Reflecting on the Readers' Retreat

I was a part of something special this weekend.

My friend Joe organized a Readers' Retreat. He started talking about it in the Fall. He started making phone calls and sending emails, talking to men across the city and around the country. And he struck a vein.

Maybe Readers are lonely.

Men often have trouble making friendships, close friendships at least. And if we do find friends, the chances of finding fellow-readers are pretty slim. This experience echoed throughout our group.

I drove an hour each way to get to the retreat. Guys flew in from Columbus and Chicago and from Boston. Some of the local guys stayed and talked until they were closer to dawn than dusk. We were hungry for something like this.

We each brought a book to share. Each book became a spark for a conversation. The conversation burned until it burned out. And then we would move on to the next book. Conversations ranged from literature to history to quantum physics. We talked about life and about ministry. Some guys took notes. Everyone shared.

We were a very diverse group in a lot of ways. Our ages ranged from the 20's to the early, early 60's. We had academics and professors, but we also had businessmen and pastors and even an awkward missionary. Single. Married. Grandparents. White. Latino. Bi-racial. A broad spectrum of religious belief.

That diversity helped the conversation. We each used unique paths as we climbed the mountain of ideas that emerged in the conversation. We disagreed and argued. We learned.

But we shared a common love for books and ideas. We respected each other and gave each other the benefit of the doubt. And it all worked out well.

In the next few days, I'm hoping to write more about the experience and the ideas we talked about.

Have you ever done something like this? What would you think if you were invited to a Readers' Retreat?


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  2. I've never heard of anything like this; how fun! It's like a book club on speed. A retreat of my dreams! :-)

    1. It was very cool. The dynamic of everyone choosing a book to bring added a really personal element to the sharing. I have no idea why things like this don't happen more often. It was really a privilege to be a part of it.

  3. That sounds awesome, what a great idea. Which books did you take discuss? What did you leave wanting to read?

    1. I took Till We Have Faces by CS Lewis. I left with a long list of books to read. The ones I think I'll get to soon are: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (I already started it), Agape Road by Bob Mumford and In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts by Gabor Mate. Oh, and The Lost World of Genesis 1 by John Walton.