Pain & Habakkuk
The physical adventures and challenges of Epic Monday are matched by the mental and spiritual challenges of Tuesday. It marks the first small group discussion, first prayer session, and John Mark Reynolds’ talk on beauty. Then, in the evening, we watch a good, hard film.
The day started with a rousing message from our third and final keynote speaker, Dr. Joshua Damu Smith, Assistant Professor in the Torrey Honors Institute at Biola University. Pointing to Habakkuk, he energetically called students to consider how our perspective on pain affects our response to it.
Next, Peter David Gross and Juliet San Nicolas de Bradley led a Q&A about prayer before sending students out for a half hour of silent, solitary prayer. They helped students see that God prays for them, so when they pray, they’re joining something, not making it from scratch. They reminded them to listen to God. And they called students to expand their understanding of what counts as prayer, until their whole life becomes an attentive offering to God.
Then, Peter David Gross called students to seek truth in loving communities through discussion. He reminded them that their minds were made for finding truth, no matter whether they were made for doing well in school assignments, and that when they think together, they can help each other.
Then they got a chance to practice it. For three hours, they sat with our discussion text as mentors helped them work together to build a good answer to a hard question. It’s like intellectual boot camp, and it’s grand. Seeing students change from being silently afraid of sounding stupid to working well together in eager anticipation of finding truth is marvelous.
Beauty in the Mind of God
Then, as every year, John Mark Reynolds gave his most famous lecture: Beauty in the Mind of God. It’s a biblical and philosophical case for the objectivity of beauty, the absurdity of calling mere fashions and fads “beauty,” and the inherent beauty of every human.
Give it a listen below.
Tuesday ends beautifully, with an incredible film. Cohorts were able to pick between The Passion of Joan of Arc and A Monster Calls, two movies about enduring through pain for the sake of something bigger. Both films left their respective audiences crying and talking well into the night. Now they’ll be touchpoint for discussion and reflection for the rest of the week, as together we continue to consider what it means to be mature, even in the context of pain.