Continuing the Conversation from Q (Part 1)
I just got back from attending Q in Chicago. I have a lot of work to catch up on and my plan was to dive in as soon as I got home. However, after spending the night thinking about the people and ideas I was presented with at Q, I think it’s important for me to spend a few minutes summarizing some of the things I was exposed to. I’d love to continue the conversation, so if something I write here interests you, leave a comment or drop me an email so we can start our own conversation.
Q is a uniquely designed to foster interaction and participation while you’re at the conference, and with strong accountability for post-conference engagement. In other words, you can’t sit back and drink this stuff in. You’re presented with challenging assertions and speakers who have conflicting ideas. Sometimes the debate is even played out on stage. Usually, there is no right answer. The material presented often appears for the first time anywhere at Q as the speakers are encouraged to present material they’re still working on and haven’t yet talked about publicly. Q is designed to get you to think and interact with people and ideas, rather than leave with a four-point plan for implementation. Some have described it as a Christian version of TED.
Presenters or presentations that stood out for me this year include:
Sajan George | Managing Director, Alvarez & Marsal – He is a former turnaround specialist who now applies his skills to struggling public school systems. He has restructured some of the largest urbabn K-12 and higher education systems in the country. At Q, he presented his model for the future of education. What fascinated me was that it was based on a biblical model for renewal and regeneration. He uses the Christian concept of all people being created equal and uniquely endowed with certain gifts and talents from the creator as the basis of his plan. If he can transform education, he transforms kids’ lives forever, as well as their families and then their communities. This is the first practical and widespread example of biblical renewal that I’ve seen that holds potential for all of our communities. And can I just say, Sajan is truly brilliant. This guy could read phone book and we’d all be more intelligent from his analysis of it.
Jo Saxton | Leadership Coach and Consultant and Mike Foster | Founder, Ethur encouraged us to pursue the prodigals. Leave the church and go find the forgotten, those in need of radical grace, and those who are disenfranchised by our systems and culture. The message that resonated with me was the “go” part. It’s messy work, but if we don’t go, who will?
Alister McGrath | Theologian and Author also holds doctorate degrees in the fields of molecular biophysics and theology. He encouraged us to seek out the scientists in our church and bring them together. I envison mini-Q’s in our local churches where a pastor brings together medical and science professionals in the church and helps them to start a dialogue that reconciles their faith to their work. How many more scientists would be involved in your church if you did that?
Charles Lee | Ideation Strategist, Networker and Compassionary This guy is simply amazing. He is everywhere doing everything from pastoring a church, to ideation consulting, to social justice leadership. When Charles speaks, I listen. He is a deep and multi-layered source of wisdom. I feel humbled to call him a friend. Follow him online.
Phyllis Tickle | Author and Editor I’d never met her before, but I won’t forget her now. She gave us a much needed reminder about the rhythms of life and how the ancient Christians lived out those rhythms through. By following their example, we can connect horizontally with all those who’ve practiced Christianity, as well as vertically with Christians across the globe who practice these rhythms now. She painted some beautiful images of transcendence in her presentation.
Mark Regnerus | Sociology, University of Texas Presented a very informative case for why early marriage is a good thing. As a sociologist, he studies relationship formation among 18-30 year olds. In his talk, he described sex as a marketplace with transactions. Very useful and novel way to think about, describe, and quantify what is happening in our culture. As the mother of a fifteen year old boy, there is more for me to explore here. I ordered his book.
In the past, there has always been at least one speaker who fundamentally changed the way I thought about a subject. I have to say this year that didn’t happen. It was more a continuation of themes and ideas from past years. Q wasn’t quite as edgy as it felt in the past. Controversial issues were politely nodded to rather than explored fully. Every speaker had something worth hearing, for me the bigger question was which ones was I willing to fully engage with?
But what didn’t happen on stage, certainly happened in the space. I felt like some of the most interesting conversations were private ones. I loved watching other people wrestle with the ideas presented and struggle with how to put them into a context where they could do something about them.
As always, I invite your conversation! Leave a comment below and let me know and let me know what you want to know more about. Especially if you attended, what conversation would you like to see continue?
3 Responses to “Continuing the Conversation from Q (Part 1)”
I love your synopsis of the event here. I also enjoyed conversations with our team members as well as new people, and watching people’s responses via twitter very much. I have nothing to compare it to since I wasn’t there last year, but certainly glad I went.
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