Retreats North American Style vs Original intent

I was reading about the spiritual discipline of "Retreats" and the author says,

"Rather than going on retreats that slow us down to listen and focus on God alone, we go on 'retreats' filled with lectures, late nights, constant activity and interaction with all kinds of people. This sort of retreating is not a bad thing. It is simply not a retreat from the busyness and distractions of life. It is not time set apart with God alone.

"Retreating in the traditional sense, (i.e. in Historical Christianity) is not about gaining more information. It is not getting away to get things done. It is not a way to catch up on our reading or e-mail. Retreats are ways we pull back from the battle and rest. We take naps and go to bed early. In the presence of the holy One we enter into the silence and solitude and rest in God.

"We may feel that nothing really big or noteworthy happened on our retreat. The benefits in retreating often are not seen until we engage the battle again. Go away nad trust God with what happens in your soul."

From Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun, 67-68.

She asks some questions:

  1. What makes it difficult for you to get away with God?
  2. Can you describe your desire to get away alone with God? What is your soul aching for?
  3. When you go on retreat, what do you tend to do?
  4. How does simply being with God sound to you?
  5. How do doing and being fit together on your spiritual journey?
  6. How might retreating with God address some dangers that surround your soul?
And I would add:
7. How might your ministry team and/or small group retreat together in a communal attitude of reflection (vs. the noisy/busy type of retreat)?

Feel free to post your thoughts for discussion and share ideas! And feel free to contact me if you're interested in getting some ideas for how to spend a day, half day or few days with the Lord.

Also feel free to consider joining me in a weekend Refresh retreat in Feb 2009 (dates to be announced.)

www.paulagamble.com