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July 23, 2009

Session 5 | Day 5

On my first night in this peculiar and ancient hotel, I remember waking up at two A.M. to early morning entertainment provided by Manitou's finest: our beloved hippies. In a downtown park, the hippies constantly provide music at varied levels of expertise. As the random notes of brass instruments, followed by interludes of silence made their way uphill, I realized how excellently The Summit integrates its philosophy into a practical, real-world experience. Not only does this ministry provide the answers to the questions people ask, but it provides encouragement to us students to fully engage in relationships with the same people.

We have the same message in the classroom: Relationships matter. The relationship with God is the central focus here, and I remember Dr. Bauman during dinner two nights ago telling me, "Christ is not in addition, but in relation, to what you do." This is his goal as he teaches young people how to think about their lives: To show them not to have Christ on the sidelines, but as the supreme purpose for their choices. As far as person-to-person relationships, Ryan Dobson advised us yesterday in the importance of knowing when to debate and when to converse. It is important to know how to converse without attacking arguments in debate (A skill not to be devalued as it is enormously necessary). Conversations allow us to continue to see people, one on one, as important within the battle for truth. In a session on bitterness this morning, the Jefferys encouraged us to think of how bitterness will hinder our personal ministries, and will build up walls in the lives of those we must communicate with. Our responsibility is not only to ideas and truth that influence intellect and argument, but also ideas and truth that influence people.

I am so thankful that Summit resides in Manitou. We are not living in a classroom for seven hours every day surrounded only by papers and thoughts with no outside consideration for relationships (with God and man). We live, for these two weeks, among not only the ideas with which we engage people, but also the people who hold these contrary philosophies and worldviews we learn about for a fortnight. They make our time here matter. Conversely, those relationships would have no purpose without the ideas and truth we learn to communicate.

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