Learning in Boston

This past Friday and Saturday I was in Boston for a regional conference of The Gospel Coalition.  When you take in a solid 12+ hours of teaching in a day and a half there’s a lot downloaded in the memory banks.  So here are some highlights.

Saturday was an amazing day in Boston.  Walking to the Back Bay Conference Center from the T you pass towering office buildings, beautiful homes and one of the highlights of Boston churches, Trinity.  It is fun to be in a city with such a mix of architectures woven into a coherent whole.  The main drawback to the beautiful day was being inside the auditorium of the conference center where it is always dawn or dusk.  The lighting is bright enough to see but never fully day.

One of the speakers, Tim Keller, a pastor in New York City and author spoke at the first two sessions.  He stressed the nature of the gospel as “news.”  In contrast to religious (or secular) advice on how one should live, the gospel is news of what God has done for us in Jesus.  This may sound pretty basic, but it is an incredible point for reflection.  When I hear again, of Jesus living, dying, and rising again on behalf of a corrupt humanity I am reminded of how little I understand the gospel.  I see the ways in which my life is out of line with the path Jesus makes and it is both a rebuke and an invitation.  God is showing me my blindness so that I would again look to him for sight.  God is showing me that I have no qualifications or strong points to stand upon and must flee full to his grace.

On the other hand, God was encouraging me through the conference, as I listened to some of the speakers and said “I’m actually doing, to a large degree, what they are pointing out.  Two of theses instances were in the area of communication and it was encouraging to hear that I’m starting to get it and grow in my ability to speak with individuals from many backgrounds about Jesus.  I’m seeing progress here and I’m glad its not merely in my head.



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