Following the departure of Dr. Bauman, I had imagined a break from the long days of studying that had characterized my first five weeks here at Summit. Don’t get me wrong, these last weeks have been a wonderful experience where I have learned a lot but a break was something I thought I deserved after finishing all the essays that were required for finals week. Suffice it to say, when class started on Monday morning I was less than hopeful that I would be able to stay focused unless the speaker was as interesting as I could have hoped. Dr. Williams fulfilled all of my hopes and exceeded my expectations.
When I first spoke to him on the Sunday before his lectures, I asked him by what title I should refer to him. In response, he calmly stated “Gandalf” with a completely straight face. At that moment, I knew that this would be an enjoyable week. With whom else could one have a conversation and the idea of dual citizenship in Middle Earth and Narnia even come up?!
To begin the first lecture on Monday, Dr. Williams began with the value of study in the life of a Christian. This was an excellent starting point, especially since we had just finished the large amount of study that was necessary for the classes that had concluded just two days before. In his definition of study, Dr. Williams specifies that it is the “deliberate, serious, and sustained application of the mind, in dependence on the Holy Spirit and in submission to Scripture.” Despite the hard work that I had put into the assignments and studying for the tests of the previous weeks, I loved how he brought even the practice of studying under the umbrella of God’s jurisdiction. It was amazing to see how tasks that seem like a practice of human will can reveal the hand of God in life. The following thesis which stated that all Christians should devote a significant place to study in his life, really brought home the value of Summit Semester. Not only do we have the privilege of coming to Snow Wolf Lodge and being in a community of Christians for three months, but we are allowed to devote ourselves to study under the tutelage of such great writers and men as Dr. Williams.
As classes went on, I adjusted to the very different style of teaching compared to Dr. Bauman. With PowerPoint slides, Dr. Williams brought us back to the twenty-first century with his lectures which were chock-full of valuable information that left me typing furiously to try and get as much as I could down to review and remember even after he left. Although most of our time spent with him was in class; Alathea, Caden, Daxton, Kinsey, Mikaela, and Samuel spent the afternoons of the first days of his stay practicing for Dr. Williams’ original play, “Revenge of the DWEMs.” DWEMs being best translated as Dead, White, European Males. This play consisted of Socrates of Athens, New Critica, Erasmus of Rotterdam and Post Modernica as they speak about language and how we understand it through the centuries. The night of the play, all of the students dressed up for the occasion and after a brief introduction to the history behind the characters we settled in for a most satisfying production. With accents and body language that fit their parts, the actors/actresses did an excellent job in portraying their characters as the audience laughed in response to the humor within their lines. The comedic aspect of the play was much assisted by Socrates who, at times, mimicked the mannerisms of Bauman which drove the students to hysterics. I can attest to the fact that the laughter was truly in good spirit, Dr. Bauman had become a favorite among the students over the previous weeks.
As the week drew to a close and Dr. Williams’ books started disappearing from his “book-stand” in the dining room, our last class was bittersweet. . Reading some of his poetry from his book, “Stars through the Clouds”, and taking requests, he brought the week full circle. We began by learning about studying and ended with an open forum to see the great value of knowledge that his own studying had added to him. I loved seeing how the conversation changed from life after college to Shakespeare. Some of Dr. Williams’ parting advice included speaking the truth in love. He commented that often we seek to speak the truth, and we are good at that, but we sometimes forget to love as well, except as an afterthought. He said it is best to love people so that you may speak truth into their lives. I am so happy that I had the opportunity to study under Dr. Williams. Through eating with him at meals and talking with him during class, it is clear that he cared about us as students and that spoke to me that he was walking as he talked. He loved us, and due to his love, he sought to speak truth into our lives. It was more than a job, it was a desire to speak into our lives.
Ruth Sosa comes to Summit Semester from California. She recently graduated high school and has done some dual credit work at Santa Rosa Junior College. As Ruth continues her collegiate education, she intends to pursue a degree in Biomedical Engineering, with which she hopes to impact the world by helping to create Nano technology for aid in surgeries. Ruth is also a passionate reader and can generally be found exploring the grounds surrounding Snow Wolf Lodge with a book in hand. Her goals this semester include developing a deeper understanding of the history of Christianity and sharpening herself in the context of Christian community.