My second week at Camp Caroline in North Carolina was one for the books and will live forever in the annals of my memory. In addition to leading an interest group, I was responsible for a 10-15 minute talk to the entire camp each evening. I usually used this time in the evening to tell a story or introduce a justice concept. One of the better-received talks that I did revolved around music and its usefulness as a vehicle for influencing social change (as in the Concert for Bangladesh), providing a voice for the voiceless (as in the African-American spiritual), and as a medium for presenting ideas (see: Bob
Marley’s One Love). This sparked a lot of conversation in what was a very music-savvy camp full of guitar players.
I LOVE being ridiculous at camp. Giving campers an opportunity to go crazy is something I enjoy because it spreads joy to others. One song in particular that I led—a “neat-o repeat-o” according to North Carolinians—drove the camp nuts. In the song, we sing and dance as though we are all at a “60’s party from a 60s movie,” going through motions that repeat and build upon themselves. I really make a fool of myself to make sure campers get into the song, and all have a pretty good time.
After the camp week was over, the campers decided to go to Bojangles for some chicken and a biscuit (The food there is so good—if you are in North Carolina, Bojangles is a MUST). Near the end of our meal, the campers began to whisper among themselves about how cool doing 60s Party in Bojangles would be. Of course, they all whispered that I had to lead the song. What was I to do? I am comfortable making a spectacle of myself at camp, but in a public restaurant? Sounded kind of risky to me. But, as a camper I met last summer told me, “sometimes, you gotta risk it to get the biscuit.” This time, that was particularly true, as a Cheddar Bo was waiting for me on the other side of this song. So, I did lead the song, and the campers and the staff of Bojangles all got into the song and enjoyed it. I had successfully hijacked a public place with a camp song.
However, looking back on this event, a theological message continues to jump out at me. Acting like a fool at camp is one thing, but most of us are loathe to do so in public. Likewise, when surrounded by other Christians, acting like a good Christian is easy and natural but when surrounded by the secular public are nervous about expressing our faith. Expressing faith publicly is often risky and exposing. Sometimes, you gotta risk it to get the biscuit.
Peace for the journey,