Responding to Beauty
Wednesday is the peak of the week when student’s hard work of community and discussion starts to pay off. They are catching the vision. Our prayer is that students desire to transform the ways they pray, fellowship, and have fun.
Dr. John Mark Reynolds opened the day by talking about the Socratic idea of “know thyself.” Branching off of his beauty talk from yesterday, Dr. Reynolds explained that the pursuit of beauty is really a pursuit of self knowledge. Not in a narcissistic sense, but in a sense that one accepts the person God made them to be rather than accepting someone else’s idea of who they should be.
The noise and distractions of the world do not allow us to hear ourselves. Instead, they cause us to put on fake identities to further establish the idea of ourselves, but not our true selves. This action is what Dr. Reynolds calls the opposite of courage. It is pretending to be something else in a noisy world. You can listen to the talk and hear responses to the Q&A Session below.
Prayer and Solitude
The student’s camp notebooks contain the Biblical text in a format with no verse markings or chapter headings. It’s a way to reframe student’s approach to the Bible as a wholistic narrative. Peter David Gross read Habakkuk aloud after which students departed to spend an hour in solitude and prayer.
These solitude and prayer sessions are at the core of Wheatstone’s mission to usher youth into Christian Adulthood. Prayer is a beautiful and indispensable part of the Christian life. If students can learn to pray rigorously and honestly, they can endure. Students reflected on the time. One observed how praying for a short time does not allow for enough room for the spectrum of thoughts and feelings. Having a whole hour (even if punctuated by occasional boredom) gives a lot of space to better offer God all of their thoughts and feelings. Another student mentioned being distracted at first then was able to refocus and look past the distractions. Some students spent time listening and trying to receive — a practice introduced to them by Peter David Gross.
Our hope is that prayer and solitude become consistent companions to students throughout the week and into the rest of their lives after camp.
Holiness and Suffering
Dr. John Jackson, President of William Jessup University, gave a talk on holiness and suffering. At Wheatstone, we always have a talk on Holiness in light of our theme. Dr. Jackson chose to address suffering first since it always leads to a better understanding of Holiness.
A warm and engaging speaker, Dr. Jackson lead students through the topic of suffering. Presenting arguments from various viewpoints, Dr. Jackson specifically spoke to the existence of evil in light of a good God. He addressed how an understanding of goodness, like beauty, is inherent in each person. Thereby, we can recognize the opposite of good - twisted and bent until it is evil. Evil is a persistent grievance in the world. Dr. Jackson turned student’s considerations toward christian understanding of suffering which leads to holiness.
Holiness is what God calls Christians to be. In part, because God is present and our salvation is saved, is healed, and is delivered. Dr. Jackson shared several personal stories about his own journey of faith which added to the authenticity and care of his message. Be blessed by the recording of his talk below.
Wednesday is the beginning of artisan workshops. We ask people who are passionate and well-versed in a particular craft. The goal of workshops is to help students experience and succeed at something they would not have chosen or thought possible. Workshops were lead by Student Mentor Juliet San Nicholas de Bradley, who is a dancer, and Joshua Watson who is a photographer.
Juliet lead students through a series of warm up exercises designed to show the possibility of movement such as in characters and movement. Students then learned a three minute choreographed dance.
Joshua lead students through examples of perspective, composition, light and color in photography. He then asked students to wander through the campus and take photos illustrating each concept. Students followed their curiosity.
Wednesday is a highpoint because there is greater unity between staff and students. During this night, staff run mini gatherings where they share things they love. There was painting, volleyball, yoga and more! It’s a great time for groups to mix and enjoy the company of one another around a shared activity.
Wheatstone welcomed With One Voice. They are a band Christian Contemporary Worship from William Jessup University. Students were ecstatic and glad to dance to the band’s energetic sound. After the band played a few of their original songs, they lead the students in a hymn sing. Strains of “Amazing Grace,” “Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee” “It is Well with My Soul.” The band led the students in one final acappella version of the Doxology.
Oh, how good it is to be in the company of one another.