theo turn in youth min

(2011) by andrew root and

reading it via sh and this:

Dr. Andy Root @RootAndrew on Shifting from the Thing to the Story

start by doing a story inventory on your community.. by having a disposition that you’re interested in people’s stories.. not in such a rush.. following deep narratives.. let’s have coffee and talk about that.. when our own highest good is to get more kids.. or do a podcast.. et al.. we don’t have time for the slow leaking out of those narratives.. to a counterintuitive practical step.. so.. to turn to non youth to hear those stories.. what would it mean to see ourselves not as resource depleted.. but something to over to young people.. the narratives of these people still around.. there’s a story there

big missed opp.. we keep asking.. who’s not here.. rather than.. those who are still here.. show up in adults lives and ask.. why are you still here.. that’s an incredible intergenerational thing.. ask them then ask them to share w young people

confession of whatever.. ie: why you still find this necessary.. as a major theme.. risky because some might wonder.. why am i hear.. so .. need to not be afraid of the decline

what would our first step be if we remember that god is god

and reading along with ethics of authenticity..

notes/quotes from 260 page ebook (from hoopla):


1 – new rhetoric of youth ministry – kenda


2 – god is a minster – youth ministry as fundamentally theological – andrew


theology is nothing more than reflecting on god’s action.. all constructive theological work must e done in convo and connection w this same world to which god is in god’s tri unity.. to be in contact w this world is to be in ministry and therefore is to do theology

to consider people both theologically and begin to recognize the unconsidered theology present in them.. ie: a youth director stands in front of a group of 6 8th graders and says ‘where is everyone’.. what seems purely utilitarian is actually a claim laced w theology: ‘you 6 8th graders do not constitute a faith community.. you are not ‘everyone’ or really ‘anyone’.. bigger is better.. we have failed to capitalize on our influence’..

cool point.. but capitalize? oi


4 reasons as theologian ness makes a diff:

1\ if programmer you may be justified in ignoring an adolescent’s deep suffering.. your job is to provide meaningful events.. but if (theological) you can’t turn form the suffering adolescent.. for w her stand the crucified christ

2\ helps us us move past much of the fragmentation of ministries w/in church.. all involved in a theological task..


3\ see adolescent from a contextual perspective.. as one who is affected by multiple forces.. directs ministry befyone four walls of church..

4\ theory and practice are held together.. not doers vs thinkers..

to live as theologians must learn to dance.. from 3 distinct but connected steps: 1\ experience.. (ie of listening to stories on school bus) 2\ reflection.. (ie of research on *why adolescents do the things they do.. have to work to really see the young person)

*if only.. rather.. why whales do the things they do in sea world

need 1st/most: means to undo our hierarchical listening to self/others/nature

ie: tech as it could be for global detox/re\set


3\ action.. (if reflection is born from experience it will blossom into action.. ie: revamp next moth of wed nights.. changing topic)


3 – youth ministry as an integrative theological task – toward a representative method – andrew


hall: ‘theology lives between the stories – god’s story of the world and humanity’s ever changing account of itself and all things.. theology is what happens when the two stories meet’


4 – ministry of youth for the 21st cent church – kenda


5 – walking into the crisis of reality – how theology is constructed – andrew


this thinking theologically is not easy, or at least, it has been easily confused for something else.. something that in the end becomes meaningless to young people and frustrating for those in ministry .. making theology seem always beyond reach.. how should a youth worker go about thinking theologically in a way that avoids meaninglessness and frustration..

too often we have assumed theology begins w either dogma (puking facts and big words) or societal milieu.. ultimately theology starts w a crisis.. the very crisis of reality itself.. the crisis is that you hav a life to lie.. that there is something instead of nothing.. the yearning for there to be some kind of meaning to it.. tehology is reflection on god’s action.. which reveals our crisis..


theological reflection begins w giving attention to god in relation to the crisis of existence itself..

attention to crisis reveals that there is something universal that theology attends to.. when theology begins w our shared crisis it speaks to the core of the human condition.. to the crisis all of us face..

we can see crisis of reality in two broad forms:

1\ time and eternity.. living but moving toward death


2\ existence as social beings.. infinitely small in comparison to universe.. exist only for fleeting amount of time.. so why do we live it


so much of what we do in youth ministry is uninteresting, meaningless or boring because it doesn’t start in the perplexity of the crisis (theology).. we turn our attention to programs.. thinking they will be interesting where theology isn’t.. theology is utterly meaningless thought when it’s too busy w other things to direct itself toward the very crisis of reality itself.. a theologically rich ministry begins w inviting young people to articulate what haunts them.. their deep questions and experiences of being stuck, small or broken..


theology not satisfied w simply articulating the crisis.. it also seeks to address it.. 1st move – turn to tradition.. the very core (dogma) of christianity.. the triune god).. when used as a starting point.. it’s dead.. because it calls us to ignore the crisis.. what brings tradition to life is the very thing that moved it form contemplation to dogma: its ability to address the crisis.. essentials of the tradition are essentials because they have said something ‘real’..


