Posts Tagged With: Camp

Bound by Toilet Paper, Lent 5 2014

Robyns SermonsCreation, Ezekiel, Lazarus.  How are we bound?



The lessons can be found by clicking here.  I worked most closely with Ezekiel 37:1-14 and John 11:1-45.  The creation account used is from Genesis 2.


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Holy Ground, P22/OT27 sermon 6 Sept 13

The lessons can be found by clicking here.  I worked with all of them a bit.

What is Holy Ground?


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Fire and Light, Proper 15 at Alumni Camp 8-18-13

The readings can be found here.  I worked with Luke 12:24-56.

Jesus talks about the fire he came to kindle.  I (briefly) ruminate on the light we are.


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SR Crazy Thin Spaces and P12 7-28-13

Link: Crazy Thin Spaces, Senior Camp 2013

Summary of what I was saying and why:
The end of Senior High is always emotional. Camp is often a huge part of these kids’ lives and how they learn to be themselves. The priest who had been there for the week hadn’t left any lessons or instructions/requests for Saturday. So I think I took an unconscious note from Bishop Curry and preached on the craziest thing we can do.

Theology: Incarnational transformation
Jesus Count: low
Good News: We (can) carry our best selves into the world to transform the world.

What did I change on my feet?
The first reading that was read was not what I selected, so I had to do a bit of re-writing. (The other reading really didn’t work with this sermon.) Looking back I wish I’d interrupted and redirected the first reading.
What didn’t work/what did I miss?
I missed a line tying their crazy ideas into the crazy idea of carrying Camp into the world. Not essential but it would have helped tie things together better.
What did work?
The best part of the sermon was when parents started mentioning their crazy ideas. And it was just the right amount of interaction.

Other sermons I liked:

Priest Lightcap, who has been preaching about the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, is on Fear of The Lord. He takes a beautiful path to “And that reverence, that awe and wonder and astonishment and amazement –This is what we call the Fear of God.”

Priest Giroux wonders what Jesus might have said if he had kids.

Priest Baum tackles the hardest part of the Gospel and joins everyone in our lack of understanding.

Priest Arnold had one of the best sermons I’ve ever heard on prayer. Here’s a taste:
We must be careful about prayer, to build up a strong and resilient and deep understanding of prayer, because it is the key to our life as Christians. It is the lifeline that connects us to God, and so we must each be students and practitioners of the art of prayer.

Priest Pankey talks about the hard to read parts of the Bible. (Including some of my favorite stories about prophets!)

(Here’s the list of people I usually listen to. Am I missing someone?)

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Crazy Thin Spaces, Senior High 2013

I had the opportunity to preach at the closing Eucharist of Senior High Camp. The lessons were 2 Samuel 6:1-23 (David dancing) and Luke 4:14-30 (Jesus reading Isaiah in the synagogue). The first lesson read turned out to be from 2 Samuel 2–slight miss-communication there.

I invited the campers to carry out with them a bold and crazy life, to the work of wearing the world thin.


Categories: Camp, Sermon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

What Camp taught me about Rules, the Great Commandment, and Priorities

There are few universal rules, especially at Camp. A person is running. Running can lead to falling—especially in a world of unpaved paths, gravel, roots, large rocks, and done in an often ungainly body. So we don’t run. Except when we do (some games and activities, and in the case of emergencies). So we can’t have the rule: “Don’t run.”

At Camp Marshall, where I have worked for most of the last 11 summers, we have four rules. Four. No lengthy index to sort through. No list of things appropriate at this time but not that time. No collection of waiting infractions.

Four rules:

Be prepared
Be on time
Respect yourself and others

As with many good things in my life, I didn’t create it. It was given to me, part of the great inheritance my predecessor and mentor bequeathed to me over a 15 year relationship. Now we have both boldly borrowed it from Barbara Coloroso’s work.*

It works in a Camp environment where there are kids and staff from different backgrounds, different parts of the state and the country. It works in a place replete with hazards (water, small cliffs, wildlife, kids**). It works with the youngest campers and the most experienced staff.

I have found a whole new appreciation for this philosophy. What we do, these four rules, isn’t about rules. It’s not a list of infractions waiting to happen. It’s a list of priorities for this community. We are most concerned about people’s desire to be here (be prepared), presence with others (be on time), engagement with others (participate), and care for themselves and others (respect). Everything we do rests on this ground.

And it works…when we use it.

All behavior has to be viewed through those four principles. Simple but not easy.

Running: a lack of self-respect much of the time, but not always.
Yelling: a lack of respect in a group, or a part of participation during an activity.
Hitting someone: a lack of respect for the other person.
Wearing tennis shoes: part of being prepared for some activities and lack of preparation for the waterfront.
Teasing each other: group bonding or a lack of respect for the subject of the ‘jokes?’
A staff miscommunication: simple—if problematic—error, a lack of preparation, or a lack of respect?

