18 September 2012

Reflections on Centurions

This weekend, I had the opportunity to travel to Landsdowne, Virginia for the first weekend residency of the Centurions Program.  For those of you who do not know, the Centurions program was started by Chuck Colson several years ago as a way to train Christians in leadership and worldview. Every year, they select about 100 people representing a broad range of demographics.  The program runs for 1 year and involves a lot of reading, written responses, and two residencies.

When I arrived on Friday, I met a few other Centurions at the airport while we were awaiting the shuttle.  It was great to connect with people right away and find others who were as excited about biblical worldview as I am.  We were transported to the National Conference Center, which in some ways seemed like a college campus.  The rooms were small, but comfortable. The cafeteria style food was abundant (perhaps too abundant) and generally tasty.  But I didn't go for the room and board.

Friday evening, we were treated to talks by Jim Liske, the CEO of Prison Fellowship Ministries; Cornelius Plantinga, author of Not the Way it is Supposed to Be (as well as many other books); and John Stonestreet, host of Breakpoint.  Jim Liske issued a call to us to make sure that Jesus was to be our focus every day and that we must lock onto truth in our culture. He called for leadership in all facets of society, which is certainly a part of the program.  Plantinga was perhaps the speaker I was most looking forward to hearing. His book, Not the Way it is Supposed to Be was exceptional and I wanted to hear the man who wrote this "Breviary of Sin" talk on the topic.  He did not disappoint.  He talked about the pervasiveness of corruption, making the point that it is dynamic and progressive.  John Stonestreet closed out the evening, speaking on the issue of worldview and why it matters. He is an exceptional speaker. When I hear people on the radio, I sometimes wonder if they sound eloquent just because they have their notes prepared.  That was not the case with John.  Though he was very well prepared, even his responses to questions were wise and engaging.  I was able to visit with him for a bit afterwards and talk about some of the issues that I perceived affecting modern young men.

Saturday was a whirlwind.  The Dean of the Program, TM Moore spoke briefly on St Patrick, providing an informative historical sketch of a man who deeply influenced his culture because of his love for Christ and others.  The always active faculty member Glenn Sunshine presented "How we Got Here" a lecture based upon his book Why You Think the Way You Do, a historical overview of the development of thought.  Many people have not thought through how much what their forbears have done influenced the culture they now live in.  Steve Verleye closed out the morning by discussing how to become an embedded believer.  The afternoon focused on breakout sessions focused on revival, renewal, and awakening.  I liked these smaller sections because they allowed for a little bit more intimacy.  In the evening, Bob Lynn a pastor from Ann Arbor discussed Gospel and worldview, another excellent talk.  The highlight of this day for me was the panel discussion in the evening, where all of the speakers gathered and answered questions from the audience.

Sunday morning offered no reprieve. We began early with group discussions of what we have learned so far followed by a lecture by Glenn Sunshine on "Christians who changed their world."  He focused on individuals who have had a significant effect, but that may be less well known.  We finished the day with a worship and communion service led by TM Moore. 

The weekend was exceptional and exhausting. I am quite sure I have not yet processed what I have learned.  That will take months...years perhaps. I do know that I left with a greater hunger to live in light of the Kingship of Christ in all areas of my life.  Christ is not Lord of my heart only, he is Lord of ALL.  My desire is to live in light of that reality, but also to have others learn that truth.

Perhaps the greatest benefit to the weekend was meeting great folks from around the country.  I look forward to deepening our friendships in the months and years to come. 

I am eager to talk about the program, so if you have questions about it, please let me know! 

    The earth is the LORD's and the fullness thereof,
        the world and those who dwell therein,
    for he has founded it upon the seas
        and established it upon the rivers.

-Psalm 24:1-2

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