My earlier entry on what being a Christian Physicist means to me was in response to an e-mail request in preparation for the 2007 CGSA Winter Retreat, which was focused on the theme “Vocation and the Kingdom of God.” More photographs are available by following the hyperlink.
In addition to discussing the significance of our faith to our vocation and the meaning of excellence, we had a good amount of time to play. The two were not mutually exclusive. A few of our members performed a skit about two students travelling through time to meet great figures in their fields. Their goal was to find the correct Christian definition of excellence. They did not conclusively find one, but they realized that God’s definition was quite different from those they encountered in their schools and history books. The skit was entitled “Will and Ned’s Excellent Adventure;” they used a mobile phone rather than a phone booth.
While the retreat center’s pool table had some improvisational repairs, the sleeping area, showers, food, and chairs were all of very good quality. From personal experience, I can say that the Foosball table was nice, but the air hockey table was not.
The ping-pong table allowed us to experience a game that was new for most of us: Round-Robin Ping-Pong.
The soda/pop/coke was rather expensive, though.Here is the obligatory group photo. I particularly like the white shirt with black writing, especially because it is being worn by an graduate student in English.
On the far left is Cate, who was our primary speaker for the retreat. She is a veteran member of our group and recently received her Ph.D. in Education, specializing in English as a Second Language. She asked several questions regarding the fundamental relationship between God, ourselves, and our studies; she gave several answers from Biblical and other Christian sources. We in the audience provided answers from our own perspective and experience. The following are taken from her notes for the retreat, which she graciously sent to all of us via e-mail.
Q: Who do we truly believe God is? Do we believe Him to be a personal God who takes interest in all we do? Whatever our answer to this question will influence how we see His involvement in and blessing on our work.
Q: What is God’s purpose for you in regards to your vocation?
A: “Our whole destiny seems to lie in the opposite direction, in being as little as possible ourselves, in acquiring a fragrance that is not our own but borrowed, in becoming clean mirrors filled with the image of a face that is not ours” (Lewis, 1995, p. 7). “…an author should never conceive him [her]self as bringing into existence beauty or wisdom which did not exist before, but simply and solely as trying to embody in terms of his [her] own art some reflection of eternal Beauty and Wisdom” (Lewis, 1995, p. 7). “And always, of every idea and of every method he [she] will ask not ‘Is it mine?’, but ‘Is it good?’” (Lewis, 1995, p. 9).
Q: Have you observed God’s interest in your work? If so, what did you observe?
Q: Is God concerned with the work or the people or both? Is it possible to have true ownership? Is everything from God? Can we feel pride in our work?
Q: If you haven’t observed God’s interest in your work, what can you do to facilitate this?
A: Keeping God in mind; discernment; being open to other sources; having Biblical examples.
Q: What do you think is God’s purpose for you in regards to your vocation?
A: Worship – Col. 3:17
Q: How can we bring worship into our work?
A: Creatively defining worship. See our role in life which may be outside academia, e.g. husband/wife.
Lewis, C.S. (1995). Christian reflections. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Yancey, P. (2006). Prayer: Does it make any difference? Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan