On November 7th, the church which I pastor is hosting a conference with Douglas Wilson, Joe Carter, and Benjamin Merkle. We’ve called it “Witness: Life in a Post-Christian World,” and the talks will each deal with ways in which Christians can live public lives of faith in a culture which has quickly turned against traditional Christian social ethics. The conference will be conveniently located between Orlando and Tampa, in lovely downtown Lakeland. We’re excited to have been able to use the historic Polk Theatre for the event, and it should be a great time.
I do want to say a few things about the expression “Post-Christian.” In one sense, this is not the right description. Christianity happened, and while we are living post-resurrection (in the simple chronological sense), we will never move “beyond” the reign of Christ and the truth of the gospel. Also, all of the speakers are believers in Christendom, at least of one sort or the other, and so we will not be calling the faithful into exile or asking them to withdraw from culture and politics. In fact, in my talk I plan to engage with the (now sorta famous) Benedict Option and give some critical observations about how it does and does not make sense. I’ll also try to get into some practical stuff about what happens when you live in “intentional community,” and my main thrust will be fostering a tight-knit and religiously-infused community of friends without creating a suffocating legalism. I’ve called it, “Intentional Community Without All the Cultyness.”
In addition to the conference proper, we’re also having a Friday night social event with the speakers. You’ll need to register for this individually, and seating is limited. All guests are also invited to worship on Sunday, and Pastor Wilson will be delivering the sermon. Downtown Lakeland is quite charming, and so you’ll be able to find plenty of fun things to do in your spare time. Northerners will also probably still be able to take a dip in the Ocean, though this varies depending on the weather. Typically early Nov. is still in the upper 70s and even 80s during the daytime. Lakeland is around an hour from some of the best Gulf-Coast beaches. Of course, you can also venture into the many theme parks in both Tampa and Orlando (we’re about 45 mins from Disney, etc.), or you can enjoy the outdoors and our world-class birdwatching experiences.
Another way you can sweeten the deal is to stay at the Terrace Hotel, which is just a few blocks away from the conference site downtown. They’ve given us a discounted rate for the conference weekend, and you can access that here.
Again, the conference is Nov. 7th in Lakeland, Florida. You can register directly at the Eventbrite page here, and if you do so in the next 2 weeks you’ll get early registration rates. So come on! I’d love to meet other Florida residents too, and you can feel free to shoot me an email so that we can meet up.