This week our pastoral staff is spending some time in Malibu on a little spiritual retreat. It’s good for everyone to take some time away and give some directed attention to our spiritual lives. Our lives are so full and so busy that we often need to take time away in order to clearly hear God’s voice. We’re at a retreat center in Malibu and I can’t think of a more perfect place to pause and get away. Here are some nerdy retreat centers that might be just as good.
One of the destinations of the Disneyland attraction Star Tours is Hoth. Hoth doesn’t seem like a great place for a vacation but it’s perfect for a spiritual retreat. Solitude is one of the most important aspects of a spiritual retreat and, except for the occasional Wampa, Hoth is pretty deserted. There also wouldn’t be that many distractions on Hoth unless you wanted to make a million snowmen. I’ve had some great spiritual experiences in the snow at winter camp. If the Holy Spirit showed up in Southern California snow, I’m pretty sure he’d show up in ice planet snow.
Malibu’s nice but next year we should budget a trip to New Zealand so we can have our spiritual retreat in the Shire. What better place for a pastoral retreat than the perfectly pastoral home of the hobbits? I love the Shire in the LOTR films. It’s so peaceful, green and beautiful. Tolkien did an amazing job setting the rolling hills of the Shire against the rocky crags of Mordor. The Shire would not only offer a serene setting for the spiritual retreat, but it would also offer plenty of food. Though it might be hard to get anything done with breakfast, second breakfast, elevensies, lunch, tea, dinner and supper.
Malibu is beautiful and I’m blessed to live a short drive from it. In the Star Trek universe, Risa is the perfect getaway planet. Earthquakes and erratic weather patterns plagued Risa. The Risians were able to get those under control, though, and turn their entire planet into Hawaii. I definitely prefer getting away to the beach as opposed to the mountains or desert. Risa would be the perfect place for a spiritual retreat, listening for God’s voice as blue waves crashed along pristine beaches. However, it might be difficult to hear God’s voice with all of the rampant sexual activity. In a universe without God, mores and standards about sexuality don’t really exist and the Risians fully embrace that reality. Risians are more than happy to tumble around in the hay with anyone from any species. On second thought, unless you were working on a vow of celibacy, Risa might not be the best place for a spiritual retreat.
It really is nice to get away and spend some time sitting, reflecting and waiting on God. We may not be able to get away to Hoth or Malibu, but that shouldn’t keep us from carving out that time. If withdrawing to a quiet place was good enough for Jesus, then it will probably do us some good as well.
What other nerdy destinations would work for a spiritual retreat?