When I first found out I was coming to Summit Semester, I was in Manitou for a summer conference. Thrilled, I immediately began packing my room when I got home and told my friends and family I was off to go to school in the mountains of Colorado. I’m not sure that I knew exactly what I was getting into. I called home after my first week and as the words were coming out of my mouth describing The Council of Pagosa, family meetings, work crews, and family meal times I realized how different it all sounded; even bordering on cultish. It’s almost like a different world here. True, our way of life may not be like the rest of society, but that is the beauty of these three months here. We have all left the world behind in pursuit of life together. As awkward as the first week or two were just getting to know each other, I now feel lucky enough to call all these people family. We made it through two weeks of class with Doctor Bauman together and countless hours of reading, writing, and discussing.
The 3rd week was so refreshing on so many levels. I don’t know about everyone else, but was just what I needed. John Stonestreet came in from Colorado Springs to teach and his classes, though rich in helpful information, were far less taxing.
Class with John Stonestreet was rich in so many areas. In all honesty, I thoroughly wish he had stayed longer. The first month with Doctor Bauman succeeded in figuratively exploding my mind and leaving me with more questions than I began with. Though I personally welcome the challenge of questioning everything I have ever thought was true, having normal lectures with actual answers was like air for drowning lungs.
We explored topics like being made in the image of God, the role of Christianity in culture, and a small portion of church history pertaining to the story of fundamentalism. This class to me, even more than further enlightenment, was a loud and clear call to action. I know now that humans in the image of God were created to create in imitation of our Maker and to fill and form the world to greater beauty and completion in every area; additionally, as Christians we have a responsibility to bring restoration to the Earth. As Stonestreet put it, “Our humanness is not a problem. Our humanness is the answer to filling and forming the world. Christ does not save us from our humanity. He saves us to our humanity.”
We are called to be fully engaged in culture as Christians and restore it as well as we can to its glory in creation.
We have gone on some great outings, but a trip several weeks ago beats them all! They said that we were going to see something called “The Million Dollar Highway.” I like beautiful views as much as the next person, but I had no idea just how breathtaking it would be to drive on a mountain road surrounded by bright yellow aspen trees and snowcapped mountains, all reflecting the sunlight and engulfing the landscape with the radiant glow from the trees and host of sparkles from the snow. I can now say with authority that highway really is worth a million bucks!
Life in the mountains has been wonderful to say the least. Seeds of lifelong friendships have begun to sprout and grow. My mind has expanded more than ever before, and I feel a great peace within my soul. But even with all of this, there are things I miss…like sleep! Sometimes I think about what life will be like once I get back to my home in Texas. Honestly, I don’t think my parents will see me any more than they do now because I’ll be in my room sleeping for a week. That’s what I feel like anyway.
Speaking of sleep… blankets and pillows are calling my name.
Julianna Schoenwald traveled from Texas to be part of this year’s Summit Semester class. A Psychology major, Julianna plans to pursue postgraduate studies in Biblical Counseling. She looks forward to melding this background with her love for others to work with endangered teens. As part of her time at Summit Semester, Julianna looks forward to deepening her understanding of her faith and participating in the community of students here studying. During her free time, Julianna will often be found on a run, enjoying the great outdoors, or engaging a fellow student in a good conversation.