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www .eme rging
A ndy sex a Croft nd in talks tima cy Gen erat e Ju stice An
SwitInterview chfo ot with F
an to betastic p won rizes
Shane Claibourne will be briefing us as we hit the streets in an amazing event with prayer and live worship. He is the author of ‘The Irresistible Revolution’ and is a keen activist. Follow us on Twitter: @GenerateJustice
te issues, Do you care about clima Join 1000 persecution and AIDS? as we people in Central London God’s te tra ns prophetically demo heart for Justice. ons including With bases in key locati ing Street Parliament Square, Down and more. Pentecos t Festiva .co.uk l
iary... d r u o y in e t a d e h t Get 2010 Saturday 22nd May Cost: Just £6!
online rs e h t o f o s d re d n u hh Make your mark wit /justice k .u o c l. a iv t s fe t s o c e www.pent
/winter ’09 Welcome to
Rain, Ice and freezing cold weather, welcome back Mr Winter, so grab your hats and scarves. This winter issue of /thoughts is jam-packed full of amazing interviews and articles. In this issue we’re talking about everything from iPhones, to sex and changing the world. There’s also an amazing line-up of interviews with the brilliant Switchfoot and 29th Chapter! Our website is better than ever, at www.emergingculture.co.uk, with photos, video diaries and loads of info on ways to get involved. Look out for our brand new /afterthoughts pages where you can listen to the interviews in this issue, read more articles and get stuck in with some games.
Get your own! Did someone give you this magazine? If so, then get your own! Turn to page 30 and sign up to receive /thoughts magazines, and be entered into a brilliant prize draw from Emerging Culture.
practical urban mission and birthdays galore! If you
This was possibly one of the most hilarious, gross and
missed out on this year’s course, go to
thought provoking weeks in the office! The FRESH guys
www.emergingcutlure.co.uk/fresh to register for 2010-11.
are going the Turn It Up challenge, where we live on 10 litres of water a day. These 10 litres must cover washing,
Have you ever made a stand in Parliament Square with
cleaning, flushing the loo, drinking, brushing teeth
1,000 other young people? Have you ever petitioned
etc. “Why on earth would you do that?” I hear you ask.
the government at Downing Street? Have you ever seen
In the UK we use about 200 litres of water a day, but in
Shane Claibourne speak?
Africa people struggle to find even 10 and we wanted to experience this. For some hilarious stories of people
Emerging Culture is hosting an amazing, not-to-be-missed
accidently flushing the toilet and wasting 4 litres, go to
event at Pentecost Festival 2010 on 22nd May. We are
www.emergingculture.co.uk to watch our video diary.
getting together with 1,000 people from across the UK to
HAVE YOU EVER? Have you ever tried to book a meal for 80 in a local pub?
make a stand for justice in the heart of our capital. We will
Have you ever read an article and then just put it down
start with a morning with Shane Claibourne, then we’ll
without doing anything about the stuff you’ve read? This
go out and do activities on the streets, from places like
issue of the magazine is full of ways for you to get involved
Parliament Square to Downing Street.
with events and activities, so get online and get involved.
Do you ever feel really useless when it comes to making a
Looking forward to seeing you soon!
Have you ever had to try to fit nine people into a phone box? Have you ever laughed so much you cried?
stand about issues in our world? Well here’s your chance to This was the first weekend of FRESH 2009-10. We were a
get involved in one of the biggest justice events of the year.
group of 70 people who are all learning and discovering
For more info go to www.pentecostfestival.co.uk/justice Dot Tyler
what it means to be a leader and how we can impact our communities. There was teaching by some awesome
Have you ever been for a wee and not flushed the
people like Russell Rook and Krish Kandiah, as well as
chain? Have you ever showered in one litre of water?
brilliant scavenger hunts, Bible studies in the pub and
Have you ever washed your clothes in the sink, with
massive games of empire. We’re really looking forward
only two litres of water?
to the next weekend which starts in seven days (from the day I’m writing, so was probably last weekend, by the time you get this through the door!). More great teaching,
MOBILISE MISSION JUSTICE
A Certain Rumour Russell Rook Russell has a look at the rumours
that Jesus told. Are they true? How do you know? This is a
Moving across ice on two really thin blades
great book which will have
and manoeuvring around the other hundred
you laughing out loud and pondering the creation of the world. It’s a great read, recommended to everyone.
people on the rink... it’s ice skating season. Ice Skating can be a bit like marmite; you either love it or you hate it. Usually it depends on how
See page 30
often you’ve fallen over and pulled the nearest person down with you.
Are you an Ice Skating fan?
Remember the days of your school nativity... were
Yes! I love it, I go all the time.
you Joseph, Mary, one of the Shepherds, angels,
Yeah, I enjoy it, but it’s hard to let go of the side.
or the Inn-keeper’s dog? This year, follow The
Nope, don’t like it at all.
Natwivity on Twitter! Visit www.twitter.com/Natwivity! Tweets everyday from the biggest stars; Mary, Joe, the
Tell us on the Emerging Culture Blog!
Wise Men, Shepherds and the rest of the cast... starts 1st
December - don’t miss it!
“Switchfoot to Gate 3 please!” /thoughts caught up with keyboard player, Jerome Fontamillas as he waited for a plane! Read on to hear about their dreams, legacy and news on their forthcoming album.
/t: And when did you become part of the band?
very life changing. We wrote a song called ‘Shadow Proves the Sunshine’ about that experience. The new
JF: They recorded an album called ‘Learning To Breathe’
album coming out, ‘Hello Hurricane’, was written as
and at the time they needed a keyboard player to tour
a result of working at Habitat for Humanity building
with them and they asked me. I enjoyed hanging out
homes. Our highlights are not the awards; it’s more
with them and they enjoyed hanging out with me, so
about being able to do something meaningful.
