Saturday, 31 October 2009

Jedward - what's the big deal?

I don't really follow the X-Factor. In fact, I'm not a huge fan of any brand of reality television, but when you're married, sometimes you have to endure such programmes in order to earn precious Match of the Day viewing time.

However, something surrounding the show has pricked my interest this year. Two Irish wannabe twins from Lucan, John & Edward (already re branded Jedward), have been creating quite a storm that ITV must be loving & Simon Cowell is "hamming up" for further publicity.

They're not that interesting in themselves (fairly average, if a little cocksure, 17 year old boys of privileged upbringing), but what has been intriguing is how has been the public have reacted. Every time I log onto FaceBook, I'm faced by a long list of status updates (from people like you), not informing me of what you've been up too, but rather how much people seem to dislike the twins.

Why are people so negative towards them? Why are people displaying hatred towards these two characters who Simon Cowell branded as "vile little creatures"? Why have 400 FB groups been set up calling for them to be axed by the show?

The boys are full of energy, they jump around, are entertaining and you have to hand it to them, they do put all they have into their routine. We all know that they are not the best singers in the competition, in fact lets not make any bones about it, they are downright awful. In addition, their dancing leaves much to be desired and whilst they have irritating tendencies, it's no more than your average adolescent male.

It's not their fault that they still remain in the competition, evidently a significant number of the population deem them worthy of investing their mobile phone credit in.

It is also surprising how many people complain about their status in the competition, but aren't prepared to do anything about it. Typical of our British armchair nation, we are a people who talk much & do little about stuff that doesn't matter anyway. How many FB status updates this week will comment on Somali pirates, the number of British soldiers injured/killed in Iraq or the growing rates of unemployment?

Instead of complaining about the X-Factor, vote for who you like and then suck it up if they go out - it's just a competition and a fairly monotonous one at that. As for me I won't be wasting my money on a vote, but neither do I care who wins because I'll have forgotten their name by the following morning.

Now I'm off for some Chico time...

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Youth Ministry Failure

Every so often in ministry I'm overwhelmed by a sense of failure.

A deep sense that I'm failing the young people within my care & that I'm lost, not knowing what to do about it. These feelings are often irrational, but yet very real; I'll wrestle with them through insomnia-ridden nights & try to discern that still, small voice of Jesus which simply whispers, "trust me. It'll be ok."

Tonight, I can across a piece of Scripture that has helped me to grapple with some of the situations that I'm currently facing. It's Paul's words to the Corinthian church, an encouragement to persevere through the feelings of inadequacy or failure.
I include it hear in case you're in that place too; perhaps it may speak to you also?

"Don't put it off; don't frustrate God's work by showing up late, throwing a question mark over everything we're doing. Our work as God's servants gets validated—or not—in the details. People are watching us as we stay at our post, alertly, unswervingly . . .

in hard times, tough times, bad times;

when we're beaten up, jailed, and mobbed;

working hard, working late, working without eating;

with pure heart, clear head, steady hand;

in gentleness, holiness, and honest love;

when we're telling the truth, and when God's showing His power;

when we're doing our best setting things right;

when we're praised, and when we're blamed;

slandered, and honored;

true to our word, though distrusted;

ignored by the world, but recognized by God;

terrifically alive, though rumored to be dead;

beaten within an inch of our lives, but refusing to die;

immersed in tears, yet always filled with deep joy;

living on handouts, yet enriching many;

having nothing, having it all."

2 Corinthians 6 (from The Message)