And so this is how this website was named. Here I am walking through the drab grey streets of Inverness trying to find a church on a Sunday night (why this is the case and it should pose such difficulty is a longer story) and I walk past a skate park. It is, without a doubt, the world’s worst skate park. As try as I might I cannot find a single word that’d be truthful and imply this skate park has some sort of merit to it. The best thing I can tell you in the hope of stirring up at least some sympathy for it is that it is a very lonely skate park. It looks brand new, I imagine because no-one has ever used it. And so I wonder why does this brand new, ugly, lonely skate park exists. What is it’s purpose? And then I realise this skate park is youth work. (Not, we shall be clear, youth work in a metaphorical sense; let’s not get caught up working out if the skateboarders are young people and the tarmac is God’s love or such nonsense. I mean to say the skate park is actual youth work.) I can see, in my mind’s eye, a youth worker standing on a footpath talking to some young people on a park bench ill illuminated by an orange street light, discussing passionately the need for somewhere to go, for things to do. And lo, the idea of a skate park forms in the youth worker’s head, the youth worker mentions this, and after some persuasion the young people acquiesce; yes, this, this skate park, is what they’ve been looking for. And in a series of vignettes too brief to recount, amid much fighting and string pulling, the council agrees and a skate park is built. Results are achieved, targets are hit, and a positive contribution has been made! But then the young people realise —once the launch party is over— that they never really wanted a skate park. Time moves on, and life continues. And then, as I walk along the streets of Inverness, a vision comes to me of Moses standing before God and God declaring to him: “Go build a skate park and they will come.” And Moses trembles and looks up at the Lord and says “Lord, it has not rained for years”. And then I realise Moses didn’t build that ark, that one was Noah.
And then I think, “why the heck should I start up a website about young people and youth work and theology and the such when I can’t even get characters of the Pentateuch right?” Which may sound like a bit of a jump, but underneath all the minds-eye and the visions I’m thinking that maybe some play on the word skate park would be great for the name of the new website that I haven’t got around to launching yet because I haven’t found the killer name. And now that I have found at least the blade for that killer name, I only have my complete ignorance and ill-experience as an excuse. But I know that that is no excuse at all, as if that stopped me from doing things then I’d only ever get out of bed to make toast, and that only on good days.
And so I settled on starting a website and calling it buildaskatepark.com and dedicating it to youth work and theology and Jesus and occasional recipes for stew. And then I found a glorious baptist church just about to start on a Sunday night in Inverness and it was quite jolly and had a wonderful early seventies decor.
And then I got home and found someone was squatting on buildaskatepark.com, so I registered thegroveisonfire.com instead, which was fortunate, because it’s the much better name.