/thoughts: What are you guys up to at the moment?
they said “Hey, why don’t you just be in the band?” And
Why are you in an airport?
I said “Sure!”
Jerome Fontamillas: We are flying out to do a show
/t: What would you say are your aims as a band?
/t: So are all your songs based on experiences that you guys have had? JF: Jon, the lead singer, is the principal song writer and
here in the States, you’ve caught us as we’re about to get on a plane! When you’re in a band, the airport is like your
JF: In the earlier years the aims were not as global
he writes songs like a diary. He writes his thoughts and
as they are now. As time progressed we saw how our
his lyrics and we put music to it. When we were building
music was affecting people and saw how music changes
houses in New Orleans, he’s writing about that or if we’re
/t: So, let’s go right back to the beginning. Why and
people. Our world became bigger, we were touring,
in South Africa, he’s writing about that. We look back at
how did Switchfoot start?
doing lots of shows all over the world and seeing the
all our albums and they are like a diary, you remember
world in a different light. We really want to use this
exactly how you were feeling.
JF: Switchfoot started with two brothers, Jon and Tim,
platform of music to make a difference in the world,
and the drummer Chad. They were all still in school and
make a difference in our community and to bring hope
/t: ‘Hello Hurricane’ is out on the 11th November. What
they all said “Hey I love playing music, let’s just jam and
is your favourite track on the album?
to make it out of college, they never expected to make a
/t: What would you say have been the highlights of
JF: That question is like asking me which is my favourite
living doing music, but the world just opened up for that
Switchfoot’s career so far?
kid! They all mean a lot to us and we are very proud of
be in a band”. That’s how it started. They never expected
them, but the highlight for me is ‘Sing it Out’. I had the
path and so here we are over ten years later! JF: There are a few highlights. Being able to travel is a
opportunity to write a string orchestra for it and it was
big highlight, we went to South Africa a few years ago,
the first time I’ve ever done that. It was kind of nerve
visiting the villages and the AIDs hospitals and that was
racking but really gratifying because I’d never done it
before. At the beginning of the song it’s very minimal.
/t: How much does God and your
You don’t really have anything except vocal and maybe
Christian life impact your songs?
an organ and let it build from there and you go through a journey through the song. Let it go through peaks
JF: Every decision that you make is because
and valleys. Let’s see how we can climb the emotional
of the things that you believe in, and for us, God
mountain and see where it takes us.
is a major part of who we are. Our belief is a huge part of everything we do and that will trickle down
/t: What are your hopes for the future as a band?
through the things that we do and every decision that we make.
JF: We’ve been a band for well over ten years and this is our seventh album. We are really grateful that we are still doing music, that we still have a platform to express our creativity. We hope to release three or four more albums within the next few years. We are really excited about it and this is just the tip of the songs that are coming out. /t: What would you like Switchfoot to be remembered for? JF: We want to be remembered for always pushing ourselves and challenging ourselves but the bottom line is that we’d love to be remembered as a band who were passionate about helping people through different paths. We gave a sense of hope to the people that are really searching.
ge 3 0 See pa
It’s not fair!
When’s the last time you found yourself getting angry and saying ‘It’s not fair!’?
Sometimes it’s hard to connect to the statistics and
Zoe is Tearfund’s England Youth and Student
problems that seem distant to our daily reality. So that’s
Coordinator and is part of the team running the
why a bunch of us at Tearfund and Emerging Culture
FRESH course. She loves snowboarding, curries and
decided to take on a challenge! The average European
being silly. If you want to mobilise your mates to
It’s a phrase we tend to associate with a childish tantrum,
uses 200 litres of water every day, the average person in
do the water challenge and get campaigning visit
when we’re denied what we want and think we deserve.
the developing world lives with only 10. We wanted to
What makes you angry? Middle lane drivers, spending
move beyond the statistics to see what it’s like to live on
hours on hold on a ‘helpline’, queuing?
10 litres of water a day for one week.
In the UK we have a strong sense of our rights. It doesn’t
To put the extent of the challenge in context, having a 10
take much for us to get pretty vocal and angry when
minute shower uses 100 litres of water and flushing the
we feel we haven’t been treated fairly. Programmes like
toilet uses about 9. The first thing that struck me was no
Proverbs 31:8-9 tells us to “Speak up for those who
Watchdog and Rogue Traders are dedicated to calling
matter how many times I told myself not to flush I was on
cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are
companies and CEOs to account and speaking up on
auto-pilot and couldn’t stop myself! 9 out of 10 litres gone
destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of
behalf of us consumers.
in one careless flush. The biggest thing I noticed was the
the poor and needy.”
Check out the videos of Emerging Culture doing the challenge - www.emergingculture.co.uk
time and planning required, and that’s with a water supply But what about basic human rights? The right to food, to
in my house. I’ve realised how much I take for granted the
Let’s get angry about injustice, let’s shout “it’s not fair” to
education, to clean water and a toilet? Who will stand up
convenience of a toilet, taps and a washing machine.
those in power on behalf of those who have none. Visit
for those rights? Do we get angry when other people’s rights are denied?
www.tearfund.org/lobalooroll and campaign to get the At the end of the week when I could finally shower, use my washing machine and clean my house, I didn’t feel
It’s not fair that as we come to the end of 2009, 900
as excited as I thought I would. The ease with which life
million people lack access to clean water and 2.5 billion
could go back to normal felt wrong. I was overwhelmed
people don’t have a decent toilet. It’s not fair that this
by the reminder of how rich I am. Bono said ‘Where you
doesn’t make national news.
live shouldn’t determine whether you live or die’ and yet it does. People will die today simply because their water is dirty. That’s not fair!
