Q really is pretty unique as far as conferences go. It’s focused on 4 things: Culture, Future, Church, and Gospel. The wide range of speakers address how we as believers can proactively and positively influence our culture and the future through seven channels of influence: Church, social sector, business, education, government, arts & entertainment, and media.
The speakers present from their areas of expertise. The discussions are open-ended and you are left to wrestle with the tension and reconcile it or not with your own beliefs. It’s mentally stretching. Good stuff. Here’s just a sample, and why I thought they were significant.
Gabe Lyons pointed out that the Church is the only channel that convenes the other six channels of influence every week. I realized that Church leaders who see their congregation only as members are missing an astounding perspective – a congregation of faithful believers equipped to go out and positively engage six key channels of influence for Christ in their everyday lives. What if instead of instead of recycling tired messages in glossy series packages, we actually asked them what they needed? The Church (the one made up of humans) would be an incredible force for change.
Sajan George spoke about education, and listed three questions that can change lives: 1. What’s your story? 2. Can I join your story? 3. Can we retell your story? As he summarized in closing… this is also the Gospel.
Did Jesus preach the Gospel? Scot McKnight says absolutely yes, when you understand that the Gospel is the announcement that Jesus is the Messiah. “We’ve developed a ‘personal salvation’ culture at the expense of the Gospel.” Our salvation theology focuses on Jesus’ death to reconcile us to God and forgive sins – a theme not found in the N.T.
A provocative talk by Mark Regnerus, who wrote the Christianity Today article The Case For Early Marriage, talked about reemphasizing the value of sex. In short: Women have something of inherent value that men don’t. Women are the gatekeepers – sex begins when they say, but the price is negotiated. A woman’s asking price may be marriage, but can she get it? There’s no longer a “collective power” among women by agreement on this.
A panel discussion including Tim Keller, Brian McLaren, Alister McGrath and Father Dempsey Rosales-Acosta looked at the Bible. It’s important to remember that you may have an inerrant text, and have an errant interpretation. And as sinners, we must remember we have prejudices which we filter into our interpretations. (We may also need to be reminded that we’re sinners with prejudices. Or maybe that’s just me.)
There’s so much more. Think I’ll continue tomorrow. Meanwhile, Tim Schraeder, Director of Communications at Park Community Church in Chicago, has posted a comprehensive summary of nearly all the sessions, if you’re interested in more detail.