What Would Jesus Blog?

Tag: Methodism

Just Fair Laughs

by on Apr.10, 2009, under Uncategorized

My first night back in Kendal for Easter and I went down to Bamber Bridge with a friend and a few of his family to a Methodist-run regular comedy night called Just Fair Laughs. It was a great evening – my first beer in a long time, good company, a fantastic laugh and plenty to discuss.

We didn’t get a chance to thrash it out properly, but we did start a discussion that relates to my dissertation work – I’ll post something about it over on my dissertation blog soon. The question was – is Just Fair Laughs church? There were no hymns or a sermon and there was beer so obviously it wasn’t going to be anything like traditional church, so there was hope for it. People were meeting and interacting so there was community happening all around us – and a church is a community that’s part of God’s wider community. I argued that church needed to be intentional – it needed to set out to be church, with everything that means – teaching, worship, fellowship, everything, rather than set out to be a comedy night. My friend argued that intentionality in that sense meant institutionalisation, and that church was wherever two or three gathered together. Of course, he’s right – but so am I.

The difference comes down to semantics, mostly – but that’s not a bad thing and it’s helped to clear things up in my mind. To state the obvious, ‘church’ isn’t where you go or what you do for an hour on Sunday, it’s all gathering with others in the name of Christ (Matt 18:20). So from that point of view, yes, Just Fair Laughs is church. But also, church is more than just two or three gathering – it’s two or three supporting each other, encouraging each other, fellowshipping, teaching, serving each other. And by that definition, Just Fair Laughs neither tries to be nor is church. I came to the conclusion that JFL is part of church, and is a ministry. On its own, it’s not enough to disciple people, but it’s a way in which the church serves, befriends and becomes part of the community. And that’s worth every penny.

The proof is in the pudding, as they say. I’m told that the organiser, who is a Methodist minister, had journeyed with loads of people through tough times who he’d never have met if it wasn’t for JFL and that people appreciate a clean comedy night. Looking around I saw groups getting to know each other and I felt that if I’d been there on my own, I’d have left with a couple of new friends. Maybe no-one’s come to faith through it, maybe no-one will. But when the church is seen as the overbearing morality police, it’s good to know that it’s working where it’s meant to be – at a grassroots level, making people laugh, bringing joy to people’s lives and being there with them when they need it. As the world’s becoming more and more about me and I, it’s up to the church to show that it’s about us. And have a laugh while we’re at it!

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Youth Conference 08

by on Nov.24, 2008, under What Would Jesus Blog?

Youth Conference 2008 was awesome! The venue, despite looking like some kind of weird military installation from the outside was actually just right inside – plenty of space without us feeling lost, good areas to hang out in and spend time in, and a fantastic gaming area (then again I might be biased!). It was a completely different feel from last year – less utter craziness, less strange occurences but I think people actually bonded more and felt taken seriously by the church. We had some good resolutions, although less in total than in years gone by – doesn’t matter though, I think the wheat was separated from the chaff so the impact of MYC ’08 will be felt as much, if not more than previous youth conferences. The ones I can remember covered things like training local preachers to be more confident and inclusive when there are young people there, membership in more than one place for people who genuinely live in more than one place (eg students), calling on the Methodist Church to liberalise and clarify its position on homosexuality, helping young people to explore their call to ministry (whether ordained or lay) and challenging the Connexion to help open EDEV to young people.

I, however, had a stinking cold when I went to MYC. The usual treatment for a cold is plenty of rest, plenty of water, and eating well…..none of these things happen at a youth conference! I don’t like using drugs all the time but for MYC I made an exception – half a pack of Pro Plus, a pack of Tyroset, a pack and a half of ibuprofen, four rolls of Halls Soothers, a pack of Lemsip Max and half a bottle of Benelyn later I survived but my liver hates me! And, of course, sleep doesn’t enter into the equation – this weekend I clocked 33 working hours and only 8 hours in bed….

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by on Mar.27, 2007, under What Would Jesus Blog?

Now then!

I just chose my final year project in 20 minutes. Maybe I should have spent longer on the choice but meh, they’re all just about writing software. It’s what I do best!
I’ve got a busy few weeks coming up….going down to London tomorrow to finish off  MYExpress and get it all printed and copied and folded and ready to go. Methodist Council’s at the weekend, and that’s our chance to make a killer presentation to them about the youth participation strategy that we’re proposing. I was so glad when I saw the line in the JSG’s recommendations about needing a youth participation strategy…..finally!

I’m working down in Blackpool on a conference with Affinity Events, running their cyber cafe….which with any luck will be hitchless :) Then I’m back in Kendal for 4 days…..and I’ll be drinking again by then, my liver’s not going to be friends with me after that. Then….it’s down to Gainsborough for Sarah Brown’s Theatre Workshops…..I can’t wait!!

So if I’m a bit slow off the mark for the next month, now you know why :p

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