Prime Minister to take action on water and toilets.
I look like Batman An endless sea of black-and-redtrimmed bodies all unified with the most ridiculous, yet widely recognised headpiece of all, made the view on graduation day this summer certainly one to remember.
subject. At times it was a challenging place to be and,
Nick is currently assisting a Theatre in Education
being honest, I didn’t always put God first and include
Company. He loves to perform and jumps at every
him in everything I did. Finding time for Him in between
chance he gets to do it. He also loves FAB ice lollies!
all the paperwork, parties and performances was tough and I can’t say I got it right. All I do know is that I need to trust in God. It’s in His Finding the Christian Union (CU) group certainly helped
nature to provide for his children. After all, He has
I still don’t understand why we’re made to look like
me to keep my focus in the right direction. I would
brought me this far, so I can trust that He has a plan for
Batman gone wrong on the day that mummy is
have found University even tougher without a constant
me and for each of us. At whatever stage we’re at, let’s
supposed to be most proud of her little babbit?
support of encouragement from the friends I had made
be as excited as we can about what we’re doing now and
within that small group. If it’s a friendly atmosphere you
not worry about what’s next.
I could never have imagined completing a degree
want or maybe just some free food and cake, then pop
but somehow three years at university have flown by
along to the CU because whatever your views are about
Oh, and if it’s uni that you’re thinking of, go for it! Look
and two teeny letters have appeared after my name!
Christianity, you’ll most likely leave feeling a lot happier
forward to looking like Batman at the end!
Throughout my time at uni I sometimes questioned why I
and relaxed about the busyness of everything else.
was there and what it was that made me choose to study Drama instead of something else or why I even wanted
But what happens now? I’ve been to university, got
to study at all. I mean, I’d already done GCSEs and
my degree and met loads of cool people along
A-Levels and they were hard enough. What on earth was
the way. I seemed to think that everything
I thinking of, giving myself a load more essays to write?!
would fall into place and life would be easy from there onwards, but quickly
Looking back on it all, I came to realise that it wasn’t
noticed that it’s not that simple;
just the education I would be benefiting from, or the
jobs are scarce, especially in and
idea of getting a better job in the future. I believe the
around the theatre. Will I be
opportunity that I had of going to uni was one that God
able to earn a living? I just
wanted me to experience and one that He put in place
for me to learn more about myself rather than my degree
Justice Generation It’s easy to talk about what’s wrong, it’s easy to see the problems.
Justice Bringing Global Justice to the Streets
See page 2
Joy Da Costa
Then one day I decided that this wasn’t good enough,
Joy is the Team Leader for Pentecost Festival, where
that there were certain shops and brands I know are
she organises events and liases with Christian
unethical, and that maybe whenever I was unsure I should
leaders to bring together a great big celebration of
choose not to buy that item until I was certain. I decided
Pentecost in London. She loves prayer, travelling
We don’t have to look very far to see that not everything
action was better than inertia and that though I might
and brightly coloured eye shadow.
is right in the world. It’s even easier to be so overwhelmed
sometimes get it wrong, doing something is always better
by all the things we’d like to see changed, that we have
than doing nothing. There are facebook groups, websites,
a chat, shake our heads and return to our daily lives. Not
books and more that can help me find these answers, I
community. I can continue to write to my MP voicing my
because we don’t care, but because we don’t know what
just need to take the time to look. I need to be willing, if
concerns, even if the answer I get is rarely satisfactory.
to do. Justice matters, but sometimes it seems like a huge,
necessary, to give up my favourite chocolate bar in favour
complicated subject and I don’t know where to start.
of a more ethical alternative, if there is even a chance it
Generate Justice is a great opportunity to make a stand
could improve the livelihood of a human being on the
on some of the issues facing our world today. It’s one
other side of the World. I need to care enough.
way in which we can decide that it’s not enough to talk
I have often wrestled with ethical shopping. Can my choices really make that much difference and if so, how
as though we care, we want to act. It’s a day when we
do I decide which shops are ethical? Where do I find
There are so many more issues of justice where I can do
can come together to tell the world that we care and
that information and how can I possibly know that the
the same. I can choose to recycle even though I know
will not continue to ignore something that our actions
information I have is correct?
there’s a chance my recycling will go to landfill anyway,
might be able to change. It is a thousand young people
because there’s also a chance it won’t. I can give generously
who believe that their voices are loud enough to make a
For a long time I chose to claim ignorance. If I was unsure
to charities I believe will use my money well and also
difference. It is your chance to make your mark and bring
I would stick to my usual habits until I knew more.
befriend the poorest, the lonely and the outcast in my own
global justice to the streets.
Work o n a Ch ristian summe r camp in the * Up to USA 9 week s
workin g with * Low kids ag up-fro ed 6-16 nt cos ts & c * 30 ex ompeti tra da ti v e in-han ys to tr d salar avel th * CV-e y nhanc e USA a ing ex nd Can perien a da c e Ap
ply onli ne
camps @ bunac.org.uk 020 7251 3448
Change the World For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to change the world and on meeting Jesus at sixteen it seemed I’d found the source and outlet for my unbridled idealism. Suddenly, I thought, here’s something worth living and dying for.
