Why Christian Renaissance Camps?

I have been praying for a Christian Renaissance for many years.  I now feel called by God to put feet on those prayers.  These camps are one way I am trying to do that.  Of my recent writings, “The Time is Ripe for a Christian Renaissance” and “Learned Children” perhaps capture the specific vision most succinctly.  I am inviting high school aged young people (14-18) to my home to wrestle with one classic work and one contemporary one, to impart this vision to them, to challenge them to love God with their minds in the context of loving Him with their heart, soul and strength, to consider the part they and their children might play in this Renaissance. My Faith and Reason Lecture at Patrick Henry College (Fall 2011) was also entitled, “The Time is Ripe for a Christian Renaissance.”

I have planned two one-week camps: July 10-16, 2016 and July 17-23, 2016.  Students can attend one or both.  The camps are small (from ten to twenty students each).  The registration deadline is April 1, 2016: first come, first served.  The cost is $525.00 per camp.

Discounts Available:

If you register BEFORE January 1, 2016:  $50.00.

If you register BEFORE April 1, 2016: $25.00.


Sibling discount: $25.00 per sibling.

Both camp discount:  $25.00 per camp.

My promise to you:  I promise to pray daily for each camper by name (beginning the day you register) that he or she will grow in Christ.  Those who know me know that I don’t make promises like this lightly.  I will pray right up to the start of the camps.

One final word:  I’m a college professor with nine kids, not a professional camp director.  I don’t have a big budget for full page ads in prominent magazines.  So, if you are excited about these camps, if you value this vision, please help me in two ways:  1) Pray with me for God’s blessing on these camps and 2) Help me get the word out about them in any way available to you (friends, social media, church, school, home school groups, etc.).

Many thanks!

Hake Family December 2013Steven Hake

Who Am I?

Educational Background: Ph.D. in English Literature, State University of New York at Binghamton M.Div. in Theology, Westminster Theological Seminary M.A. in English Literature, Yale University B.A. in East Asian Studies, Colby College Dr. Hake chairs the Department of Classical Liberal Arts and directs the Literature Major at Patrick Henry College.  He teaches a variety of literature courses, including Western Lit I and II in the core, and Selected Works of Charles Dickens and American Literature and Poetry in the upper division.  He was a college professor/missionary for many years in Taiwan, and more recently launched Rivendell Study Center.  His interests, in addition to literature and reading, include language learning, sailing, and backpacking. He has been married to Faye for almost forty years, has nine children from ten to thirty-seven, five of whom are married, and who have given him twelve grandchildren (as of last week!).


The summer of 2016 I am planning two one-week camps back to back.  The content of these two camps will be very different, so that if someone wants to stay for two weeks that is also an option.  The first camp is July 10-16 (City of God Camp), and the second July 17-23 (Crime and Punishment Camp).


These camps will be held in my home (“Rivendell South”) in Charles Town, West Virginia (189 Treeline Drive, 25414).   Our home overlooks the Shenandoah River Valley and is only a few miles from historic Harpers Ferry (see “Adventure Two”). Plan to arrive on Sunday afternoon or evening (no later than eight PM).  The camp will wrap up Friday night so that you all can return on Saturday.  If you are flying, plan to arrive at Washington DC’s Dulles Airport between two and seven PM.  We will be at the airport between these times to meet flights and give rides to our home.  If you arrive earlier, you will have to wait for us till we arrive at two. We can’t do other times and other airports. Plan to leave Dulles Saturday between six thirty AM and noon, as these are the times we can drop people off and help them get checked in. See our house on mapquest.

What Will We Do?

Four mornings will be spent mostly studying and discussing our classic book and four afternoons our contemporary book. Our two classic books: Augustine’s The City of God (July 12-18) and Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment (July 19-25). And our two contemporary books:  Andy Crouch’s Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling (July 12-18) and Ross Douthat’s Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics (July 19-25). This study and discussion will be in-depth and real. We will always be asking the question: what can we learn from these books to help us better love God and our neighbors, to help us take our place in a Christian Renaissance. Evenings, after our family worship, I plan a series of “fireside chats” in which we will look at what following Christ is all about. Our rootedness in Christ is of first importance in any Renaissance that is genuinely Christian.  Topics will include:

  • Why a Christian Renaissance?
  • The importance of Bible Study, and how to do it.
  • Thoughts about prayer.
  • What does it mean to be a good brother or a good sister (I Timothy 5:1-2)?
  • How can I know God’s call on my life?
  • What does it mean to love God with my strength?
  • Why does language study matter?
  • Is my Christian life balanced?

