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I Found Jesus at Camp!

He was underneath the table in the Dining Hall. I'm volunteering at camp this week as "Pastor in Residence" and I found him while I was helping clean. So for all of you who have been trying to find Jesus, relax. I found him.

It's a pretty cool gig being Pastor in Residence here. I get to do a lot of fun things. For my closing prayer last night in worship I set up a large pendulum in the pavilion, invoked the First Law of Thermodynamics, Newton's First Law of Motion, and quoted Billy Bragg. Life is good.

By the way, the quote I used of Billy Bragg was off of some interview he did on public radio and he was reflecting on faith. He was reflecting on space exploration and saying that faith is a man strapped into a tin can on top of thousands of pounds of explosives having been told that this contraption will get you to the moon and back and trusting that the nerds in mission control have got their maths right. I was trying to find the exact quote but I couldn't find it. If someone out there in interweb land can get me the exact quote I'd be muchly appreciative.


Um, maybe this is a silly question, but I can't get it through my head--how does a pendulum fit into a prayer? A devotional, I can see, but a prayer? I would say that I am so used to the "bow your head and close your eyes" school--but then I realized that I haven't closed my eyes in 6 years. Those young'uns can DO stuff when you're not watching them, and when your eyes are closed, you don't know which one to thump!

Well, the pendulum part was more of an object lesson before the prayer itself. A demonstration of the difference between belief and action.

Ok, well, duh, that makes sense. BTW, the "I found Jesus at camp" picture is cute.

Isn't this what's known as mocking the Lord?
It all depends on whether He has a sense of of humor, which we won't find out until the hereafter, and then of course it will be too late.
Which is an excuse to bring up George Carlin. I was watching his routine about "the invisible man up in the sky who needs your money" with an evangelist friend who rumbled, "You'll find out George!" And now he has, one way or another.

Some might say that. I think of it as having a healthy sense of humor about the culture of people who claim to follow Christ. I figured out early in life that most of "Christianity" was about using the right key words in the right order to elicit the correct responses and avoiding other key words that would elicit unwelcome responses.

I find this kind of jingoistic religion repugnant.

I didn't think it was mocking the Lord--rather, it seemed to be casting a silly light on people who have a very emotional "conversion experience" at camp, or college, or whatever. (Let me just say here that while I am sure those people are sincere, that the Bible teaches us that emotions are tricky things, and so "finding Jesus" at camp, or elsewhere, has to involve more than warm fuzziness.)

Farglebargle--I saw George Carlin several yrs ago, and, well, some of his stuff was funny, some of it, not so much. I think "the invisible Guy in the sky who needs your money" is funny, because really, it's taking a jab at all the televangelists (and authors and all) who do seem to be using their pulpits as ATMs. They pretty much deserve that (and probably prison). But I have to admit that when I heard that Mr. Carlin had died, my first thought was, "wow, I wonder what it was like, where he is now, and what is he thinking?" I think that about everyone who dies because, now they KNOW

Ok, I'll bite--give me some examples of "using the right key words in the right order...and other key words that would elicit unwelcome responses...." (Because I have been alone with the kids and the dog for pretty much a solid week and intellectual religious discussions are fun.)

Oh, Leah, do I really have to give examples? The stock narrative is to share all the horribleness of your life and then how in a "blinding moment of clarity Jesus appeared to me" and how you "gave your heart to him" and how now "I am happy all the time." Bleck. I'm sure there are some people who are really like that. But my encounters with the holy have always been disturbing and earthshattering and decidedly discomforting.

And as far as language that elicits negative response is anything about doubt or uncertainty of which I have plenty. I do not possess anything close to epistemological certainty and my spiritual experience drives me to less certainty rather than more, but, ironically, makes me more at peace with my uncertainty.

Oh, see, I didn't know that you meant that. In the church of Christ, you just don't run into that kind of conversion experience very often--I would say, "ever," but who knows. People I know who get baptized (including myself), either do so out of a conviction of sin, or out of a desire to obey God. I think people feel relieved, and grateful, but no one is "happy all the time." We're not a hyper-emotional bunch.In fact, it's kind of emphasized that the Christian life is not an easy one, and that it is very hard to choose God over self. We'll all fail at it, and there are plenty of things we won't understand, and that is why we need the grace of God. When you think that even the apostles, who knew Christ and the gospel better than anyone, still messed up, had thorns in the flesh, beat their bodies into submission and suffered for God, then the idea of "happy all the time" seems inaccurate and unrealistic. When Paul says we are to "count it all joy," I think he means that we are to realize that the trials we face are a normal part of life, sometimes the direct result of our faith, and that God will see us through them, even if/when the end result is death.
As far as doubts, etc., go, I have some issues that I am not sure about, but I figure God can take care of them without my help. It is hard enough just to get through the day, raise my kids, and be the kind of woman I should be. If you think about it, we're lucky to have the kinds of lives that allow for religious worries and speculation. If they cause us to lean further upon God ( a conscious choice), then they are an odd sort of blessing.

(btw, I posted this earlier, but I think the computer ate it, so forgive me if this is a duplicate! Hope you are having a great first evening in your new house!)

Now I'm curious to hear about your disturbing, earth-shattering encounters with the holy. We talkin' visions here?

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