On Sunday I had the privilege of being part of an amazing experience, Lumen.131. With a tagline “Bringing questions to light,” the goal was to begin an open discussion about some topics that we as believers can often find difficult to discuss, and hopefully find ways to compassionately engage with them. Check out the link above for what it’s all about, and bios of the presenters. Here are some key highlights:
God – Jesus – Spirituality – Church
Alan pointed out that in general, most people in our world either believe in God, or are comfortable with the concept. They also pretty much like Jesus, they think he was a great teacher, and generally a good guy. People are also searching for spirituality – it’s obvious in today’s literature, story lines, and the way we respond to things around us. But most people don’t like the church. Here’s the takeaway: Alan pointed out that the first 3 concepts are our 3 core messages – and they are all still intact in today’s culture. Rather than worry about the church losing ground, we need to focus on engaging culture in these core areas where we share common ground.
Bethany Huang, Naomi Zacharias, Sandie Morgan
Three activists on a discussion panel about sex trafficking. Bethany recalled seeing a sign that first made it real to her: “Stop rape for profit.” This is what sex trafficking really is. A term I’d never heard – “sex tourism” – is largely the reason in many countries that 12-year-old girls are sold into brothels. Sandie Morgan brought it close to home by describing how it happens right here in Orange County, California. We need to pay attention, and not be afraid to speak up.
The circle on the screen is the effective range of 1 nuclear bomb dropped in Irvine, CA. Why is this even an issue for Christians? Here’s why: 1) 60,000 souls enter eternity, their destination unsure. 2) 320 square miles of God’s creation for our good is ruined for a generation. 3) If, for example, a bomb detonated at Port of Los Angeles, shipping & supply around the world shuts down. Is there another bomb? Just like 9/11 when all aircraft were grounded, no one would be allowed to enter the country. 4) Humanitarian efforts stop immediately as we focus on survival. Your church stops supporting missions. We forget Haiti. The suffering of the poor around the world is increased. As Tyler said, “You don’t even have to be a Christian to care about this.”
Andrew is a married believer who lives and works in a gay community. His passion is to find ways to bridge the chasm between the entrenched positions of both Christians and gays to have constructive engagement. This was clearly a topic whose time has come. Key comments: “It’s the Holy Spirit’s job to convict. It’s God’s job to judge. It’s my job to love.” And, “when did the church change from come as you are to change in order to come?” And, “When you believe what I believe THEN we’ll be reconciled – that’s not biblical reconciliation.”
Nearly 600 people were there. Not everyone agreed, and we didn’t expect them to. But we were so encouraged to see believers willing to engage, willing to wrestle with their own biases or apathy, and try to find a compassionate, God-honoring response.