Chris is a film-maker who believes in the power of and her mate raised a million pounds by mobilising
stories to inspire social change. His current project is
hundreds of people worldwide to invest time and money
about uranium mining in the rainiest place on earth.
into the issue of climate change. The film has been a
Check out www.smallseedfilms.co.uk for more.
runaway hit, spawning global action against climate change and affecting government policies. And Jesus’ whole approach was relational. Of the three Then, of course, there’s one Jesus of Nazareth. Born
years of His ministry relatively little was spent in front of
in a shed and brought up in the rough part of town
a crowd preaching. Most of the time He visited homes,
My head filled with triumphant dreams of revival (with
(“Nazareth?” someone exclaimed, “can anything good
ate with people, and invested Himself heavily in His
myself, of course, at the centre). Together, I thought,
come from there?”). He gathered twelve nobodies,
closest circle of followers. You might say He should have
Jesus and I would change the course of history.
showed them what living with God really looks like and,
maximised His time on earth by reaching the largest
after a surprisingly short career, left behind the seeds of
audience He could. But instead He chose to sow a tiny
But it seems that ‘changing the world’ doesn’t work like that.
the most world-changing movement of all.
seed into the fertile soil of friendship… and we all know
Bremley Lyngdoh started his life of activism at the age of
What do all these people have in common? They believe
ten when, in his home town of Shillong, India, he raised
in the power of relationship.
what happens to tiny seeds. Eleven years on and I still want to change the world. But (thankfully) I’m no longer at the centre of the dream.
money for the local poor. He got a whiff of the scent of social change and that set the course of his life. Now in his
For Franny, making ‘The Age of Stupid’ independently
However, if I can truly learn what it means to build
mid-thirties he is mobilising communities in some of the
was a gargantuan task. Everything happened because
meaningful relationships, then perhaps I’ll be able to
world’s poorest countries, to develop sustainable, planet-
of a network of personal relationships built over time on
play my part after all.
friendly industries to lift themselves out of poverty.
the foundation of a powerful idea.
Franny Armstrong is a film-maker who created the recent
Bremley recently told me that, “relationships are the key”.
documentary ‘The Age Of Stupid’. In 2004 she decided
According to him, idealism is a hugely powerful tool, but
to make a feature-length film showing the devastating
more powerful is an idealist who knows how to build
effects of climate change. Over the next five years she
effective, genuine relationships.
Isaac Hoar Isaac is in the second year of college near Southampton, studying graphic art, media and English Lit. He enjoys laughing unnecessarily loudly at bad jokes, as well as listening to and playing music.
There are points in our lives when we find ourselves in seemingly awful situations; and in times like these we can easily become discouraged, and feel that God has forgotten us. But it is important to remember that you have been given a role to play in God’s plan. He has created you and loves you with everything He’s got. When we’re struggling with life and the path we’re on let’s remember that our loving Father has laid out the tracks before us, so don’t fear or be afraid, because He won’t take you anywhere that you can’t handle.
Wondering What to do next summer?
WhY noT Come To The KesWICK ConvenTIon...
Week 1 17 Jul – 23 Jul Week 2 24 Jul – 30 Jul Week 3 31 Jul – 6 AuG Keswick Youth is the place to be if you’re aged 11-18 and want a week (or two or even three!) of getting stuck into God’s word, as well as having loads of fun. Check out... keswickyouth.com Aged 19-24? Fancy a week of good bible teaching, lively discussions and lifestyle seminars, as well as a chill out? Then come along to Abide in Week 1 (17-23 July). keswickministries.org/abide In your 20’s or 30’s? Want some meaty Bible teaching, thought-provoking discussions, practical lifestyle seminars and lively worship? Then K2 is for you in Week 2 (24-30 July). keswickministries.org/k2 Come on Your oWn or As pArT oF A Group – IT Couldn’T Be eAsIer… JusT BooK Your oWn ACCommodATIon And Turn up. We looK ForWArd To seeInG You! www.keswickministries.org / 017687 80075 / firstname.lastname@example.org
The Perfect Present... At Christmas time there seem to be a lot more gimmicks and novelty gifts around. I saw a strange one in a London shop the other day; “The perfect present for the person who has everything” read the carton.
rustling of wrapping paper, the twinkling of lights and
Carina heads up release:potential - the Youth
the rush for the last mince pie, but it can be even easier
Development initiative from Release International.
to forget the hurting, the lonely and the imprisoned
She loves salsa dancing and wishes Chinese food
across the world.
was one of her 5-a-day.
How we spend our Christmas Day can often be a reflection of what’s in our heart the rest of the year. It’s
blessed to be able to pray and know that we are safe in our
something I’ve been challenged to think about. For
own homes and that we do not face the threat of arrest
Curiously I picked it up and gave it a bit of a shake. Nothing.
example, in the run-up to Christmas am I busy writing
or imprisonment for our faith; we’d ask that you’d please
As I continued to read the packaging I discovered that
my own Christmas lists? Or am I thinking about how and
remember those who don’t have this luxury at Christmas.
“nothing” was exactly what the gift was. It was a clever
when I can bless my friends and family?
Please help us to cover Christmas Day in prayer!
We know that Christmas can be a busy time with
For more info, specific prayer points and to claim your
lots of things to remember, (put up decorations, buy
five minutes visit www.releasepotential.org
concept but if you get the person who has everything nothing, what do you get the person who has nothing? We hear of many Christians who have next to nothing
Uncle Boris a tea towel, finish coursework, etc.) so at
materially but the urgent prayer requests that they
release:potential we’ve tried to make it easier for us to
present to their UK family are not focussed on their
remember our extended Christian family on Christmas
material needs. Some of these Christians have had their
Day. We’ve set up a page on our website where people
homes, possessions, even family members taken away
can choose their very own five minute slot to pray for
from them but still their requests are for God to be
Christians who are suffering for following Jesus. The
glorified in their lives.
