Last weekend was spent roaming the streets of Pagosa and Durango, popping in and out of quaint little shops along the way, after eating lunch at the park. It was nice to take a break from the quiet woods at Snow Wolf Lodge and engage in the hustle and bustle of city life; although, at the end of the day everyone was glad to return to the peacefulness provided by the Lodge’s secluded location. Surrounded by mountains, hiking trails, and woods, Snow Wolf Lodge is the perfect place to disconnect from all of the distractions bombarding the average American. We have the opportunity to engage in building a strong community while increasing in knowledge of the Bible and other areas of study. All of the students, myself included, were thankful to have a break from classes over the weekend and step back from the deep thinking they require. While we all see the benefits of Dr. Bauman’s teaching methods—asking a question and then showing all of the mistakes in our answers—it is a somewhat painful process. My fellow students and I look forward to the day we are able to give a solid, well thought answer to Dr. Bauman that cannot be refuted. Until that day comes, we will continue the process of learning not what to think but how to think. One of the first things Dr. Bauman told us was that teaching is telling and more. He typically spends the first portion of the class telling us about the topic of study (either Church History, English Literature, or Christianity and Politics) and then uses the remainder of the class for discussion. The whole classroom experience is very engaging and mentally stretching. Personally, I have never felt so ignorant in my life! But rather than seeing that as a negative thing I prefer to look on the bright side; I will, Lord willing, be a much wiser and more knowledgeable person by the end of this semester. The classroom here is the perfect setting to learn. Each student comes from a different background and adds a unique perspective to the discussions. We are all growing and learning together.
The community here at Summit Semester is priceless. Even though we come from all over North America, there is a sense of unity among us. Each student and staff member has brought their specific strengths and weaknesses, allowing us to learn how to work together as the body of Christ should. Being at Summit Semester truly is a life changing event and I am looking forward to growing in wisdom and maturity along with the other twenty-nine students. Being able to spend three months with other young adults who are courageously seeking out the truth and eagerly learning how to find answers is a privilege. Somehow, reading almost sixteen intellectually taxing books in one semester suddenly becomes much less daunting when you are able to tackle the challenge alongside other students. The focus on academics at Summit Semester is a large portion of our day-to-day schedule but there are many other areas to grow in while here. Each week we set aside two afternoons for work crews, which has a twofold benefit: we are able to make many improvements to the property at Snow Wolf Lodge while strengthening and bringing further unity to our group. Another challenge we face is spending several hours in solitude each week. To some students this is not difficult at all, but to others it is quite a feat. In the busy schedule of most Americans, who often sacrifice a rested and refreshed mind for the sake of productivity, time for contemplation and reflection is placed very low on the priority list. Because of the lack of time for solitude in everyday life, our culture has developed short attention spans and left little room for reflection. Summit Semester provides a perfect environment to break bad habits and develop good ones. Setting aside time to think about God and His truths is essential in the life of a growing Christian. The hour and a half spent in quiet contemplation among the beauty of God’s creation is a treasure. It is a habit that I plan to continue once I return home.
Although I have only been here for eleven days I can already see how God is using this experience to teach me and conform me further to His image. Self-discipline is also a quality I am learning to embrace. Despite the structured schedule all of the students adhere to, it is hard to find enough time to get all of the assignments completed. Being an extrovert who absolutely loves people it is hard to spend enough time studying when there are so many fabulous people to spend time with. I am awed by the other student’s willingness to serve on every occasion that arises. As we continue learning together, I look forward to the friendships that I already have and will continue to develop.
Ashlyn Sorge joins us from Texas. After Summit Semester, she will be wrapping up the last year of her Communications degree at Thomas Edison State College. In the future, Ashlyn will be looking at pursuing long term mission trips, with an eye towards preparing for children’s ministry. While at Summit Semester, Ashlyn is looking forward to growing through the areas of study, with Church History being of specific interest. During her free time, you’ll probably find Ashlyn either on a horse, on the piano, or onto the next good book on her reading list.