Mid-Year Conference 2011 – Tuesday

If you haven’t read Monday’s post, please do, because I’m just going to move straight into things without giving another introduction.

 

I forgot to mention cabins in the last post. So this year, our MYC was really full so some of us had to upgrade from the normal cabins to the ensuite rooms (with a surcharge of course). This year I upgraded to an ensuite (to help free up spots in the normal cabins for other people) and it was a really pleasant experience. The ensuites aren’t the most luxurious of rooms of course but the attractive features for me were that:

  1. Non-communal bathrooms. It just felt nice not having to be using a shower or toilet that 50 other people would be using throughout the week as well. Each ensuite held 3 people.
  2. Fewer people means fewer snorers, which means better sleep. I’m a really light sleeper and I detest snorers (in a friendly way). So having fewer people snoring definitely helps me get to sleep easier.
  3. Better beds allows for comfortable sleeping.
  4. Better D&Ms. Fewer people allow for more bromance haha.

Of course having said that, there was still one person my room who snored, but it wasn’t as bad as other people I’ve shared a cabin with. So for once this year, I actually got decent sleep (even though the hours weren’t any better) and so I had a bit more energy for MYC this year, than in my previous two years.

 

Waking up in the morning to the countryside is much different than waking up at home; it provides a different feel and it helps clear your mind from your daily routine, so that you can focus on learning about God for the rest of the week:

 

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Okay so not my best photo ever but whatever.

 

 

Bible Study

Again we broke off into Bible Study groups after breakfast. Actually it was a bit annoying each morning for us who were in ensuites. We would have to wake up, walk all the way down to the auditorium for breakfast (and it’s a bit of a walk), and afterwards walk back up to our conference room, which is next to our ensuites. So there was a lot of trekking up and down the hill each day. Anyhow, day two was to break up 1 Peter into segments so we could separate and organise the different ideas that Peter raises in his letter. We went really slow here this morning, because we discussed a bit too deep into the first couple of segments (discussing about which sentence belongs with which segment and where it cuts off, etc). Even though we were a bit slow getting through the whole letter, the discussion showed that we were struggling to understand the passage; and that’s good, otherwise there would be no fun in studying an easy passage. A lot of groups didn’t finish today either but after two days, 1 Peter was starting to take shape in my mind, and its overall message a little more clearer.

 

 

Seminar

Again the sheer number of people just overwhelms me:

 

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Our second seminar led us into thinking about what God’s purpose for man is, as outlined in Genesis. That’s really hard to compare with us today, because we live in a time much much different to what Adam was in; drawing the parallels would not be easy. We moved onto a section where we had to draw a diagram to list the relationship between the various elements in God’s creation. The question was something like: “How do man, woman, offspring, God, animals, plants and ground relate to each other in creation.” One table drew this for an answer:

 

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I think that captures creation quite perfectly haha. Jokes.

 

But although there was some kind of order in creation, we saw that in Genesis 3, that order gets completely overturned when the serpent holds influence over Eve to eat the fruit, Eve convinces Adam to eat the fruit, and Adam thought it best to listen to Eve rather than God. As such, things in creation were broken because of that one incident, which is bad news for all of us. So then we moved onto Jesus and drew parallels between him and Adam. Jesus was a man who lived completely obedient to God, unlike Adam, and the major difference between these two people is that Adam brought about death through sin for the rest of mankind, but Jesus brought life through his obedient death to the cross. As such, what Adam failed to do, Jesus was able to fulfil, and so we gain hope through Jesus because He is like our representative before God.

 

The last thing we talked about in the morning seminar was what our “work” was. Adam had to work in the garden of Eden, and we have to “work” in similar ways. There was quite a lot of discussion about labouring, like being employed in a normal job through a degree in university. And there was the other side where our work as Christians is to make disciples of Jesus. And though we could see two different types of work here, there were still more questions to ask about how to balance these two types of work. We didn’t reach a conclusion in the end, due to time, but these are things we are just going to have to continue wrestling with in the future.

