Hide the Kids!
There’s a conference on youth and children’s ministry going on in Washington, DC this week. That by itself would hardly be newsworthy. What makes this conference unusual is the line-up of speakers and presenters. This is what the conference web site says about it:
In May of 2012, leaders, ministers, volunteers, parents, and students will gather in Washington, DC, USA to spark conversations about youth and children within a new kind of Christianity. They will talk about innovative practices, critical issues, and controversial topics like violence, racism, interfaith dialogue, and sexuality. They will embark on a journey together to engage in life-giving ministry with young people. And they will blaze a new trail for the 21st-century church.
Here are some of the presentations: keynotes:
•Brian McLaren, “Christian Faith (and) the Next Generation: Why We Need this Conference”
•Almeda Wright, ”Personal Jesus, Public Faith: Cultivating a Generation of Young Public Theologians”
•Tony Campolo, “A Letter to My Grandchildren”
•Shane Claiborne, Title TBA
•Dave McNeely, “A New Kind of Sexuality: Finding a Framework”
•Starlette McNeil, “A New Kind of Life: What Would Jesus Do about Racism?”
•Lisa Schirch and Leymah Gbowee, “God’s Security Strategy: Peacebuilding”
•Rebecca Seiling and Amy Gingerich, “Teaching Peace to Children”
•Jim, Joy, Luke and Jack Wallis, “Let’s Say Grace”
•Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., “To Serve this Present Age”
•Melinda Melone, “Welcoming Rainbow Kids: Resources and Approaches for Working with Youth in the GLBTIQA Community”
•Christopher Rodkey, “The Synaptic Gospel: A Neurological Approach to Religious Education”
This list isn’t exhaustive, and I don’t want to suggest that the conference is all bad. I’m sure there will be some very good teaching and discussion. What I find peculiar is the number of political activists making presentations at a youth and children’s ministry conference. And what in the name of Elijah Muhammad is Jeremiah Wright doing in the middle of something like this? Is he there to answer Sharlette McNeill’s question, “what would Jesus do about racism?” with “hate white people!”?
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