Editorial: Deja Vu, something new

Editorial: Deja Vu, something new

Stacey Gasson

Man is a history-making creature who can neither repeat his past nor leave it behind.
W.H. Auden

If you can forgive his exclusiveness, Auden does have a point. While the world we respond to is shaped by changing social, political, economic and personal concerns, there is much in this life that evokes a sense of deja vu, like platform shoes and Dolly the sheep.

There are the days when our youth ministry predecessors may have trouble sharing our enthusiasm for this new (or recycled) ‘thing’ we are so inspired by (“Raves? More like raving mad”). And then there are those other times, the ones when they recognise the road we have found and can guide us as we drive blindly into a new dawn, squinting though a dirty windscreen.

In this sense, youth ministry can be a bit like a child sometimes. Experience is usually our most effective teacher, but there are some things that others have already covered in LIFE 101 without us needing to go there too. How many of us tested the ‘cat food is not human food’ theory to find out it was true?

In this issue of Crumbs we revisit the history of youth ministry in Aotearoa New Zealand, taking a broad overview of our journey thus far and the learnings it may bring to today. This is not to suggest we should live vicariously, because hey, where would AJ Hackett be if he had listened to the voice of reason?! Rather, as we travel into tomorrow and its unique challenges, perhaps we need to look back and see if someone else has already invented the elastic we are going to need.

Stacey Gasson works in the Catholic Youth Office in the archdiocese of Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand.