Wednesday - Holiness and Solitude

Intentional Growth

Wednesday marks a hinge pin moment in the week. It’s where our invitation to students becomes stronger and more real.  Today, students had a Q&A with Dr. John Mark Reynolds, took a time of solitude for prayer, then listened to a talk by Dr. Joshua Damu Smith on Holiness and Uncertainty. These three parts of the day are meant to center student’s hearts and desires on what spiritual disciplines need to be in place. 

Dr. John Mark Reynolds took student questions, one of which ended up guiding his talk. A student asked: “How do you suggest we learn to feel beautiful?” It’s not a vain question, keep in mind students just heard Reynold’s lecture on developing a moral and spiritual framework for objective beauty. 

Reynolds explained that because the Image of God is stamped into us, we are not just a blank slates awaiting other truths to be impressed upon us, we are full of big truths which we can explore and know things – one of which is a view of ourselves as made by God and thus beautiful.

Our feelings play a big role in the way we process truth - though they seem confusing and misleading we also have minds that can think about, acknowledge and moderate our feelings. Those are the markers of maturity.  (pc: Jack Franicevich, Unicorn Cohort)

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"Affirming the truth will direct your emotions rightly"

Dr. John Mark Reynolds

Afterward, Peter David Gross read the 1 John text out loud in its entirety. The purpose of this is to experience the Bible as text and as a story: all verses, chapter breaks and chapter headings aside and out of the way. Without following the text word for word, take 15min and listen to Peter’s reading. 

How will you respond?

Once Peter’s reading was over, students scattered around campus for 45min of solitude and prayer. Solitude is a rare and rich gift in today’s world full of distraction. It is hard to be alone trying to pray for 45 minutes. The solitude time is often one of the experiences that is most impactful for students by the end of the week.

Dr. Joshua Damu Smith closed the morning with a talk on Holiness and Uncertainty. “God wants to do big things in your life,” he said, then went on to explain how holiness is something lived with intention through our thoughts, spiritual disciplines and relationships to others. 

You can listen to his talk below and I hope it is as encouraging to you as it was to all of us!