EDGE ’09 #1 – Four questions on the nation’s soul

These are the notes I took during the first talk of the EDGE Conference ’09. The speaker was Sheridan Voysey.

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All of us have questions in our hearts that we only hear during quiet moments.

1. In a materialistic world, where can I find meaning?
Australians are looking for something meaningful in what they do, e.g. in tourism (voluntourism) and their work (workplace chaplain, learning journalling…) etc.
More people aged ~20-30 are experiencing a so-called “quarter-life crisis”. They go out into the world and the workplace, and they find it a lot harder than they expected, which leads to their lives “crumbling”. Their parents (baby-boomers) threw away spiritual/religious/ethical roots, and now they have this void left in their lives.
We are told that buying things would be meaningful for us, and as  we move toward the “kingdom of things” we find it’s cold and empty. We’re left still asking, where can we find fulfillment and meaning and happiness? We’re taught that we make our destiny.
BUT: Jesus said “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” We find meaning in Jesus.

2. In a confusing world, where can I find guidance?
This year, a total of 65,000 people will attend 5 “Body, Mind, Spirit” festivals across Australia. The biggest attraction in the festival is the room with 60 psychics “on call” to tell the fortune of the attending.
We’re not only looking for guidance, but also a guiding VOICE. Generation X is looking for little rules to guide them because they have no “big” rules (i.e. Biblical guidance).
BUT: a Voice says “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”

3. In a broken world, where can we find liberation?
Counselling is growing rapidly as the ‘in’ thing; it’s the fastest growing career of the past decade.
The psychologists/psychiatrists are using forgiveness as a tool in an attempt to solve problems between people. Secular confessional websites and phone lines are also gaining popularity. The belief in God might stop, but the need for forgiveness is still there.
BUT: Jesus said “See, I make all things new.” He’s restoring people to Himself.

4. In a lonely world where can I find love?
25% of households in Australia are single person households, and that’s the highest it’s ever been. That number is constantly growing. The average time that spouses spend talking to each other each day is only 12 minutes.
Irony: the more time we spend on social networking sites, the less social we become in real life.
There’s a rise in contractual marriages. The line of thought is “we’ll be married for X years, then renegotiate the contract.”
It’s been proven that by isolating a person on their own in a room for days on end, the body starts to deteriorate and become more stressed out and unhealthy.
BUT: Jesus promises “I have loved you with an everlasting love.”

People are looking and asking for meaning, guidance, liberation, love. But the story that answers those questions is that of an infinitely awesome God and creator, who controls everything. He sends His Son, Jesus, as a perfect Man to the world. Jesus is compassionate and loving, kind and merciful. But He’s betrayed, mocked, derided, spat on, crucified, and ultimately He dies on that cross. It doesn’t end there, though. Jesus rose from the dead on the 3rd day after He was crucified! This same God calls us, confused and despairing as we are, to give us a new heart and forgiveness and freedom from the shame of sin. People seek love; only God can ultimately provide it.

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I hope you found it as encouraging as I did!

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting the 2nd talk I attended. That 2nd talk was one of 2 electives, so unfortunately I don’t have the notes of the other talk. I have ordered the DVD of all the talks, so at some time in the future I may watch the other elective and post the notes . However, I’m definitely not making any promises. Sorry.

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