floating round the internet, annoying I can’t find the original source.)
Good advice for youth workers as well from the Living Out team.
Yesterday The Grove Is On Fire ran an increasingly fragile engine, slowly tearing itself apart under the weight of the Internet. It sufficed to get text from my computer to the internet, but even that simple action was fraught with peril. How many blog posts went unpublished as they were swallowed by rogue lines of code?
Today I razed it to the ground and built this instead, running on new software -software I don’t fully understand but work. Imagine ripping out your cars increasingly janky tape deck and installing a touch screen display with all the options. You know how the tape deck works even as it gouges your copy of “Now That’s What I Call Music 38”, you have no clue how this touchscreen works and what it can do, but it’s definitely better.
In consequence this site has lost its older layout and some links may no longer work as well. Bear with us and let me know if you find anything terribly broken.
I aim to keep posting the same kind of stuff I’ve always posted. Youth ministry, Jesus, the gospel, that kind of thing. More on that tomorrow though.
If you’re the kind of person who enjoys lengthy government reports into the failures of charities, then you’ll love the National Audit Office’s 35 page investigation the government’s funding of Kids Company. Or you could read the Guardian’s summary.
In the last couple of years The Bible-Centred Youthworker Conference has, in my opinion, got a lot stronger. I don’t think it’s because my youth work friends are now all over the country and it’s more a joy to see everyone. There was a move to different format a few years ago and and it’s made it a lot more welcoming and engaging atmosphere. Bookings are open for this year, and the two announced speakers are great.
I have no idea if what I’m doing in January allows me to be at this conference, but I’ll be sad to miss it if I’m not.
You might not need to read another rant about song-writing and the church but as a youth worker, it affects you more than most other groups, so read this anyway. It’s telling that so many of his examples of bad practice come from youth events.
A week ago I got to preach on Psalm 119:25-32 at church. It’s part of a Psalm about clinging to God and his promises in times of deep darkness. You can listen to the recording here. As I was preparing for it Glen Scrivener published thoughts as he preached on Psalm 88 an even darker Psalm. More helpful even than that though, was Mark Meynell posting a deeply honest series about what it’s like to struggle with depression.