If only you could see me now. I am sitting, staring, watching my computer screen do nothing. My mind looks like it has turned to mush, but it hasn’t. Perhaps a better metaphor would be this: my mind is whirling the multi-colored wheel of overload that you see on your Mac sometimes. In my past experience that wheel of “death” as we call it in our house comes just before a major system shut down. Yes, that’s an accurate metaphor. I’ll need a major system shutdown before long.
Q does that to you.
Today my brain has reengaged with Bobette Buster on the development of story, learned about systems and chaos as applied to artwork, pondered what works of art will be trophies laid down at Jesus feet and learned why the question of same-sex marriage is really the wrong question to be asking in the first place. I’ve learned that more and more people choose “none” to describe their religion of choice, and also learned that as a woman it’s finally appropriate to speak in terms of callings. I’ve pondered mental illness and the role of friendship in overcoming it. And all that before lunch.
I’ve met people transforming culture, transforming poverty, transforming our responses to both culture and poverty. In fact, everyone seems to be transforming something at Q. Perhaps Bobette was right when she said that every good story is about reinvention or redemption.
In the middle of it all, my city was bombed. The spot where I bring my visitors to see the finish line, where we joke about finally crossing the marathon line.
It’s all a little much to process today. So perhaps I won’t. Instead…here you can read some of my favorite quotes from the day.
“At the time of his death, 2/3 of Steve Job’s fortune was made from Story. Silcon Valley was just landfill.” — Bobette Buster
“Art comes from freedom within limits.” — Linnea Spransey
“From an economic standpoint, society can not afford the breakdown of the family.” — Dale Kuehne
“Secrets lose power when they exit the dark.” — Rebekah Lyons
“Story is the most powerful thing we possess. Story leads to awareness. Awareness leads to attitude change. Attitude change leads to action. Never say it’s ‘just an awareness campaign.'” — Jason Russell
“What if what we’ve been led to expect out of life — the New American Dream of realizing perfection — is false? What if the people who told it to us are wrong? Is there more to life?” –Tim Chaddick
“Have we exposed the country to such a weakened virus of Christianity that we’ve vaccinated them instead of infecting them?” — Richard Sterns
“The most dangerous word in the gospel is TODAY.” — Margaret Feinberg
“Go visit the holy sepulcher. But then get out. What are you going to do where He is not?” — Father Elias Chocour
“What if…the church were to participate in the creation of the best of everything? What if….we realized that the future is the integration and coming together of human will and Divine art?” — Erwin McManus
“Realize that others will never care about your vision the same way you do. And that’s OK.” — Brad Lomenick
While I’m on a roll with the links to the Q 3 minute sessions, let me finish out.
Matt Poe started a company called 25cloth as a vehicle to raise money for the clean water initiatives. In the year they have been in operation, they’ve been able to sponsor a well and make a difference. The t-shirts they sell are dog-gone cool, too.
One Village Coffee, presented by Scott Hackman, is a good example of coffee with a cause. There’s nothing I like better than a good coffee shop, unless of course it is coffee that also DOES good. (corny, I know — I’m really tired!)
There were several 18 minute Q sessions today, as well, two of which really fired up my imagination. Shane Hipps spoke on the downside of the digiatl age. Shane used to be an ad exec with porsche, and is a student of culture and media. It was very interesting to hear him discuss how the “medium” not only shapes the message, but IS the message. I don’t know that I agreed with all of his premises, but I was fascinated and engaged. Go to this blog by Scott Hodge to read a detailed summary of Shane Hipp’s presentation. I plan to buy his book, The Hidden Power of Electronic Culture.
The other speaker who inspired us today was Os Guiness. Os is an amazing theologian, preacher, thought provoker. I first heard him in college. He challenged me then and he challenges me now. Today he asked us to be mindful of basic challenges coming at the church, from both inside and outside the church. They are:
We need to face up to the wars of the Spirit. There are more worldviews, and conflicts between the worldviews, than ever before. We have secularism vs. extremism, fundamentalism vs. revisionism. The goal of followers of Jesus Christ is to find the middle way.
We need to face up to the profound anti-Christian assumptions in the secular world. This movement without a name has as its goal the removal of religion from the public discourse.
Finally, I was struck by Os Guiness’s call for a new movement to remember the grand, over-arching task of the church in the west, which is to restore the integrity of faith, restore the credibility of the gospel, and restore civility in public life. Several other people spoke today, but these two really had the most impact on me.
And so, with one last call to remember the beloved community that is the church, Gabe Lyons closed out Q 2008. It was a bittersweet time to see Q end. I would have loved to continue on, but there is only so much information I can process in 72 hours! So with some fond farewells and new email addresses exchanged, David and I walked out the door with Buddy and the gang from Grace Fellowship, watched the Christ Fellowship gang get in the car to the airport, and left for a little shopping in SOHO. All is well.