Bible says to “remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners and those who are mistreated as if
One of the most precious things you can do for the
you yourselves were suffering” (Hebrews 13:3).
person who has nothing is to invest time praying for them. What they really need is not something you can
We don’t need to meet up to remember our family, we
buy but it is something you can give. It can be too easy
can pray for them as we say grace over Christmas dinner,
to forget the real meaning behind Christmas amid the
before we open our presents, or before bed. We are so
No one died from not having sex “You and me baby ain’t nothing but mammals so let’s do it like they do on the discovery channel” is the line of a song that I used to attempt to dance to. Try not to picture what sort of dance moves I was busting out to those lyrics. Seriously, try not to picture it.
Me: “Sex is just a physical thing, what’s the big deal, why keep it for marriage?” God: “Is it just a physical thing Andy?” Me: “Yes.” God: “Well what makes you different from a dog?” Me: “Err...” (I wasn’t really expecting that comeback) One thing I’ve discovered as I’ve got older is
At the time I was 16, now I’m 23.
that there’s something that makes us different from animals, something besides the fact we’re
My bet is that if you’re reading this article you’ve got
not covered in fur. The something is choice.
a sex drive. I’d also be willing to bet that you’re aware
Animals only act on instinct, for us there’s a
that Christians believe that sex should be kept selfishly
choice involved. Sex is more than a physical
between one man and one woman for the whole of life.
thing, there’s emotion and spirit involved.
Christians believe sex is for marriage. Me: “Okay God, maybe it is more than just I knew that too, I knew it well before I became a
a physical thing but let’s be honest, it’s not
Christian, and honestly I couldn’t understand why.
hurting anyone is it? It’s not like we’re going
Another rule to follow made up by a kill-joy God.
around killing puppies.” God: “What about STDs? Millions in the world
When I was sixteen I had sex and so a little while later,
have AIDs who wouldn’t have if sex was just
when I gradually started to understand who Jesus was
and what following Him meant, I had a problem with
Me: “Fair point. But how about for those of
the sex-thing. I had a bone to pick with God and for six
us who use contraception? We’re not causing
months I argued with Him.
Andy Croft God’s answered that last one for me over time. He knew
God: “Well Andy, if you love each other...”
Andy is associate director of Soul Survivor. He
what he was doing when he made sex; he made it good
Me: “Yes God...”
spends lots of his time trying to understand the
and an amazing way in which one human being can be
God: “And if you’re committed to each other...”
Bible. He also spends a fair amount of time trying to
wonderfully close to another human being. The fact is
Me: “Yes God...!”
understand his new wife. They are both great.
that it’s powerful and has the potential to be harmful.
God: “Then why don’t you just wait till you’re married?”
Breaking up from a relationship where we have been
Me: “Wait! Are you serious? That could be ages! I’m
having sex causes more damage and leaves deeper
flipping sixteen years old!”
scars than ending a relationship where we haven’t.
God is calling us to be fully alive. To be men and women What I’ve realised though is that if our relationships
who can shape and change a world for Him. He’s asking
Moreover, constantly joining our bodies and souls
don’t work when we’re not having sex; having sex isn’t
us to rise up and go on adventures, to do great things,
to different people can reduce our own ability to
going to make a difference. God reminded me that
to affect eternity. We don’t need sex to be fully who we
enjoy intimacy – and that’s dangerous. The guy who
once you’re married you’ve got the whole of the rest of
are; we need Him and His calling. As a guy who deeply
founded Playboy magazine is now in his 80s and
your lives to have sex, and that the years before that,
regrets messing it up; may I say to you, go for it, live a
still going for it with a lot of blonde young ladies.
though they may sometimes drag are precious to lay a
crazy life for God. Sex? Don’t undervalue it like I did,
He’s had sex with a lot of women. A former girlfriend
foundation that’ll keep you both going till your teeth
value it so highly, and see it as so precious, that you
of his however, revealed that he can now only get
fall out and you can’t control your bladder.
guard it and yourself for marriage.
pleasure from masturbating to gay porn. I’m not trying to be crude, I’m trying to make a point and
My final desperate attempt:
he’s the classic example. He’s shared himself with so
Me: “How can you not let me have sex until I’m married?
many people there’s nothing left to enjoy. He’s eaten
I’m never going to be a real man. I’m never going to be
all the food but lost any ability to take pleasure in it.
We need to guard our ability to enjoy another person sexually and not dilute it.
God paused. And then... “Andy, I’ve been God for a very long time... and no one
Me: “Fine God, maybe it is a big deal. But what if we love each other!? What if we’ve been going out for five whole months?”
has ever died from not having sex.”
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“Self harm was a comfort to me at a time when all I knew
Sophie is not alone. Recent statistics say that one in
Laura works for Mercy Ministries UK, an organisation
was fear and mistrust. I trusted self harm and felt like I
fifteen young people aged between 16-25 struggle with
providing opportunities for young women to
could rely on it, it began to consume my day and I started
self harm, and of those that have the courage to share
experience God’s love, forgiveness and life transforming
to think of new ways that I could hurt myself because I
their secret with others, most find that it makes the
power. You are likely to find her in Starbucks, on the ski
felt fat, ugly and stupid. I hated life and I wanted to die”.
situation worse, not better, because people do not know
slopes or pursuing an outdoor adventure!
how to handle their confession. These are the words of Sophie. Like many, her life seemed
If you would like more resources on overcoming
full of lack, lack of value, lack of hope and lack of affirmation.
