Papers and Publications

Spirituality for Youth-work

This book addresses a systemic gap in existing studies on human services and youth work. While the notion of spirituality does make rare appearances in such literature, it is often vaguely defined and underdeveloped both as a concept and as a mode of practice. This ambiguity is symptomatic of the broader shift in the sociological context of Western and global societies that has been referred to variously as post-modern, late-modern and post-secular. From the perspective of the relationship between human development and the spiritual/theological, we live in a “time between times”. We have not yet worked out how to speak of “spirit”; nor how to include its meanings in positive youth intervention, and developments in our language for a public spiritual consciousness remain in a state of cultural flux. This book offers a coherent vocabulary and narrative from which to construct a more explicit and deliberate practice of spiritual care, education and professional identity for youth workers. It speaks directly to youth work practitioners, managers of youth services, those providing youth work education, and anyone with an interest in youth and spirituality research and practice.

Portraits of our Shy Hopes

‘We have schools for the head, and for the body… but no school for the soul. This simple little book, with its poetic phrases and invitation to live the spiritual life, is a text for the inner life. The author invites us to become our “best selves” by asking us to stop-look and listen for the depth-dimension where God calls us to be.’ Dr Stuart Devenish, author of Ordinary Saints – lessons in the art of giving away your life.

The Art of Accompanying

If you have ever been deeply and profoundly listened to you will understand the beautiful gift of being accompanied. The art of accompanying is to become present to the heartbeat and significance of our own stories. To discover and to draw from the wisdom that reveals itself at the centre of experience. To find the spiritual threads, the meanings, the light and the purpose. Our hope is that you will join us in crafting this extraordinary and wonderful practice within yourself and in the world.

Read review by Dr. Jenny Taylor here.


‘2 am on a grassy knoll’

A perspective on distinctive youth worker attributes

Youth workers often feel underrated and poorly understood in multidisciplinary conversations. While it may make us feel better to complain about our relatively marginalised youth worker status, it would be better for us to be proactive about explaining what it is that we actually do in language that makes sense to others…. read more

‘It is worth doing nothing and having a rest’ 

Contemplative practice as resistance in an era of exhaustion

Abstract: Australian author and cartoonist, Michael Leunig, has named both a problem in the contemporary experience of productivity and identity and also, its possible solution – rest. Workplace culture and aspiration appears antithetical and resistant to the notion that ‘less is more’. The meaning of this problem and solution are explored through a…. read more

Portraits of the “Shy Hope”

Engaging Youth Spiritualities in the Australian Context

Abstract: The Australian spiritual consciousness has been described as “a whisper in the mind, a shy hope in the heart.” This is not a spirituality of explicit religious language or loud evangelicalism but rather a deeply grounded hope, spoken of tentatively and with great care. This description by Gary Bouma alerts us to something very important in the cultural life and consciousness of…. read more

“Priests are psychologists – Come back to church!”

Observations of dreaming & awakening as therapeutic
phenomena in reflective educational practice

Abstract: What might happen in an applied social sciences curriculum where undergraduates from a variety of Christian backgrounds, together with others of agnostic, atheist or differing faith orientations, are invited to explore their relationship with the…. read more

The benefits of an integrated sacred

Secular approach to youth worker training

In his professional context as a youth work academic at a faith-based institution, Phil Daughtry has had cause to think creatively about both faith-based (sacred) and secular concepts, values, assumptions and discourses, and how these relate to the process of preparing youth work students to think and work in the predominantly public…. read more

A Storytelling Spirituality

Narrative as an alternative approach to spiritual discovery and learning

Abstract: Using a case study of a curriculum experiment within youth worker education, this chapter proposes an alternative narrative approach to spiritual education. Mindful of significant cultural and social changes which have fundamentally shifted the nature of how we talk about spirituality and faith in our contemporary climate, here we illustrate a process that enables educators and young people to engage in conversation and storytelling to discover a lived and…. read more

‘… we have no choice. God is with us.’

– Karl Rahner, primordial experience of God and contemporary formation

Abstract: This paper presents a small gallery of vignettes from the spiritual writings of Karl Rahner with brief interpretative commentary. A discussion of the relevance of Rahner’s notion of primordial experience of God to the contemporary spiritual quest will follow. Reference will be made to findings in Australian…. read more

%d bloggers like this: