Going Deeper, Growing Stronger
Day three is hugely important. Now that groups have formed strong bonds, they test their community in hard discussions, and they experience some of the week's biggest ideas.
Because the day is so important, one of the first things we offer is a time of extended, quiet prayer, introduced and guided by Cate MacDonald, our Director of Staff and Student Care. Cate's amazing. Her job is to pray for conference participants all the time, and to make herself available for prayer and conversations whenever staff or students need a wise, listening ear.
Students also heard a devotional from John Mark Reynolds (recording below), and a seminar by me on discussion and exploration. I called them to seek truth together, not for points or rewards, but for the truth itself. We want them to become people whose minds are pointed at Jesus, not just people with heads stuffed with somebody else's Christian ideas.
After thinking about Philippians, prayer, and discussion and exploration, they tried it: for three hours (which I heard many students call short), they discussed Laches, by Plato (our discussion text this year). For many students, this was the first time they had been seriously asked big philosophical questions without a leader trying to get them to a certain conclusion. It was one of their first times realizing that they could be thinkers, and that thinking could be full of life.
The day ends with two awesome experiences: John Mark Reynolds' Beauty lecture (the only talk we repeat every year, recording below), and a film viewing. Groups picked between watching Make Way for Tomorrow and Of Gods and Men. I led an extended Q&A after the latter film. I wish you could have heard the students reflecting on the courage that's required for faithfulness, on the beauty of music after silence, on the hope of resurrection, and on the power of love .
I stayed up late talking with students in the lobby. Too late. But I loved it. This group is so eager! They walk up with specific, honest questions and eyes full of hope. I'm not quite sure how we'll roll out of bed in the morning, but I can't wait. In many ways, Wednesday is the high point of the week... Until then, good night!
Hear the Day
Great song by a local band that fits well with the drama of trying to find your own answers.
Music by a contemporary Dutch composer that evokes eternity.