Are you a teacher, parent, youth mentore? Watch this TED talk. Yes go on, watch it now:

You can download it from here.

We struggle with youth ministry. And I say this not because of all the youth who are leaving the church. I say this because when I look at young adults, I see people who have been drenched with theology which are really harmful, in my humble opinion. We’ve sent our kids to 11 years of Sunday school, and if you’re in a super congregation, 11 years of whichever other youth activities, sometimes amounting to 3 events a week, and after 11 years they are stuck with theology which are really harmful. And here we are, me and you, and probably we’ve been through this process as well.

I get my confirmation class last year, and they are somewhat terrified of challenging God. But then they dig into Genesis since they have to make a sermon from it, they struggle with the narrative of Jacob fighting the man and then being told that he has fought with God (Gen 32). The theme of there sermon by the end of the year was that people may challenge God and ask God questions. And this isn’t some wild and wonderful insight. This is the tradition we’ve been in, but which we seem to be suppressing through the models we present to kids in youth ministry.

This year they get into the confirmation class, absolutely sure that God is on our side and not to be found with anyone whom ain’t a Christian. So we were reading 1 John 4. And we read it again. And we are still reading it, and then sharing what we see. And it’s challenging the popular theology that we were fed for so long in school openings, classrooms, CSA meetings, Sunday schools, and also church.

The task of youth ministry should then be to get youth to play, to fiddle, with God, or at least ideas about God, in such a way that they can grow up to have useful skills in doing theology in their daily lives – this meaning that they can bring the resources concerning God into conversation with that which face them in their lives.

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I’ve been wondering what the unique ethical response to ecology from a Christian perspective would be for the past while, and if there would actually be one! Mostly, I think that there is no unique response, and that the ethics would look similar whether from a Christian or humanist perspective. But David Keith talks about the moral hazard regarding ecology and geoengineering: if geoengineering (basically fixing the atmosphere after we messed it up) is possible on a large scale, then it lessens the motivation to stop messing up the ecology, since we can just fix it up later.

So, the unique Christian response? Well, from Christian ethics ecological awareness is not simply a response to a messed up ecology, but inherent to Christian ethics (yes, I know that the Christian tradition doesn’t have a good record, but there is also the mystics who had a radical approach to nature). So, geoengineering doesn’t lessen the Christian responsibility one wee bit! Could the same be said from a humanist perspective? Probably, since, as Keith points out, geoengineering can’t be the final solution, but even if it weren’t so, the Christian response would be to care for ecology no matter how well we are able to just fic it up later…

What do you think? Is there something like a unique Christian ethic when it comes to ecology?

I’ve been meaning to get round to wathcing the TED talks since I first heard about them. So I finally started. I’ll most probably be downloading quite a number of them in the coming months, so for the South African readers, who all have limited bandwidth, if you want them, let me know. Maybe we can make an exchange, since my bandwidth is limited as well.

Anyhow, this one REALLY got me (70mb). Maybe it’s because I’m currently working on the Theology and the Virtual World paper I told you about, and this really hits home, I don’t know. It’s Clay Shirky talking about what’s happening with Web 2.0 (although the term is never used), and this is used as example for how things might be organized in future.

Thing is, Shirky didn’t really say anything that I didn’t already know. I’ve experienced what he is talking about. I’m already sure that he is right, but still I think we like to hide from the reality that institutions is on their way out! What I did realize is that the church don’t yet know how to deal with this. I’ve been reading emerging literature for quite some time now, and even in this, I don’t think I’ve found anything which really deal with all of this, or maybe I just didn’t understand it when I read it.

So, questions: Is emerging really a theological movement (which I like to believe, but which I doubt after seeing this), or is it more a sosiological thing happening (which I think I can live with, already can see some light at the end of the tunnel)?