We live in a society that is constantly bombarding us with
self harm, please visit www.mercyministries.co.uk,
Sophie saw self harm as the most normal option to be able
thoughts and ideas about how we should look, think
email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone
to handle the pressures of life that she was facing, a way
and feel. For some, the weight of feeling insignificant,
01535 642042 and speak to one of the team!
to control what she was feeling on the inside and an attempt to express herself to the outside world.
useless, worthless and in emotional turmoil leads them to self harm. As with many other issues, self harm is a symptom of a deeper issue and contrary to a popular
For those of you reading and personally struggling with self-
thought, it is not an attempt at suicide; it is a cry for help.
harm thoughts, be encouraged – this is how Sophie speaks now, “My life before was me pretty much just wanting to die,
So how can you help? What can you do to support someone who is struggling with self harm? You can listen, encourage and speak God’s truth to them about their value, their worth and their future. You can offer to help find the
I was terrified of living but now I am just amazed at what God is doing in my life and how much He has changed me”. Sophie’s life was transformed by God as she learnt her identity in Him and her value in who He says she is. She gained an understanding that she had been created
right support for them to be able to address
with purpose, on purpose and that God had good plans
the reasons behind why they could be self
for her life – plans that give her a hope and a future
harming. You can suggest some alternatives
(Jeremiah 29v11). The same promises are true for you.
to self harm such as writing and recording
You are wonderfully made, with a value far above rubies
thoughts or tearing up cardboard. You can
and pearls. Self harm can be a thing of the past, and no
pray for them and with them.
longer a part of your future!
Reality Hits: Sunday School Christian Growing up in a church with my family I thought I could call myself a Christian because I went to Sunday school.
I was totally amazed. I had learnt about how Jesus had
Georgina is at college studying for her A levels. She is
healed people in the past, but never actually believed
currently on the FRESH course and loves it. She enjoys
that it could happen now. At this moment I knew that
hanging out with friends and wearing funky hats.
the God I had been learning about all these years was 100% real and I couldn’t deny it. I went home from that
I learnt about the Bible, sang the right songs and said
conference a Christian and it was for real.
all the right things at the right times. Going to church
I used to think that my story, my testimony was really dull and boring. It isn’t glamorous or exciting, I didn’t go to
brought me friends but I can’t say it changed my life
Over the last few years I have been learning about what
prison and I wasn’t addicted to drugs, but I have come
much. Going to church didn’t change the way I acted,
being a Christian is really about. I think being a Christian
to realise that it is just as important and just as valuable
people at school wouldn’t have said there was anything
is about talking to God and building a relationship with
to God as anyone else’s because it’s the story of my
different about me.
Him, talking to other people around me about God and
encounter with Jesus.
encouraging them to follow God. I think that it is about My parents would always take me to conferences and
setting an example and just spreading the word, not just
I am now doing the Fresh course which will help to build
Christian events in the summer, and I usually went to
saying I’m a Christian because I go to church or because
up my confidence in leadership and help use my gifts
hang out with friends and have a fun week. One day they
I know about God. I’m a Christian because I know He is
and strengths more in my community and local area.
had a whole meeting about healing; the band played
real and I can get to know Him personally.
I would like to use these skills to help other people to
and I sat back and watched as people who wanted
know God. I want to help people realise that going to
healing were being prayed for by others in the meeting.
I know that God will never leave my side and He has
After a few minutes I saw people fall to the floor and be
helped me through some really bad times in my life. He
healed right there in front of me.
has been there through the good times just as much. I can’t imagine not knowing God and having Him in my life.
church is not the only thing being a Christian is about.
Reality Hits: God gave me a Sandwich About ten years ago someone said something that stuck with me until this day. It was my first year playing in a football team after making the step up from youth sides.
I work with teenagers in the fantastic town of Gillingham,
Dave works for YFC in Gillingham and is on the Billy
Kent. One Friday I had a busy day ahead. 10am isn’t
Graham Training Course. He loves football, his new
a particularly early start, but I was taking a team of
cat Stilton and his new wife Laurie.
young people to a regional football tournament, which wouldn’t finish before 11.30pm. We were leaving for the tournament at 5pm. At about Knowing how useless I can be when my stomach is
4.30pm I got a phone call; “Dave, I’m making sandwiches
One Sunday after the game, the team gathered as usual
empty, my great wife Laurie made me a double packed
for tonight”, the voice said, “would you like cheese, ham
in the pub. I had no money. One of the lads asked why
lunch. A banana, yoghurt, and some crisps were all
or both?” Through my friend Keion, who was coming to
I didn’t have a drink. When I explained my money-less
included, but two bumper rounds of sandwiches were
give me a hand, God had answered my prayer. Keion also
predicament, he said:
to provide the main part of my lunch and dinner. On
brought biscuits and crisps, and kept us watered with
first look the ham, mayo and salad in between the posh
steaming hot tea all evening.
“Well you got a tongue in your ‘ead! Why didn’t you just ask?”
seeded bread looked great…
Unknown to my amateur footballer friend, God tells us
Have you ever been to the beach and got sand in your
prayed for a wife, He gave me Laurie. We prayed for
something very similar. The Bible tells us that we don’t have
mouth? Well if you have, then you’ll be able to empathise
a house, He gave us the perfect one. I’ve seen God
what we want because we don’t ask for it (James 4 v2).
with me. My suspicion is that the salad hadn’t been
heal people. But when God gave me a sandwich, I was
washed, leaving a kind of grit, and sarnies that tasted
overwhelmed by how personal our God is.
I have experienced God’s provision in many ways. I
Sounds great doesn’t it?! Like a big Holy vending
vaguely like a sandcastle. They went in the bin.
machine - you ask for what you want and the Big Man upstairs provides. Not that simple I’m afraid. The next
Once again I had no money, so a takeaway was out of
sentence sheds a bit more light on the matter;
the question. So after the yoghurt, banana and crisps, I prepared myself for a largely hungry day.