6 – youth ministry as discerning christopraxis.. a hermeneutical model – andrew

youth ministry not about doing so much as discerning


7 – god’s hiddenness, absence and doubt – andrew


god is found concretely at the place where persons share deeply in the nothingness of each other.. for in so doing we follow the one who was crucified and made nothingness.


making people right no longer becomes the goal.. rather.. the goal is to share in their impossibility as we await god’s possibility.. which comes only thru nothingness. so we call them to search for god in their wounds and thru their doubts..

when ministry becomes about proclaiming and joining the ‘where ‘of god.. we are freed from being either sellers of the faith or the moral police..


part two – theology enacted.. exploring youth ministry practice


8 – is jesus magic.. healing and the cross in youth ministry – andrew


9 – talking about sin w young people – andrew


10 – holding on to our kisses.. the hormonal theology of adolescence – kenda


11 – eschatological significance of summer camp – kenda


12 – what are we doing in these mountains.. the outdoor trip and the theology of the cross – andrew


13 – the mission trip as global tourism.. are we ok w this? – andrew


moving in the strong currents of globalization also thrusts us into what zygmunt bauman calls moving as either tourists or vagabonds.. and this might just be a problem.. a problem that makes it difficult to extract the tourism from our youth ministry mission trips..

zygmunt bauman

‘nowadays we are all on the move’ bauman asserts.. rarely are we still. ‘there are no natural borders any more.. neither are there obvious places to occupy.. wherever we happen to be at the moment.. we cannot help knowing that we could be elsewhere.. so there is less and less reason to stay anywhere in particular’ bauman


what is the fuel for this constant movement.. according to bauman.. it is consumption.. our consumer society calls not for duty, service or loyalty, but only for us to want new things and to continue moving to get therm.. as bauman says, the compression of time and space due to tech ‘takes the waiting out of wanting’.. as globalization flatten out boundaries.. pulling time and space together.. consumption keeps us constantly on the move

it is no wonder then that adolescents are drawn to mission trips.. they are movers.. the mission trip is an opp to live in to the cultural way of bing.. and occasion to consume new experiences in new space.. bauman says it this way: ‘consumer are first and foremost gatherers of sensations; the are not just collectors of things’

it’s not that young people are not fully invested in the experience.. the problem is that the mission trip is just that.. just an experience.. a sensation.. an adolescent fully moved by the poverty of a village for ie.. quickly moves on to become the purchaser of a hot new purse.. it is not that the moment of encountering poverty was not real and significant.. it is just that she has moved on.. it can’t bog her down.. she must keep moving.. and while she may go home and start an initiative to help people in that village.. she will do this also as a mover.. harvesting the sensations of ‘doing something’ and the moving on to prom, choir, and sat prep.. after a while her constant moving and acquiring of new experiences and sensations will encourage her to forget her experience on the mission trip.. not that it doesn’t matter to her.. rather.. it has simply become an old experience.. like a 150 dollar pair of shoes she had to have last year that has not been abandoned.. not her fault.. just the way of constant moving in a globalized world of consumers..


for bauman.. this constant moving has changed the very org of social life.. he contends that the days of bourgeois and proletariat have disappeared in the transformation of globalization.. it makes little sense to speak of a working class culture anymore.. everyone he explains whether rich or poor must always be moving.. so in this consumer saturated world.. all young people are focused on having the same experiences; all desire sensation.. listen to same music.. idolize sam sports stars.. laughs at same movies.. worlds are radically diff but both movers..

instead of seeing world divided between aristocrats and working class.. bauman sees world divided between tourists and vagabonds.. .. tourists are those w means.. free to move and welcomed by others.. the world is theirs.. vagabonds.. no t welcomed by others.. forced to move.. they must hide in shadows and cross fences and boundaries to find work.. though they want to stay home (and no longer e a vagabond). the globalized world that allows tourists to keep moving and having new experiences and sensation forces vagabonds to g on seek of work and sanctuary.. all w hope; that one day they too will have means to be a tourist.. and it is at the very places built for tourist.. resorts airports.. that vagabond finds work as a servant.. so the existence of both tourist and vagabond is due to our constant stat of motion.. but one serves the others.. all vagabond really want is to be tourists and deepest fear of tourist is they become vagabond.. ever pressing threat when tourism is achieved thru credit..


