Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Cold New England Winters Make for Warm Hearts

I’m in the Manchester, New Hampshire airport, returning from a beautiful weekend in Vermont. I spent it with 60 women from Valley Bible Church, offering my Wide Open Spaces of God retreat. We were surrounded by the most picturesque landscape!

I learned some things from these warm and generous women.

I learned that there are mostly “real” Christians in New England. This area of our country has become so secularized, that if you are a Christian you stand out as the minority.

I learned that you don’t want to die in the winter in this part of New England. Because of the long winters and frozen ground, if you die in the winter, you will have to wait to be buried until the spring. (That was a new one for me!)

I learned that a number of the folks in these parts don’t have electricity—at least not from an electric company. Some of their homes are on dirt roads and they use a generator.

I learned that, though New Englanders are often described as cool and aloof, these women were some of the warmest I have ever met.

I learned that they are hearty women; they handle the cold, are outdoorsy, comfortable with themselves and very down to earth.

I thoroughly enjoyed being invited into this community, watching them love on each other, warmly engage and support each other. They seemed to treasure their faith and their companionship because they know they belong to a small, precious contingency of Christ-followers.

The harsh elements of winter and the challenge of being a Christian minority haven’t worn them thin, but rather strengthened their resolve to live deeply with God and one another in this rugged and romantic New England landscape.

2 comments:

Eva said...

Thank you for coming all the way out here to VT/NH and sharing your heart.

I didn't get a chance to ask you about something you said. What I heard you say was that God doesn't want us to know him (or that we can't know him), but that we should experience him instead. Is that what you meant to say? If I got it right (which is not a given!), could you expound?

Thanks!

bethbooram@wideopenspacesofgod.org said...

Eva,

Thanks for asking for clarification. I believe that what I said is that God doesn't want us to just know "about" Him. He wants us to know Him experientially.

I also mentioned that sometimes God doesn't answer our questions (the ones that lead us up the Mountain of God) but He offers Himself, instead of an answer.

Does that make sense to you? I am glad you asked! Let me know if that clarifies and if you need more than that. You might read that chapter in my book, as well. It probably has an expanded explanation.

Thanks for having me. It was a beautiful time! Warmly, Beth