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Campus Recreation Takes Students to Seek God in the Wilderness
In the Bible, God often met with His chosen people not just in temples or other assigned holy areas but in unassuming, wild, and lonely areas of the great outdoors. Passages of the Word tell of how He met with Moses, Elijah, and Jesus, all in the expansive wilderness.
A Campus Recreation event brought together 28 members of the Pepperdine community to also seek "God in the Wilderness," during a weekend of camping, hiking, and personal reflection in the wild beauty of Joshua Tree National Park, California, from Nov. 14 to 16.The weekend was organized by Ember Strand, coordinator of fitness programs, and sophomores Luke Clayton and Devon Darnell, as a chance to escape for some philosophical reflection in unspoiled nature.
Residential directors Adam Baron and Todd Ormsby presented talks about the theme of meeting God in the wilderness. "Adam Baron described the outdoors as 'God's studio'," says Darnell, a biomedical engineering student.
The wilderness was chosen as a metaphor for solitude, which was a concept discussed in small groups, and also experienced first hand in a 30 minute silent hike.
"It was a time of reflection," says Clayton, a rhetoric and leadership, religion double major. "A time to think, where am I going with my studies? Where does God fit in my life? One person was having family problems and avoiding them, and is now saying that after this weekend of reflection, those problems don't seem so bad."
Members from all class years joined in the weekend, which was also an opportunity to facilitate relationships between the wide variety of campers, including one graduate student who attended for the experience rather than for the convocation credit. On Sunday morning, the group came together for a communal breakfast as a counterpoint to the idea of solitude.
"To cook together a big meal, and sit down like in Biblical times, together, as Christians do on Sunday through communion, was a great experience," says Clayton. "It was fellowship, both for Christians and for those who aren't. Not all the campers are Christians, and there wasn't an overload of 'God stuff'."
Instead the weekend explored the personal relationship between the individual and his own concept of God, or nature, or philosophy. "There were different reactions, and of course people are in different places in their relationship with God," says Darnell.
The outdoor department of Campus Recreation began three years ago with the idea of creating recreational activities with a Christian purpose. "God in the Wilderness" was the first major trip of the group with this goal, and Strand says the weekend, "Embodied that goal fully. We want to show that there's a depth to recreation, and that God instilled in us a desire to enjoy His creation. We should take every opportunity to look, seek, and find God."
For more information about Campus Recreation activities, please visit the Campus Recreation Web site.