The Rainbow House & Camp
Another new word has suddenly poked it’s way in our cultural vocab. SCOTUS. With the recent ruling of the Supreme Court Of The United States to make same-sex marriages legal in all 50 states, language is not the only thing changing. Opinions about the LGBTQ community are shifting in favor of the vocal and highly visible minority (less than 2%). Christians everywhere are scrambling. What are we to do? How are we to fight for Biblical truth? What prophecy is coming to fruition when our White House becomes the Rainbow House? The posts, tweets, comments, and pundits are a blur to keep up with.
What should we do… if anything?
Last week my family served a week of church camp in Sinking Springs, Ohio. Sinking Springs boasts of no cellular service, and internet only when you raise your right leg and hold tin foil high above your head.
One-hundred third, fourth, and fifth graders showed up. About forty faculty were called to manage the chaos. I have been the evening speaker of this week of camp for over thirty years. I love it. However, over the past six years or so, the adult faculty have seen marked changes in the kids coming to camp. Almost half of them are on special meds. Medicine for maladies such as ADHD, severe food allergies, schizophrenia, and bi-polar are dispensed on a daily basis just to keep the kids functioning within the rigors of camp. This year we saw notable changes in listening skills, compliance behavior, and attention spans.
A few of the faculty sat down and asked this question: What should we do… if anything?
Here’s what we did. We prayed for all the campers and remembered our own brokenness in doing so. We loved the kids. We taught and lived the gospel creatively. We ate with the kids. We endured heat and hikes and choking humidity. We laughed and sang with the campers. We celebrated and served. We got messy. We taught them a Jewish prayer of thanksgiving. We listened to their stories, and told them ours. We rested and recreated with the campers. We did life together for one glorious week. At the end of our five days, twenty-one kids prayed for Jesus to accept and adopt them. Twenty were also baptized.
For this first blog of my summer study break, it occurred to me on a beach some eight-hundred miles away from Sinking Springs, how our strategy for dysfunctional camp kids would work for a culture enamored with a new reality of a Rainbow House.
What should we do? Prayer will keep our hearts from turning to stone. We should love intentionally. We should teach the gospel creatively with our lives giving it all credibility. We should eat with those giving the LGBTQ community two thumbs up. We must endure hardships with folks who don’t see a Biblical design for marriage between a man and woman. This would necessitate Kingdom proximity. It’ll be messy. We can never stop laughing and singing. We should celebrate to make parties better. We should serve like never before. Praying prayers of thanksgiving instead of fear will be fueled by the confidence of the gospel. Our listening skills must improve. Our story telling and story harvesting work must increase. And because the ultimate work of the Church and the Holy Spirit is on Jesus’ shoulders, we can rest and recreate ourselves knowing the Bride of Christ will prevail against any fire Hell tries to stoke.
I finished my first study break book today. “Saturate” by Jeff Vanderstelt was a good choice to get things amped up. Vanderstelt writes to take the gospel into all areas of life. Specifically into our rhythms of eating, listening, story telling, blessing, celebrating, and recreating. Sounds like camp, huh? I didn’t realize what we had done with our smelly elementary friends until I read “Saturate.”
Being saturated with the gospel means more than just preaching it on Sundays. Gospel saturation involves, according to Vanderstelt, “Seeing what Jesus has done and knowing he wants to do the same with and through you” in the daily stuff of life. That’ll preach! And it will! There’s definitive, practical ideas pouring out of “Saturate” I’m anxious to implement.
I’ll start “Preaching” by Tim Keller tomorrow.