Many of our readers know of Gabe Lyons, the fun and deeply faithful, interesting, hipster who co-wrote (with David Kinnaman of the Barna Group) UnChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity and Why It Matters, and went on to create the fascinating cultural-engagement conferences, Catalyst and The Q. (The Q website, by the way, is one of our favorites!) Both of these events are stellar, in their own way, and all sorts of folks—left, right and center within the spectrum of Christian faith, and some of those who make no claims about being Christian (like Seth Godin)—have appeared at their classy gigs. James Davison Hunter even discusses Gabe and his fellow-travelers in his important Oxford University Press release, To Change the World. Gabe and his events are attractive and exciting and positive and, despite Hunter’s high-brow concerns, will remain a major influence in a younger generation of informed and vibrant evangelicals over the next few years. You may recall that Gabe spoke at our beloved Jubilee conference in Pittsburgh a few years ago. (See his presentation there at Living Jubilee.) More recently, I linked (on Facebook and Twitter) to an amazing ABC news clip with a panel of younger evangelicals which explored the changing face of evangelical belief and practice these days. Gabe just shines in that, as do his colleagues, some of whom I count as friends and partners-in-crime (even though I am not so young or new.)
I say all this to introduce you to Mr. Lyons’ four extraordinary DVDs, educational curriculum put out by the fabulous folks over at Zondervan. (You may recall how I raved last fall about their excellent 6-week DVD piece on being a Good Samaritan, Start. They are doing tons of good DVDs!) Here, Gabe and his Q cohorts have put together what they are calling “Society Room” lectures. These are named after the famous gatherings sponsored by William Wilberforce’s Clapham group in the early 1800s, whereby folks would gather in parlors to engage good ideas that can transform the world. Small groups of folks, talking in-depth about serious questions–in dialogue and partnership, with a view to following Jesus in meaningful ways in both personal and public life—truly can make an impact. We believe small groups and Bible studies and book clubs have done this for years, and we rejoice that through God’s grace, folks have matured, lives are touched, and good news is spread, person to person, home to home, often within small groups. With these Q Society Room DVDs, such bands of friends can engage issues of cultural transformation, learn from some of the best folks writing and speaking today about relevant faithfulness, and struggle to put faith into more thoughtful action. How can we tell you how excited we are—after years and years of saying this kind of stuff without great curriculum options at hand—to have just this kind of resource? Thanks, Gabe, Q, Zondervan, and all those who make this kind of project possible.
Now we just have to get folks–ahem, that would be you–to buy and use the stuff.
So far, there are four Society Room DVDs. All are hosted by Gabe Lyons with a roundtable discussion with several thoughtful leaders (other than the presenters.) There are some essays to read in a companion participants resource, as well, stretching the “unit” to several additional weeks. This is some of the coolest stuff we’ve seen in ages, done by leaders we respect. Each of the main presentations are less than 20 minutes, so a typical church school class could use them. They each sell for $29.99 but we have ’em on sale for just $20 each, now. (See below for ordering and expiration date of the dealio.)
The Whole Gospel: Revisiting Our Message to the World
This includes live lectures by Chuck Colson, Tim Keel, Jamie Tworkowski, and Ron Martoia, all about re-framing the gospel in ways that are Biblically faithful, engaging folks in authentic spirituality, and learning to reach out to both culture-shaping elites and the hurting and fringes of our damaged culture. These are excellent communicators, wise and thoughtful and we think their content deserves deep consideration. (Jamie is the founder of To Write Love on Her Arms, and Ron Martoia wrote the excellent Transformational Architecture.) This is an excellent survey of how to express the gospel in wholistic ways and how to be salt and light of healing and hope, living out the implications of the News that is Good. Highly recommended.
Engaging Post-Christian Culture
What a thrill to hear and see our favorite “cultural historian” the always eloquent (and complex) Os Guinness speaking about the rise and fall of the West and how the gospel could penetrate even our most secular institutions. Andy Crouch is here speaking beautifully about his Culture Making book, which has considerably shaped this whole Q Society Room project. The energetic Aussie Alan Hirsch describes “post Christian mission” and Jon Tyson (who was on that panel I linked to from ABC, above) talks about “renewing cities through missional tribes” and other ways to make a difference. What good stuff this is. Maybe the most important of them all. Please order this and help us make a difference!
The Spirituality of Science
Well. Passion worship leader opens this up with a marvelous bit ab out the indescribable wonder of God discovered as we consider the magnitude of the galaxies and beyond. Famous geneticist Francis Collins appears, speaking about The Language of God (you surely know his important work as the head of the Human Genome Project and now Obama appointee to the NIH.) Heady theologian Alister McGrath (who also has a science PhD) is here, and, my favorite, a lovely presentation by Swathmore prof, physicist Catherine Crouch. Each of these speakers are tremendous, and the four together are beyond brilliant. Yes! The roundtable includes heros green activist Rusty Pritchard and anti-nuke leader, Tyler Wigg-Stevenson. This is just fabulous.
Where You Live Matters: Developing a Vision for Your City
The drive behind the Q, and certainly the Society Room curriculum project, is to create good conversations about “ideas that make the world a better place.” Of course, as historical, Biblical Christians, they believe that this is deeply tied to faithfulness to the Scriptures and a robust, intentional discipleship in the way of Jesus. The ideas of all of the above three are excellent, with insights from solid and gracious folks who call us to understand our times, and engage the issues of the day—from the history of culture, to the needs of the neighbor, from the arts and into the sciences. This fourth Q Society Room DVD, however, brings it all, quite literally, home. Here we have Presbyterian urban church planter, New Yorker Tim Keller speaking about our place in the city, the grace and brokenness of our urban landscapes, and how God is, indeed, calling us to “seek the peace of the city.” Joel Kotkin is a visionary social thinker, and, with Mel McGowan, an urban planner and designer, discusses the future of the suburbs, how to be involved in caring about what another author has called “the sidewalks of the Kingdom.” The roundtable—including Andy Crouch, Jon Tyson, Sean Womack and Allie Tsavdarides, introduces this Society Room and invite you to deeper care for your own place. Can we be challenged by this fundamental lifestyle question: where should we live, and how should we care about our neighborhoods? I don’t know many adult Sunday School classes that tackle this stuff (although my own church had a local historian do a walking tour of our York downtown one Sunday.) I think small groups, local forums, coffee shop meet-ups and home studies could truly enjoy exploring this provocative, generative content.
any Q Society Room DVDs
*special offer expires July 31st.
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