Saturday, June 23, 2007

Creation and Community

I'm taking a group of youth to Lutherdale Bible Camp tomorrow. For several years I have been taking groups from various congregations I have served to camps in several states. It's going to be a great time for all of us.

In many ways my experience of camp has followed my growth in faith. Ten years ago I took a group to camp for the first time while I was an intern in Sioux City, Iowa. Located in the lakes region of western Iowa, Lutheran Lakeside Camp was a great place to come together as a community, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday and immerse ourselves in God's creation. But I have to admit I was a little afraid of being cut from modern life. I drove into town each morning to buy a copy of the USA Today in order to keep up with what was happening in baseball.

My favorite memory of that week, one I didn't expect, was the good people I met at camp. There were several pastors there who were easy to talk to and gave me many encouraging words since I was still in the seminary/candidacy process. About a month after I returned from camp one of those pastors, Ray Miltner, who himself was about to retire from ministry, sent me a gift of a prayer book that I have used in my devotions ever since.

So for me camp is certainly about the escape, the outdoors stuff, the bugs, the water, the trees, and the hikes... but most importantly it is about the people you meet and share community with for a spirit-filled week. Those connections have helped me in my faith journey. I know that has also been the experience of many of the youth who go to camp. They bring back home with tme memories those many connections they made with new friends and mentors. The seeds of the gospel have been sown in there heart.

As you live your faith, be intentional about getting out of your comfort zones and find new communities and new people that will help you grow.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Gone Fishin

Tomorrow morning, bright and early, I'm leaving for a fishing trip. It will be the first time I've gone fishing for nearly twenty years, and boy am I overdue. But I'm not going for myself. My dad is the reason I'm heading out for the fishin hole.

My dad turns 60 this month and my brother and I wanted to do something special for him. We have never been a much of a family for surprise parties or big celebrations for every significant milestone, but Aaron and I thought that should change this year. We decided to do something for dad that he would want to do. We wanted to do something that the Dusso men (who live thousands of miles apart) can do together, can be rest for all of us, and be done in honor of him. A fishing trip seemed like the perfect fit.

Now I know what you are expecting... Now I should say a few words about the "fishin" I have done for my other Father the past twenty years. I should make the connection between honoring my dad with honoring my Lord. Yeah I suppose that would work, but that's way too obvious. That's just too predictable.

Instead the next few days is for Dick Dusso. He is my dad and I love him. And let me tell you, without the love and support he has given to me the past 34 years I wouldn't be fishing for anything today. For bass... for men... or for diapers. What a blessing from God my dad has been for me. So this week's for my dad. This trip is our way of saying "thanks."

Fair warning: Don't come looking for me. I've gone fishing with my dad. I'll be back in a few days.