Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Camp & Church

I have a secret desire and frustration in my heart. As a Christian camp lover and worker I have a great appreciation for the amazing influence camp activities have on individuals and groups of people. Because of my work in this environment, please understand that it is also a bias of mine.

I have seen more honest confession, dedicated commitment, purposeful work, united prayer, changed hearts, intimate relationships, love in action, connection between young and old, benefit to the whole person at Christian camps in one summer than I have EVER seen or experienced or heard about (in Northa America at least) at a Christian Church.

Please understand, I'm not saying these things either to degrade or slander the Church, that is, God's body of people here on earth. I LOVE the church and eagerly desire for us to become mature and complete, not lacking in any good thing from Jesus. And I'm also not on a camp kick as though this might be the only example of a positive environment through which to grow and know Christ. There are many other examples as well.

And yet my question remains. With the emphasis in our evangelical church in North America to attend a church building on a Sunday morning (do or be considered at risk of leaving the fold), I find it rather peculiar that I discover everything I hear from the pulpit acted upon with far more vigour and effort and effectiveness at camp. Why is it I have been scolded for not attending a church in one week and yet fail to produce any 'fruit' of worth in my life and when I live and work and breath camp for 4 months I am changed yet again by the Spirit of God and that relationship only becomes more unfathomable and significant.

"I have the conviction that a few weeks in a well-organized summer camp may be of more value educationally than a whole year of formal school work."
Charles Eliot, former president of Harvard University, in his 1922 treatise on education

Cooks and Chefs

this is an audio post - click to play

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The minor key

I have an affinity to the minor key. I can honestly say that if you were going to get me to pick a favourite song of mine, it likely wouldn't be a happy one. At least, not happy sounding. There is something hauntingly beautiful about the minor key; you know, those songs that sound sad or are full of history that may be good or bad. Those songs that maybe bring up memories most would rather bury and never remember. Those are the songs I relish and prefer to soak my soul in. In fact, I purchase, primarily, soundtracks of movies that have so moved me, to bring back those emotions. I don't know why.

Except that I know that there seems to be a correllation between the sadness of life and the truth/reality of life. I don't know what it is, but when I listen and find myself lost in a song that pulls on those emotions that are buried in places I haven't the ability to go myself, I find a harmonic chord between my heart, my God and life as I know it. They all come together. There seems, to me, to be far more honesty, vulnerability and transparency in sadness ... and maybe even anger. It's a point no one of us would choose to end up in, and yet, when we're there, I would challenge you to consider how much more genuine and sincere your life, and the lives of others around you, become.

Recently I was at a funeral for a good friend and mentor of mine: Dan Krestinski. His passing was like the last candle going out in the darkest room ... just before you knew the fireworks were about to go off. It was a reunion of unprecidented account. There were likely 400 people there or so. Many of whom I had not seen for 5, 8 or 10 years. Good friends I will never forget, remembering a man who had helped us all to see more clearly our God and His marvelous purpose and intimacy in our lives. It was so sad to sing a song he taught us all 'The Lord Loves Me' and yet we could have sung no better. I revel in my memory of Dan and weep bitterly over our loss ... and that for a time, we will be without him and Jesus, through Him. And yet, there at that moment, I felt Christ more strongly and intimately than in most of my waking (or sleeping) moments. Why is that? Here at a time of pain, there is joy. In grief I find such peace in the presence of God that I would almost wish I could feel this way more often. Utterly saddened to the point of utter joy. To remember life as it truly is: Sadness and joy mixed like the weaving of an intricate blanket so much that to remove one or the other would destroy what it was always meant to be: life to the full. We would do well to remember, as so many other peoples do, that not all tears are an evil.

Saturday, May 06, 2006


Hear ye, hear ye! Let all come round and hear the good news! Let it be known today, that the family of Tim & Kari Larson will grow to include a child!! Yes, we're pregnant and extremely excited!! WHOOOHOOO!!!