Someone has probably clicked on this link eagerly hoping to hear that our most recent conference was a super spreader event. And it was, but I’m sorry to break it to you, not in the way you might hope. What we were spreading was life, health, industry, and good cheer, not the Gamma Variant, or whatever Greek letter we’re on now.
But most of all, I want to register my gratitude here to God, to the CrossPolitic Crew, the Fight Laugh Feast Network, the speakers and their families, the sponsors and vendors, and the 1300+ people who came to Lebanon, TN for the second annual Fight Laugh Feast Conference. What a blast. We continue to be blown away, thankful, and inspired by the thousands of thoughtful Christians we have had the opportunity to meet, fellowship with, sing with, learn with, feast with, and more fully co-labor with, in this moment over the last several years.
And that co-laboring is what I want to emphasize here. Many folks have asked me what was most encouraging about the conference – what was my favorite talk? I was grateful for all of the main stage plenary talks, and while I only caught snippets of the SWAT talks, I’ve heard good things all around. But my consistent thought and answer to the question has been two-fold, and I want to share it here because I think it’s a real encouragement, even if you didn’t make it out to the conference — which, by the way, all the talks were recorded and are (or will be) available for Fight Laugh Feast club members).
Against the Gamma Variant
First, I think Christian conferences on the whole have generally suffered for many decades from a rather virulent form of Gnosticism – let’s call it The Gamma Variant – that’s Gamma for Gnosticism. Gnosticism is an ancient Christian heresy that denies the goodness of the material world and history. It claims that salvation is found in secret knowledge (“gnosis”) that supposedly enables the initiated to escape and transcend this dirty, infected material/historical existence. And in the face of this, John wrote, “In the beginning was the Word… and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (Jn. 1:1, 14).
On top of that Word-made-flesh glory, that same glory was crucified, buried, and raise from the dead and ascended into heaven. Not only did the Eternal Word who is God take on flesh, but that same God-man suffered for the sins of the world and was raised from the dead in a glorified human body and now sits at the right hand of the Father. All of this to say: creation is good, creation has been cursed by sin, but the Maker has embraced His Creation and taken away the curse, and now that same Creation is in Heaven. If God has embraced this world to redeem it and glorify it, so should we. This world matters. Dominion matters. Evangelism matters. Business matters. Art matters.
The point here is that modern Christians have fallen into this ancient heresy to the extent that much of our discipleship and teaching has consisted for far too long in mere information, so-called “spiritual experiences,” and a bifurcated view of the universe, with religious/spiritual matters (read: “really important things”) over here (at church on Sundays and at occasional retreats and conferences), and all those dirty “secular” material things (read: “not important, not spiritual”) over there.
Of course I have no problem with Christian conferences on theology, Christian philosophy, or apologetics or the Bible. All of that is great, fabulous, incredibly important even. So long as we are in full submission to the Word of God, I’m all for it. But the gaping hole has been the decided lack of Christian conferences on business, culinary arts, fine arts, media production, entertainment, economics, criminal law, and politics. We have left those industries, those fields of human endeavor to the Marxists, leftists, and alphabet jihadists. And lo, shock of all shocks, those industries and areas of life are dominated by such ilk.
But there have been voices in the wilderness. Francis Shaeffer began talking about how the Christian faith impacts the arts and media and politics back in the 70s and 80s. The reconstructionists began writing and talking (with all their endearing grumpiness) about the fact that Bible has something to say about politics, foreign policy, criminal law, and economics back in the 80s. And Doug Wilson and others launched the classical Christian education movement around the same time, while thousands of other families simply walked out of the government schools. Huzzah!
So what was most exciting thing to me about the Fight Laugh Feast Conference? It was the combination of flavors, the combination of choke-holds we put on Gnosticism, secularism, materialism, and all that damned nonsense. The talks were theologically and biblically robust, but they hit so many areas of life: family, sex, politics, church, economics, arts, abortion, media, philosophy, history, business, comedy, law, and homemaking. And I know I’m missing some.
Closely related to all of those topics, is the fact that the 1300+ people who attended are the kinds of people who are attracted to this breadth of knowledge and living. The kinds of people who came are conscientous Christians who are committed to taking dominion of the whole world, just like Genesis says. They are husbands and wives, parents and children, churchmen and pastors, military men and homemakers, businessmen and artists, entrepreneurs and investors, creators and educators. They are believers and doers.
And one of the most important things for us at CrossPolitic is helping these people meet one another. God has poured out His Spirit on the church, and this means that He has given gifts to men. These gifts include wisdom and skill and resources in every area of life. And when we work together to start families, churches, schools, businesses, and companies, we are building the Kingdom.
Doers of the Word
The second thing I’ve mentioned to folks – as one of my favorite things to happen at the conference is the fact that there was a luncheon for Christian CEOs looking to be encouraged in this current cancel culture and looking to network with other Christians. Our friend Andrew Crapuchettes from Red Balloon led this charge. This exemplifies the previous point. It was a conference full of good fellowship, but it was a working conference, a conference for Christians who are committed to hard work. And we did it all with several hundred kids in attendance, while singing Psalms every chance we got. Which is to say, we understand that the only way our hard work will be potent for the Kingdom is if God builds our houses and watches over our cities (Ps. 127). And if it is God who is building our families, our churches, and businesses, then we want to build with Him, cutting with the grain of His blessing. And that means we want fruitful families, piles of well-loved kids, with His War-Songs in our mouths as we work and fight.
And if all of this wasn’t encouraging enough already, I want to aim all of this at our current Blundering-Biden Moment. And what I mean is all the mandates, all the political overreach, all the diktats, all the soft fascism oozing out of the talking heads.
Am I worried? Am I scared? Not a bit.
Don’t get me wrong. We are up against it. We are in it. There are orcs overrunning our lands, and there have been and there will be some atrocities in the process. But what I see happening is a God-given shake-up allowing the people of God to re-align with allies and friends. This shake-up has happened in the churches, in schools, in families, in businesses, and in the states. Right about now you should know that there is no going “back to normal.” This disease is Stage 5 Cancer. But there’s a good bit about this country that needs to die. So find your people. Make a strategic retreat if you need to. Find high ground to defend. Find a church that won’t shut down. Find a school with an explicitly Christian backbone free of government hooks and whips, which is usually indicated by the fact that they will not require masks. Start a business or join one that respects your responsibility before God to worship Him alone and make your own health care decisions. And probably in order to do those things you will also need to find a relatively conservative state, and a county and city where there is at least some visible, vocal presence of old school Americans who believe in Biblical freedom, preferably with a sheriff who chews tobacco and reads John Calvin in his free time.
We’ve had it easy in this country for a while, and thank God for all the blessings, but Christianity is a fighting religion: we were made to storm the gates of Hell. We were made for moments like this.
The Fight Laugh Feast Conference was a huddle, and there will be (Lord willing) many more huddles like it. We huddle to discuss, to encourage, to offer feedback, to consider the plays, and then we break to run back out on to the field, to run the next play, to follow our Captain into the fray.
Who knows what folly will be announced next, but I’m seeing thousands of Christians busy with good work building real Christian economies – communities that can and will provide protection, provision, jobs, schools, industries that withstand all the nonsense, cities on a hill, bright gospel light in this present darkness. So find your people and dig in: hard work, education, and planning for generations, all centered around the worship of the Triune God. It has always worked in the past and it will work again.
Christ is King. Glory to God.