A couple months ago we were invited to join some friends for a Q Commons conference where Pastor Tim Keller of NYC’s Redeemer Presbyterian and New York Times best selling author Ann Voskamp would be giving video presentations along with some local live presenters on the topic of Christianity and culture. That is all I knew about the event, but being that the two forementioned speakers are two of my favorites that was all I needed to know.
Well, last night was the conference – downtown in our city – and in similar venues across 60 U.S. cities with over 10,000 participants world-wide! Wow- I had no idea of the magnitude nor the ripple effect of where it may lead.
Q stands for Question with the aim for Christians to Stay Curious, Think Well and Advance the Common Good of our local communities and beyond. To do so we must ask the questions and discuss the issues pertaining to culture, future, church and the gospel that Q movement founder, Gabe Lyons of Nashville, believes necessary to “facilitate deeper engagement and responsibility in each of these areas” not just to the benefit of Christians, but for all people.
I believe he is right. Over time Christians have tended to move in one of two ways – either separating ourselves from the culture to recreate our own entire Christiainized culture and holy huddles or by departing from the truth of the gospel informing our lives, instead conforming to the beliefs of the world.
In this tension we have become more isolated and more individualistic, prioritizing our own experiences, happiness and personal well-being while neglecting community and the common good of all people. Obviously this is not the case across the board because we all know stories of people and churches instituting change by involving themselves with the down and out. But, with so much brokenness all around there is a great need for more to rise up and take action.
To do so though as we heard last night requires Relationships and Community. These were the buzz words, not because they are trendy, but because this is what God’s Word calls us to.
- To love our neighbor we must know our neighbor.
- To build those relationships requires investing time and being open to constructive dialogue with opposing viewpoints with the goal of mutual respect and understanding, not being simply agenda driven.
- To reach across social, economic and racial lines, we must not assume we know what is needed or how someone else feels.
- To effectively bring change requires more than just charity but to seek justice.
All these points should stir up more questions. That is what last night was about and this is what we should be considering and asking ourselves and each other – What do these things look like? What am I being called to do? How can we build a better community? Where can I shine light into darkness?
These are questions I want to explore more of and will do so in some future blog postings as I think through the implications of some of the speakers’ eloquent and thought-provoking points – so stay tuned. In the meantime visit the Q website to learn more and to start thinking.