When you were younger, did you ever attend Vacation Bible School?
We church kids know all about VBS, or Church camp. Church camp occurred one week during the summer from Monday through Friday. Each year’s events surrounded a different theme, i.e. under the sea, outer space, polar blast, or something like that; the theme explicitly explained by a rather large rectangular lacquer poster proudly staked in the church lawn, in direct view of every driver pulling into the parking lot.
Each weekday consisted of a slam-packed schedule of singing sing-songy Jesus songs, creating Bible-themed crafts, running around outside in July heat, eating, smiling, sweating. Repeat. Then, once you’re in high school, you transition from a camper to a volunteer. (That is, if you hadn’t rebelled into a pot-smoking, fire-breathing freshman by then.)
Ah, nothin’ like a nice hot slice of nostalgia for the Veggie Tales prodigies!
As I am now in my post-pigpen prodigal daughter days, daily eatin’ good at Abba’s house, I have come to understand Church camp not as a week-long lawn party strewn with dehydrated delinquents, pro-GMO snacks and oversized, multi-colored water balloons, but as the ever-present differentiation of passions and personalities that can either make or break us.
“What camp are you in?”
So-called followers of Jesus ask this question with alarming regularity about everything from hymns to homosexuality, cessasionists to separatists and sermons with too many stories.
I am not arguing that everyone must see the same way. In fact, the Church forms camps all the time, naturally, because we’re all so very different. And that’s a good thing – if we humble ourselves to both teach our sister and learn from her.
But so very often, instead of lending our differences as living thread to weave unity into the tapestry of His bride, we let our differences divide. Human nature leads like-minded people towards one another and erects walls, barring the unknown. We do not learn from another, but instead we lean on our own misunderstanding.
Thus, a silent polemic of our misunderstood brother brews within our hearts. And we’ve lost sight of love.
Never forget: Human nature alone cannot please God.
Lately, the Lord has formed a friendship between me and a young woman who is so very different from me. She’s an introvert, I’m an extrovert. She’s a thinker, I’m a feeler. She’s reformed, I’m charismatic. We’re different, and that’s a good thing.
We need each other.
Why do we need each other? Well, the feeler feels and the thinker thinks.
Jesus said to love the Lord your God with all your heart, your soul, and your mind; and she helps me do that. The super spiritual people need the super scriptural; and vice versa. In tandem, the two can make something beautiful.
Let’s be family.