Monday, January 29, 2007

Suspending the Normal

Take a moment. Step into the mind of OLT member, Sam, as he strives to put into words the essence of his work with college students through the wilderness setting. He labors to explain and define the unseen power of God’s ministry to students through creation, community and Christ’s call on our entire life ...
“Leading trips in every condition with every kind of student has not only been deeply wonderful, but it has also made me acutely aware of one thing:

Suspending normal is as simple as replacing self-serving cafeteria lines and big tables in a clean environment with a bag of ingredients, a four inch "stove" and the forest floor. Add in a cold layer of snowflakes and a pinch of darkness, and voila! Mealtime is brand new, requiring inter-dependence among these experts on self-sufficiency.

Suspending normal means replacing i-Pods with silence, homework with play, and wrist-watches with listening to the natural cycles of hunger and sleep.
Furthermore, it means removing the distractions that keep many of them from dealing with essential questions about life and faith.

This is the heart of it for me. Students frequently say that God is more easily found in nature than other places (even if they aren't sure there IS a God), as though the outdoors were his living room where they feel comfortable sitting. For so many, their internal questions converge with the activities and experiences and conversations on a trip and they begin to respond to Christ's invitation, "Come, all who are thirsty...."

What a privilege it is to watch them grapple with this first-hand, and then later, to hear from campus ministers about how these students' lives continue to be transformed on their campuses.”

Francois and I are going to "suspend the normal" with students this summer in Ontario, Canada on a 30 day kayaking trip: Leadership and Discipleship in the Wilderness... more details to come!

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