At Least It’s Not a Conference about Lent

Redeemer Big Apple is sponsoring a conference during this Lenten reason not about repentance and abstinence but about work:

When we see that work is created to glorify God, our work doesn’t necessarily get easier, but it does become more meaningful. The pain in our work is faced with greater honesty, where the brokenness can finally be named and seen. The unseen potential of our work is faced with greater imagination, where an innovative spirit can unleash what yearns to be resurrected. In short, when we discover that we’re formed to work for God’s glory, we find that our small tasks aren’t so small, and our big tasks are in better hands. Work becomes desirable. Rest becomes possible. Faith becomes essential.

Join us for a two-day experience where we’ll investigate how we are formed to work for the glory of God. Artists and educators, designers and technicians, homemakers, engineers, managers, entrepreneurs, doctors, and everyone in between are welcome.

Plumbers? Janitors? Bakers? The only non-professionals included in that list are homemakers.

But the oddest part of the conference is its “Glimpses,” or “exciting opportunities throughout the city to participate in diverse experiences centered around work, culture and sabbath.” These include:

GREAT GOTHAM CHALLENGE

In this thrilling urban scavenger hunt, you’ll experience New York City as you never have before. Within teams, you’ll work through city-centric challenges and puzzles and learn new things about the Big Apple along the way.

COMEDY SHOW

Join us for a stand-up comedy performance followed by an in-depth look into how the gospel intersects with the entertainment sector.

ALPHABET SCOOP

Have some ice cream and see this newly opened and highly lauded East Village shop that blends a great product with a powerful mission.

TOWN REAL ESTATE WORKSITE VISIT

Come visit one of the largest real estate firms in New York City, where we’ll see how urban homes are found and made, and hear from a broker about the inner workings of the vast and complex NYC market.

FLOWER ARRANGING

Learn a simple and practical method for bringing God’s beauty into your personal space. Together we’ll learn a new restful hobby and the spiritual importance of fostering beauty in your daily life.

RUNNING TOUR OF CENTRAL PARK

How can running be a form of practicing rest? Come find out and run through a guided path with a group.

GOLDMAN SACHS TRADING FLOOR VISIT

Get an inside look at the excitement and energy of a trading floor. We’ll also hear from a panel of finance industry employees to hear about the shifts, values, and complexities of the financial sphere.

TOUR OF LOWER MANHATTAN/REVOLUTIONARY NEW YORK

With more than 400 years of history, come see the Lower Manhattan neighborhood where what once were cow paths and trading posts are now skyscraper lined streets.

MOVING MEDITATION: YOGA SESSION

Knowing His great care for our bodies, how can we invite God into our physical workouts? Through meditation and prayer, we’ll discover how to connect God to breathing and movement in this meditation that will also include an hour long yoga class and journaling.

Aside from blessing Goldman Sachs at a time when I would have thought progressive-leaning, Ta Nehisi Coates-reading evangelicals were woke about neo-liberalism (not to mention the 2008 financial collapse and the federals’ bailout), could this list of consumption, tourism, and entertainment be any more of a cliche? It would be like the OPC selling shirts that can’t be tucked in, pocket protectors, and slide rules at one of its pre-General Assembly conferences?

Or could it be that when you are this cool, you don’t worry about optics?

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33 thoughts on “At Least It’s Not a Conference about Lent

  1. Years ago when I was still in journalism and was perplexed by the folks I had to deal with in Chicago, DC, and New York a wise coworker explained “New Yorkers are the most parochial people on earth.”

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  2. Will this be an ecumenical conference? Since even though we don’t all agree about the kingdom of grace, we all naturally agree about the kingdom of family and law and social justice?

    Will there be a seminar on “chalking”?

    https://johnharmstrong.com/8730-2/

    John Armstrong—The four crosses (I have used a Greek letter τ (tau) since my keyboard did not offer me the “cross” style as a choice) are combined with the letters C, M and B. These Latin letters C, M and B refer to the three magi: traditionally known as Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar. But these three letters are also the Latin abbreviation for the words: Lord bless this house

    Malesic—-“When I tell academics that I quit a tenured faculty position at age forty, they offer enthusiastic congratulations. Some say they wish they could do the same. Based on this reaction, you would think that tenure was widely seen as a misfortune, and not a universally desired goal of academic life. Their congratulations suggest both that I must have quit to pursue something even higher and that there is something wrong with the way the contemporary university works. Only one of these explanations is true.”

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  3. Self-glorification over the status, pay, quasi-security, busy-ness and stress of your cool career does not need a further boost by your church.

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  4. On that faith and work page, under resources, they don’t list any resources for helping blue collar workers integrate their faith and work. Are there no blue collar workers in Manhattan?

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  5. Ok. I can see value to talking about what the Bible has to say about our work, thought it is hard for me to understand what you would say at a conference about it except for some generalities: work unto the Lord, etc. etc. That aside, I’m looking at the Glimpses, and honestly, I don’t see anything there that interests me in the least, and I’m trying to think of the kind of person who would be. A lot of it looks just like some stuff that might be mildly fun but that people feel guilty about doing (for some reason) without making it Jesus-y. Like the ice cream and the comedy show.

    I don’t want to know how the gospel intersects with the entertainment industry. Usually when Christians start talking in such ways, the result is lame.

    Connecting God to breathing and movement? What in the world does that even mean?

    My favorite is probably the real estate bit. Why does anyone besides a real estate mogul need to know how the vast and complex real estate mogul works?

    This kind of stuff makes me want to become full-bore 2K.

