Tim's got a great post on The Chronicles of Narnia and sex that you need to read.
So, I've finished my first post-camp nap and though I'm still tired, draggy, and feel like my head it floating, I've been checking e-mail, reading blogs, and now want to record some thoughts on this week's experience.
Going to youth camp is such a complicated thing. It must be evaluated from so many levels. There is the level of the late night Risk game, which was somewhat weak this year (though Joey dominated with force in his last turn taking out all four other players in one turn). There's the level of "did I continue to be as funny as I've been in the past and maybe even add to my funniness?" And since I've got to have the wildest/ most standoutish costume at the dance, since I've created that expectation, did I live up to it again this year? This list could go on.
But the most significant ways to evaluate seem to be:
1) Did our particular group have a great time and grow together?
2) Did the kids in our group really each have a good time?
3) Did my sponsors have meaningful experiences?
4) How did the community that is the Southwest Baptist Youth Camping Association fare?
First, I think the group did. From the spontaneous music video of Bohemian Rhapsody in the Cici's parking lot to the Ring of Fire performance, I think they really did.
Second, seems so. Natalie said it was the best five days of her life. Sydney said it got her to thinking about God for the first time. Blair & Brooke were more engaged in the life of the group. Etc.
Third, difficult. It was a difficult week for my adults. I hate that.
Fourth, I think the community suffered.
It's always difficult to come home thinking camp was both great and wasn't, but it is on different levels.
The SWBYCA is wonderful group. It started 40 someodd years ago as progressive and moderate churches wanted a different camping choice than what the SBC and state conventions provided. It has, over time, been made up of some of the leading progressive and reform-minded congregations in the region. These churches needed that community as they were engaged in the religious battles of previous decades, making this a community that came through much turmoil with others. And it is made up of pastors, youth ministers, and lay people whom I really love and respect and value.
But we've got some issues. Last year I had a bad camp experience. The ministers got to fighting worse than the adults. And this year I had a negative experience as well.
There seems to be a division between those of us who believe in a more grace-filled approach to rules and a more permissive and free style of entertainment and communication. And there are those who disagree. The low point for me came this week when someone in response to my appeal, "but we don't believe in absolutes" said, "but I think some people are ready for some absolutes."
I thought that I could trust these churches and these people not to have hang ups about allowing kids and adults more freedom with their sexual humour, safe expressions of their sexuality, and to not spend lots of time worrying about rules. I thought this community was better than it is. And when friends disappoint you, it's pretty tough.