Tuesday, July 10, 2007

PASSways, Day Two

Okay, so it's not really fat camp. I'm glad nobody chose to comment on that one.

It's an ecumenical Christian camp (but primarily consisting of CBF-type baptists) that's a spin-off from the Passport camps that many of my fellow Georgetown College alums will remember. This is the first time I've worked in a ministry project with Baptists since that ill-fated Kosovo trip in 2002. (I have snarky things to say, but I'll hold back.)

I've been quite pleased with the liturgies so far: meditating on scripture, responsive readings, Ignatian meditation, and centering prayer. Yes, I know. I'm really getting on well with the students, and it's wonderful to spend time with Josh and Jessica. We've been talking about the "monastic future" and Josh and I have been working on "Christian-baiting," wherein I invite Josh to lead the kids in the Pledge of Allegiance, and he invites me to explain to them my "snack-pak" theology. The bumper sticker version: "If Jesus can't smell himself on your breath, he's not letting you into heaven."

I will probably murder him in due course.

My afternoon ministry project is to visit an assisted living facility to make crafts and sing hymns with the residents. There was a little bit of unpleasantness this afternoon when in spite of being warned previously about racist jokes (never mind that today's camp theme is acceptance and inclusion) a couple of the students stepped in front of me and sought to amuse me with certain behaviors that would have been right at home in a WWII propaganda film. I didn't expect to become so angry, so quickly. I addressed all the students in a very loud voice and told them that racist jokes were not funny and would absolutely not be tolerated. The kid quickly apologized. I spoke briefly with him later and apologized for being so harsh, and felt better about it. That kind of behavior cannot be tolerated to any degree or in any fashion, but I didn't mean to publicly humiliate the kid, either. It doesn't make much sense to talk to the students about treating other people with respect and as brothers and sisters in Christ if I can't treat a student with respect even while chastising him.

Today an older black woman requested a couple of songs that weren't included in the 1975 Baptist Hymnal, so she was kind enough to sing them for us. It was a blessing - I was reminded that we weren't just being "charitable" toward these folks, they are (many of them) our brothers and sisters in Christ, and they were welcoming us into their home to share in common worship.

Thanks be to God.


#Debi said...

Maybe it's just that I haven't had my coffee yet, but I'm not sure I see the connection between WWII propaganda films and racism. Of course, there's also the fact that I haven't watched any WWII propaganda films lately...

Kyle said...

Asians, Debi.

#Debi said...

Aah, you mean like the really old Bugs Bunny cartoons?