faith and work

165f81_0334ed19a73f489c91870f8f20687d48.gif_srz_p_800_650_75_22_0.50_1.20_0 copyThis past weekend I had the opportunity to attend the annual conference of Redeemer Presbyterian’s Center for Faith and Work.” If you’re not familiar with the CFW, it’s the “cultural renewal arm” of Redeemer’s ministry that provides resources, events, discussions, education, and community around the vision of mobilizing New Yorkers to be agents of change and renewal in the city through their work.

I’ve always been annoyed by those people who incessantly tweet quotes from speakers throughout a conference, but apparently I find it less annoying when they’re grouped together, because here are some of the gems from the sessions I attended.

David Kim, Executive Director of the CFW: “Both faith and work are about seeing something that is unseen, giving rise to something new.”

Margaret Newman, Executive Director of The Municipal Art Society of New York said a new Penn Station is in the works! This is not exciting to you unless you have ever had to actually go into Penn Station. B15PS0PIMAAWMKP

Tim Keller, Senior Pastor, Redeemer Pres: “In every religion but Christianity, the creation story is a battle. God created just because he wanted to. So we’re an expression of that desire to create. God created us and then gave us a world full of raw materials. What other philosophy could make creativity so noble?”

“Having no limits doesn’t really require creativity. Everybody doing whatever they want isn’t creative. People working together within limits forces creativity.” (I wrote something somewhat similar here.)

“The last thing to change in a neighborhood is the church.”

Dave Evans, co-founder of Electronic Arts and a lecturer at Stanford University: “You need ideas and initiative, but it starts with a godly invitation. God doesn’t work with what we want to do, it’s joining him in what he wants to do.”

Nancy Ortberg, author and speaker: “Imagination is entering the mind of God. We are discovering, not inventing.”

“The combination of collaboration and conflict causes things to happen in the brain; this is what leads to insight.”

“Jesus began by calling a team. If anyone could have done things alone, it’s him.”

“Don’t waste time solving problems you can do by yourself—work on problems that require others.”


“Fishermen were rabbi school rejects. Instead of going to the cream of the crop, Jesus picks them. He’s saying, ‘The image of God is in everybody, and look what I can do with a nobody.'”

“The sign of a great leader is someone who can lead people very different from them.”

“Organizational health trumps everything; if you don’t have a good culture you will never reach your full potential.”

“Sometimes let the conversation be unresolved—conflict is rarely managed in one conversation. Leave space for thought and the Holy Spirit.”

“Healthy teams should not depend on the leader to hold them accountable.”

“A few weeks to a few months is enough time for a team of people to build enough trust that they can handle conflict.”

“When we know people’s stories and where they come from, obstacles to creativity and trust start to fall down.”

“Consensus is mutually-agreed upon mediocrity.”

“Curiosity decreases fear; there’s almost an inverse relationship between curiosity and fear.”

“Conflict is the primary mode of spiritual formation.”

B17THaCIEAA8fg6David Brooks, Op-Ed Columnist for the New York Times: “The things we call character are long-term: honesty, integrity, loyalty, discipline. This is in contrast to gluttony, laziness, etc. These are short-term.”

“Suffering is a plow that tills the hard ground of your soul. Love and suffering open the hard ground, then discipline manages it.”

Christian Wiman: Award-winning poet, former editor of Poetry magazine, and author of must-read My Bright Abyss: 

“Both art and faith are terms leached of meaning when used a lot.”

“Jewish theologian Heschel: ‘Faith is faithfulness to the times we had faith.'”

“Poetry is important to religious life. Much of the Bible is poetry. That’s why the bastardization of versions that sacrifice poetry for clarity are such a problem.”

“The same impulse that makes me sing of God is the one that makes me sing of godlessness.”

“God might call a person to unbelief so faith can take new forms.”

“You don’t turn to God in a crisis because you are afraid, but because all the background chatter ceases, and you can hear. And what some hear is the still, small voice.”

“Something in us does seem unkillable, doesn’t it?”

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