Outdoor Education: Learning to Live into the Riches of Creation

Sean Purcell
February 20, 2010 - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Seminar Description:

Jubilee 2010
Psalm 19 (translated by Calvin Seerveld)
The heavens are telling the glory of God the very shape of starry space makes news of his handiwork. One day is brimming over with talk for the next day, and each night passes on intimate knowledge to the next night —there is no speaking, no words at all, you can’t hear their voice, (but)— their glossolalia travels throughout the whole earth! their uttered noises carry to the end of inhabited land! God set up a tent for the sun at the ends of the earth— have you seen the sun?! beaming forth like a bridegroom from his marriage-bed! The sun laughs joyfully like a strong man glad to run a race: it always rises from the edge of the heavens, and it circles over and around to the (other) ends of the sky— nothing is able to hide from its burning heat. The leading of the Lord God Yahweh is utterly reliable, bringing people back to life again! The magnificent testimonies of Yahweh prove themselves to be everlastingly true, making inexperienced young people wise. The commanding words of Yahweh are truly straightening, causing one’s heart to laugh and be glad! A task imposed by Yahweh is cleansing: it stands up for ever and ever. The ordering judgments of Yahweh are firmly true—Amen! The Lord’s fiats all together are thoroughly just —more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold, sweeter than honey, yes,than natural honey of the honeycomb. Let me, your sevant, also be warned by these (ordinances, Lord), for in keeping them much good results— who can discern (all one’s) errant missteps?! O (Lord!) set me free from the spoilsome sins kept hidden from my notice! And please hold me back from every overweening presumption I am your servant, (Lord!)— Do not ever let self-confidence push me around: then I will (finally) be able to be unpretentiously blameless, rid of all the guilt-making rebelliousness...

If you long to live more attentively in God’s world and if you want to explore how outdoor experiences orient us to see the world as God’s, this seminar is for you. Our discussion, although emphasizing outdoor education, will include other non-extreme activities like making bread, knitting and fixing motorcycles. Come prepared to talk and think about the exciting opportunities to learn more about God and ourselves in the field of outdoor education.

Sean Purcell is a graduate student in philosophy with the Paideia Centre for Public Theology in Hamilton, Ontario. He is married to Krista and they have a very playful and adventurous four year old daughter. He loves climbing, skiing and kayaking but is always open to learn new ways to play in God’s world. He has been involved with CCO’s Outdoor Leadership team off and on for over ten years. Sean loves the outdoors, and philosophy. Standing on the contributions of Christian philosophers like Calvin Seerveld, Sean attempts to provide new lenses for understanding the place and practice of outdoor education. contact me at sdpurcell@gmail.com; on Twitter follow me at: sdpurcell

What are the moments or activities that allow you to hear God’s "creational glossolalia?"

outdoor education: learning to live into the riches of creation 2
Let the sayings of my mouth and the inarticulate groanings of my heart be something acceptable in front of your face, O Lord God, my rock! the One who who always comes through to set me free from my bondage! 1

This translation can be found in Rainbows for the Fallen World, and Voicing God’s Psalms. Both are by Calvin Seerveld and available from Hearts and Minds.

Are there cultural forces that influence our interactions with the world, our work, in such a way that it leads us away from an orientation where we might be primed to hear God speak in his creation?
Figure 1: Certain cultural trends often push us into a dualism where certain kinds of work are seen as "truly free" which is opposed to other kinds of work which are viewed as bound and limiting.

Freedom Limits

“knowledge work” craft

Is there a connection between our agency and ability to interact with God’s world in an attentive way? What is the connection between "fear of the Lord" and the recognition that God’s world is ordered? Notes:

Matthew Crawford: Craftsmanship entails learning to do one thing really well, while the ideal of the new economy is to be able to learn new things, celebrating potential rather than achievement. Somehow, every worker in the cutting-edge workplace is now supposed to act like an "intrapreneur," that is, to be actively involved in the continous redefinition of his own job. Shop class presents [or Outdoor ed.] presents an image of stasis that runs directly counter to what Sennett identifies as ’a key element in the new economy’s idealized self: the capacity to surrender, to give up possession of an established reality.’ This stance toward "established reality," is best not indulged around a table saw. Matthew Crawford, Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Workpage 19. Crawford: "His [the practitioner’s] will is educated—both chastened and focused—so it no longer resembles that of a raging baby who knows only what he wants...With electronic equipment, the facts of physics operate on such a scale that they do not present themselves to immediate experience for the user. The computer "interface" adds another layer of abstraction, as it screens the user also from the humangenerated logic of the program running the software..." Crawford, page 60.

outdoor education: learning to live into the riches of creation 3
Figure 2: The top portion of the diagram is meant to demonstrate the richness of one activity or "thing" in God’s world as it is subject to a variety of laws. The bottom piece of the diagram is meant to point out the the variety of "things" and the variety of relations between those things.

if you are interested in the robust ontology (ie: the make up things) I only hinting at here you can find more information in Introduction to Philosophy by D.H.Th. Vollenhoven. This is available from Hearts and Minds as well.

CCO OLT Outdoor Education Opportunities
Living into the riches of God’s creation requires a willingness to be attentive to God and his world. The summer opportunities provided by the CCO’s Outdoor Leadership Team seek to create the space and provide you with the skills necessary to have an experience of listening to God’s world. These experiences cultivate an attentiveness to creation in order that you may come to know more about God and yourself and those around you. Trip L.D.W. Wyoming1 L.D.W. Canada Crossings
1 Leadership

Relevant Books: Shop Class as Soul Craft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work –Matthew B. Crawford; Rainbows for the Fallen World: Aesthetic Life and Artistic Task–Calvin Seerveld; Walking in the Way of the Word: The Collected Writings of H. Evan Runner–H. Evan Runner; The Craftsmen–Richard Sennett

Activity Mountaineering Kayaking Kayaking

Date June 2 – July 9, 2010 June 9 – July 9, 2010 May 29 – June 12, 2010

and Discipleship in the Wilderness

Table 1: These are the three summer opportunities offered by the CCO’s Outdoor Leadership Team. Stop by the booth for more information or check out: http://www.ccojubilee.org/events/summeropportunities/