The phrase "the common good" is a longstanding fixture of political rhetoric, and it may very well be coming to a church near you. But while the phrase has found a certain cachet among cosmopolitan Christians, thanks in part to NYC pastor Tim Keller's teaching that Christians should be a "counterculture for the common good," its meaning is at times vague: Who is included in the word common? And who gets to decide what is good?
To more helpfully define "the common good," This Is Our City executive director Andy Crouch sat down with Gabe Lyons, a parachurch leader who's given a lot of thought to the phrase in recent years. His annual Q conference, to be held in LA next week, describes its mission as "ideas for the common good." They discuss the historically rich phrase (with much theology derived from Catholic social teaching) and how it informs our presence in our communities.
Here's a guide to their conversation:
:15 What is the common good and where did the term come from?
1:45 The common good measures society by the way it treats the most vulnerable.
2:20 Christians are called to be a counterculture for the common good.
3:15 The idea of the common good reorients us.
4:00 Is this just another redo of the social gospel?
5:00 The danger of pursuing the common good.
6:00 The importance of pursuing the common good in community.
6:40 God is the ultimate common good.