I have heard the term “justification by faith” more times in the past five hours than I have in the past five years. Not to mention the term “double imputation” which I am guessing weaves its way back to some kind of penal substitutionary atonement. Am I in the right room???
After my initial shock and subsequent regrouping, I have gathered a few reflections from Day One of the Q Conference in Chicago!
1 – Evangelicals are preaching social justice!?! Could this be a fatal blow to the mainline Protestants who preach social justice? Liberal strands of Christianity has always included social justice in the message of Christ…we are just not very good at actually doing it. We’ll see if the evangelicals can do any better. But after listening to the speakers, I think they might beat us at our own game.
2. The table is bigger than I had thought it would be…but still not big enough. So here is a run-down of WINNERS and LOSERS who are at least at the table on Day One at the Q:
The leader of a gay ministry in Chi-town asks the church leaders present to let loose their holds of the proverbial “gatekeys.” He gets 2 minutes to speak. The guy who wants to convert the 1.57 billion Muslims, he gets 9 minutes. WINNER = the leader of the gay ministry with the rainbow color backdrop; the missionary to the Muslims has been at this table for a long time.
Scott McKnight gets 20 minutes to compel his audience not to confuse the plan of salvation with the narrative of Jesus Christ, what he would define the “Gospel.” Going one step further, he even asks them to let the narrative overshadow their coveted salvation plan! His very spotty reading of Paul as “story-teller” of Jesus, 1 Corinthians 15 only goes so far as “story”, and his assertion that Jesus proclaimed himself, John 14:6 only goes so far as well notwithstanding, WINNER = Evangelicals.
Doug Pagitt is on the sidelines as a table leader when he should be a speaker at this conference, WINNER = no one!
And finally – the Christian subculture of tight jeans, wacky hair that actually takes a lot of time to prepare in the morning, plastic rim glasses, designer shoes, and the I am different than you…and telling you how to “do” church, WINNER = certainly not my 60 year old colleague who dresses in ties, slacks and nursing shoes, at least they look like nursing shoes.
My suggestions after Day One, just keep making room, (and hey, at least you all have a table that folks actually want to sit around. I am would still give my left arm to have 30 youth show up at our Sunday night youth group). And yes, even make space for the liberals, we’ll need a seat after you evangelicals actually practice what we have been preaching for so long! Wait a minute. Maybe there is still time!
Godspeed, adam davis