Has anyone here been on the Walk to Emmaus? (The Upper Room -- Walk to Emmaus http://www.upperroom.org/emmaus/
It's essentially a retreat disguised as the beginning of a longer journey. People from many Christian denominations attend the walk, although there were no Orthodox Christians on my walk! They were mostly RC, Baptist, evangelical, etc. During the weekend, prayer and worship are disrupted by silly traditions that attendants are basically forced to participate in. I was embarrassed at so many times during the Walk; I couldn't even imagine what kind of problems the team had with the men who weren't excited about dancing around with people in clown-ish costumes.
I attended one (well, I was cornered into going, although I should have put my foot down and said "No way") several years ago, and I was put off by many of the aspects of the Walk.
Among them is a sense of secrecy. The group actually had to make a statement* because so many spouses were "hiding" what happened on the walk and not telling their spouses about it. While many people have argued that it was that their spouse could be surprised, it has generated a resentment in the second person to attend the walk. For a few years my friend never told me what happened because she wanted me to be surprised. "Well, I'm not going, so you can tell me," I told her. "Oh, you ARE going," she responded.
My husband went on the walk before I did. At the time, we hadn't started officially dating yet, but we intended to after a period of prayer. Several people at my church were volunteering that weekend and they made it a point to tell me that he looked "horrible, like something had hit him and he was shocked." People on the walk are technically not allowed to use their cell phones (or consult their watches), so I couldn't contact him. I was distraught the entire weekend, and a big fight blew up because of it.
I don't want to keep blabbing, although if anyone has questions about the weekend (and its strangely cultish aspects), I can answer them. I just wanted to ask if any people on this board had attended a walk at one point. I'm opening this question to non-Orthodox, because I also wanted to ask if anyone was put off about it as well.
Just looking back, I feel that the Walk was one of the clues about my changing view of Christianity. All other aspects aside, there were many things that felt "wrong" about the weekend. I guess I'm hoping to hear about other's positive/negative experiences. I'm basically looking for an "Emmaus support group!"
*The statement instructs people to give details when asked, and not to act secretive. By experiencing the Walk through two different churches, I really know that this isn't being put into practice by many people who attended.