New Wine for New Wineskins: Highlights from Q Nashville by Alissa Wilkinson

Before the first session on day 2 of Q Nashville even began, the joke was already circulating on Twitter: “Take a swig (of coffee) every time you hear the word ‘flourishing.’”

It was a lighthearted way of pointing out the thread through all the conversations going on at the War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville on April 23 and 24. That focus on God’s plan for human flourishing—in relationships, in churches, in our bodies and minds, and in the midst of a shifting cultural landscape—is at the core of Q’s mission: “Stay Curious. Think Well. Advance Good.”

It would be impossible to capture the whole experience in an article—for that, you’d have to have been there. (All 30+ talks are available for a limited time in HD in our store.)

But here are just a few highlights, with a little help from our Twitter friends.

Andy Crouch kicked off Wednesday with a talk on religious liberty—and what it means to be committed to its promotion.

Donna Freitas, author of The End of Sex, spoke about responding to “hookup culture.”

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam (a Republican) and Nashville Mayor Karl Dean (a Democrat) joined us to talk about working together across party lines, and about some of the issues facing government and citizens today.

Nicole Baker Fulgham about the Expectations Project and challenged us to serve young people who don’t have access to privilege.

And Robi Damelin and Bassam Aramin spoke about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict—an issue that brought them together after Damelin, who is Israeli, and Aramin, who is Palestinian, both lost children in the conflict and became unlikely friends.

One of Thursday’s highlights for many in the room was a talk by the neuroscientist Dr. Caroline Leaf, who’s been studying the brain for over thirty years. She’s passionate about thinking well and making choices that work with the brain’s neuroplasticity to renew the mind and soul.

Joy Eggerichs, who runs Love & Respect Now, spoke about singleness, marriage, and relational hope.

Timothy George, an evangelical, and Matthew Levering, a Roman Catholic, spoke about Catholics and evangelicals working together—about shared beliefs and reconciliation.

And Christine Caine left the crowd breathless as she charged us to stop chasing the “next” thing and instead look around us to see the fresh work of God in the church, and to allow him to put new wine into new wineskins.

This is just the tip of the iceberg—there were conversations about manliness and femininity, about calling, about the importance of handcraft and the challenges of pasturing in a pluralized world, about living faithfully in the midst of exile, about using art for good, and much more. We heard from speakers ranging from Russell Moore to Rachel Held Evans, from Rebekah Lyons to Stephen Mansfield, from Shauna Niequist to David Crowder. It was a rich few days. (Here’s a Twitter list of speakers.)

To see what happened, check out our tagboard, or search #QNashville on Twitter. And we’ll have clips and reflections up at in the coming weeks.