“...And even when you do ask you don’t get it because your whole motive is wrong, you only want what gives
I prayed, “God, despite my lack of food please give me
energy”. And almost as an afterthought, “could you provide some food for me?”
Five minutes have gone by, I go the computer, open up my Facebook and check if I’ve had any new wall posts, hoping that someone has sent me a message or ‘liked’ my status. What did I do before Facebook? How did I stay in contact with my friends before I had them all at the click of a mouse or the tap of the keyboard?
Have you ever missed an event or not turned up to
Ali is a Mission Support Worker at Cliff College in
something because it wasn’t on Facebook? Me too. We
Derbyshire. He loves hanging out with friends,
really rely of Facebook! I even rely on Facebook to tell me
spending time on Facebook and eating food.
when my families’ birthdays are. Social networking sites like Facebook have changed the way we live our lives and
Ali is the writer behind The Natwivity (see page 5).
this could really shape the way we do community and
Follow on Twitter - @Natwivity
even church. Our way of life is increasingly shaped by the technology
While Facebook is great, it doesn’t replace the quality
we create and utilize. I cant imagine a world without
time that comes from hanging out with your mates and
mobile phones and Facebook, I would have to wear
doing what you love.
a watch, carry a diary and actually remember things! New, powerful ways of communicating have affected
We only need to look at the Bible to see that words used
and transformed the way we interact with each other in
in the right way are powerful, at a distance or face to face.
our schools, colleges and places of work. The internet
Facebook gives us the ability to be involved in many lives
and social networking sites, like Facebook, have a big
across many worlds. What we do with this technology will
potential to allow us to share our lives with each other
shape the future of our relationships with one another
and to share what is important to us, what we believe and what makes us tick.
and the way we interact with God. Your status, your wall posts and your comments demonstrate who you are and what you believe in. What have you posted in the last few
There are also dangers to these wonderful sites. We can sometimes become so reliant on Facebook
weeks? What does say about your life and your world? What does it say about your bond with God?
that we miss out on building relationships in person. Many times I get home from seeing my mates only to realize I’d forgotten how much I love spending time with them face to face, nothing beats it.
If we use Facebook as a way of challenging people’s attitude towards God then it can be a powerful tool. If we use it as replacement for relationship it becomes a poor imitation of friendship.
We love these guys! Read on to find out about hip hop, truth and hope. Check out page 30 to be in with a chance of winning loads of 29th Chapter albums. /thoughts: How and why did 29th Chapter start?
/t: Your biog says that you have distinctly set What does that mean?
promoting something positive. We meet so many young people during our schools work. Our music is about
music, the content will fall into four or five categories.
inspiring and encouraging these guys because we believe
It’s normally about sex, drugs, money, violence or
in the potential of young people to do great things.
Mr Prince: 29th Chapter has been around for quite a
completely different perspective. If we’re talking about
while. It was originally called Acts 29 and we changed
sex it’s in the context of love and if we’re talking about
the name about 6 years ago. People kept calling us Axe
money it’s probably about how much of it we don’t have,
29, which sounded like some kind of gnarley rock band.
as opposed to lying about how much we’ve got. I guess
29th Chapter sounded cooler, so we changed the name
in some senses we turn the normal sensibility about hip
to that. The purpose of our music is to use hip hop to
hop upside down on its head and we’re comfortable to
communicate a positive message of hope and love
do that because we’re not making music for the sake of
to young people. The overall press and generally the
making money. We’d rather speak the truth.
overriding message of most hip hop is quite negative or empty. Hip hop tends to promote things like wealth and and satisfaction in life. So our whole view as a band is really to bring a message of hope.
MP: For us it’s about promoting hope for young people,
MP: In loads of ways! If you listen to most hip hop
respect. Though we talk about this stuff too, it’s from a
sex; things that we believe don’t bring real happiness
/t: So what would you say is your overriding message?
yourselves apart in sound, purpose and individuality.
nds er & Frie t p a h C 29th rty
& as Pa m t s i r h C Launch m u b l A Louder e r 20 0 9 m) Decemb at 6.30p rday 19th ors open W5 4UB Date: Satu m - 10.30pm (do , g n li a E ve, 0p Time: 7.0 , 268 Northfield A CC o or Venue: E a 5 t the d dvance £1 a in 2 £1 Tickets:
/t: You mention that you do schools work, but also you
/t: I’ve heard that you guys are releasing a single onto
/t: What would you like 29th Chapter to be
do a lot of big stage gigs. Which do you prefer?
the secular market. What led to that decision?
MP: It’s difficult because both arenas have their place
MP: I guess part of our dream is to take our music to the
MP: I think to be known as a band that changed, that had
and they’re both really valuable and important to us.
masses. We feel that what we’ve got to say is something
an impact on culture and had an impact on society, for
It’s great to do big festivals, the main stage stuff, where
that we want the world to hear. I guess in some senses
the best. I really respect Bono who, through the success
lots of people get to hear our music and get some idea
hip hop has been marginalised to subculture, maybe
and profile of his band and music, has had a profound
of our heart and that stuff helps sell our records, which
urban culture, but over the last couple of years it’s
impact on culture and society. I hope that we would be
helps us pay our bills, which is great. But we’re also really
become really a part of pop culture. I guess we thought
a band that impacts culture and gets people thinking
passionate about just being hands on and direct with
to ourselves, “Well…why not?” At the end of the day we
about the wider issues within society, thinking about the
think that music is given for people to enjoy and we want
poor, thinking about those who are destitute or broken,
as many people as possible to enjoy our music. But we
and thinking about global issues as well.
e t p t a h ap c h ch a t 9 h ch 2 t e 9
We’ve just got back from doing a couple of schools weeks.
also believe that we have something to say that people
I think there’s nothing quite as challenging and rewarding
need to hear. We have a message that has the potential
as seeing the penny drop with some young people.
to change lives. It’s a message of hope, a message of love
Watching people realise that they can do something
and one of peace. We want everybody to hear it, whether
with their lives and that they have options. We often walk
it’s part of the Christian arena or the mainstream culture,
into schools and kids will be like “gangsters! gangsters!
we just want to get it out there.
gangsters!” and we’re like “Oh my gosh! Where?” We love being able to show people that hip hop isn’t all about gangsters and crime, it’s an art form.
