Up The Youth

Today, I helped out with my local church youth group. It was the second meeting in the last few months; we are trying to get it going. Today, I was nervous. I had to prepare a few icebreakers and a discussion on a Nooma DVD called Rhythm. I was unsure if it would all come together. I was late. That was OK. We all said hi. We were 13 souls. We shared some naff ice-breakers, good times and pizza. We chatted about the DVD – about who we think God is, about what we think He’s like, about how we could possibly have a relationship with Him. I was reminded that we were all real people with faith and flaws and hopes and hitches in life. I hope that we will get together again soon.

God is good; even when we forget it and don’t get it, anyway.



Who am I?

This is the very first post on my blog. Aaw. This is the spot on the net where I’ll share some of my musings, stories, experiences, thoughts, pet hates, learnings, wonder-ings, ideas and other cerebral antics. I hope you find it enlightening. but first…

Who am I? That is a profound question and as you may guess, I won’t give you the usual name-job-nationality-hobbies-etc kind of story. As regards the name, JaffacakeJim, I’m afraid I don’t have an hilarious or even vaguely inspiring anecdote of how it came about. Like many of the strings of characters in cyberspace, it was a name that wasn’t taken when applying for webmail. And yes, I do like jaffacakes.

Back to profundity: Who am I? I recently contributed to a discussion on this very question. (“How convenient for your first blog post.”, you say. That’s what I thought!) It was with a group of Christian students in a Munster college. One of the questions asked was, “if someone asked you, ‘who are you’, what would you say?” The kind of things mentioned above were mentioned then – the usual boxes we like to put others in for ease of sizing them up. Now, while we are not usually asked such direct questions as, “who are you?” or “how would you describe yourself?” (unless at an interview), it struck each of us that the way we tend to describe ourselves is in terms of how other people classify us. Our career, our studies, our nationality, our family status, our hobbies – the kinds of things we can say quickly and easily are what we tell others about ourselves, are what we readily define ourselves by. They are things which are easily defined in themselves – electrician/economist, Irish/Australian, single/married, judo/DIY – we each portray ourselves as a quiz show host would introduce us.

Is that what I am like, though? Do these categories convey who I am? How I think? What I would never relinquish, no matter what? What makes me laugh or cry? What would make me walk out of the cinema? What goes through my mind at night? Who I am when no once else sees? The colour of my mind’s eye? Maybe the typical categories do help to answer these questions but not in any way that I would really stick out in your memory. So, I’m going to let you ask me two questions (well, I’ve asked myself, on your behalf) and I’ll give you two seemingly random lists.

What is important to me? In not a very particular order:

Family. Spirituality. Truth. Friends. Health. Creating. Silence. Communication. Jesus Christ. Books. Technology. Youth. Sound. Sight. Scent. Articulation. Unity. Peace. Eating well. Maturity. Space. Sincerity. Innocent fun. Purity. Forgiveness. Justice. Hope. Sunlight. Music. Caring. Coordination. Friendliness. Constructive criticism. Praying. Being thorough. Honesty. Integrity. What God says.

What do I like – what inspires, what comforts, what titillates, what delights? Well, I like what I have listed as important but here are some more specific things:

Wood. Oats. Chickens. Grass. Apple trees. Heat. Eyes. Lists. Eccentricity. Pets. Holidays. Hardware stores. Gardens. New clothes. The smell in my garden shed. Eggs. My Apple Mac. Processes. Organising. “Doing jobs” on a Saturday morning. A good chat. Fire. Dressing smart. Photography. My Christian faith making sense. Little flowers. Large quantities of basic foodstuffs. Good pens. Cycling downhill. Trying to talk about God. Trying to talk to God. Trying to listen to God. Dwelling on things. Helping people. Laughing uncontrollably about nothing. Self control. Cold, dry mornings. Satisfying exertion. Boogeying it down. When I fix things. Catalogues. The smell of rain showers. Seemingly random lists.

I hope that gives you a flavour of who I am. Tune in next time and I’ll tell you about why I started this blog.

Until then, it’s your turn: who are you?

Awaiting my own return,