Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Jesus Camp

Watched this program on one of the satellite channels the other evening called "Jesus Camp."

I thought it was very disturbing - not the program itself - rather its subject: the camp and the activities at the camp.

It reminded me of one of my own early childhood experiences.

There was this one particular time when I was the only child that refused to go forward at an alter call. I can still recall the pressure of that time and the humiliation I felt and the fear and the rage and all the other mixed up emotions. In my case it was a Southern Baptist church and it was 40 years before I would willingly step foot inside one again.

I absolutely detest the idea of alter calls. I find not one shred of evidence for such a thing in the Scriptures. I am convinced they are for the benefit of the preacher and no one else.

God has known me forever but I have only known Him a few years now. If anything I suspect the mostly well meaning efforts of those people in my earlier years postponed my coming to know Him.

It was not that He was absent anyway but only that I could not see or hear or feel. It was my illness that required cure. When I could see I realized He was there all along.

There were people who loved me and prayed for me and cared for me. Prayer is considerably underrated by most folks, misunderstood and misused by so many Believers, and an object of scorn by the faith haters.

Back to Jesus Camp though. Some of the children had this idea that it was a struggle to obtain this or that from God. Some had been taught that only one kind of worship was pleasing to God. Some felt guilt and shame and some felt it was a matter of doing this or not doing that.

God is not some stingy miser. He pours out blessings on His children. He is not some cruel monster that delights in His child's misery and struggle. He loves diversity. Just look around at what He created! In His presence there is no room for guilt or shame or sadness; rather there is joy and peace and ebullience. And there is no sense of constraint but the expansiveness of freedom without limit.

Above all else is love.

When there's no freedom and no love then that's not Biblical faith.

1 comment:

Susan M said...

Wow, Cleaning out my MIL's house during this weekend was like finding a treasure trove. She wrote of going to the Southern Baptist Revival Meeting when she was young. Same thing, she always thought she was a Christian until she had to profess her faith. Such a difference. I wish I could put it as eloquently as she did in not so many words. Her nephew titled his sermon at her funeral, "She got it".

Seems like you "got it" too. Now I'm working on me.