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How to buy your own village: The reason we retreat

Dr. Jim Denison is the CEO of Denison Forum.
His Daily Article and podcast globally reach over 160,000 subscribers. Dr. Denison guides readers to discern today’s news—biblically. He is the author of multiple books and has taught on the philosophy of religion and apologetics at several seminaries. Prior to launching Denison Forum in 2009, he pastored churches in Texas and Georgia. He holds a Ph.D and a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Jim and his wife, Janet, live in Dallas, Texas. They have two sons and four grandchildren.

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How to buy your own village: The reason we retreat
SpaceX Falcon 9, with NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken in the Crew Dragon capsule, lifts off from Pad 39-A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Saturday, May 30, 2020.

One of the most popular tweets in recent days was sent by comedian Andy Milonakis: “Congratulations to the Astronauts that left Earth today. Good choice.” With the global pandemic, economic crisis, and riots across the nation, the sentiment is understandable.

If you’re not an astronaut but are looking for a place to get away, you might consider buying your own village. That way, you can be in charge not only of your house but of your neighbors as well.

This may seem a little unrealistic, but for $7.3 million, the town of Satra Brunn in Sweden can be yours.

The village dates back to 1700, when a doctor named Samuel Skragge discovered its water source that was reputed to have healing qualities. He built a town around the natural spring, including a hospital, church, houses, and more. Over the years, tourists began to visit and build summer homes on the land. The spring is one of only seven in Sweden awarded the highest purity designation.

A bishop bought the homes and grounds in the 1740s, then left it a few years later to one of Sweden’s top schools, Uppsala University. The university sold it in 2002 to sixteen local businessmen; they have used it as a venue for a spa and various events. They added a bottling business in 2015.

Now the entire village is for sale. You would own the sixty-acre town, its dwellings, and businesses along with eighty-four acres of undeveloped land. Since it is registered as a limited liability company, there are no restrictions for foreign buyers.

The reason we retreat

Retreating from the chaos of our fallen world is a biblical principle. Jesus often spent time alone with his Father (cf. Mark 1:35; Luke 9:18). Mark 6 records that he once said to his disciples, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” The reason: “For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat” (v. 31).

Max Lucado is right: “The Sabbath was created for frantic souls like me, people who need this weekly reminder: the world will not stop if you do.”

But the biblical call to retreat from the culture serves the biblical call to engage the culture with God’s word.

After Jesus led his disciples on a retreat to Caesarea Philippi, far north of Capernaum and Jewish society, he made this now-famous declaration to them: “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). His words could be translated literally, “and the gates of hell shall not withstand its assault.”

Christianity is an incarnational worldview. Unlike the world’s religions, which profess to show us how we can climb up to God or the gods, in our faith God climbs down to us. Jesus left heaven for earth and calls us to leave where we are to go where we are needed (Matthew 28:19). He sends us to fish for men (Matthew 4:19), which means we must go where the “fish” are.

Our Lord intends us to retreat regularly to be with him so we can then advance in his call and power. If we buy a village or take a day for solitude, we are then to go back to our kingdom assignment in his Spirit and strength.

When will you next spend significant time alone with your Lord? How will you then assault the gates of hell in his name?

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