I had a lot of trouble starting this post, the leading reason being that I am not that familiar with the blogosphere. So I read up a little on how to go about blogging. Apparently it has to do with being authentic and helping others get to know you. Some talk about it as a creative outlet. Others try to make a profit. But I must admit that I need neither of these and that my entrance into the blogging world makes me wonder a little about how much time many of us spend on the Internet. In contrast, I tend to get nostalgic about those times I spent building a fort in the woods, reading books with my parents, or playing card games with my family. And when I think about children and the sorts of possibilities they have with all these new technologies, it is my greatest hope that we can still help anchor them in concrete life, in Christ's creation and its beauty.
Camp seems to help do this, because it is one of the places in which we get to live a different sort of life. Consider, for example, how we have transitioned from a communal environment that sung when it worked into a community silenced by mass-produced, studio-quality music. Many of us today are convinced that we cannot sing, which is a foreign concept to still many communities throughout the world. We can all sing, and we should all sing. The early Christians actually resisted instrumentation in worship, but they embraced acapella (voice only) song. I sometimes wonder how it would have sounded to hear the first Christians singing at Pentecost, as St. Irenaeus mentions. Would it be much like my choir experiences, full of resonant moments that seemed to bind us together closely and intimately? Would people have carried that musical joy into their relationships with one another? I kind of like to think they would have, especially because that seems to happen so regularly at camp.
In thinking about singing, I am reminded of that lovely film "Les Choristes", which tells the story of a school teacher who comes to a boarding school for misbehaving boys and turns them into a choir. In the process, he helps transform the community to resist oppression and find new life in their relationships and gifts. This example may stem from a fictional school setting, but it captures the life we hope to cultivate and nurture in camps around the diocese, a life grounded in Christ.
My passions start and end here. I cannot imagine a life without the One who holds us all in His embrace so that we may love one another and, above all, love Him. And Jesus beckons us to let the children come to him. He does not tell us to force them, but assumes that they will come when they hear his voice. Clearly we have great responsibilities to guide and teach children, but we are also called to welcome them into the body, to love and enjoy them. I hope to learn this truth concretely in camp, learning from Nathan, Cristina, and the staff team, and most importantly from the children.
Blessings and peace,