Blogs - Summit Semester
November 28, 2011
Knights of the Summit Round Table
Hullo readers! We have reached the final week here in our Semester experience at Snow Wolf Lodge. Our main faculty, Dr. Bauman, has already given his final class, and the rest of our week promises to be fairly ordinary as we mentally prepare ourselves to enter into the regular world again - most of us much more knowledgeable than our selves of three months past.
Literature had been among my primary study interests before coming to Semester, and so it still remains, though greatly strengthened in many degrees by our tutelage here at Snow Wolf Lodge. Having reached the end of my time here, it seems that there are many things to which the Summit Experience could be likened, and my favorite comparison is to Lord Alfred Tennyson's masterpiece, The Idylls of the King. This is an epic-style poem about the rise and dissolution of the kingdom of Camelot, the Christian King Arthur's reign, the victories and losses of his knights, and finally, the disbanding of Camelot itself. The end of the story sees the Order of the Round Table dispersed to live in a different world from the great Camelot in which they had been formed. In many ways, the story themes seem to echo what it's been like to have lived and studied at Summit Semester.
The location here at Snow Wolf Lodge is quite majestic, and each year's Semester must almost seem a new kingdom in itself. Soon upon our arrival, the students are asked to set themselves a pattern of governance, (one secondary to the preexisting rules of Summit itself), and then willingly abide by that government for the duration of our stay.
Immediately following, classes begin, which make for the majority of the Semester experience. Head faculty, Dr. Bauman, starts by setting up a series of problems that need to be addressed in the world by Christians, and then sends us off in quest of finding reasoned, effective, and intelligent answers to the problems of today, (as well as yester-day, yester-year, yester-century, and yester-millennium!). As we see played out in classroom discussions, the problems of the present are very often rooted among the problems of the past, and so if we are to effectively combat them as Christians, we must strive to understand them in their totality as opposed to a quick skimming over of the details.
In Dr. Bauman's method of teaching and study, I am much reminded of an observation once drawn by G.K. Chesterton: “St. George had not to consider any obvious odds or proportions in the scale of things, but only the original secret of their design. He can shake his sword at the dragon, even if it is everything; even if the empty heavens over his head are only the huge arch of its open jaws[...]” And so, during each class day with Dr. Bauman, we are all set with a new dragon to be tackled in each of the course subjects. Sometimes we comprehend the subjects readily, and emerge quickly victorious, while some days we understand our antagonist’s thoughts imperfectly, and so must regroup to sally forth again with renewed perspective against any reigning error. Semester is a place where one's education must be fought for, and such a method leaves the student much the stronger for the exercise!
Talk of fellowship, work teams, event outings, and free days aside, we finally arrive at the present window of life in Semester, which is our position of soon-to-be disbandment into the outside world. For many, this is a time of deep contemplation, and somewhat reminiscent of the last chapter of Tennyson's work:
Then loudly cried the bold Sir Bedivere,
Ah! my Lord Arthur, whither shall I go?
Where shall I hide my forehead and my eyes?
For now I see the true old times are dead,
When every morning brought a noble chance,
And every chance brought out a noble knight.
Such times have been not since the light that led
The holy Elders with the gift of myrrh.
But now the whole ROUND TABLE is dissolved
Which was an image of the mighty world;
And I, the last, go forth companionless,
And the days darken round me, and the years,
Among new men, strange faces, other minds.'
And slowly answered Arthur from the barge:
'The old order changeth, yielding place to new,
And God fulfils Himself in many ways,
Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.
Comfort thyself: what comfort is in me?
I have lived my life, and that which I have done
May He within Himself make pure! but thou,
If thou shouldst never see my face again,
Pray for my soul. More things are wrought by prayer
Than this world dreams of...”
We all quickly realize here that while the Semester experience may be glorious, and an excellent fellowship of like minds striving towards similar intellectual pursuits and aspirations, God's purpose for us in life remains outside the walls of Snow Wolf Lodge, and among other-than-like minds. After all, what is the purpose of training if not to put that training to use? The first challenge will largely be in adjusting to a new way of life again, since Semester has taught each of us new ways of approaching ideas and problems. Our mannerisms will likely remain Summit-ised until we have the chance to reorient ourselves among people who do not yet share our new taste in problem solving. We will all certainly miss the camaraderie, however, the friends that we've made here will remain, as in the sentiments of Tennyson, only a prayer's reach away!
By Andrew Shustov
"How is the Christian best to respond to discussions with non-believers?” This is the question that Andrew brings to Summit Semester, along with his long-time interest in theology, philosophy, and apologetics. Andrew attended Bellvue Community College, where he studied film. He desires to become thoroughly knowledgeable in apologetics, as “a love for our Savior gives us an innate love for logic.” He enjoys reading, writing, and theology.