Church, Manchester, Faith, Punk

Archive for August, 2011

Sharon Knows

A few CCM:City people have been stepping up to the blog plate recently. Obviously, being a blog nerd, this makes me happy.

I think blogging allows you to express who you are, what you like and what you are doing. Some people create a digital image of themselves that they hope appears attractive (GUILTY), others are more honest and imaginative.

So check out Sharons blog. Sharon has largely written about music she loves but this post about her experiences being brought up by a single mother is fantastic. The recent rioting has led politicians, the media and even some church leaders to start asking “Where are the fathers?”. This question is so loaded with anti single mother sentiment as to be both naive and utterly disrespectful.

Anyway, I was raised by two great parents so I have little insight into this. However, you should read what Sharon say.

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How to succeed at university #2 Start as you mean to go on

Let me tell you about my buddy Greg. Greg graduated a few years ago and we are good friends. He loves God, is intelligent and is the sort of Guy everybody likes. He also has a passion for hockey and decided that he want to play for the hockey team at Birmingham Uni.

Sports Teams at Uni are a tough place for a Christian to go. The social side of University sports teams seem to revolve around binge drinking, casual sex and drug abuse. The initiation events of University hockey teams have become the stuff of legend.

I knew Greg was in the hockey team and I knew he was a solid Christian so I asked him how he squared the circle. He told me that the only way to deal with this is to be Holy from the start.

He had decided that he was just going to stand his ground avoid from the very beginning. He explained that it didn’t take long for his teammates to realise that he just didn’t do all that stuff and after a while the peer group pressure eased up on him and eventually he had earned a great deal of respect.

This stuck with me. Defining yourself from the beginning of your time at University is so important.

I know a whole bunch of students who only remembered they were Christians about half way through their second year (usually after a bad hangover and a nasty experience). They had to reel back in a whole lifestyle that had gotten out of control. This was hard to do in view of their non-Christian friends.

Freshers’ week is a temptation to go crazy and it’s probably a first time away from home so there is a great deal of freedom to play with.

Should you party hard? Yes.

Should you have lots of Non-Christian friends? Please please please please

Should you love Jesus? Yes

Can you square the circle?


How to succeed at University – #1 Know God and Party Hard

I wrote a few days ago about how Christians should not be scared of going to University. In that blog I promised I would explain how I thought Christians can beat the fear and make a success of University life.

So, first of all – Know God.

It seems so obvious but is so often forgotten.

All the guys and girls that I know who pursue a relationship with their father find themselves in a much better position to deal with the challenges that University throws at them.

Relationship with God doesn’t make you richer, or improve your grades but it does set your life on a foundation of Rock.

The importance of setting aside time in your diary and space in your head for God is impossible to overestimate. So many things at Uni look urgent and even more things look too exciting to miss and so we can find ourselves forgetting God.

Without wanting to get crazy and start setting rules let me make a few suggestions.

• Set aside time everyday to pray and read the bible
• Meet with a few church buddies to pray and get accountable
• Party hard

We Christians forget the value of a good party. At University it is easy to get caught in a vast Christian bubble. So we need to remember that constant contact with Non-Christians is a great way to build your relationship with God because they will challenge your thinking, point out your hypocrisy and laugh at your weirdness (and you ARE weird).

This post originally appeared on the Christ Church Manchester website.


Don’t Be Scared of University

So your A-Level results are in the bank and you are going to your first choice University or God has had mercy on you and allowed your failure to bring you to Manchester.

In a few weeks you will be living in the best city in the whole country (possibly the world but I visited Chicago once and that was pretty cool….). Life is going to change forever.

Soon you will have a whole bunch of new friends. The person in the room next to you in halls could become your buddy for life or just the crazy guy that plays drum n’ bass at 4am while crying like a baby because he misses home. Anything is possible.

Scared?

Don’t be. You will have the time of your life if you decide to.

In the next few days and weeks I am going to do a series of blog posts on how to excel at University.

Christians should not approach University asking how they can survive. They should be working out how to succeed.


I failed my A-levels

Its that time of year again when 18 year olds across the country wait impatiently for their A-level results.

It feels like this moment could define the rest of your life. You feel like some bad results will come as a crushing blow to your future that you will never recover from. The possibilities of University life look tantalizing and petrifying all at the same time.

Let me tell you what happened to me on A-level day in 1995 (I don’t look it but I am THAT old).

I failed.

I failed badly. I got a “D” a “U” and a “N”. You ever hear of anyone else who got “N”? Me neither. Crushing failure.

I discovered that you cannot start a punk band in your last year of A-levels, develop a debilitating passion for beer, perfect the art of non-attendance AND never ever hand in any work and still expect to go to University.

I remember opening the letter and looking at the “grades” I’d got and realizing I had been a little bit stupid/immature/lazy. That feeling is burned into my memory.

I took two years out. Year 1 was volunteering for a church as youth worker and year 2 was as a volunteer in a homeless hostel.

My time volunteering in the homeless hostel helped me realize how ridiculously privileged I was and how easy my life had been up until that point. I applied to University as a mature student and got in by the skin of my teeth. Three years later I got a 2:1 in a degree that I worked hard for.

The moral of the story? Well, firstly don’t start a punk band two months before your exams start, but perhaps more importantly don’t worry about failure. Failure just means you need to learn a few lessons before you try again.


Summer is weird

Summer is weird. Summer while working for a church is especially strange. My instinct is to shut most things down and go to a skeleton operation because everyone must be on holiday.

Wrong.

This summer CCM:City has measurably grown. I think I expected that once all the students cleared off back to their home towns we would be scratching around for enough people to make a half decent prayer trio.

Last summer we shut our Sunday evening meetings from May till September because it’s what everyone else does. That and because everybody left…..

This summer we have a bunch of people who are properly committed to us as a church. We also felt that if we shut down for the summer then we would just be a student church and that is not us at all. We keep getting visitors, some of them come back and the community vibe is so much fun. There is such a strong sense of identity that sometimes I feel like I am part of a strange street gang.

Anyways, September/October looks intriguing. What a ride.

Ps – If you think prayer works then pray that CCM:Levenshulme gets a venue. You can also thank God that CCM:Salford is close to starting! Boom.