Uncertainty. Fear. Confusion.
Those seem to be the words defining this generation. We are vividly, violently passionate about our beliefs — but uncertain about what those beliefs are. We claim ideas on which to live our lives, but don’t even check to see if those pieces fit together. We are indeed a generation divided — our hearts and our minds, our logic and our beliefs, our words and our actions, our truth and our love — our questions and the truth are seemly separated by so great an ocean that we haven’t even bothered to get our feet wet.
Just look at what passes for truth all about us. Almost any student will shrug their shoulders and say “Truth is whatever it is to you.” Even from Christian students you might get some little about God and the Bible, but when pressed with the current issues of morality, homosexuality, politics, or abortion, they’ll likely shrug and fall into frustrated silence as well.
Because honestly, we don’t really know what Truth is. We don’t know our stances on these issues. Oh, we know our conclusions and judgments, of “this is good, this is bad, and this you shouldn’t get involved in”, but we’ve never followed the syllogism before it. We’ve never explored the reason why. We haven’t really thought about it.
Our beliefs, our words, the truth itself, are just surface knowledge to us. And surface beliefs don’t create strong foundations. Superficial words don’t embolden to the fray. Shallow knowledge of truth doesn’t make passionate, purposeful people who are diligent and faithful in serving our God.
When all we have are unexamined lives, we reduce ourselves to mere statements of opinion, simply accepting the flow of our culture, scooted into the corner of forgottenness. We are like children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men and cunning craftiness. (Eph 4:14)
But we, O Christian, should not live like that. We are called to grow in the knowledge of God, and of the truth, we are called to be wise in all things.
But it is hard. Life is rushed, school is intense, and finding time to read all those apologetics books *glances at towering stack next to me* is intimidating at best.
But what if I told you there was a place where we pressed pause to examine our why’s? What if we could dedicate two weeks to understanding, to loving the Truth? What if we could surround ourselves with a thriving community of others who were eager to think fully, love fully, and live fully?
Where we could learn to love God not only with our heart, but also with all our mind; not only with our mind, but also with all our soul; not only with our soul, but also with all our strength; not only with our strength, but also with all our heart?
As may have guessed from my many rhetorical questions (and increasing frequency in sounding like a commercial), there is. Summit Ministries.
Summit is a two-week summer worldview camp, designed to aid students age 16-24 in learning how to better love God, the truth, and others.
But! I’m pretty sure you (and I as well) don’t want a commercial, so I want to tell you a little bit about my thoughts and take away from it. (Besides, commercial writing is boring, too many legal terms and “if-you-take-this-you-may-have-nausea-and-or-death” for me. None of which pertains for Summit, as there is no chance of nausea or dying there. Ok, well, there’s probably a little, since crazy stuff can happen, but… you know what, this isn’t going anywhere good, can we just forget this whole sidenote happened? Yes? Thanks.)
Two weeks. Two weeks in the summer, to learn about Truth. Two weeks in beautiful Colorado (or CA, or TN), to delight in God’s creation and presence. Two weeks surrounded by brothers and sisters, to learn from some of the greatest Christian minds in such topics as Abortion, Government, Homosexuality, Engaging the Culture, First Amendment Rights, and Biblical Inerrancy. Two weeks in growth, personally asking questions from speakers such as Sean McDowell, Brett Kunkle, Scott Klusendorf, Jeff Myers, Alan Shlemon, John Stonestreet, Frank Turek, J. Warner Wallace, Christopher Yuan, and many, many others. (And if you don’t recognize any of those names, glance at the sides of those towering apologetics books)
Two weeks, to be forever changed.
And honestly, I can’t even properly express the wonders of Summit to you all. And you’d think I would have gotten better at this, as I’ve gone twice already, and am going to staff this year!
But how do I express to you the exhilaration of looking up the front porch steps, knowing some of your best-friends-yet-to-be-known wait inside? How do I properly explain the quiet joy of getting up early in the morning to read your Bible, looking at the beautiful mountains of Colorado and hearing the muffled banging and laughter of the kitchen crew making breakfast? How do I show you the deepening, the growing that happens when you ask every question, and can find either the answers or the path to them? What words can I use to show the pulsing energy of sports day, volleyballs and laughter flying every which way? How can I do justice to those overwhelming moments of breaking out in worship in the hallways, someone pulling out a guitar and every passing student stopping to join in their voice?
In short, I can’t. After all, how do you explain the changing of a life? I can’t, so I won’t. All I’ll do is ask you.
I’m asking you to go.
Go whitewater rafting. Go ask these wise leaders questions. Go worship with strangers-turned-friends. Go feed giraffes. Go examine your worldview, go hike up Pikes Peak, go buy a dozen books, go laugh over the best custard ever.
Go roll out of bed early every morning eager to learn more about God and His Word, and tumble back into it every evening with the contentment of a fulfilling day well spent.
You won’t regret it.
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear. (1 Peter 3:15)
(Register for the student conferences before the 31st to get a $200 discount. And, if you go to any of Sessions 5-7 in Colorado, I’ll be staffing, and would be delighted to see you!)
Also, at Summit we do fantastic things like this. What’s not to love? (Photo Credit for this and Title Cover: Ben Ingalls)