Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Wilderness or Comforts?

Greetings from Disciples’ Crossing in lovely Athens, Texas! This week, both Amber and I are directing camps for the North Texas Area—she is the co-director for the Niners’ Conference (for finished freshmen) and I am now more than halfway through my three-year sentence—excuse me, opportunity—in directing Chi Rho camp for rising seventh and eighth graders. (To be completely honest and fair: I LOVE middle school ministry and I am quite thankful the NTA and y’all at Midway Hills allow me the opportunity to serve as camp director for them.)  Traditionally, the camps are held on opposite sides of the highway—the Conference side, with air conditioned lodges and grass and far fewer snakes is where most of the camps happen, while the Creative side, with open air bunks, detached bath buildings and probable snake sightings is for the Chi Rho camp. This year, because of low numbers, both camps are taking place on the Conference side.

I thought I would be happy about this—I mean, don’t get me wrong, camp is camp is camp and I love every minute of it—and enjoy being on the vastly more convenient side.  But I realized, part of the great experience of Chi Rho camp is when the youth get into eighth grade and say, “I survived the creative side for two years.” It’s hot, campers and staff alike are perpetually sweaty, but it is a special moment for two weeks over two years that I think adds metaphorical hair to one’s metaphorical chest. I am writing this article before departing for camp, and I assure you even now it’s going great, and that the camp will be one sung about centuries from now. I just wonder about trying something new and letting go of something comfortable and traditional.

It’s a question we could address to Christianity at large, to the Disciples of Christ, to our congregation, to our families, to ourselves.  What does it mean to try something new and adapt, and can that happen while still maintaining the elan vital of what we’re doing? I suppose the real question is what makes Christianity Christianity, and what makes Christianity convenient? And how will we tell the difference? What do we do when we figure it out? How do we continue to blaze a trail in the wilderness instead of indenting a chair in the comforts of tradition? This coming week, we’ll be looking at the first time folks were called Christian, as discussed in Acts, and we’ll be looking at what that means for us today, as Christians at Midway Hills Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and for tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after.

Please keep Amber and me, our staff members, and especially our campers in your prayers this week as we grow closer to God and each other.  I look forward to seeing you Sunday.

Shalom y’all, Arthur

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