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November 17, 2010

Theology as a Rain Forest

Theology as a Rain Forest

There are many thoughts that enter the mind upon approaching the end of an endeavor such as Summit Semester.  “What did I learn?” “Will I remember the material?” or “Will I keep in touch with my friends?” are all questions that could ruin the difficult yet necessary process of saying goodbye. Although I am not here to analyze and exploit the process of leaving, it is indeed an included aspect.  The most mind-consuming thing, however, is reflection of the time I have spent here, the friends I have made, the habits that have been built, and a general direction of my next step.


The first thing I will explain are the relationships I have made since I have been here.  One of the things that the staff emphasizes here is respect, service, and self-sacrifice for both male and females.  This includes daily service, chivalry, or special occasions and surprises that make all of us guys here feel insufficient to call ourselves men.


I am referring to a wonderful banquet that the girls had prepared for all of the guys.  After a long afternoon of shooting big, manly, holy bovine fecal matter those are big guns, we received a parchment with an inscription on it that directed us to dress up and be in the lodge in thirty minutes.  After doing our best to get cleaned, shaved, and dressed up, each of us went from being bad-smelling, scruffy-faced guys, to bad-smelling, cut-in-the-face-from-razors guys covered in “smell-good” body spray.  Needless to say, we were inadequate for this gift.


That night we were served a multi-meal gourmet banquet of soup, followed by a steak with mash potatoes, mushrooms, and green beans, and last but not least, our choice of pie. There was also entertainment including violin duets, Debussy’s Clair de Lune, guitar and voice, Shakespearian monologues, closed-mouth singing, comb playing, a balloon symphony, and a chamber orchestra of coat zippers.  After enjoying all of these things, the women exceeded any expectations that could possibly have been left by awarding each of the guys an award describing a strength that they have brought to this program.  After this, everybody was in a great mood.  There was dancing, and when I say dancing I mean everybody danced.  It was truly a night to remember.


If I have succeeded in describing the strong relationships that have been built here, then I wish to move to a more personal level from my reflection of this semester. When we analyze our own theology, perhaps the most difficult thing is realizing how little we know, and therefore changing our beliefs where necessary.  This has been the most painful experience while being here.  Theology can be described as a rain forest; the deeper one goes in their study of God, the more there is to learn.  At first, I felt like I was in the center of the Amazon without so much as a guide, map, or even a machete.  It seemed as if there was no way that I could figure out any of the questions proposed before me.  I then realized how much I needed a personal God.  We are trying to learn about God, but to do that effectively, we must also know God for ourselves.  If that happens, we are then equipped to boldly confront these questions for the purpose of seeking answers.


In the end, we will be coming home two weeks from tomorrow (Saturday).  As this time grows closer, everybody is getting anxious to squeeze the maximum amount of time spent together as possible.  We are looking forward to a few days off for Thanksgiving and many visits from family members during that time.  We have many events planned to distract us from the knowledge of this last stretch including a Thanksgiving dinner, skiing, and a talent show. Then, we will say our goodbyes and fly back to our families.  But alas, we will return home with a hoorah.

Blogger's Bio: A drummer and percussionist, Daniel says “music has been, and always will be in my life.  I most certainly feel God’s pleasure when I am playing music.”  In addition to writing and producing some of his own music, Daniel works with local bands, songwriters and other musicians at a recording studio.  Daniel has participated in local theater productions, and has worked as a page in the Senate.  “I ultimately wish to use my patriotism to glorify my Creator, to bring this world closer to what He created it to be.” 

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