Learning in the Boundary Waters

How would you sum up your experience…in 1 sentence?

…Asked Courtney Perry, the professional photographer who was cataloging our Doctor of Ministry cohort through pictures, video & audio. (She is also the spouse of our lead teacher, Tony Jones.)

Such a question! Just one sentence to encapsulate:

10 days talking about Christian spirituality through the lens of the doctrine of creation…
In the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness & the northern woods of Minnesota…
With teachers Tony Jones & Brian McLaren?!

Factor in my 9 incredibly smart and dedicated fellow students, from whom and with whom I learned so much, and you can see why it was no easy task to answer Courtney’s question. Here’s what I came up with:

Being in the Boundary Waters again has taught me that if our spirituality is ever going to be healthy, whole, and Christian, it must include time in nature.

Granted, there is plenty that is wrong with that statement. What about people with physical disabilities? How will they go to the Boundary Waters? What about those who already live in nature-rich settings? Or, as a parishioner asked this week after I shared my encapsulation in my sermon, if being in nature is so important, why does our church’s most important weekly gathering always happen in a building?

I can’t fully explain it, but there was just something about learning about and conversing about the doctrine of creation in the midst of canoeing, portaging, camping, and sitting around a fire that was…different. Special. Powerful. Spiritual.

I can’t imagine having the same depth of experience in a classroom sitting around tables.

While prose is failing me, the audio, video and pictures that Courtney captured is much more evocative. Here’s a tremendous video she edited. The chant we’re singing in the background is a paraphrase of the Lord’s Prayer that Brian wrote. We sang it a couple of times throughout our 10 days, including as our benediction.

One thought on “Learning in the Boundary Waters

  1. Pingback: Other words from the BWCAW | All That I Can't Leave Unsaid

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