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From the Winter 2013 issue of Knowing & Doing:  

Desert Discipleship

by Mark Carter
C.S. Lewis Institute Fellow

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  CSLI’s Heart & Mind Discipleship curriculum immediately came to mind. Our friends and CSLI Annapolis Fellows David and Betsy McPeak had approached Colleen and me in late August 2012 and asked if we would consider helping them facilitate a Heart & Mind Discipleship group at Bay Area Community Church, Crofton, Maryland. Despite the preparations for my deployment, the timing seemed perfect. So Colleen and I joined David and Betsy, and the Lord greatly blessed us and the Heart & Mind group.
  With clarity and renewed focus, I asked Chaplain Brian if we could meet for coffee. Before I could directly ask if he could partner with me in facilitating the Heart & Mind Discipleship group, he offered his full support. Someone had just asked him for this very type of discipleship opportunity. Chaplain Brian recommended starting Heart & Mind Discipleship after Easter. We were on our way!

March in the Desert

  Every year during Lent, Bishop Giorgio Bertin, Catholic bishop of Djibouti, leads many of his parishioners in a day-long March in the Desert, followed by Holy Communion. Thanks to the fruitful relationships that Father Mark and Chaplain Brian had nurtured with Bishop Bertin and other local religious leaders, Camp Lemonnier Catholics and Protestants were invited to participate in the spiritual retreat. March 8, 2013: the desert walk deserves much more description than what I can provide here. But there in the desert quietness I felt like the Lord telling me to share Heart & Mind Discipleship with the Camp Lemonnier Roman Catholic community. Consulting with Chaplain Brian, we made the Heart & Mind materials available to Father Mark, who reviewed the materials and wanted to advertise it to the Roman Catholic congregation.
  When I sought out Father Mark to give him his own copy of the Heart & Mind Study Guide, he told me that he had once used C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity as a primary text for a class on Christianity and World Religions for high school seniors. I assured him that the C.S. Lewis Institute strives to be ecumenical in its programs and practice. With a smile he said, “If the C.S. Lewis Institute is true to its namesake, I would expect it to be.”

Mere Christian—Mere Disciple

  The Heart & Mind Discipleship Group—Protestant and Catholic service men and women from all branches of the military and civilians—gathered in the chapel meeting room and averaged ten to fifteen participants on any given Monday night. Both Chaplain Brian and Father Mark attended faithfully, and the Holy Spirit blessed our group tremendously! As with any small group, our dynamic was unique. Like me, most of the participants had not planned or even desired to come to Djibouti. Yet we strove together to draw closer to the Lord in our shared desert experience. Although each Heart & Mind lesson is a gem in its own right, the standout topic for our group seemed to be, fittingly, humility.

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