Men of Community Lutheran gathered with Men of St. Andrew Lutheran Church, Centreville at “The Strasburg Hotel” on Friday, Feb. 9th for Dinner as they began the Retreat Weekend at Signal Knob Retreat Center.
The Theme of the Retreat was “How Do We Breathe Underwater?” a DVD Retreat led by Franciscan Fr. Richard Rohr. Calling the 12-Step program the “…great American contribution to the history of spirituality,” Richard Rohr challenged us to master the denials, deceptions and illusions of not just our personal addictions but the addictive nature of our entire culture. An addiction is a condition in which we feel we need more and more of what doesn’t work. It’s an attachment and, if we are honest, we all have lots of them. Fr. Rohr offered hope and practical suggestions from many sources, including Bill Wilson’s Big Book and Holy Scripture. Topics included: The Big Book and the Gospel, Addictive Thinking, Wounds as Trophies, Rituals and Life Summary. In large and small group discussions we shared and confessed our struggles with control and being a part of our addictive society and the habits that wound us. We confessed our sins and spoke of the healing power of confession and forgiveness in the Bible, in our Churches, in 12-Step Communities and where two or three are gathered in Jesus’ name for accountability, the Spirit’s gift of forgiveness and new life.
We ate great meals, had life-giving conversations, time for naps, hiking and trips to into nearby Strasburg. We watched the movie, “Hacksaw Ridge,” the true story of conscientious objector, Desmond Doss who served his country as a medic in WWII without carrying a rifle, decorated by Harry Truman for saving 75 men’s lives in the Pacific Theatre. We also told jokes, laughed a lot together. We also worshiped throughout the weekend and shared Holy Communion.
Here are some thoughts from those who attended:
“I admit that my knowledge of any 12-step program was very limited, and I didn’t give too much thought as to it’s efficacy. My eyes were opened by Fr. Richard Rohr! Fr. Rohr’s approach to describing the relationships between one addict to another. Addicts tend to rely implicitly on one another for healing; Christians seemingly rely on the Word of God for their healing……maybe there is something to be learned here?!?! The secluded and pastoral setting of the Retreat Center automatically gives one the serenity and confidence to express your feelings and, in turn, open your heart and mind to new aspects of a unique spiritual experience. Perhaps there are thoughts and fears of bearing your soul to others that you may or may not know! If a man who has only months to live can do it, YOU can most certainly at least give it a try! Next Retreat is the second weekend of February 2020!” — Don Poorman
“Four of us from CLC spent an enjoyable weekend at Signal Knob, in camaraderie with our brothers from St.. Andrew’s.. This year’s theme was a thought provoking discussion of Richard Rohr’s “Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the 12 Steps”, in which he makes an interesting case that the 12 steps relate equally well to Christian teaching., and how they can be applied Christian spirituality and the Gospel. Saturday night, several of us stayed up to watch “Heartbreak Ridge”. I watched with a new found appreciation of one man’s spirituality led him through great trials to achieve greatness.” –Michael Smyser
“I really enjoyed the Men’s retreat with our brothers from St Andrew again this year. This retreat always provides a great opportunity for that with the added benefit of renewing and strengthening relationships with other Christian men. I enjoyed the opportunity to engage the head and the heart and to think about what transformation looks like in my own life. I always enjoy the laughter and fellowship experienced within the retreat and this one was no different. Good food, good fellowship, and the chance to learn from one another about living as Christian men, you can’t beat it!” –Mike Tinman
“Besides the Monthly Men’s Breakfast and Bible Study, these Retreats are spiritually rich environments for men to share honestly the wounds and struggles they are carrying and receive support and inspiration to be people of faith, hope and love in a world and culture where men’s values are too often drawn from unhealthy male stereotypes. We meet brothers with whom we can share the faith, speak honestly and openly, be vulnerable and listen to the Gospel and experience renewal and peace to be Godly, loving and life-giving servants in our families, churches, communities and vocations. It’s always a blessing!” –Pr. Joe Vought