Sunday, May 8, 2011

Couple's Retreat

Ben and I currently attend The Moody Church.  We have been so blessed by this church in many ways, one of which is our Sunday School class, Covenant.  The class is advertised for newly weds, although there are some couples who have been married 10+ years.  There are probably 40 couples there on any given Sunday, but maybe a total of 60+ in the group.  The class teaches all sorts of things, from typical marriage topics to Revelation-- currently, we're in a study of the book of James.  Socially, the group organizes all sorts of things from basketball tournaments to women's retreats to book clubs to BBQs.  Each year they have a retreat in the spring, which we attended last weekend.  As we have never been on a couple's retreat before, we had no idea what to expect (although I was pretty sure there would not be crazy middle-of-the-night games like the junior high retreats of my past!)  We were blown away!  It was fun and refreshing.  The perfect balance of free time and organized activities.  A time to relax with your spouse, and get to know other couples better.  However, what I want to focus on in this post is the speaker... Jerry Root.

Jerry Root is a professor from Wheaton College who has spent most of his adult life studying C.S. Lewis, and is therefore often called upon to speak about the life of Lewis.  Since Lewis doesn't have a lot to say about marriage, his talks were broader than just focusing on the life of Lewis.  He opened the weekend by saying that if C.S. Lewis is a distraction from God - if we are so interested in this man and his books and whatnot - then we might as well quit and just read the Bible.  But if Lewis points us to His God, the God of the Universe, and the Savior of the World, then his books are worth reading, because it is really Lewis' God that is of utmost importance.  [Good to remember in general, since we, well I, seem to have the tendency to focus on a particular pastor or speaker or author or whoever...]

I cannot possibly articulate everything Mr. Root talked about in one blog post, nor can I articulate it as profoundly as he does.  (The man is an amazing story-teller and gifted speaker for sure, although you have to turn on your C.S. Lewis, A.W. Tozer, Plato listening skills, if you know what I mean...  If you don't know what I mean, he opened with "Reality is iconoclastic."  So, now do you know what I mean...?

My take-away from the first session: 1 Cor. 2:16 states "We have the mind of Christ" (talking about believers).  Root pointed out that having the mind of Christ is not an achievement, it is a resource, a resource which we can use by choice.  As a believer, I have the mind of Christ to discern, to understand, to gain wisdom, to learn...

Take-away from the second session: Obedience is taking advantage of God's omniscience.  He knows the beginning from the end; He loves me; then He tells me what to do.  Obedience seems to be a sensible, proper response.  He differentiated between wisdom (Hebrew-hockma) and understanding (beema).  The difference between wisdom from prohibition (hockma) and understanding why.  I.E. When you're little, you don't run in the streets because your parents told you not to (hockma- wisdom from prohibition), but when you get older, you realize the impact of cars, and bad drivers, and ... you get it (beema).
2nd Takeaway- We need to extend forgiveness and the "high courtesy of heaven" to our spouse.  Root explained the "high courtesy of heaven" as saying my life for you NOT your life for me.  I am still processing what that looks like in marriage... long term and day to day.
3rd Takeaway - There is a Satanic opposition to destroy our marriage.  We must work hard to fight.