Mountains of Questions

Amber and I journeyed west for about 16 hours last Friday to arrive at our temporary home for the summer: the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, CO. This is my third summer out here, making it feel like a second home in some ways. Even though I am probably more of a beach bum than a mountain man, I love it out here! How can you not? It is ridiculously gorgeous and it's my "office" for the summer, where Amber and I are helping to facilitate our GCM Leadership Training program for college students.

I spent my first summer out here, and last as a college student, encountering the most unforgettable and transformational summer of my young life. Something mysterious, awesome and incredibly challenging happens here as we submit ourselves to our Father in an intense and unrealistic environment for eleven weeks. Little if any television or movies, minimal mobile phone use, buffet lines at mealtime, a one minute commute to "work", new and old friends all around all the time, all set in the majestic Rocky Mountains.

Now in my third summer, I experience "this" with different eyes and ears. I'm married now. I have three years of campus ministry under my belt. I've found healing from some old wounds, some are just rearing their ugly head, others have healed to give way to new ones.

What does God have in store for this summer? What lessons is he eagerly waiting to teach me? How is he waiting to surprise me with his love and grace? Where and how will he expose weaknesses, idols, insecurities only to pour out his favor and redemption? Will I receive from him? Will I be listening? Will my hands be open to receive? Will I ignore his whispers? Who will I build deeper friendships with? How will I encourage? How will I encourage? Where can I step down, empty myself and serve? Will I recognize Jesus right around me?

For now...I wait. I rest in his faithfulness and his love.

Dallas Willard on Community & Sabbath

In an interview with Relevant magazine, Dallas Willard talks about the connection between technology, sabbath, spiritual disciplines and authentic community.

We live in a world where technology… creates a false sense of intimacy and a false sense of sense of self. People today are being constantly pulled by things that they submit themselves to. That’s the great temptation and the great problem for many people today. Most don’t even notice the temptation, but their lives are being pulled apart by it. And when it comes to issues of exercising character and will, it simply isn’t there for them. They can only respond to things that are pulling at them.

We have a generation of young people now who are living in a constant state of “dropped out-ness” from the real world and from its history and from community and from the integrity of themselves. …And they don’t even know that …Most of them don’t know what community means because community means assuming responsibility for other people and that means paying attention and not following your own will but submitting your will and giving up the world of intimacy and power you have in the little consumer world that you have created… When they look community in the face and realize that it means raw, skin to skin contact with other people for whom you have become responsible…that’s when they back away.

[Interviewer: what recommendations do you have for someone who is struggling with this?]

You have to think in terms of radical disciplines that will return them out of this world of distraction they’re living in and help them find the center, and those are solitude and silence. You have to take yourself out of the place of running your world. And there is nothing that I know of that can do that other than the practice of lengthy solitude and silence. That will allow you to begin to understand what Sabbath means. But most people can’t approach Sabbath because they’re so revved up and so distracted by so many things that they couldn’t even begin to think about it… once you have begun to experience solitude and silence, you discover that you actually have a soul and that there is a God. Then you can begin to practice Sabbath and that will enable you to re-enter community. You can’t have community without Sabbath.

Law of Diminishing Posts

The frequency of my blog posts has significantly diminished over the past several months.

I'm strangely okay with that in part because it means I have spent less time on the internet and also because I am fairly certain that not too many people have been reading this blog. That said, I am sure I have now discouraged any current readers from maintaining vigilance for future new posts.

There are a few contributing factors.

One. Journaling.
I have been journalling in a physical notebook with much greater frequency over the past six months, which translates into fewer online posts.

Two. Busyness.
My life hasn't been overly stressful, but it has been very full with travels, campus ministry and quality time with my wife. I am only able to sit down right now and write this post due to the fact that I am sitting in a quiet living room at Chuck's house, watching out for him as he recovers from a surgery that he had this morning.

Three. Less Internet time.
I'm just not surfing the web as much these days, not scouring the blogosphere like I used to. There is a lot of chatter - a lot of soundbytes - out there and I find myself just focusing more on a few blogs of close friends. I've also realized that I turn to the internet when I'm lonely and maybe I just haven't been as lonely lately (which begs the question, "Is internet community true community? At best is it a helpmate to true community or at worst a hindrance?")

We'll see what this summer brings. I may be posting more from Colorado, which will be an entirely different scene, entirely altogether. :-)