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August 13, 2017

Adam Phillips: Practicing what he preaches: going against the grain to make the faith community inclusive for all
Category: 2017 Event, News, Speaker Announcements

Inclusion. Think of the kid sitting all by himself in the lunchroom cafeteria; or the person who, instead of feeling unique, is branded weird; or the one whose minority status is thrust upon her like fetters. How might the world be made a better place for the likes of them? The sense of belonging is a basic human yearning, and something Adam Phillips is passionate about (along with vinyl, soccer, and cold-brew coffee). As an activist, organizer, and founding pastor of Christ Church: Portland, he strives to inspire the collective church, often a culprit of exclusivity, to be a catalyst for inclusion.

 HS Phillips Adam 2

Adam has been involved in movements for social transformation and inclusion for a decade and a half, spending five years in Washington, DC, working with groups like the ONE campaign to end extreme poverty and AIDS. Along with his wife Sarah, he moved to Portland to start a faith community that would live-out-loud the kind of things they believe Jesus cares about: embracing those of every race, gender, and social status – even when that caused friction with his denominational higher-ups. When it comes to inclusion, he practices what he preaches.

“The Good News is actually way better than we imagine,” Adam explains. “Namely, that we’re all included in this beautiful dream of love, light, joy, and justice for a world that sometimes loses its way a little bit.” In such an environment, even little things can make a big difference.

That is Adam’s idea worth spreading. Inclusion is not a new idea, but the original idea that just might save us all. When it comes to human rights, the environment, the economy, gender, race, sexuality, and politics, we can take cues from ancient spiritual wisdom. Jesus was once asked: what is the greatest commandment? His answer was a radical application of two ancient teachings from the books of Deuteronomy and Leviticus—love the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength; and love your neighbor as yourself. This “Greatest Commandment,” loving God as whole, integrated persons and extending that love outward, constitutes the ultimate alchemy of spiritual wisdom. As we pursue these three loves—for God, neighbor, and even for ourselves with all we have (mind, body, and soul)—just imagine what might be possible in our own time, no matter what religious tradition we come from.

We are delighted to introduce Adam Nicholas Phillips as one of our speakers this year.

  • Adam has recently launched a twice-weekly Facebook Live show on AFX-Live called “Public Theology,” and is currently publishing a book on faith-rooted resistance.

  • He has attended 30 U2 concerts (and one New Kids on the Block).

  • Last month, he and Sarah included a baby boy, Desmond, into their own family.

Ted Moeller

Feeling called to be part of the TEDx team—by name even!—Ted Moeller is a dual citizen of Canada and the United States. He retired from the Canadian Armed Forces (a paratrooper chaplain) to plant a church in Vancouver, Washington. Ted loves the Pacific Northwest—its coffee, microbrews, sports teams, even its weather! In addition to being a pastor he is also a professor at Concordia University. Formerly, he was a high school basketball coach, a disk jockey, and co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize (in 1988, sharing it with 35,000 other peacekeepers!). He married Patricia Chylla of Bloomfield Hills, MI, a third of a century ago. They have two children, Laura and Rebecca, and a Labrador named Kona.