Starting work on August's material so here is July's:
The internet is a great place to do really ordinary things quickly. As well as checking my bank statement, amongst other things I do which used to be much more complicated and time-consuming, I:
- Visit the Royal Mail site to check or find postcodes or complete partial addresses.
- Check railway timetables and plan journeys at National Rail Enquiries.
- Find out when planes are landing if I’ve got to pick someone up from Birmingham Airport.
- Google your nearest airport and it will have a similar feature.
- Order wonderful food each week from River Nene Organic Vegetables who deliver across the Midlands and the east.
- Buy tickets for gigs. Weekly emails from agencies such as Ticketmaster, We Got Tickets or See Tickets alert me to areas of interest and I buy online.
Scared? No need. The internet is a tool, a help, an aid. It isn’t meant to be threatening. In fact it has great online free help available for those who might be nervous. Try Intute. I told them I was a theologian (bit of a porky but they didn’t notice) and a wonderful free tutorial was available for me to make the most of the internet in my work. They cover other subjects from gardening to electrical engineering so now I can rewire my outdoor Bible in perfect safety.
Other on-line courses include Beginners, the BBC’s Webwise and RDN’s (Resource Discover Network) course Help is at Hand.
Pretty soon after you finish your training and have ordered all the vegetables you need you’re going to be wanting to read some stories. Or is that just me? Try the Big Bulky Anglican with thoughts, ideas and questions about music, faith and youth work. Or Mark Berry’s musings from a missional community at Way Out West (he lives in Telford, more west than way out). Or use Jonny Baker as a hub to take you to all sorts of interesting ideas, images and resources. Amongst other things you will find the proof there that it takes 473 emerging church bloggers to change a light bulb.
You will find attention-grabbing discussions about alternative worship (and much more) at the weblog of Paul Roberts, minister, practitioner and General Synod member. Talking of which, transcripts and reports of General Synod proceedings are available on-line too.
Need a theological discussion? Call in at God Vs. Darwin where ‘a rabid atheist, a buddho-anarchist, a hard core christian and one crazy bich,’ are ‘...trying to have a civil discussion.’ They challenge, ‘...join us ... if you dare.’ The Evangelical Atheist exists to help mankind overcome religion. Maybe once that is done he can work on his inclusive language skills. Is it he? Hmmm.
Looking for somewhere last minute to encourage young people to attend over the summer? You know, a venture, camp or houseparty sort of thing? Try Soul Survivor, Cru Holidays or Ventures. Many of these could also do with leadership help but you’ll have to move fast if you’re to be checked through the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) in time. If you’re new to CRB matters their web-site has a helpful introduction.
Thanks to Ali Campbell, youth advisor for the Diocese of Chichester, whose excellent email newsletter pointed me to the following sites:
Children’s ministry problems and opportunities are discussed at Children Matter.
The Goal tells the stories of many Christian sports stars. I’m not amongst them although one or two midfield dynamo performances from the late 80s really do need chronicling.
The Assemblies Website – school assemblies for every season - is self-explanatory.
Ali also has a web-site for youth and children’s leaders called YES (You Equipped to Serve) and a blog called Youth Equipped to Serve (Oh, YES!). Treasure be there.
Purple Words on a Grey Background are the whimsical musings (as opposed to musical whimsy which he also does) of the chaplain of St Martin’s, Lancaster.
Finally, want to display the lyrics of a popular song as it plays? Try Absolute Lyrics. They can normally help.
As ever, last month’s column is archived at Mustard Seed Shavings. Leave your comments or hints.