When a Retreat is the Only Way Forward

When I got to spend four years in the Bethany Fellows, I received a lot. Bethany Fellows was started to help young Disciples of Christ ministers navigate the first and often most difficult years of ministry. From them I received a pattern of sabbath and self-care. I received a deeper self understanding of my gifts and calling. I received lifelong friendships that buoy me through rougher waters. By taking week long retreats for four years, I established a rhythm that taught me an invaluable lesson in ministry: a retreat is often the only way forward.

This week, I am on retreat with 10 other young(er) ministers who all went through the Bethany Fellows together. We will share and encourage and pray for one another. We will have 24 hours in silence and meditation. And on Tuesday we will have a guest speaker that I am particularly excited about this year. Derek Webb was one of the lead singers and songwriters for one of my favorite Christian bands growing up, Caedmon’s Call. Derek has an insatiable desire for God and always challenged me through his music. I say all this to share with you the lyrics to just one of his songs, that though I have listened to it maybe a hundred times, still challenges me:

“Love is Not Against the Law”

Politics or love

Can make you blind or make you see

Make you a slave or make you free

But only one does it all


And it’s giving up your life

For the ones you hate the most

It’s giving them your gown

When they’ve taken your clothes


It’s learning to admit

When you’ve had a hand in setting them up

In knocking them down


Love is not against the law

Love is not against the law

Are we defending life

When we just pick and choose

Lives acceptable to lose

And which ones to defend


‘Cause you cannot choose your friends

But you choose your enemies

And what if they were one

One and the same


Could you find a way

To love them both the same

To give them your name


Love is not against the law

No, love is not against the law


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