The Art of Retreat

I’m energized by the Men’s Retreat. Just getting over 90 men in one place at one time, focused as best they can focus on the Lord — either it will wear you out or get you going! It got me going. I came away with many good memories and an admonition — “Let’s go ahead and change, Rod.” There are changes to be made.

I think changing may be the art of retreat. We need to go, get out, be away in order to stay, go forward, be present. Making that intentional change of pace for a weekend often breeds unexpected development. I think I am having that experience right now.

A view of our forest-found-object art

Our small group, motley crew that it was, symbolized the art of retreat with some retreat art. Obviously, when you look at the picture, you have to think, “I guess you had to be there.” True.

Our master’s-piece mostly derived from the camp’s giant compost pile. Our initial idea was to raise up some fallen, decaying nature in praise to the Lord (or something like that). But men like to build things; so our art piece sort of took on a life of it’s own. It kept changing until it provided enough interior space for something that ended up looking like an altar in the heart of it. Someone spontaneously dared us to circle the altar without destroying the structure — which we each accomplished as exactly who we are. It was trail of bowed-down men on a journey through the heart of fallen creation raised up in worship. I’m not kidding — at least that is what I was doing.

My symbolic journey has turned out to be a surprisingly abiding memory. (And I can’t forget Brian Dwyer lithely moving through it at comparatively breakneck speed, either). The memory is a good motivation for change. The whole weekend was a means to get moving — I had to get to the retreat place. I had to get in the group. Then I had to fall down a couple of times extracting limbs. I had to negotiate the vision of our art with my brothers. I had to shamelessly move around the altar like Samuel raising his Ebenezer.


Today I am circling the altar in my heart and in my day. I have some more wilderness alive in me where Jesus is travelling with me.

2 thoughts on “The Art of Retreat

  1. wonderful Rod! im so happy that the men were moved to create together. sounds like something happened to you all.

  2. i too am energized by the retreat – in more ways than i ever anticipated.
    this tribe of ours, it’s unquestionably a life-giving organism.

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