Eleven youth ministers working in Catholic parishes in two large urban dioceses were interviewed. The paper examined the life journey of youth ministers and how they saw their role along with perceptions of challenges and how they could be better supported. Participants were motivated and expressed satisfaction with their jobs. They displayed high levels of religious salience as marked by their religious belief and practice and networking with faith-based communities. They manifested a strong counter-cultural message which is essential to authentic witness. As such, the participants in this study are a great gift to the Church and to its ministry. A preliminary typology of youth ministers was proposed, which springs from different life experiences, how they approach their work and what they see as their future. There was some difficulty in finding paid youth ministers working in parishes and this may point to one of the significant challenges facing them; that is, making the job sustainable within existing Catholic parish structures. While well-networked with sustaining faith communities, there is scope for support between youth ministers working in parishes. In addition, a more targeted professional development program which recognises the differing needs of youth ministers would be appropriate.
Jos de Kock
Biblical scholars and Christian ministers have long viewed Miriam as an exemplar of female leadership. Few, however, recognise Miriam as a role model for female youth or explore the Biblical text for hints regarding the formation of courageous and competent young women. This paper contributes to research on youth leadership formation by providing exegetical commentary on Exodus 1–2, with a view to how the text might provide Christian communities clues about what female leaders look like and how to help girls become them.
Responding to Andrew Root’s Faith Formation in a Secular Age
David F. White
Today, youth and youthfulness has become an avatar for authenticity—used to authorise everything from commodities to politics to faith. Andrew Root reveals that adding youth and youthfulness was part of a larger strategy of Christian formation that must be judged theologically inadequate and anachronistic, since it participates in “secular ii” logic of addition—more youth, institutional affiliation, information and instruction. Root believes a focus on youthfulness is a distraction which must be relinquished as we attend (in the cross-pressured secular iii) to our yearning for true authenticity, which is a manifestation of a more essential desire for transcendent union that makes central personal encounter. Root believes that the age of authenticity serves to clear the ground of the additive logic of secularity ii, making way for an experience of personhood “in Christ.” According to Root, with Luther, kenotic ministry “in Christ” must be the heart of Christian formation in this new era of secularity iii. This review of Root’s book is largely framed by deep appreciation, but also points to problematic aspects of Root’s uber-Protestant perspective that does not adequately address such priorities as analogia entis, sacramentality, beauty and re-enchantment. Only a wider embrace of Anglo-Catholic-Methodist thought can point to both the risk of idolatry of youth, and to the sacramental possibility that youth are parables of God.
A Critical Reflection on the Theology of Place Exhibited in Two Youth Ministry Placements
Leah Marie Wilson
This article explores how young people today engage with physical space and how it can best be utilized within ministry to youth. Sociological research has suggested a movement away from thought on physical space and its impact on creating a place for young people to be rooted in community. Through visual research conducted on a current youth ministry, it was discovered that physical spaces directly impact youth and their ability to belong to a faith-based community. It was also discovered that of the two youth ministries analyzed in this study – one in the US and one in the UK – there was the practice of attempting to create a third place for youth to congregate. From the visual research conclusions, this article argues for the importance of creating a place for youth and how this can be achieved in multi-functional spaces, specifically through the utilization of music.
Virginie Silhouette-Dercourt, Ousseynou Saidou Sy and Dominique Desjeux
This paper focuses on the beauty and sartorial choices of young French Muslim women in the Paris area. Through biographies on their morning rituals, this article questions the notion of cosmopolitanism when it comes to their veiling practices. Research suggests that these young women, through their double presence in the world – as French citizens and as global citizens – are powerful agents of change of the dominant material culture and consumption. Their varied beauty and sartorial choices help them construct a coherent inner and outer self and manage social and gendered interactions, facilitating circulation. It is argued that wearing the hijab can be conceptualized as a new form of cosmopolitanism, neither ‘from below’ nor ‘from above’: it reframes a Eurocentric view of conflicts between religious and secular discourses in postcolonial times, as well as French fashion.
Globalization brings forth a geographical and thematic expansion of the scope of youth studies beyond the traditional topics of delinquency, studies of generations, and subculture. Youth has emerged as a topic for cosmopolitanism studies with a widespread tendency to use cosmopolitanism as a master narrative that leaves no conceptual room for considering ‘non-cosmopolitan’ on an equal footing. The article questions whether social research should be concerned with identifying the cosmopolitanism of youth or whether it should be concerned with examinations of the glocalization of world’s youth (sub-)cultures. In the article’s last section, I outline a research agenda that focuses upon the relationship between the world’s youth (sub-)cultures, on the one hand, and glocalization and trans-localization, on the other. Use of these concepts offers important insights into the youth's cultural practices and is an alternative to the master narrative of cosmopolitanization.
From Mannheim to Beck and Beyond
Christopher Thorpe and David Inglis
There is today persistent debate in journalism and politics about social generations. Social scientists point out that young(er) people across the planet today seem to be in increasingly similar socio-economic, political and cultural situations. These involve shared forms of experience, as well as means of dealing with often highly challenging circumstances. A major debate at the intersection of social theory, globalization studies and youth studies is whether it makes sense to say that ‘younger’ people across the world today constitute one single ‘global generation’. Such ideas have been promoted by leading social theorists like Bryan S. Turner and Ulrich Beck and Elisabeth Beck-Gernsheim. The analysis of social generations stretches back to Karl Mannheim’s pioneering statements in the 1920s. It has been argued that the Mannhemian tradition is in many ways outdated, and needs to be subjected to profound refurbishment, so that it may better understand cross-border, trans-national, ‘cosmopolitan’ phenomena, involving global generations and the forces and mechanisms which create them. This paper argues that claims about ‘global generations’ made by the theorists are muddled, especially in terms of conflating generations and age cohorts, and are often deterministic. The problems derive partly from imperfect readings and usages of Mannheim’s original ideas. It is shown that these are much more ‘cosmopolitan’ and attuned to cultural phenomena than critics allege. While the paper is sceptical as to the potential of the global generations concept in general, nonetheless the ongoing relevance of Mannheim for future endeavours to improve uses of it are underlined.