The bird is a placeholder. Actually, it’s holding a place in a vent that leads from my furnace and emerges from the wall above my back door. Since the furnace isn’t running, I’m letting it be for now — I believe this is a male bird bringing food to his egg-sitting mate, and I think it’s sweet.

Birds know how to look after their children, but it’s fairly uncomplicated for them. Sit, hatch, feed worms, kick ’em out of the nest.

Caring for human children is far more difficult, and spiritual care is particularly tricky. Do we simply indoctrinate kids? Do we teach them ask questions and explore? How do we best contribute to their healthy spiritual formation?

A whole bunch of progressive type Christians are gathering this week to explore that topic at a conference going by the moniker C.Y.N.K.C. (Children, Youth, and a New Kind of Christianity). More than 500 registrants are expected to attend the four-day meeting, being held at Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. Speakers include folks like Brian McLaren, Dave Csinos, Tony Campolo, Ivy Beckwith, and others.

I can’t be there, but I’ve asked Abby Thornton, pastor of Broadneck Baptist Church in Annapolis and a seasoned writer, to send me reflections from the meeting that I’ll post here as guest blogs. So, check back over the next few days and see what’s being said about this most important topic …

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