Q really is pretty unique as far as conferences go. It’s about 4 things: Culture, Future, Church, and Gospel. And it studies our culture’s seven channels of influence: Church, social sector, business, education, government, arts & entertainment, and media. Q’s wide range of speakers address how we as believers can proactively and positively influence our culture and the future through these channels of influence. Here are notes from two of the most provocative (in my opinion) sessions.
Imam Abdul Rauf Feisal of the Cordoba House in Lower Manhattan near Ground Zero, was interviewed on Muslim/Christian relations. He suggested we could build relationships that acknowledge each other’s beliefs, and that maintain exclusivity while seeking understanding and peace. He compared the fear of Islam becoming part of America to the same fear of Catholicism in the 60s. (I, for one, remember my parents being horrified by a Catholic in the White House.) The conversation was fascinating, though not overly controversial. But I think in today’s culture of argumentative hyperbole, the respectful approach was a good example. He pointed out that “America is a faith-based democracy.” To which a colleague commented, “And as Christians – in what we call a Christian country – I think we bear the responsibility to demonstrate God’s love.”
The other provocative session was a panel that included Portland Mayor Sam Adams, the Portland City Commissioner, and a pastor from Imago Dei, a Portland church. This church has pursued and partnered with the city for 11 years. They started by asking the city how they could serve the city’s “least of these,” and through the Advent Conspiracy donated $100,000 to a shelter for trafficked girls. Imago Dei’s position is that the Church lives with the problems of the city, and so should be part of the solution. They serve the city’s priorities, rallying hundreds of volunteers and donating thousands of dollars to pay for city and public school needs.
In one of the most liberal cities in the country, the Mayor confessed “I discovered I’d been part of group-think” regarding evangelicals. He says he often gets calls from other mayors saying, “Did you really…?” To which he responds, “Yes, and we’re better for it.”