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Posts from the “Youth” Category

The ISIS Adventure 2: Hardship and Encounter

Posted on December 14, 2015

Leaving the Shire Justin Duckworth, Anglican bishop and a good friend of Praxis (who I work for), loves to speak to young adults of the adventure of following Jesus. The first requirement for the adventure, drawing on Lord of the Rings, is that ‘you have to leave the Shire’. The hobbits must encounter danger, risk and the unknown to have an adventure. I think this is true of all people, and is germane to young people who are attracted to groups like ISIS. When young adults join ISIS or extreme nationalist groups like the United Patriots Front (UPF), political and security leaders call this ‘radicalisation’, pejoratively. But let’s reclaim this word. The tradition of Christianity that inspired me in young adulthood is ‘radical discipleship’. In other…

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The ISIS Adventure 1: Exclusion and Ennui

Posted on December 9, 2015

As a high school teacher, I accompanied a group of young men from my school to John Marsden’s writing camp in rural Victoria. Marsden is a famous Australian writer, best known for his Tomorrow… series in which young adults, with their high school certificates still hot off the press, wage guerrilla warfare against invaders of Australia. At first glance, John Marsden is avuncular and to the adolescent eye, decrepit. But he had these young guys, from a rough part of town, writing enthusiastically. I could only envy his ability to connect young people with their artful hearts, and I frantically recorded his methods so to copy in my own classroom. In short, I gained much respect for his understanding of young people’s motivations. In his book…

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Religion, Spirituality and the Sacred

Posted on November 5, 2015

Hi all, I am currently writing a chapter for a book on spirituality and youth work. Here is a section of my chapter on how to understand religion, spirituality and the sacred, and what a definition of these realities might be when discussing them in relation to youth work. The academically minded may be frustrated that I haven’t provided full references – there are some suggestions for further reading at the end.   Secularism constructs ‘religion’ as a private endeavour: In the West ‘we see “religion” as a coherent system of obligatory beliefs, institutions and rituals, centring on a supernatural God, whose practice is essentially private and hermetically sealed off from all “secular” activities’. In other cultures and through the ages the idea of…

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Work, Money and Faith…or “Why you should consider giving me money”

Posted on October 12, 2015

I need money for my life. Most of us do, in the absence of a fully functioning bartering system which, though I would love it, is someone else’s vocation. My family and I generally get by financially. We work, and I get paid for my regular job with Praxis. Also, the government chips in with family payments. My extended family is often generous and I do some casual teaching when it’s needed. Most of you, dear readers, also need money. You get this somehow. However, I would bargain that most of you don’t need to justify your work theologically to get it. You do the work, or apply for the required amount of jobs, and the money goes into your bank account and quickly…

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The Sacred Roots of Youth Work

Posted on September 15, 2015

Hi all – I am currently writing a chapter on spirituality and youth work for a book which is coming out next year sometime. I’ll put a few excerpts from my chapter up as I go. Some of relates to the work I do with the Praxis Network. There’s a bunch of academic references which don’t have hyperlinks…too much bother – sorry about that 🙂   There are plenty of good reasons to remain in conversation with youth work’s past, none so pressing as the need to avoid the mistreatment of children and young people, often in the pursuit of the young person’s ‘best interest’. For example, the child migration policies championed by Thomas Barnardo which dislocated so many young people from culture and family.   Closer…

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