I went to Laity Lodge on June 7th, hoping that if I remained open and worked hard at listening, I might hear from God.
What follows are excerpts from the journal I kept that weekend.
Thursday – 6:00 pm
As I emerge from the river, water streaming from my car onto the dusty road that winds upward from the bottom of the canyon to Laity Lodge, a thought comes to me. If I have come to this place with a desire to hear from God, then I should be prepared to pay attention to everything. Whatever happens to me will be my reality. And in any reality there is the possibility of lessons learned and messages received.
My first vow of the weekend is to accept what comes to me and to seek meaning in all things great and small.
My second vow follows logically from the first. I vow to allow myself the luxury of believing that God might have a message just for me.
A new pilgrim post is online at LaityLodge.org
My wife and I were at the Laity Lodge New Year’s retreat at the end of 2011. Jerry Root, a C.S. Lewis scholar from Wheaton College, was the speaker. He did a couple of sessions on the classic problem of evil, using Lewis’ thoughts primarily from his famous book, “The Problem of Pain.” In the morning session on Saturday he said something that I’ve been thinking about ever since.
Jerry said that when we speak of evil and suffering, the conversation is challenging because our perspective is always changing. A thing that seemed terribly bad when you were twenty might not seem nearly as bad when you are forty and looking back on it. Something that seemed positively evil to you when it occurred might be revealed in time to have been only painful and not especially evil at all. Maybe it even turned out to be an essential part of your growth as a human being.
Which perspective is the right one? The immediate perspective or the one years later? The latter is wiser but the former is more in touch with the painful reality of the moment...
In my first post as Pilgrim, I mentioned that I used to be a pastor. I wouldn’t say that I have left the ministry, since all Christians are supposed to serve Christ in some way. I guess I would say that in February of 2010 I discovered that being a pastor is no longer what I am called to do and be.
I haven’t exactly settled on what kind of ministry I will do in the future. I haven’t even found a church to join yet. And it’s not that I haven’t tried. I go to church almost every Sunday. But I’m still in a state of confusion.
I walk into a church and feel rather lost. I see people rushing around, preparing things before worship starts. I know they are church insiders, because I used to be a church insider. I shuffle down a row and sink into a pew. I used to plan worship and be a part of making it happen on Sundays, but now I hardly understand what’s going on. It seems so incredibly busy. And I worry a bit about the ones in charge. I hope their souls have remained tender and open...
Foy Davis driving up highway 1 north of Los Angeles in a red Mustang convertible. His left hand is on the steering wheel and his right hand is holding a half-eaten In-N-Out Burger. On the passenger side floor is a cooler filled with Diet Cokes. On the seat beside him is a computer and a bag of Pepperidge Farm Goldfish. He’s listening to the Doobie Brothers Greatest Hits CD and has it turned up loud. A range of steep hills are on the right; the Pacific Ocean is on the left.
He sees a hitchhiker on the right side of the road. As he passes the man, they make eye contact. Foy turns his head, watching the hitchhiker until he is looking at him over the back seat. He looks forward to check the road and then into the rear view mirror. The man is still watching Foy’s car.
“Holy shit, that guy looks just like me.”