Trap shooting, geology, and Romans 12

I went trap shooting for the first time this weekend, at a church men’s retreat near Nye, Montana:

photo by Craig Nelstead

For those who are interested, I’m standing on a terminal moraine, with the Beartooth Mountains behind me. I looked for erratics from the Stillwater Complex, and may have found a boulder of anorthosite.  The valley in front of me is carved into an anticline that parallels the mountain front, and the hills in the mid distance are Upper Cretaceous sandstones. The hills in the further background on the right are volcanic rocks (andesitic breccias/lahars) of the Upper Cretaceous Livingston Group, with the vent being a few miles to the west.

The theme of the retreat was “Renewing Our Minds,” and was based on Romans 12, which begins with

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Rom 12:1-2 NIV)

The highlights of the teaching for me weren’t necessarily the main points that our speakers were emphasizing, but here they are:

  • The starting point in the Christian life is always what Paul starts with in Romans 12: the mercy of God. Everything we do flows out of God’s mercy expressed in Christ. Because of this we need to be constantly reminded of the Gospel.
  • One way that we conform to the world is in the effort we put into making ourselves look good to others. I don’t mind that others know about how good our kids are doing, that I was a missionary in Romania, or about my achievements at work, but I don’t want them to see my failures and hurts.
  • If we really understood God and ourselves, we would be humble. Our tendency is to think we are better than we really are.
  • When we see God as he really is, ourselves as we really are, and the people around us as they really are, we will move from being centered on ourselves toward ministering in the lives of others.

Grace and Peace

2 thoughts on “Trap shooting, geology, and Romans 12

  1. Martin_Lack

    Sounds like you had a good time. I must say that thinking of myself as better than I am is not a problem I recognise. My problem (since deciding to get divorced at least) has been convincing myself that my life has some purpose (and not being able to find a job does not help).

    However, on a lighter note, could it be that “the pattern of this world” is free market economics and global laissez-faire Capitalism? In which case, this is a very clear instruction to all Christians to align themselves with the 99%. The Archbishop of Canterbury therefore deserves congratulations for (eventually) doing so.

    I know, I know, I have wilfully misinterpreted the text by removing it from its context! But I had you going, right?


  2. geochristian


    I think I agree with you, that one area that Christians conform to the world is in the area of economics. For some, this is aligning with the left (Marxist Liberation Theology). For others, it is aligning with Randian laissez-faire the-market-is-our-savior economics. Both have elements of truth, and neither can save us.

    I’ve been in the same place as you with not being able to find a job. I was out of work for 16 months in 2008-2009, but eventually my old employer (from 2000) took me back.

    Grace and Peace


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s