Issue 23 – Summer 2019
by Marsha Boyd-Mitchell, CAFNB Executive Director
Spring and Summer, Looking Forward to Fall
This spring and summer seasons have been filled with wonderful interactions with youth and those who work with youth. It was my delight to visit the Bathurst Alternate HS Campus in the spring and speak to youth about addiction. The director thanked us for coming saying many of the students already suffer from addictions and they were pleased with the questions they asked. Cornerstone church has been a wonderful supporting church of CAFNB and it was my privilege to speak this spring to their AWANA group on making good choices. Pastor Chris Price asked me to come to Jemseg Baptist Youth to address the topic: Should Christians Smoke Pot? We had a great discussion and time of fellowship. I addressed media choices with the youth at Tracey Baptist Church near the end of their youth year.
I enjoyed sharing about making good choices at the Power Lab at Hammond River Community School. I had the privilege of presenting to staff at Colchester Christian Academy (Truro, NS) and Oceanview Christian Academy (Barrington, NS) about building bridges to help students with academic and spiritual matters. The Easter season had me presenting chapel to Sussex Christian School students as well as students at Charlotte County Christian (St. George, NB), and Valley Christian Academy (Quispamsis, NB). It was an honour to share God’s Word with high school students at Sprouts Intercultural Christian School at Incheon, South Korea.
I was blessed to speak to the congregations of Penobsquis Baptist Church and Sussex Wesleyan Church. I love the opportunity to unpack truth from God’s Word together. Please let me know if I can serve your congregation in this way. I also shared the presentation Digital Peace to ladies at the Atlantic Baptist Women’s Conference in May.I look forward to speaking at Coles Island Baptist Church at the end of the summer and I will be at a variety of locations this fall.
Bible camps are such an important part of the outreach and discipleship ministries in our province. I appreciated taking part in staff training for Hampton Bible Camp and Tulakadik Bible Camp as teens were getting ready for the camp season. I presented #Resolve to the teens a presentation about handling conflict biblically. I was privileged to speak to leaders in training at Arrowhead Native Bible Centre. This camp has a special mandate to minister to youth from our first nations communities. I spoke a new presentation #Discern: Right.Wrong.Choose.
Our Lancaster trip in April to Sight and Sound Theater (to see JESUS) was a wonderful intergenerational experience. We had seniors connected to the ministry of CAFNB either through congregations or TIDINGs mission magazine on the bus as well as middle school students.
Rod Dreher’s book, The Benedict Option is a fascinating read for today’s Christian parent/ grandparent, or church leader. Dreher explores current United States culture as Post-Christian. It is not difficult to define our own Canadian culture the same way after reading the book and apply what has been written for the US to our own context. The first part of the book
is dedicated to the history to what has led us away from faith in our culture. He begins with the fall of the roman empire and Saint Benedicts choice to pull away from society and start a new community where the practices would preserve the faith through the trials ahead (p.18). The author stressed the importance of Christians pulling away from the culture at times to a life of obedience, prayer, and spiritual training.
Dreher traces the fall of Christianity through five key historical landmarks through the centuries: 14th Century loss of belief in the connection between God and Creation, The collapse of religious unity in the 16th Century, The 18th Century Enlightenment, the 19th & 20th Century Industrial Revolution, and the Sexual Revolution from the 1960s. He talks about
the life of the Benedictine sect that was lived out in Norcia and was dedicated to order, prayer, work, training, stability, community, hospitality, and balance.
The Benedictine example is a sign of hope, but also a warning: no matter what a Christian’s circumstances, he cannot live faithfully if God is only part of his life, bracketed away from the rest. In the end, either Christ is at the center
of our lives, or the Self and all its idolatries are. There is no middle ground (p.76).
Rod Dreher urges parents not to outsource the spiritual formation of their family. He encourages families to create a monastic culture inside their homes also embracing friends of the family etc. into that culture. He drew us to look at a life centered around prayer and being in church, far more than just on Sunday. He explained the idea of entering into a larger faith community for growth and not watering down the message & mission of the church.As the book winds down the author had us reflect on the importance of parachurch ministry forms of education and home schooling. He also reflected on the digital technology and our need to fast from it the way our Benedictine brothers fasted from meals to spend time in prayer and dedication to Christ. This is a 21st century spiritual discipline we should adapt for our own health.
Living as a vibrant Christian in today’s world is difficult. Raising the next generation of torch bearers is a daunting task. The Benedict Option provides food for thought regarding a disciplined and integrated way to approach the Christian life. A reminder for us to bring every aspect of our families lives under the submission of Christ the way the Benedictines built their community on balance, prayer, hospitality, order, stability and prayer.No matter what your spiritual background there is something for you to take away from the thoughts in The Benedict Option. Dreher reminds us of the spiritual formation that needs to take place first in us and then ripple out to those we influence. We can take some great lessons from the author’s historical research. I give the book a hardy endorsement for the Christian who wants to think deeper about the Christian life. ~DBM