When people hear that I spent part of my summer in France, their initial reaction is to ask why I went and what I did while I was there. However, I have found this question really difficult to answer due to the one-of-a-kind experience I had. Rather than vacationing in France or going on a mission trip, I attended the Fixed Point Institute for Applied Apologetics, which is a ten day conference for high school seniors and college students. At the Institute, Larry Taunton, acclaimed author and founder of Fixed Point Foundation, equips students to articulate their faith in an increasingly secular culture by teaching them what it means to think like a Christian.
While this is a topic that is often discussed on a theoretical level in Christian communities such as Westminster, the Institute focuses on the practical application of what it means to seek first the kingdom of God in one’s vocation. Students hear from faculty members–which included everything from a professional South African rugby player and an Islamic polemicist–on how they are living out their faith in the lifestyle to which God has called them.
The Institute is located in France for good reason: first, because issues such as the rise of Islam feel much more real there than in the mountains of North Carolina; and second, the goal is for students to enjoy a short retreat from their familiar world in order to engage it more thoughtfully and effectively upon returning. However, this conference is set apart from typical Christian camps by its focus on engaging fundamental Christian truths rather than eliciting an emotional response from its participants. Overall, the Fixed Point Institute is a fruitful experience where students grow personally, academically, and spiritually while on an incredible trip to France.