These will be spread out over the two weeks. One day each week we will drop everything and have an adventure.

Steve Hake teaching students
Kayaking Harpers Ferry

Why an Adventure?

During the The City of God Camp (July 12-18) our adventure will be a day spent sailing on the Chesapeake Bay, and during the Crime and Punishment Camp (July 19-25) a day spent kayaking on the Shenandoah River. Why an adventure?  Renaissance Christians should not simply be eggheads, but well rounded.  We are called to love God not simply with our minds, but also with our heart, soul and strength.  We’ll talk more about this during the “fireside chats.”  God wants us to work hard, but also to delight in all His good gifts, to rest, to play. (I should say that if you are physically unable to do these things, or have no interest in doing them, it is not a “requirement.” This is not a sailing or kayaking camp, it is a Christian Renaissance camp.  At very least, I hope you will come along, enjoy the beauty of God’s world, fresh air, fun and friendship.  You need not go onto the sailboat or kayaks.)

Sailing Chesapeake Bay

Why “Family Style”?

As I said on the “Why an Adventure?” page, God calls us to well-roundedness.  Jesus did all things well.  Our family has five daily priorities:  love God, love each other, work together, learn together, and play together.  We want this camp to have that same shape.  Granted, the main focus will be learning together, but we will also spend at least some time every day relaxing together, and spend a whole day having an adventure.  Campers will also be expected to help with meal preparation and clean-up each day, and each week we will tackle a (modest) but helpful and real work project.  Our culture is very entertainment and “me” oriented.  We all know that deep relationships and families don’t work this way.  We want to model this in the way these camps actually operate, as well as to talk about why this matters.

How to Prepare?

This is critically important. I am assuming that young people interested in camps like these are avid readers (see the “Why Christian Renaissance Camps?” page) and delight in wrestling with important ideas. The books I have chosen, Classic and Contemporary for both camps, are all deliberately challenging.  These camps are NOT going to be lecture based.  They will involve intensive discussion throughout, and much of that discussion will be in small groups of four or five, so no one will be able to hide.  Nor will there be time to read these books during the week of the camp itself. SOOOOO… It is ABSOLUTELY IMPERATIVE that you read these books carefully before you come.  If the prospect of hiding somewhere for many hours, just you and these books, is a groaner, these are maybe not the camps for you.  If, on the other hand, the prospect of preparing in this way is delightful and energizing, you will probably enjoy and profit from these camps. Here is how I would like you to read these books.  If you have read any of them before, read them again.  They repay multiple readings.  I really hope you will have your own copies, copies that you can mark up.  Don’t just read, wrestle.  ATTEND.  Notice.  Underline, circle, note questions, doubts, outrageous thoughts in the margins.  If you encounter things of special interest, maybe accumulate a little list at the beginning or end of the book.  For example, I am interested in questions of manhood and womanhood.  Sometimes when I am reading a very good book, I will list rich passages inside the front or back cover that touch on this topic, so I can go back to them quickly. You should already be reading the Bible like this.  Reading these important, but “merely human,” books should be small change if you have honed your mind and heart on much serious Bible reading and study.  We’ll talk about this, too, during the “fireside chats.” Then bring these marked-up copies and your minds full of questions, concerns, and thoughts…

What to Bring?

  • Your Bible, and whatever materials you use for your devotions.
  • Your marked-up copies of the classic and contemporary work.
  • A bath towel and beach towel.
  • If you play a musical instrument (smaller than a harp! we have a piano), that would be fun.
  • If you want to bring anything of interest to you for “show and tell,” maybe around the campfire at night, that would also be fun.
  • The obvious stuff:  clothes, prescription meds, toiletries, soap, shampoo, etc.
  • A bathing suit (modest, please).  We have a pool in our backyard.
  • Please do NOT bring any electronic toys.  We have never owned a TV, and our home is a “video game free” zone.  If the prospect of leaving behind such toys is a groaner, that may also indicate that this camp is not for you.  Cell phones, kindles, and laptops are fine, but not to play games with.


Feel free to ask your questions, to share your concerns!

  • 540-441-5641 (my PHC phone)
  • 304-724-1226 (my home phone)

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