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SO WHAT DO YOU WANT TO WATCH THEN?
CORALINE? HANNAH MONTANA?
...THAT MADE ME... WHAT CAN WASH AWAY MY SIN?
NOTHING BUT THE BLOOD OF JESUS.
OH! PRECIOUS IS THAT FLOW...
...WHITE AS SNOW;
NOTHING BUT THE BLOOD OF JESUS.
NO OTHER FOUNT I KNOW...
See page 30
In a rich man’s world Recently I posted a facebook status saying that I want an iPhone but I wasn’t sure whether I should buy one. Twelve people replied, which made me feel very popular!
is great, and until recently it was ok to get it, even if you
Adam works for Leeds Faith in Schools. He loves
couldn’t afford it. We could get it and not worry about
football, red wine and sunshine.
paying for it for a few years. But then it all went wrong. We’re learning that it’s not great
The kingdom of God is where good news is brought to
to buy things you can’t afford after all! If large parts of
the poor, the brokenhearted are healed, captives are
Things matter, stuff matters, but I’m caught in a bit of a
society, our banks and adverts are dishing out poor advice
freed, the blind see, the mourning are comforted and
dilemma. Can I justify getting something that is blatantly
when it comes to money, where can I find good advice?
God’s love is known and experienced (Isaiah 61:1-2).
a luxury and not something I really
After hearing that, let me ask you a question. Does stuff
need? I want an iPhone because
How about this from Jesus’ most famous speech: “Don’t
it will make my life and work
worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about
easier, but more than that I
your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important
The deal with money and ‘stuff’ is that it’s fine, until you
than food and the body more than clothes?” (Matt 6:25)
follow it in an obsessive Facebook-style, until your life is
want one because it will be fun. Is that wrong?
matter? It doesn’t nearly as much to me.
run by it. Life isn’t a point scoring system where we need It’s brilliantly profound and works on two levels. Firstly,
to do the right thing every time. It’s about our attitude
don’t stress about having enough to survive; if God looks
toward things and our decisions about what we choose
after the birds, then he’ll look after you because you are
more valuable. But secondly, I think Jesus is saying more,
possibilities are a lot
He’s telling us not to worry about trying to attain a higher
Before Jesus tells the crowd not to be anxious he
standard of living, there is something more important.
tells them they can’t serve both God and money. You
We live in a world where
more diverse than throughout the rest of
can’t follow both God and money. Which one are you
history put together.
He finished this section of his speech with “seek first
Society would have
the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these
you believe that having the newest version or the latest fashion
things will be given to you” (Matt 6:33). But what is the kingdom of God?
following... money or God? (In case you’re wondering, I am going to buy an iPhone.)
Compassion Fatigue The word ‘poverty’ will have a different effect on each of us.
In exploring a Christian response to poverty however,
Chris Simmonds loves marmite, films, tea and wants
it seems to me there is one crucial factor that can help
to be like Jack Bauer when he grows up!
us overcome this stale-mate. The Bible indicates that For some it may conjure images of multitudes suffering
our response to human need is an expression of our
under the cruel effects of drought or flood, others of us
relationship with God.
may think of the children obliged to work in the so called
So, we can watch our precious pennies disappear, as it were, in that great pool of need, and we can do it smiling.
‘sweat shops’ forfeiting their human right to education
A despondent shrug of the shoulders will indeed offend
We are released to spend our limited resources of time,
– not to mention a childhood. Other minds may turn to
a good and loving God who has Himself chosen to feel
treasure and talents on the world around us because in
the myriad of girls quietly sold into the global sex trade
the pain of His broken creation. Our slight, feeble gesture
that very act of happy sacrifice we can feel God smiling
towards mercy and kindness becomes a beautiful
right back at the beautiful thing we have done. We can
expression of worship to God. We don’t need to be
know that as we love that one individual person or help
For most of us, poverty is a remote word. It’s ‘out there’,
frozen by the scale of the need, needn’t even consider
meet a need, we are showing that we love Him. And that
beyond us. The immense shared suffering of a mass of
how much difference our initiative might make – it is
people, living sometimes beyond oceans and continents,
enough to know that God sees, and smiles.
can blind us to the individual, personal plights of individual children, men and women. The need seems
Jesus brought perhaps the clearest of this
boundless and our exposure to it will often produce little
in Matthew 25 – “Truly, I say to you,
more than a feeling of impotency at our inability to make
as you did it to one of the least of
any significant difference.
these my brothers, you did it to me.” Jesus takes the gloomy
Many of us will occasionally have responded to pleas for
guilt-ridden obligation to
help following a devastating natural disaster. Some may
give and infuses our
even sponsor a child and give regularly to development
agencies. But it all still seems like a drop in the ocean, we
with a new,
can become numb, reduced to what has been termed
purpose – devotion.
Another massive giveaway!
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Published on Oct 25, 2010
/thoughts magazine challenges and equips teens, twenties and students to engage with words, faith and culture. This edition includes article...