Heya from sunny, dry, crap-hot California.

So this is the fifth day in California so far, and it’s pretty warm out here. At least during the day it is. We’re free this (and every) weekend, and I think we might make a trip into L.A. to show Paul Hollywood and see Hancock. Interesting note on Hancock, by the way: our first night here we crashed with the guy who mixed the sound effects for the movie (an spider-man, and some other biggies). His technical title is ‘foley mixer’ (I’m sure Josh will know all about it).

Other than leading worship in the evenings, our time is totally free. Today that meant me finishing a book (‘The Meaning of Jesus’ by Borg and Wright), eating two burritos for lunch, playing nine holes of frizbee golf (finished two-under), reading articles on Cracked.com, and now writing this while Chuck and Paul play texas hold em online. This is pretty relaxing so far, but I think it might get a little old soon.

Time here has been nice so far (as you could probably tell) but it’s also been a bit discouraging. I feel very disconnected from the spirit of the rest of the camp. Worship and the speaker really embody typical, conservative, pop-christianity. That certainly has it’s virtues, but I still feel very uncomfortable where talk of following the Christ is very casual and totally personalistic. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t feel much of an urge to jump in wielding my ideas against theirs, so that is a plus, but now the problem is that I feel an obligation to participate in the life of the community, and I can’t do that without involving my beliefs and spirituality. I’ve tried to do this some, but those attempts have been equally discouraging.

Yesterday on a bus-ride to the beach (which is nowhere near as nice as Alabama’s beaches) I sat next to the camp speaker. He’s a really nice, late-twenties guy attending Fuller Seminary. During conversation about our educations, it came out that I am a theology/bible major. Later during the conversation about his specific foci at seminary, I asked what his theological education would be. As it turns out, his degree (an M.Div. I believe) requires only one class in theology proper, which can be fulfilled by taking either a ‘foundations of theology’ class, or a church history class, the latter of which is his choice. When I asked more about that, he said that he ‘felt’ that the study of theology is a dangerous thing, and not for everyone. Aside from the fact that he said this so casually to a person whom he knows to have devoted several years to theological study, I was totally appalled almost to the point of disorientation that a person could simultaneously devote his time and energies to speaking of God, and also consider the study of God unworthy of equal time and energy, still more to think of studying God as a dangerous, or foolish task!

I didn’t say anything to him on this, partly because I knew that he knew I must think differently (since he knew I am a theo student) and partly because he made his remark as with an air of piety, as if to suggest that his self-willed ignorance of God is somehow a service to Him. I just don’t think I have the tact and wit to maneuver through a conversation where so much is at stake without the conversation turning hostile.

Anyway, I didn’t intend to go into all that, but at least it makes this post substantive. Main point: please pray for me that I would have the strength to clench my jaw when I need to, and the cleverness to shed some light where that is possible. And, if you get free time, give me a call!

Love you guys. Hope all is well there.

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  1. #1 by Taren on 7.7.08 - 4.52 am

    I’m glad you have time to catch up on reading. Let me know if you need more books… you have a car full of them here! šŸ™‚

    Sorry things seem discouraging to you. I know you can’t really share your ideas and beliefs with everyone there but I hope that you will find a few people who are willing and ready to have a discussion with you about the things you believe. I know you said the attempts you had at doing so felt discouraging but maybe the conversation didn’t fall on deaf ears. Maybe they just weren’t ready for it yet? But when they are ready they will remember what you said..

    It sucks that the speaker said that to you. It also sucks that he isn’t wise enough to understand that studying theology is a very good thing. It is really sad that he only needs one theology class.

    I am proud of you for not saying anything to the guy because you didn’t think you would handle yourself well. Though it would have been good for him to hear your side of things… I don’t think it would have done any good if you said what you wanted to say in anger.

    I will pray for you. I’ll pray that you have the discernment to know when to say something and when to keep your thoughts to yourself.

    I will also pray that you listen to your voice mail and return my call.

    šŸ˜‰

    Miss you like a grilled cheese sandwich without mayo!

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