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Sunday, June 23, 2013
Dennis On COG Summer Camp
As a kid I enjoyed several kinds of summer camps. As a Boy Scout, those were the absolute best. Living in a tent infested with raccoons at night and chased by bears as we distributed old bread from the roof of the latrine, not realizing how tall a bear can get when it stands up to get a better look was awesome! Being the chubby pre-teen until I hit the swim team in high school, the panting behind me was not fellow scouts. It was the bear!
I got merit badges in survival skills, cooking, canoeing and first aid. All quite practical things. I broke the record of 9 minutes from the time one built a fire to the time it burned through a string 18 inches above the fire by 8 minutes and 45 seconds. I had soaked the kindling and wood in kerosene all night for the event and I think it was the burning tire look of the fire that was suspect. Great memories. Our troops was truly "F Troop" but we had a ball. Two weeks of just getting to be kids.
Yep, same set up 50 years later
Then there was Bible Camp. These are creatures of a different mother. We drove all the way to Bangor, Maine which was like going to the moon for me and spent a week doing stuff I can't much remember. I do recall that is where I was introduced to the Book of Revelation and had to find a minister to talk to about it all. I was 12. I guess my Jesus in the Temple moment. I don't recall the answers. AT 14 I was into the Plain Truth and not eating pork.
The Apostle David of RCG is having his own Bible Camp in Wadsworth, Ohio somewhere down the road . Personally I can't imagine the thrill of camp near the intersection of Interstate 76 and 77 going into Akron, but I am sure it will be awesome, overarching and spectacular. It also will be the time for indoctrination of the young which is why Churches have Bible Camp. The activities are the hook but the indoctrination is the goal
I spent a summer laying sod on the grounds of SEP in Orr, Minn as a college student. There was no camp that year due to budget cuts in some crisis that had befallen the work of God. I think HWA overspent on Steuben and camp had to wait that year. I remember stenciling sheets with Randal Dick with the number of each cabin and exact bunk so someone could track the sheets to the specific camper should the need arise. I lasted a couple days and walked away thinking it was the most stupid thing anyone could have come up with. They were all white, all the same and just wash the damn things. After washing, some poor kids were going to have to sort them by dorm and bunk. It was stupid and my first introduction to stupid ideas in the church that I simply walked away from.
I recall on really nice kid that some staff person caught "touching himself" in the shower. They were able to get him to admit it and somehow everyone found about it and, typical of my underdog and care taker personality, befriended him and told him it was ok even though now EVERYONE knew the story. He was mortified and I doubt the experience and humiliation served him all that well in his life. It was the kind of humiliation a kid can never get over or forget.
"You touched yourself didn't you! Admit it!"
I think at Scout Camp in the Adirondacks "F Troop" would have said, "And your point is...?" But that's not Bible Camp. Bible Camp Counselors and Administrators can be a bit hard on perceived and youthful offenses Of course they all did and do it too but we'll not get into that. . I can't imagine getting caught touching anything without permission in Camp Wadsworth or Edmond.
"Attention: All Campers will assemble immediately in the commons...NOW!"
Bible camps have their purpose and am sure there are many that are balanced in their goals for kids. But most churches are not run like RCG or PCG or by one awesome deluded Apostle or Prophet. Not once in any Bible Camp I ever attended as a kid did anyone drive onto the grounds where everyone stopped to wave as if Mao or Hitler had arrived. In the wacky world of you know who, I can't imagine this not being the case. I recall campers being made to line the road to greet HWA as he drove into camp. I understand respect and all, but kids remember it this way.
Some campers will be assigned special duties at special times I am sure
I'm pretty sure Camp Wadsworth will be mostly an inside kinda Camp , at least at first. Ohio can be pretty darn hot and humid in summer. We know there will be Basketball because that is God's most holy sport of all and will be taught by God's most holy teacher. The Joshua School of Basketball and Situational Sportsmanship will be awesome. Teens with long hair can attend camp as long as they are excellent basketball players. If the chosen team is losing, you can stop the game and go home or change the rules a bit to get ahead and then go home. Once they screw up, get a haircut kid.
I've lived in Ohio and can't imagine summer camp in a corn field. I suppose there will have to be an artificial lake dug to at least feel like camp. They may have to haul kids up to Cedar Point and Sandusky Bay at least once to give a semblance of freedom to get out into the world and have some fun where other people actually have fun. I'm sure in time, Apostle David will buy Cedar Point or Sea World in Ohio and turn it into a members only camp patterned after what it will be like in the Wonderful World Tomorrow.
Many of the rides can be a type of what being an actual member in RCG and lead by the whims and ideas of the Apostle Pack will be like.
Don't get me wrong. Bible and Church Camp can be fun too. They have their place if balanced but balance is not something any COG is overly good at yet. RCG Camp , or maybe called Y.O.U Camp (Youth Often Under informed), can be a bit too regimented and rigid under the opinions, ideas , ideology and control of a small group of zealots, who in turn, are under "The One."
Bible study can somewhat narrow in scope.
Dress codes can be boring
But Church members and young people, I am sure will at least get the opportunity to actually have the hands on opportunity of building their own camp. Many would give their RIGHT ARMS for such a privilege!
And disobedience and rebellion can be somewhat of a mistake in such a place...
But it's Bible Camp after all and we have to expect some good Old Testament examples of reeducation if not for you at least for your friends to benefit from.
I always read as a kid the great Old Testament stories of "And they stoned her with stones until she was dead," but never realized how insane humans are when it comes to God. If I thought a real God thought this way, it would be a psychopathic God. This kind of behavior is designed to control the living. It does not good for the about to be dead types.
At any rate. Summer is summer camp time and camp can be full of memories that last a lifetime. Personally, if you are going to send your kids to camp, be wary of Bible Camps. While I suppose they have their place in a balanced organization, with regards to the COGs, you're not dealing with a balanced organization. You're dealing with the one man show that decides how everything is going to be done which may dearly test your patience and sanity. What you don't want is your child coming home from any Church Camp with a lifetime of bizarre memories, hurts and anger for your having sent them there. No matter how well intentioned you may be, send your children to places that are accredited and examined by those who do such things to ensure a positive and rewarding experience. Don't send them to the Gulag or re-education camps that so many Bible Camps can end becoming. Your children will not have good memories of either the camp or you as a parent who put them in harms way mentally, emotionally and spiritually, no matter your good intentions.
You should expose your children to MANY kinds of people and circumstances in life so they can learn to make their own informed and balanced decisions along their own life's way. After all, your being in a COG is proof you got to pick your own journey, for better or worse, against your own upbringing which your own parents may have expected you to stick with and you didn't.
This is a Summer Camp and this is the goal
contact Dennis at DennisCDiehl@aol.com