Blogs - Student Conferences - Colorado
August 24, 2011
Tuesday, August 23 (Session 7, Day 9)
Summit has flown by. At times it has seemed to crawl by, and at others I wondered where the time went. I think the closest thing to this time warp is the image of a vacillating ceiling fan: follow one blade in its circuit and you can trace its shape around the ceiling. But if you try to look at the fan as a whole, then it all becomes a blur. I can remember points in the past week and a half, but if I try to remember it all, everything becomes a rush of motion. Sleep - in large enough quantities - helps to reverse this effect, but this did not stop my body from waking me up at 5:50 a.m this morning; forty minutes before my alarm clock was set to go off. At Summit, that is an astronomical amount of lost sleep.
If there is a sense of exhaustion (and perhaps more than a bite of cynicism) in the above paragraph, it is certainly not the fault of anyone here. Last night I witnessed the body of Christ working in a way that leaves me in awe of God’s grace at work in the lives of the Summit staff and the students here.
My tone certainly isn’t the fault of the speakers today. John Stonestreet had some incredible things to say on the matters of culture and Christians. He spoke of the fact that we are to be involved in the world, fighting against the injustices that are so prevalent in this fallen place. Stonestreet spoke of Hans Scholl, a young student living in Nazi Germany who was caught in the crush between saving his own life and doing what was right. Hans wrote to a friend, speaking of the temptation to flee the conflict that he was faced with. “Isn’t seclusion a form of treachery - of desertion? ... I’m weak and puny, but I want to do what is right.” Hans and his sister were executed soon afterwards when their subterfuge against the Nazi regime was found out. All this spoke to me today, and convicted me of my own reluctance to engage in the cultural war that says that what is wrong is relative and what is right is mediocre, at best.
Which brings me to the source of my cynicism and anger. You see, the last event of the day was a recorded video lecture from a previous summit session. It was about abortion. I had actually listened to the audio portion of the lecture before, which filled me with disappointment and resignation that I would be left counting the number of times that the lecturer said “why” in order to stay awake (due to my body’s aforementioned, unwanted wake-up call).
I was wrong.
The lecturer stressed the point that we live in a visually-oriented culture. Movies, pictures, and artistic expressions are all things which stick in American heads. Which is why he proposed the very careful, very forewarned use of film showing an abortion. Unfortunately, no amount of audio preamble could prepare me for the visual component of the lecture.
I watched all of fifteen seconds of the two-and-a-half-minute video. It was graphic (as is my description). But it was real. even now, over an hour and a half later, I still can’t keep the image of a tiny, bloodied, disembodied head with dead, glassy gray-black eyes staring into the camera out of my head. Fifteen seconds is all it took to fill my stomach with nausea, my heart with fury, and my head with a steely yet futile determination to keep that image out of my brain. I can’t think of anything else.
If the other students at Summit and I get nothing else out of these two weeks, let it be that we Christians have been silent for far too long. Not just on abortion, but on many other issues too. We have shut ourselves away from the world, allowing the blind to lead the blind, while innocent lives that depended on us have perished.
I’m no longer content to sit in the shadows, awaiting someone else’s actions to change the world. That was not what Jesus taught; that is not what he lived. Jesus is our model, and it is high time that we followed his example.