More paperwork

I’ve just received a wodge of paperwork from 121 for my looming Assessment Conference (2-3 May). One of the things I need to do for it is prepare a piece for the ‘Topical Discussion Exercise’. This is an activity where each applicant introduces a topic and then facilitates a discussion on it, wrapping it up at the end of the allotted time.

I am finding it quite difficult to think of an appropriate topic though. The main problem is that the applicants vary considerably – in age, in interest, in education. So, there’s not much point in doing anything ‘theological’. There’s a risk if I do something too technical or geeky that it won’t be understood. And if I choose something controversial then I run the risk of causing argument rather than discussion.

I have little recollection of what the chosen topics were last time (there are five applicants in each group, so that’s five discussions one after the other). I do remember that everyone is keen to help everyone else out because you don’t want to have your own discussion scuppered if you’ve been a bit bolshy in someone else’s. But I also remember that everyone is so keyed up and intense that the discussions have a slightly ‘forced’, even surreal, quality about them.

So, nothing too bland and nothing too inflammatory, nothing too technical and nothing too simplistic. Shouldn’t be too difficult to dream up something, should it?

5 responses to “More paperwork”

  1. How about ‘privacy’ and/or ‘copyright’ in the new online world?  Not too techy or too geeky but accessible enough that most people would have an understanding of the issues around using stuff found online or issues of online privacy.  You could relate both to church settings and shows you are a current kind of guy.

  2. That might work.

    I’ve just reread the guidelines and the topic should have an ‘ethical and/or theological dimension’, so I guess your suggestions would definitely fall into the ‘ethics’ category.

    Another thought – the interweb has certainly made it easier to find Biblical/theological resources – but given the ‘variability’ in quality of those resources, they are a mixed blessing. Could possibly develop a discussion around that as well.

  3. There’s loads of ethical stuff in the news right now – stem cell research (a bit heavy); local income tax or Council tax? How fair is fairtrade? Should we buy clothes cheap from places like Primark and ASDA? Eco-congregations; crime, prisons, sentencing;sexuality (if you’re brave enough to tackle it!); housing/house prices etc etc. Whatever you choose, try to get something which interest you and you have strong opinions on! You’ve only got 5 mins or so to speak and then chair a dicussion!

    Good luck!

  4. Lots of good suggestions there. One issue that might be a bit dangerous/but topical is bullying within the church. Some clergy have been on the receiving end of despicable treatment, and others have meted it out….. Maybe too risky, but I’ve been led to believe that there’s a report heading for the Assembly on the subject.
    I agree with CB. Time is very limited with these things, but nobody sets out to sink a discussion (for fear of their own being holed below the water.)

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