Why Retreat?

Brent Amato

Christian Legal Society, as part of its ministry to lawyers and law students, provides not only its annual national conference, but also regional retreats. In the coming months, these are scheduled as follows:

Midwest Regional Retreat, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin – February 4-6, 2022

Southwest Regional Retreat, Dana Point, California – March 4-6, 2022

I love retreats, so I think this is a great part of the CLS “DNA”! I can’t help but notice that only a very small percentage of CLS members and other CLS-interested parties attend these regional retreats. As a rabid retreat fan and advocate, I share this blog for your consideration.

I know what some, if not many of you, are thinking “I’m too busy.” If pressed on the topic, your response it something like “There are just too many important things right now in my life to take the time for that” (a/k/a “The Tyranny of the Urgent”). If pressed further on the topic, your response becomes akin to “There are just too many MORE important things right now in my life to take the time for that” (a/k/a “The Higher, Prioritized, Rewarding, Self-Ordained Callings”).

While maybe not persuasive, much less dispositive, permit me to share a list of why retreats for lawyers and law students are critical to life as God designed for His children and Jesus expected for His disciples:

  • Intentional spiritual worship, fellowship, teaching, a great location, huge quantities of food and fun, that your local church just cannot provide.
  • From a personal and professional perspective, currently, how healthy are you physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually?
  • From a professional perspective, have you noticed and are you cognizant of all the material promulgated by the national, state and local bar associations on the topic of “well-being”?
  • From a military strategic perspective, in some “warfare”, “retreat” is the most advisable course of action.
  • From a spiritual perspective:
    • Are you mindful of the scriptural exhortation about intentional fellowship? “And let us consider how to stir up one another in love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25)
    • Are you mindful of the observations of Christian theologians supporting retreating? “It is a good practice to sit down for five minutes and do nothing” (Oswald Chambers, Still Higher for His Highest).
    • Are you mindful of the practice of Jesus and his ministry leadership to His disciples? “And in the early morning while it was still dark, He [Jesus] arose and went out and departed to a lonely place, and was praying there” (Mark 1:35; see also Matthew 14;23, Luke 4:42, Luke 5:16). “And the apostles gathered together with Jesus; and they reported to Him all that they had done and taught. And He said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a lonely place and rest a while.’ (For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.) And they went away in the boat to a lonely place by themselves” (Mark 6:30-32).

While I agree that it is highly right and profitable to be greatly inspired by and diligently respond to our Leader’s and His Apostle Paul’s call to “Charge!” (Matthew 28:18-20, Philippians 3:12-14), it is also highly right and profitable at times to be greatly inspired by and diligently respond to our Leader’s call to “Retreat!”