Finding Hope Despite Reasons for Despair – The presence of evil and suffering in our world can turn optimists into cynics. Not only is sin and moral evil evident in the world around us, it is also our own personal problem, plaguing our own desires to live in relationship with others. Is there a reason to hope for something different? Or should we just accept the cold, austere realities of our world as the way life really is? Rather than letting despair gain the victory, we will talk about why, even in spite of the reasons for despair, we can dare to hope. We will explore the Christian virtue of hope by defining how it differs from popular conceptions of hope, identifying why the Christian worldview provides unique reasons for hope, and exploring what it looks like to live a life shaped by this oft-neglected but quintessential virtue.
Good and Pleasing: A Christian’s Creative and Cultural Journey – What is the role of a Christian in the arts? How do we engage non-Christian work? Do we do art for the church or from the church? These are just a few of the questions we ask ourselves and, many times, we find so few answers. We will explore a way forward in a Christian’s journey into creative and cultural spaces and how our faith can free us to lead the charge in making new, good, and pleasing things, until all things are made new.
Entrepreneurship and Mission – Ricky Staub is Founder & Chief Creative Director of Neighborhood Film Company Every year, Neighborhood hires three formerly incarcerated adults for an eight-month paid apprenticeship. Apprentices work on real jobs with real clients, training to be high-level project coordinators gaining a diversity of skills that transfer into many different career opportunities. This session will walk you through starting a company with a missional component, pros and cons of running a mission-based business, and how Ricky has used his faith to influence his employees’ work and culture.
What I Learned From Cityscapes, Farmers’ Markets, & Jesus: A Theology of Place – The Garden of Eden, Abraham in Canaan, Jacob finding haven in Goshen of Egypt, the Promised Land of Israelites, the City of David—the story of God always includes places alongside of the people and promises of God. Even in a place of exile, the people of God were told to plant gardens and cultivate the land. Scripture tells the story of God with the backdrop of place. And the same is true for you and me. The neighborhoods and cities in which we live are significant pieces of our stories. We will discuss how loving where we live creates a context to encounter the abundant life God has for us.
How to Be a Christian in An Election Year (and Not Hate Everyone) – Do you find yourself wishing that political campaigns would disappear? Do you wonder how Christians are supposed to engage in something that seems so corrupt and broken? Does your vote even matter? How can you talk politics with people who don’t see things the way you do? If these are your questions, we’ve got answers, from a panel of committed partisans and independents.