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