Reviewing Our Experience With the Q Society Room’s “The Whole Gospel”

If you have been reading my twitter and this blog, you probably know my now that I have a strong appreciation for Gabe Lyons and the work of Q. I have attended the last three conferences and they have been pretty solid. To those that don’t know much about it – it’s similar to TED‘s where about 40 speakers give 18 minute presentations (yep there’s a countdown clock to their right). The idea behind Q is to ask and engage in the difficult questions that the Church is facing. You can check out more here on their site but if you don’t click, know that you are missing something excellent.

Among the important conversations the Church is having is the topic of the Gospel of Jesus. Our church is having this conversation in a number of ways and I could think of no better study than using Q’s “The Whole Gospel” from their Society Room series (there are 5 of them).

Here’s my review which includes some of the group feedback
Week 1 – Tim Keel’s which I would be happy to watch with you. I have nothing but love for Keel and thought he absolutely nailed his presentation. (His was a “featured presentation” and was given 36 minutes – probably my favorite. He argues that we have domesticated Jesus, we have taken something wild and tamed it to be polite indoors. Later he mentions that we need to rethink our ideas on heaven. To paraphrase he says, It’s the result, not the goal, the outcome, not the objective. Excellent.

Discussion was vey easy and free-flowing after that. We shared about how understanding of the Gospel growing up in our respective churches. If there was one glitch was that we all agreed too much with each other. It was our first meeting together – maybe everyone was just being polite ;-)

Week 2 was supposed to be our reading of an excellent essay by Ron Martoia. We put it off until our last week so as to not intimidate newcomers and being a new group it was easier too so we watched Tim Keller’s …. instead. We did like the idea of reading together and at week 5, we’ve decided to read The Hole In Our Gospel by Richard Stearns.

If you know Tim Keller, he’s the reformed evangelical pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan. In this presentation he says if you understand justification then you will understand the need for social justice. I found it to be extremely helpful for my conservative evangelical climate that does not want to risk compromising the salvation that Jesus brings. If you are one who is skeptical about the efforts of social justice, you would love this. Unfortunately, it is not available for watching online but if you live locally, I would be happy to watch this with you (and yes, it’s legal).

Week 3 was with evangelical hero Chuck Colson. I was in attendance at Q New York and remember this presentation extremely well because just before it, my wife, Susan sent me the most exciting text of our lives, “We’re adopting! The birth mother wants us!” it was pretty surreal and I have a pretty hyper-recollection of the presentation and who was around me. Anyway, I digress.

Just like what I just mentioned a few lines ago, if you are a conservative evangelical and find yourself reluctant to compromising the gospel to social justice – his presentation entitled “Cultural Commission” is for you. You can watch it here. Though as a group we felt that the questions were getting a bit repetitive, it was still an solid presentation and we had a worthwhile discussion. This was the week that we also ended up discussing the Islamic Center near Ground Zero. It was a pretty interesting night to say the least.

Week 4 was awesome watching Jaime Tworkowski – founder of To Write Love On Her Arms. This led to perhaps our most personal conversations as the topics of cutting, depression and the Church’s response to it became the centerpieces of our discussion. From a small group perspective, this presentation was excellent timed as by now, we had felt some trust and comfortability sharing such personal aspects of ourselves and our families and friends.

Week 5 – We moved the .pdf (included in the dvd) to week 5 for our final time. By then, we were ready to talk as soon as we sat down and even better – we loved Martoia’s essay “Spiritual Conversations: Understanding the Cultural Language. In it he reminded readers of Scripture the salvation narrative begins in Genesis 1 not Genesis 3 and that changes everything. He made other worthy points points including calling attention to how we talk about the Gospel. It was very appropriate and I’d be happy to share my extra copies with my local friends. I’d offer to email it to anyone interested but that would break the licensing agreement with the dvd’s intent. Again, if you are reading this and considering this study, I really recommend you purchasing it and checking it their other studies here.

I happily recommend this study and pretty much anything Q is involved in.
Anyone want to go to next year’s conference in Portland? It’s going to be good …

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