 

 

Free Time

Free time came after lunch. There really isn’t much to talk about free time because we didn’t do anything interesting. It’s quite strange, in my first two years of MYC we would just use our free time to play card/board games and such. This year, us third years just sat and chat most of the time. I guess we were too tired (or are boring people) to get up and actually “do”stuff. Just sitting and chatting sufficed. I took the chance to catch up with people I hadn’t talked to in a while, mostly people from other faculties since I would’ve seen them the least. It was really good to get the chance to catch up with friends from primary school and high school and it was quite encouraging to share and learn from each other how our Christian lives have been since the time we last saw each other. Having said that, it was quite daunting at how many people I needed to catch up with over the five days at camp. And even then, when would there ever be time to catch up with them again? Yes, I slightly worry about that, but God makes time for us, this week at MYC was but one opportunity He gave to us.

 

Today we just jammed and played cards (I’m not in this photo, or this game either):

 

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Elective – Honouring Parents

After free time we had our first elective of two (one on Tuesday, the other on Wednesday). There were many different topics we could choose from, but we could only choose one of them. I decided to go with the one regarding how we relate to our non-Christian parents, so I’m going to spend some time fleshing this topic out since not everyone went to this elective.

 

Alan led this seminar, and he pretty much told us exactly what we expected to hear (though not what we had hoped to hear). For all Christians, the Bible does indeed challenge us to be faithful and obedient to God to the point where it might even mean being disobedient to our parents. And that’s really hard to hear, when Jesus says He came to divide families and turn people against one another (Matthew 10:34-36). As a Christian who has non-Christian parents, obeying God over my parents is sometimes the easiest decision to make at times in my life. But it can’t be as simple as that can it? There are parts of the Bible where it clearly tells us to listen to our parents. How do we reconcile the two contrasting viewpoints of the Bible to obey and to disobey our parents?

 

This seminar pretty much told us to stand firm in our faith and to go against what our parents say if necessary. And we hear this knowing that it’s the thing that we’re already do; but we struggle because we want to be challenged to obey our parents, even if they aren’t Christian and don’t have godly values. Not hearing this challenge in the seminar makes me wonder whether it indeed is alright to ignore our parents’ wishes and just live with only God in our hearts and minds. Alan’s direction in this topic was to turn to Deuteronomy, and see that God wanted the Israelite parents to teach their kids to obey Him. In doing so, the Israelites would prosper and find favour in God’s eyes; otherwise, they would face God’s judgement (eventually being conquered and taken into exile). The point made was that God desires parents to raise godly children; and so us as children so aspire to be godly, even if our parents are not raising and teaching us that way. In this sense, it would be fighting against our parents and raising ourselves to be godly, rather than being raised in whatever way our parents want us to be.

 

This is a fair point but one which seems difficult to carry out in everyday life. There must be some degree of obedience and disobedience such that families which aren’t Christian, are not completely torn apart because half the family follows God and the other doesn’t. The rest of the seminar didn’t seem to clear, but from what I gather, we are to obey our parents and honour them as best as we can; but when there’s conflict between their values and godly values (ie, when they don’t agree with God’s commandments in a sense) then we must choose God over our parents. Having said that, it would seem that the overall attitude is to do our best obeying God and our parents and only choose God over our parents when we must make a choice. That’s still not easy to do, but really, if we had Christian parents, we wouldn’t have this problem in the first place; something we should aspire to have when we grow up.

 

 

Evening Session

Tuesday night’s talk came from Romans 5. In trying to live as humans, we fail to live life the way we ought to. The way we live as people can be summed up in two men: Adam and Jesus. Adam was a man who failed to obey God and brought sin and death into the world because he was not responsible in leading his wife Eve to obey God. On the other hand, Jesus was a man who lived in perfect obedience to God and in perfect faith in Him. For us to live in Adam means we reckon we know what’s best for our lives and we’ll decide or ourselves what we should or should not do. In Adam, we find sin and death and we see in Romans 1 that God just gave those people over to their sins; and they were pretty much stuck in an inescapable pit. But Jesus brings about the start of a new humanity, and through the way He lived and died, we may no longer taste death through Adam, but find life through Christ.

 

It’s pretty cool to see that Jesus is the perfect representative for humanity, and though it seems unfair that we face death because of one man’s sin, we also can find life through one man’s death. So to add to the idea of “humanity”, Jesus is the true human that we should follow and turn to if we want to find out who we are and what we are to do with our lives. After just two days, we’ve developed a fair picture of humanity but even with all the detail we’ve managed to cover, there was still so much more to add to our picture. Most people get overwhelmed from the first night, and especially the second but that’s the challenge of everything at MYC.

 

Tuesday’s post is quite long so I think I’ll leave it there.

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