Next fall, Doug and I are hosting a learning party in the Twin Cities for people who love Christ, love Christianity, and are interested in the future. The two of us have been given the microphone a lot in the past decade, and we began our event company with the express intent of giving the mic to others.
Our first few events have spotlighted one or two presenters, but for Christianity21, we wanted to follow the excellent example of TED Talks and give some of the most provocative and innovative voices in the faith 21 minutes each to communicate their passion. Some will give straight talks, others will use various media, still others will present 7 minutes each day, building their presentation throughout the event.
As you can see on the website, the presentations run the gamut of topics from theology to grassroots organizing to consumerism to ecclesiology to parenting. Although all of the voices are women, the topics are as broad as any Christian conference I’ve ever seen.
At our events, there is no “green room.” In other words, the presenters (whom we are calling “Voices”) won’t be hiding away when they’re not onstage. They, along with other Christian leaders, activists, publishers, and the like, will be mixing it up with everyone else. We hope/plan to build a true community at this gathering.
As I mentioned, all of the Voices are women. That’s not a gimmick, nor is it an affirmative action decision. Instead, it’s our attempt to catalyze a chemistry at an event that’s never been achieved before. It’s an attempt to do something different. (If you’re a guy (or a woman) who feels uncomfortable about that, probably all the more reason that you should be there!) And, as well as their presentations, all 21 of these Voices will be in a pulpit somewhere in the Twin Cities that Sunday morning, so you’ll get another chance to hear one or two of them.
We also thought it’s high time that speaker/authors like me, Doug, Joe Myers, Shane Claiborne, Peter Rollins and others should be sitting behind the registration table, handing out nametags. And that’s just where you’ll find us.
We’ve done everything we can to keep this event affordable. As you can imagine, flying in 21 speakers and paying their expenses does add up, but we’re working hard to raise sponsorship money to subsidize that. We’ve worked out a great deal on a hotel/breakfast combo, and we’re committed to keeping the registration at our events under $200.
So, if this sounds interesting to you, if you’re intrigued about the way the Christianity will be changing in coming days, if you’re keen to hear women get the mic for a few days, then consider joining us, October 9-11, for Christianity21.