“I think humans were designed to help each other, and when that’s all we do, we’re happy.” – Dave Winer
I can’t believe it’s two years to the day since I heard about the death of Mike Yaconelli. I remember reading about it during my lunchbreak at work and it stopped me in my tracks. I never met him, never even heard him speak, but had been inspired by him through the books I’d read.
Purely coincidentally, this morning I was reading an article by Mike over at Youth Specialties and the following quote jumped out at me:
“Jesus’ program of discipleship was simple: hang out with the disciples; let them see you at your best and worst; spend lots of time alone; teach truths none of your disciples can grasp at the moment; avoid crowds; go slowly; spend hours in solitude; don’t worry about opposition; ignore criticism; and don’t expect immediate results.” – Mike Yaconelli – Hurried Discipleship
Meanwhile, take a look at the following books by “Yac” which I’ve found particularly useful:
ChangeThis recently posted a manifesto entitled “The Youth of Today” which is a must-read for those interested in or involved with young people and youth culture. It was written by “DK”, the founder of PhatGnat, an organisation which “creates opportunities for brands and companies to engage and communicate with young people whilst supporting community and youth-orientated initiatives through specific and high-profile partnerships“.
It covers a broad range of topics including Identity, Politics/Government, Brands/Labels, School, Responsibility, Parents, Idols, Being Young, Dreams/Hopes, Crime, Friends, Technology, Religion (almost), Old People and Sex (two distinct subjects – not “Old People and Sex” – eeeuuughhh!).
Here are a few snippets I found particularly interesting:
“An associate of mine teaches a particularly tough group of young people and says lots of her colleagues spend half the lesson enforcing the rules of the school rather than teaching — enforcement, she says, is not engaging or teaching that young person anything. Having to deal with students who are still wearing their coats, chewing gum, have more than one earring in, are wearing trainers instead of shoes, skirts are too short etc. is much more important than involving them in a lesson or educating them apparently…” – DK
“Look at the government, adults are the LAST people to take responsibility for anything.” – Jess, 19
“Young people undress to impress nowadays. They are grasping sexuality and its power at a much younger age even though they do not have the life-tools and experience to face the negative issues and consequences of such actions.” – DK
“Professionals know that there is no way to stop young people being exposed to sexual imagery or subjects in magazines, films, TV, Internet, but what we can strive to do is educate and hope they can make informed choices.” – DK
I particularly loved this definition of friendship from Hannah, aged 17:
“Friends are cups of tea, getting tipsy, linking arms, sharing popcorn, stupid photographs, in-jokes, and big hugs.” – Hannah, 17
After I referred to Adrian Plass’ poem “Heavenly Playground” in the service I led on Sunday, a few people asked if I had a copy of it. I’m including it here for reference – hope Mr. Plass doesn’t object.
Oh God, I’m not anxious to snuff it,
but when the Grim Reaper reaps me,
I’ll try to rely on
my vision of Zion,
I know how I want it to be.
As soon as you greet me in Heaven,
and ask what I’d like, I shall say,
“I just want a chance
for my spirit to dance,
I want to be able to play.
Tell the angels to build a soft playground,
designed and equipped just for me,
with a vertical slide
that’s abnormally wide,
and oceans of green PVC.
There’ll be reinforced netting to climb on,
and rubberized floors that will bend,
and no one can die,
so I needn’t be shy
if I’m tempted to land on a friend!
I’m gonna go mad in the soft, squashy mangle,
and balmy with balls in the swamp,
coloured and spherical,
I’ll be hysterical!
I’ll have a heavenly romp!
There’ll be cushions and punch bags and tires
in purple and yellow and red,
and a mushroomy thing
that will suddenly sing
if I kick it or sit on its head.
There’ll be fountains of squash and ribina
to feed my continual thirst,
and none of that stuff
about “You’ve had enough,
surely heavenly bladders won’t burst.
I suppose I might be too tall for the entrance,
but Lord, chuck the rules in the bin.
If I am too large,
tell the angel in charge
to let me bow down and come in.
For the sake of completeness, it’s from an excellent CD called “City of Gold”.
“I do not believe God cares any more about a butterfly tattoo on an ankle or a pierced nose than he cares about Jan Crouch’s hair or the music styles heard at a Gaither homecoming. Both are culture. Neither are sinful. Neither commend us to God. Are there legitimate questions of ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture? Yes, but we must be careful to not identify Christ with culture, whether high or low.”
Internet Monk: High Culture, Low Lifes and Judgement In The Household of God: Answering That Tattoo/Piercing Question
I was intrigued by the quote and decided to read more. But when I followed the link I was a bit put off by the size of the post. I’m afraid I seem to have a short attention span when reading online – I much prefer the short and snappy approach. But I persisted and read the whole article, and was glad that I did.
I’ve never been confronted by the “to tattoo or not to tattoo” question, but I am constantly trying to apply Paul’s teaching on being “in the world but not of it”. Michael’s comments are the most helpful I’ve read on the subject in some time. I’d love to write more, but I’m off to read the other posts that he’s linked to.