Meet the New Evangelical Boss, Same as the Old Evangelical Boss

Gabe Lyons is sad.

In response to Gigliogate, Gabe Lyons wrote a tirade about how this was a hate crime against his fellow evangelical speaker and that Barack Obama was facing a Martin Luther King moment in how he responds. David Sessions came back at Lyons in stunning fashion. His opening paragraph says what I’ve been trying to say for some time: the young, hip evangelical intelligentsia is no different from from the older cabal of Dobson, Colson, and the like. Here’s Sessions:

I wrote a short thing some time ago about the garb of non-ideological non-partisanship in which a younger generation of conservative evangelicals have cloaked themselves. They often explicitly and forcefully position themselves against the religious right, but there is very little substantive difference when you get down to it, especially on some of the most important social issues of the moment.

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Proof: There Are No Evangelicals

Gabe Lyons, “I do not define myself as an evangelical.”

A couple of weeks ago, I attended the first of four “Civil Conversations” that Krista Tippett is hosting in advance of the election. The Civil Conversations Project is attempt to bring some nuance and sophistication to the too often shrill soundbytes that overwhelm us these days.

The first conversation was meant to bring some complexity to the way that we think of evangelicals, so Krista sat down with Gabe Lyons, the founder of Q Ideas, and Jim Daly, the successor to James Dobson at Focus on the Family. Basically, both of these guys play for the same team.

You can listen to the hour-long edited version, the two-hour long unedited version, or watch the video.

Here are some of my observations of their conversation:

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Why Is the Q Ideas Conference So Expensive?

Fuller Seminary’s Burner Blog sat down with Q founder, Gabe Lyons, and asked him why a 3-day conference needs to cost $675. Personally, I find Gabe’s answer less than convincing:

Gabe Lyons

The best speakers and the most interesting venues are not cheap. The admission to Q events usually runs a steep $675. It’s not $3-7k for TED Talks admission, but it’s a lot for cash-strapped churches.

A sitting area at the Crosby Street Hotel in SoHo.

“Well, we try to run our organization in a sustainable way,” Lyons explains.  He notes that there are ways to make an event less expensive—hosting in a church for free, for example. “We could do that in Northern Virginia, and save $75,000, but instead we choose to host it right at the center of it DC on Constitution Avenue at the Andrew Mellon auditorium. We think the medium is the message in a lot of ways.”

We think [lower registration costs] would likely take away from the intentionality of everybody there–relationships we want to see cultivated. Our goal is not to grow something to be really big, our goal is just to talk about serious topics and to get people together who are working on these topics and want education on it and collaboration with other leaders.” He goes on to explain that Q presentations are usually released afterwards for those that weren’t able to attend.

Read the rest of the interview: Interview with Gabe Lyons on Q and the Future of Theological Education « The Burner.

Have you been to Q? If so, was it worth the money? If not, has the registration cost kept you away?