Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Lessons of Camp

At confirmation camp there is a daily activity that is connected with Bible study called ENAC: Eagle's Nest Adventure Course. Stations are spaced out throughout the woods and surrounding area that pose a problem for a group. For example a group of 15 students might need to get everyone through a "spider web" made up of ropes without anyone touching the ropes... or attempt to get all 15 from one end of a "chasm of lava" using only a hanging rope, Tarzan style.

Generally there is confusion among the group as they attempt to solve the problem. One or two will start yelling in order to take charge. Another three or four will just go through the "web" or swing over the "chasm" immediately since they know they can do it and just want to get it over with. After about ten minutes most of the group gets through, but left behind are the more timid and less athletically skilled. The very ones who need the most help getting over are the ones left with no help at all.

Groups can only succeed in these challenges if they all can accomplish the task. Even so, there is a feeling that some did the challenge better than others. "I was able to get over four times," one camper might say.

What are the lessons here?
- We can only succeed if we work together.
- We are called to share our talents and help others.
- We hurt others when we only look out for ourselves.

In the ropes courses it tends to always be the athletic and physically fit who always succeed. Their gifts shine. The really good ones learn the lesson by the end of the week that they need to help those not as good athletically. But obviously athleticism is not only gift that God gives to people. I wonder what kinds group building "ropes courses" could be developed that allows other types of gifts to shine besides the physical ones.

"The Spirit has given each of us a special way of serving others. Some of us can speak with wisdom, while others can speak with knowledge, but these gifts come from the same Spirit. To others the Spirit has given great faith or the power to heal the sick or the power to work mighty miracles. Some of us are prophets, and some of us recognize when God's Spirit is present. Others can speak different kinds of languages, and still others can tell what these languages mean. But it is the Spirit who does all this and decides which gifts to give to each of us. The body of Christ has many different parts, just as any other body does. Some of us are Jews, and others are Gentiles. Some of us are slaves, and others are free. But God's Spirit baptized each of us and made us part of the body of Christ. Now we each drink from that same Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:7-13)"

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Crosstown Classic

After being rained out last night the Cubs and the White Sox have gotten their annual "Crosstown Classic" on the way this afternoon. With two games this week, three games next week, and a make up for yesterday's rain out in September: the Sox and Cubs will play six games to determine who is the best ball club in Chicago.

Since the beginning of Interleague Play in 1997 the Cubs and Sox have played a total of 66 games with each team winning half. And if you count the total number of runs they have scored the Sox are winning by only 3 (if you include the two they have scored through six innings today). All it will take is a four-run Cub rally to turn that all-time total around.

Bottom line: its close. Baseball plays out that way. Your up one day your down the next. You finish a six-game losing streak just in time to start a five-game winning streak. A career .300 hitter is bound to pull his .222 average up before September. It just works out that way.

There's a whole lot of emotion expressed by fans in this series. And there have been stories in the past of violent confrontations. No doubt fueled by the beverages served at the fine establishments in Wrigleyville and Bridgeport. But ultimately, this frustrating game is all about enjoying yourself really... and a good rivalry is all in fun. Sox and Cub fans can watch the games together... maybe not in peace... but in a way that brings plenty of laughter and smiles to go with the occasional tear.

In my life I have been proud to wear my Michigan sweatshirt among a room full of Buckeye fans I have called my friends. I have worn a Breat Favre jersey while being outnumbered by Viking and Bear fans. I have cheered for my Brewers sitting 10 rows up from the Cubs dugout in Wrigley Field... And while the sounds of a sea of Cubs fans singing "Go Cubs Go" after Prince Fielder struck out to end the game made my stomach ache at the time, I look back at it now and thank God for the fun night I had.

Cubs fans... Sox fans... let's have some fun and enjoy the great game of baseball.