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Theology Camp, week 1: the book of Revelation

January 11, 2014

I am at home, after the first week of Theology Camp.  On Monday I will load the bus for the second batch of camper/students.image

Currently I am looking through the kitchen window at the pre-dawn rainstorm, hoping that this strong cup of coffee will erase my headache, which I dearly hope is not the forerunner of the dreaded flu that races through the school systems of Tennessee each winter. I’ve fallen victim to these strains more than once, and the sight is not pretty.

Week one of Theology Camp is now history. I parked the bus and saw the last student load his gear into the family van and putter away yesterday at 3 p.m. It was a good week. Like Savannah said, “The whole week has been learning’ which has been, well fun.”

Hikes, scavenger hunts, fireside chats, football challenges, skits, trivia contests, Q & A times … Yes, we played as we learned.

We met in the rustic confines of the retreat lodge at Grace Point Camp in Kingston, an excellent place to incubate the spiritual lessons God gives to us in isolation. I’ve learned since my early Boy Scout days that few things bring a young person’s thoughts into a better perspective than a distraction-minimized location in the wilderness. Grace Point Camp is one such place.

The week started off with a few challenges, though. Foremost was the small problem of kitchen plumbing; we soon realized that water was pouring out from underneath the sink across the floor. As I churned the plunger in the drain, an unexpected surprise showed up – the previous occupants had stuffed the equivalent of an entire salad into the drain. I plunged away, finding leaves of lettuce and chunks of carrot floating to the top of the greasy gray water. Nice smell, too.

The pipes were plugged everywhere beneath the sink, and using the dishwasher made the situation look like a Longwood Gardens water fountain extravaganza. We were mopping up all over. We made some calls but the administrator told us that the plumber was overcome by other calls from the region’s many frozen pipe emergencies. Then Derek, one of the chaperones, led me to the downstairs utility room – a pipe had broken and was literally gushing water across the floor. Thankfully, the water was flowing outside and we were untouched but the kitchen problem would be with us to stay.

Hey, this is a learning opportunity. “All right, ladies and gentlemen, we’re going to win this battle,” I said. “Gather every dirty plate, utensil, bowl, and cup and stuff them in an empty box or bag. Carry them to the bus. We’re going a mile down the road and using the main Dining Hall kitchen.” And that’s exactly what we did. I will always remember the image of Riley, Landon and Conner all sitting in the bus with piles of dirty dishes on their lap.

It may seem minor, but this is part of the joy of Theology Camp. When we got into the Dining Hall kitchen, I watched as the campers eagerly loaded piles of dirty plateware into the deep silver sinks and scrubbed away in the elbow-deep suds. It brought to mind the passage in Luke 16:10 10 “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones.” Our students were ready and wiling to perform a menial task with no hesitation. It told me of their readiness to get an overall experience at the camp – every aspect would be taken on in enthusiasm.

Every aspect was seized with eagerness, indeed.

From the study on Armageddon to taking notes on Heaven, even to playing an intense game of Arena Baseball, the week was one of active participation, not only mentally and physically but spiritually.

Ohmar summarized the attitude of all the campers: “I’ve been looking forward to this week for months, and I want to learn as much as possible in the little time we have. I want to learn about The Lord and what He has for us. And learn anything else I can.”

God had a very good week in instruction. For all of us.

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