once again, free convection returns from an unexplained absence. I was away for a week in the Adirondacks with InterVarsity at a convention called Basileia. It's the Greek word for 'kingdom.' And I learned quite a bit there, some of which I'm still in the process of figuring out.
I'll share basically what I did at Basileia in this post, with a promise of deeper stuff to come.
The retreat/convention is actually held at a Young Life camp called Saranac Villiage.
There are several 'tracks' or courses that you can take while there. I was in one called Encountering Jesus, and actually had the privilege of leading a small group within the track. We did a manuscript study of the first 8 chapters of Mark. 'Manuscript study' just means you have the text on loose sheets of paper, double spaced with wide margins so that there's plenty of room to write, and all the footnotes and chapter/verse divisions are removed so there's no distraction from the words themselves. We used page and line numbers for reference instead. We spent a lot of time simply observing the text in chunks, looking for repeated words or phrases, contrasts, connections between stories, etc. Then we ask questions of the text. What things are confusing? Why is this random story here? And as we seek answers to the questions, we begin to uncover the meaning of the text (interpret it). Then, as we study in community and arrive at a primary truth of the passage, we ask ourselves, "How does the main truth of the passage apply to my life?"
So that was track.
There is also a large group meeting every night, with worship and exposition of scripture. This week we studied the first four chapters of Exodus.
There is time daily for each person to spend an hour or so alone with God, except one day when we enjoy a three hour "Retreat of Solitude." Some call the ROS a "Retreat of Silence," but at least this year mine wasn't very silent.
Three of the nights of Bas we also have chapter time, where we gather by school. RIT had some of the best (and most Spirit-led) chapter time this year that I've experienced in five years of Basileia.
I should mention that Bas is a gathering of schools throughout NY/NJ. There are three weeks of it, and RIT attends the third. It happens that most of the other schools at week 3 are CUNY schools, which means a bunch of folks from NYC. I love being in a place where being a white person makes me a minority. Worshipping with my brothers and sisters from a very different culture is fantastic.
That's more than enough for now.