Have you heard of L’Abri Fellowship? It was started in Switzerland in the 1955 by Francis and Edith Schaeffer. They decided to open up their home, making a kind of retreat center for anyone who wanted to explore or study Christianity. In its first 20 years or so, its guests were primarily teenagers or young adults backpacking through Europe “to find themselves”, en route to Katmandu or some other specific or undefined destination. Now, there are multiple L’Abri houses around the world in additional to Switzerland (England, Australia, US, Germany, Sweden, Holland, Korea, and Canada) and guests are just as likely to be a 40-something taking time away from a job as a 20-something wondering what to do with his or her life.
This weekend, my husband and I attended the L’Abri annual conference held in Rochester, Minnesota. Although it was a bit of a trip south, it wasn’t far enough south for us to escape the 50 below wind chill that swept into Minnesota this past weekend. Fortunately, however, Rochester is a lot like Minneapolis in that much of the core city can be accessed through skyways or underground passageways.
It was our first L’Abri conference but I hope it won’t be our last. The two-day event drew about 700+ people from around the country--even from around the world--and was packed wih plenary and workshop presentations. The theme of the conference was “Living in a Brave New World” and focused on current trends in society, particularly in science. Speakers included theologians, writers, physicists, physicians, and others. It will no doubt take me longer to unpack all my notes, than it will to unpack my suitcase. The weekend was dense with things to think about.
Here’s the main thing I took home, however: Be a person who seeks truth, goodness, and beauty. What one person does, matters.
That may be exactly the encouragement I needed. Maybe it’s the encouragement you need as well.