In a few short hours, I’ll be… camping?
Yes. In a few short hours, I’ll be camping. If for no other reason than the fact that I can’t think of any activity more ‘out of character’ for me.
Let me explain.
A couple of weeks ago, my church – Quest Community Church – held our annual Men’s Retreat at Cedarmore, a retreat center about an hour and half from Lexington. So far, there’s nothing out of the ordinary in this post. Men’s Retreat happens every year around this time, and while I didn’t go my first year at Quest I’ve been every year since. It’s a great opportunity to get away from it all – literally ALL – for a couple of days, hang out with other guys and connect or reconnect with God, which is sort of the whole point. And past years have been just that.
But Retreat 2011, titled “ALIVE,” was unlike any other I’ve ever been a part of.
We followed a program based on John Eldridge’s book Wild at Heart, which I’d love to review here in a few weeks, and we walked through the three characteristics Eldridge says are universal to men – that we all have:
- An adventure to live.
- A battle to fight.
- A beauty to rescue.
Eldridge’s thesis is that modern man, especially modern Christian men, have lost sight of these three core things and we need to get them back. OK, we’re getting closer to the camping idea.
In one of our sessions the talk described how practically everyone – whether consciously or not – is a “poser.” We go through life crafting the identity we want others to see, picking and choosing only those attributes at which we think we will succeed, and we end up tiptoeing along terrified that someone is going to ‘find out’ that it’s all just an elaborate facade we’re hiding behind. Biblically, our Assistant Pastor Justin McCartey highlighted the portion of Wild at Heart that compares this ‘fake’ self to Adam and Eve in the garden post-fall, when they fashioned fig leaf clothing and attempted to hide from God. And so a core theme from retreat was the idea that we all need to ‘drop the fig leaf’ and rediscover who we’re supposed to be.
In his book (and I swear this isn’t turning into a review), Eldridge offers a few practical things we can do to facilitate that. One major one is to get out of your self-defined comfort zone, and do something you’d never in a million years expect yourself to do.
And so, in a few hours, I’m going camping.
I haven’t been camping since grade school. I think my last sleeping bag had a picture of Garfield on it. The ‘rational,’ ‘think-it-through,’ ‘whoa, now’ Roger has come up with a laundry list of reasons not to go. It’s going to be cold. (Really cold). You don’t really know much of anything about setting up camp. You might get eaten by a bear. And so on. But I’m telling him to go back to his own little cramped corner of the world and leave me alone. I’ve got an adventure to live!