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.”
Good advice for youth workers as well from the Living Out team.
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.
Without being too clickbait-y you might genuinely dispute the third thing to look for in a youth minister.
Emma’s blog is always worth a read, but as youth workers what she writes on listening is very helpful. I am one of those who often finds himself waiting for the other to stop so they can speak. I am one of those who needs to be told repeatedly to stop and listen.
If you haven’t seen it, this is Glen Scrivener’s new spoken word video for youth workers. It’s good.