our mission trips are immersed in contradiction (am serving poor pm siping cocktails) because at core they carry out the dichotomy between tourists and vagabonds..

when mission trip is global tourism.. always about doing.. brochure explain what we will do.. and when com back we report to congregation what we did..


if we want to avoid tourist trap on mission trips.. we must focus not.. on doing but on being.. on simply being with people.. they should be about seeing, hearing and sharing existence w others.. others who are living as unwanted vagabonds in our world of tourism.. it’s an invitation to go and suffer w others.. not solve their problems.. instead of kids feeling empowered because they have done something.. they should return perplexed.. .. recognizing how our own advantage as tourists is borne on the back of vagabonds.. at root mission trips are about accompaniment.. not activity

need to help kids see others.. and be aware of their bond with them.. rather than great global vacation all sponsored and made possible by the church.. time to think more theologically about what it is we are sending these middle class young people to experience.


14 – doubt and confirmation – the mentor as co doubter – andrew


what if the objective of the confirmation teacher was not to work to pas on anything but was rather to be a partner and companion in doubt.. what if instead of depending on lessons bought form publishing houses we used our very doubts as the curriculum


then the responsibility of confirmation teachers is not to know the tradition in an airtight way, something few to no volunteers can sign off on, but only to be open enough w young people to explore their own doubts as they explore the young peoples’

our shared nervousness has more to do w misunderstanding that reality.. we wrongly thin that doubt is a trojan horse.. that will release an army that will undercut our faith and lead us far away from god.. and.. we fear that if we allows kids to doubt.. they they will discover that our faith is only a house of cards.. that can’t stand up to winds of their inquisitions..


faith that has become certain is no longer (by defn) faith; it has become idolatry, where w e no longer seek out a living person al god but make this god into a frozen idol.. the truth then, it that there can be no relationship at all when it is based on certainty.. i cannot really love my friend and embrace the fullness of his being if a assume i know him w certainty.. t.. faith is about trust.. and for trust to be trust, it must always live w *doubt.. t

rather *unknowingness..
doesn’t mean contradictory/binary..more curiosity over decision making (right/wrong, t/f)

doubt: Doubt is a mental state in which the mind remains suspended between two or more contradictory propositions, unable to be certain of any of them. Doubt on an emotional level is indecision between belief and disbelief. 1 · to be uncertain about. doubts her sincerity ; 2 · to lack confidence in. doubted his own abilities ; 3 · to consider unlikely. The noun is derived from Middle English dout, doute (“uncertain feeling; questionable point; hesitation; anxiety, fear; reverence, respect; something to be feared, danger;”) [and other forms], from Old French doute, dote, dute (“uncertain feeling, doubt”), from doter, douter, duter (“to doubt; to be afraid of, fear”)

yeah.. not sure i’d say *doubt.. rather an acknowledgment of an unknowingness.. that doesn’t mean you see it as contradictory/binary it.. just means you understand there is more that you don’t understand.. and that’s ok.. that’s trust

[note: i realize all the greats who have said ‘doubt is route to deeper belief’.. but i think 1\ we have no idea what legit free people are like ie: would they need that fear implied in doubt? that anxiety? 2\ am guessing it would be more about curiosity over decision making (is this right/wrong good/evil true/false) and more to #1 – am guessing most of the issues of doubt we wrestle with today would become irrelevant s.. we’d be too preoccupied with eudaimonia\tive surplus in an undisturbed ecosystem to spend/waste time/energy trying to figure such things out ie: why do we think we need to know/prove things?

paul know\love lawyou can never know anyone as completely as you want.. but that’s okay, love is better. – Caroline Paul

this mean that a good confirmation teacher is not necessarily someone who knows every answer.. it is rather someone who can create an environ where people feel safe enough to speak their deepest doubts

and/or deepest curiosity (itch-in-the-soul)

this is what bachelard oikos law is about..

oikos (the economy our souls crave).. ‘i should say: the house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace.’ – gaston bachelard, the poetics of space


15 – ascension deficit disorder – youth min as a lab for hope – kenda


postscript – reflecting on method – youth min as practical theology andrew & blair bertrand