q debrief


i made it back home form DC for Q last night. i have about 40 pages of notes in my journal that i need to go through to fully debrief. my thoughts on what i learned and experienced this year will probably make it up on my blog eventually. for now i’ll just post some quick final thoughts concerning my three days in washington.

  • why do this conference the week immediately after resurrection day? i am worn slam out. holy week was pretty busy and then leaving the monday immediately following kicked my butt. i am pooped right now. should make for a fun weekend catching up.
  • big ideas and questions matter. one of the things that i have loved about Q the past four years is that it has consistently made me ask questions like “what do i mean by that?,” “why do i think that,” or “what is …”. i am still challenged by two presentations that i heard four years ago (one on nuclear disarmament and the other on the education reform) that were from two very different ideologies (one quite liberal and the other quite conservative) because they both asked the same question in different ways. the question i heard was “we have thought this way for 50 years without many asking what if it is wrong or if there is a better way … so what if we are wrong or there is a better way?” it has been challenging to me in how i lead tapestry. we’ve done church this way for a very long time. what if it is wrong?  pamela posted her thoughts on “less learning, more thinking” which i think is very similar to my thought concerning big ideas mattering though she does a better job of writing and therefore you should go read her thoughts. you should pretty much read everything she writes.
  • i really want to do something like Q in stevens point. i think it is something that would really connect with our community and i believe we have the resources in point to do it. between the university, our local businesses (sentry, travelguard, and noel, and smaller startups to name a few), our thriving arts community, and our churches i think we can put on a day of wonderful presentations concerning faith and culture that would be thought provoking. i have started asking a few people who’s opinion i really trust to consider this to help me determine if this is a good thing or just something i want to do.
  • i’m not a very good tourist without pam. when we go on trips she does a great deal of planning on what we should see and when we should see it. though i am sure i don’t say it enough i am very thankful for her tourist planning. i wouldn’t see and experience half as much without her. without her on this trip i spent most of my free time in DC sitting somewhere around the washington memorial, eating hotdogs, and people watching. i’m really pretty boring without her. of course, my thoughts here exclude the great devastation of the pre-chicago marathon tourism of ‘09 which i am convinced slowed my marathon time by 2 hours. 🙂
  • i think this was the last Q for me for at least a little while. i need a new conference to help me to think in some different ways. i’m not sure what conference i will do next year so i am open to suggestions. i’ll also add that Q being in los angelos next year made this decision a little easier. Q takes a lot of personality from the host city. this year in washington was VERY different from last year in portland. i have no interest in what i think will be the flavor next year. sorry to my friends who love the area but southern california and i are not great friends.
  • for me miroslav volf’s comment that GOD should always be our end and not merely our means was probably the most powerful statement of the conference. how often do people, do i, employee GOD for our own goals? how often do political parties do this? how often do churches do this? often we functionalize our faith by treating GOD as a butler WHOSE purpose is to help us reach an end that is not HIM. in fact, those ends are often religious ends which makes them even more deadly because they resemble the character of GOD but they are not GOD. when a means becomes an end it becomes a false god no matter how good its original purpose is. thus such religious ends become merely idols that resemble the true GOD. they are the most dangerous false gods because they are more difficult to spot as idols.

where i ate lunch most of the time  miroslav and me

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