A Gathering Voices Post by Lara Blackwood Pickrel
Writer's block is a rare experience for me. Usually, when I carve out the neccessary time and space to write, thoughts flow without much difficulty. The hard part isn't so much the writing as it is the making time to write.
Perhaps that's why I've had such a difficult time writing a post for this week - I'm in the middle of a week of high school church camp, and finding time has been impossible. Except, that's not entirely truthful. There has been plenty of time for writing of a different sort. Writing liturgy with these young people, advising and praying with high school seniors as they write their senior sermons, writing lyrics as this temporary worshiping community sings a new song to God... Together, we've written so much.
I guess the real reason for this "writer's block" isn't that I can't find something to say. It's that in this sacred space, I am preoccupied with hope.
Those of us who are in love with outdoor ministry often talk about camp as holy ground. But that statement is worth explaining: this place is not simply a space where God is experienced intimately - it is also a place where young people feel safe enough to risk being the people they want to be instead of the people they have to be. In a sense, some of our church camps are the greatest home field advantage possible for people of faith.
So, last night, when I should have been writing, I instead watched a shy teenager become a rock star during the talent show. Yesterday, when I could have been writing, I heard a graduated senior preach the Gospel with a confidence he doesn't have about what college life might hold. This afternoon, while frantically typing these words, I've been a fly on the wall as campers wrestled with questions about the Bible that most adults are too afraid to ask out loud.
With all these things happening around me, I can't tear myself away to write any more than this. With this kind of hope, I don't want to miss a moment. For while I've got one heck of a cynical streak in me, it's moments like these that make me believe that Christ's Church has a future.
- Do you or your children participate in outdoor ministry programs during the summer? If so, what value have you found in them?
- What other places are "safe spaces" for our young people to take risks?
- What moments or ministries make you "preoccupied with hope"?