I used to think camp was diverse.
What a place to be, for someone like myself! All these people who believed a little differently from me. I always felt a little awkward, knowing at least one person in the room thought speaking in tongues was evil. It was kind of hard to make friends, since the only person who knew what it was like to be from a church like mine…was my cousin. From my church.
I thought that was diversity.
I thought that was generally the extent of Christian beliefs, in regards to differences of opinion.
I thought Baptists were the most traditional denomination; and that Presbyterian and Protestant were the same word; and Pentecostals didn’t wear pants because Tim Hawkins said so.
Let it be known now: I was wrong.
I came to college: a Reformed Presbyterian college.
Y’all, there are Baptists and Pentecostals and Evangelical Frees and Reformed Presbyterians and Orthodox Presbyterians and Presbyterians and Non-Denominationals and Calvinists and Catholics and the list goes on.
There are a lot of opinions out there, my friends. A lot of opinions about a lot of things.
I can hardly have a meal without free will vs. predestination, or sprinkling vs. immersion, or baptize the babies vs. don’t baptize the babies, or anything like that coming up.
We haven’t even gotten into some of the debates I could bring up.
What about speaking in tongues? The prophetic? Supernatural healing? The supernatural in general?
Heaven help us when I feel comfortable enough to breach those topics.
What’s strangest to me is that, I always felt out of place at camp. I had trouble making friends. Even now, I look at the friends I have from camp and they’re just that: friends. The most basic level of friend, because I guess…I guess I never felt worthy enough to be friends with anyone there. I didn’t think anyone would like me. So I didn’t try hard enough, and I was always a little bit of an outsider.
But now I’m here. At college. Surrounded by all the opinions that could possibly be held.
And as much as I feel out of place sometimes…especially around my Presbyterian friends…
…I still have friends.
Somehow, this nondenominational charismatic dork has managed to befriend all the denominations, from Baptist to Catholic to, yes, Presbyterian.
How can we overcome these differences?
I don’t know. But I was just able to sit with some people playing cards. Listen to another writer share their plan for a book. Chat with someone about playing music, especially the ukulele.
Am I just overlooking the differences? I don’t know. Not every moment can be a theological discussion.
I think I’m learning that I’m not the worst. I’m not unlikable. I’m not. And if I try, I can have friends.
Sure, I have to bounce back when things don’t go how I think they will. Have to resist being petty. Keep myself from jealousy and disappointment.
But I’m making friends, guys.
Real, tangible friends. Right down the hall. I could go knock on their doors, right now.
I’m not going to, because it’s late and that’s a jerk thing to do…
…but I could if I needed to.
That’s the other thing I’m loving here. We are all from different backgrounds. We don’t all believe the same things. But if anyone has any kind of problem, we can come together by the name of the same God and pray in His name.
I don’t know. That’s really cool to me. Really, really cool.
So yeah. I miss camp. I miss the closeness I developed there over five years, even though I never let myself get close.
I pray this college experience will surpass and overshadow that.
Because as much as I feel like a stranger here sometimes, I can belong.
And someday, they’re all gonna find out how crazy I actually am.