The Peoples Next Door Posts

Why is church camp always at the beach? 

When I was a kid, every time I would head off to some church camp for the summer, I was stuck off in the middle of the woods. It was usually some camp with a goofy, fake Indian name like Camp Wannahockaloogi, or something to that effect. An hour or more from civilization, we were forced to sleep in little wooden cabins, barrack style, and swat mosquitos all night. The closest we would get to a “beachfront” was that roped off area of the lake that was less green than the rest of it. Instead of going home with a tan, all we had to show for the week was a series of welts from the nightly towel fights. I usually lost those fights.

But nowadays, it seems more and more church camps are at the beach. Instead of packing insect repellent and hiking boots, kids throw their sunscreen and swimming trunks in a suitcase and head off for “Christians Ablaze,” “Spiritual Explosion,” or one of those other Christian events with a pyro-maniacal name. The church charter bus fills up with excited kids ready for a week or two of sun and sand. When it reaches its destination, it is usually some beachfront hotel where the kids will hear flashy speakers and great bands.

When this shift from the wilderness to the shore occurred, I was initially puzzled. Why would we move students from isolation to the middle of vacation central? Why would we take students away from blue jeans and briar thickets and move them to bikinis and beach volleyball? We decided to take our spiritual retreats to the same place MTV holds it spring break specials. What gives?

But then it hit me.  Read More Off Topic: Spiritual Surfing

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Like most days, it was hot and the sun was beating down. Our little group was huddled in the shade provided by a small patch of shrubs, waiting for the event. A small string of participants waded off into the water, signifying the death of an old life and resurrection into a new one. One after the other, they were buried, and raised to walk in a new life. We watched victory that day. It was victory over sin. It was victory over death and hell. It was a victory purchased not by the might of those in the water,…

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Discipleship from Africa

People ask me all the time what things I miss from the States, expecting it to be a steak or some real fancy meal. Quite to the contrary, I have discovered people miss the things they did and used the most. It is the things that were a part of my life everyday that seem to have left a hole. So I really miss fast food. Ahh, the cheap, quick reliability of those drive-thru windows is a long lost comfort. The warm glow of those brightly colored signs looming over the road as you drive past, beckoning you to enter…

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