We started our time together with each of the four…actually it’s hard to know how to refer to them…featured speakers reflecting on one of the four words which constitute the title of the conference and thus the reason we were there.
1. Theological
Tony Jones: I used to think theology was “second order discourse.” That is, it’s not what you do, its what you think about after you do something. Now I think everything we do is theological!
Theology is the nexus of divine action and human action.

2. Dialogue
Doug Pagitt: dialogue begins with vulnerability. One is left exposed because it might not work. Dialogue means we don’t know where we’re going to end up. Dialogue brings us to a place we couldn’t get to without the others in the room. Therefore it can never be all about us. We need partners to dialogue.

3. Youth
Kenda Dean: Youth ARE theologians. They are vulnerable to each other. Youth are human beings in acute form. [Humorously, it was later revealed that some heard this as ‘youth are human being in a cure form!’ Kenda was mortified.] They don’t have all the defense mechanisms.

Moltmann talks about youth being defined as open ended and hopeful. Thus Christianity is by definition youthful.

4. Ministry
Andrew Root: Ministry is not what we do but what God does. It’s not about practices and procedures but youth ministry is fundamentally about participating in God’s actions with and for the people.
It is absolutely NOT about making kids good.
Ministry pulls us into dialogue.

We reflected later that it seems like all four words are connected, that each one keeps leading us into the other.

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