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  6. I don’t understand the “Glimpses” myself. Maybe it’s just a way of exposing people to things they otherwise may not be exposed to and seeing how those activities glorify God? I’m really not sure.

    That said, there is real value in a faith-work conference. Since work takes up 50%+ of our waking ours, shouldn’t the Church address those hours specifically, rather than generally? As lay people, shouldn’t we be concerned with how the Gospel intersects with most of what we spend our time doing?

    As for the lack of blue collar representation, the content of the conference is representative of Manhattan and especially the Redeemer churches. Most Redeemer congregants are affluent, highly educated people – the professions they address are the professions of 95% (or more) of Redeemer people. The same is largely true of Manhattan. Manhattan is very educated, affluent, and professional, with some notable exceptions. Most blue collar types live and attend church in the outer boroughs or suburbs.

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  7. vv, “Since work takes up 50%+ of our waking ours, shouldn’t the Church address those hours specifically, rather than generally?”

    Why doesn’t the Bible address those hours specifically? Do the conference speakers know more than God? (find your inner sufficiency of Scripture.)

    If Redeemer is as professional as you say, then why should any other church outside some mainline congregations take any advice from Redeemer? If Keller wants to have his own urban ministry, fine. But you know TGC and PCA look to Redeemer as a model. Even Redeemer does.

    What’s so smart about that?

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  8. I fully understand those working the church membership list for commissions (real estate, used cars, stock sharpies) to want this kind of thing, but I do not know any doctors or engineers or those not working the membership list for commissions to want anything to do with this kind of thing.

    Talked after-church for a year to a man at church, he went elsewhere, then I looked him up on the internet and found he was one of a handful of people worldwide in his vital medical field. He didn’t mention a peep of it for 25 hours of conversation, nor did I talk about my work.

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  9. DGH – “Why doesn’t the Bible address those hours specifically?”

    I am incredulous that you intended this as a serious statement. God gave Adam work in Genesis 1. Much of the Torah very specifically regulates work. The wisdom books frequently describe appropriate work ethics. Jesus used many parables related to work. The NT describes the right approach to work on multiple occasions.

    I suppose Redeemer is a model for many churches because of the principle of addressing work, not necessarily the specifics. A rural church in the Rust Belt will probably emphasize different occupations in their ministry than Redeemer does in theirs. Many of the biblical professions no longer exist, or are extremely rare in the 21st century. That doesn’t mean we can’t apply the moral and ethical principles we find in Scripture to our 21st century vocations.

    kentos – “I fully understand those working the church membership list for commissions (real estate, used cars, stock sharpies) to want this kind of thing, but I do not know any doctors or engineers or those not working the membership list for commissions to want anything to do with this kind of thing.”

    This is as incorrect as it is cynical and uncharitable.

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  10. VV,
    This Redeemer conference is not a little side line of TKNY you may not be especially fond of. It is thoroughly indicative of the narrow thinking of its’ leaders, and through the global ‘City to City’ model of church planting even this little Englander writing this has to contend with such stuff on his doorstep. Despite the eager, positive vibe of these City church folks who mop up any criticism by being so ‘passionate’ about the Gospel and Jesus, such works are intrinsically opposite in so many ways to plebs like me who want to see confessional Presbyterian churches planted.

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  11. I understand that Redeemer’s location in Manhattan will have influence on what it does and even on it’s addressing faith and work. If everyone is a white collar professional, then they probably can’t address blue collar folk effectively. Fine. But can we just be a little more clear about “for the city”? They are helping the highly educated, white collar, professional folk and artsy types who live in Manhattan and similar areas integrate faith and work. They aren’t helping the janitors, bus drivers, etc. integrate faith and work.

    Fine (the Glimpses aside) if that’s your goal. Just be clearer about it.

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  12. Robert, do I need a crucified and risen Saviour to be a good and cool-dude professional, even in Manhattan?

    (the answer is “no”…..)

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  13. vv, I suspected that you and Redeemerites read and interpret the Bible the way Progressives read the Constitution.

    But what does the Bible say about serving God and mammon? Then think about what NYC realtors say about serving God and mammon. Then do the math of how delusional Redeemer is.

    But it’s a model. All good.

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  14. Peggy Noonan in the WSJ explains how Billy is the model for us all.

    the archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles Chaput— “When I was growing up, back in the 1950s, relations between Catholics and Protestants were still wary.” But Catholic families “felt that Billy Graham was the Protestant preacher they could feel a real kinship with. He had the ability to reach across all the fractures in Christianity and speak to the common believing heart.” Archbishop Chaput compared him to C.S. Lewis. “In a sense, he spoke the same kind of mere Christianity that Lewis did so well, but with an American accent.”

    I don’t know if Peggy Noonan believes in purgatory but I know she likes kinder gentler fundamentalists like Tim Kller who can still sign the Westminster Confession with sincerity. .

    She also liked Ronald Reagan and also the Bush wars for peace in Iraq war

    page 17 https://www.nbcnews.com/slideshow/billy-graham-evangelist-pastors-life-pictures-n849876

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  15. DGH – I don’t follow your point about NYC realtors and God vs. mammon. Are you suggesting Christians should not try to make/maximize profits through their work? You’re not Curt, so I don’t think that’s your point, but I’m not sure what else you’re trying to say.

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  16. vv, think about it. Do you maximize profits when selling your car to a brother-in-law? So shouldn’t Redeemer’s tranformationalizedist realtors feel some dilemma between profit and the Good Samaritan? You don’t have to avoid Curt and wind up Trump.

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