It is hard. There’s always the kid who insists that she feels respected when others talk (gossip) about her. The one who knows running isn’t a problem because he doesn’t mind scrapping his knee.

Working from the ground up takes longer and requires greater discernment. We can’t universally label things. We have to think. We have to take motives and perspectives into account. We have to listen. We have to talk. We have to be relational.

This listening, this talking, this discernment? This way of shaping community?
Makes all the difference.

– – – –

Jesus has three priorities.***

Love God.
Love yourself and your neighbor.
Don’t blaspheme the Holy Spirit.

Three priorities all behavior and thought ought to spring from and be viewed through. Living in that truth requires discernment, listening, talking, considering motives and perspectives. Jesus’ three priorities, like most of Jesus’ ministry, are relational.

We are continuing this central work of Christianity. I know Christians who live the knowledge that sacrificing to love their neighbors is essential. I know Churches who work to devote most of their resources to loving their members and neighbors. I know Dioceses where every meeting includes a question like: How will what we do here benefit the poor? And I hear stories of how this has changed the whole culture.

At this last General Convention there was a proposal to require that very question of the entire Episcopal Church. I confess to voting against it. I was wrong. I have a new appreciation for how our communal life, its glories and mundanities, is understood differently through the lens of our greater purpose: to love God, ourselves, and our neighbors, while leaving room for the work of the Spirit.

It will never be easy.

We will continue to interpret even three priorities differently.
The brusque person who speaks to the soft-hearted neighbor. The visitor who sees genuine busyness as dismissal. The person who knows that individual, local efforts are better tailored to their neighbor’s needs and the person who is convinced that a larger social safety net is the best way to love their neighbors. The person who knows their abortion was necessary for their (and often their family’s) health and safety and the one who knows it was a sin against loving the unborn child.

This is more than not vilifying people who disagree. This is crawling inside their view and learning that it stems from the same priorities as our own.

Sometimes this solves problems. Most often when we reach for listening grounded in Jesus’ priorities we find ourselves at the table, breaking bread and drinking wine, with our brothers and sisters, regardless of our disagreements and agreements. Much like a Lord who dined with those called outcast and those considered prominent in society.

*I cannot recommend Ms. Coloroso’s book Kids are Worth It! strongly enough. Ms Coloroso’s approach to discipline is designed to leave everyone’s dignity intact. If you interact with people, this is something you must read. Her website [address and link] is a treasure trove (better phrase) of great resources.
**Only slightly joking. Any group of peers can be it’s own worst enemy. Fighting, rumors, scapegoating, cliques. There are so many ways for people to injure each other.
***Mark 12:29-31 and Mark 3:29
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SR: Family Camp and Proper 9, 2013

Link: Souvenirs

Summary of what I was saying and why:
We read Jacob’s ladder (Genesis 28:10-22) and the Tranfiguration (Mark 9:2-8). Saturday is the last day of Camp, our theme is Be Imitators of God. I often hear how Camp is the place people best experience God (good) or how Camp is really their only Church (eeeeh). I wanted to bring together the joy Camp, the challenge to be Imitators of God, and the joy what they have experienced here. And then remind and challenge people to be imitators of both in the rest of their lives.

Theology: Incarnation
Jesus Count: low
Good News: We carry our best experiences forward with us.

What did I change on my feet?
Not a lot. Things went about as I expected, although with less interaction than I was hoping for. That is the risk of interactive preaching.

What didn’t work/what did I miss?
In my head I had a line or two about how we are the souvenirs God sends out into the world. Which would have tied things up a bit. Just didn’t get there mentally.

What did work?
I really liked the concept. I wish my execution had been a little better.

Other sermons I liked:

Priest Young on the importance of remaining.

Priest Arnold tells people that “the kingdom needs to be proclaimed out there, where we spend our days.”

Priest Richardson uses one of my favorite quotes from St Teresa of Avila.

Dean Richards preaches on mantles and their weight.

(Here’s the list of people I usually listen to. Am I missing someone?)

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JM1 Friday: Joyful

Our theme for the summer is “Be Imitators of God.”  Our theme for Friday is Joyful.  We read about Wisdom delighting in Creation (Proverbs 8) and Jesus’ parable of the wedding feast (Matthew 22).

My sermons at Camp are always highly interactive. I do my best to make sure that the gist of the conversation is picked up by the microphone. Thank you for your patience.

Listen: JM1 2013 friday joyful

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JM1 Wednesday: Merciful

The theme for the summer is “Be Imitators of God.” Our concept for Monday was God’s Mercy. For Chapel we read about Noah and the rainbow (Genesis 8) and Jesus not stoning the adulteress woman (John 8).

My sermons at Camp are always highly interactive. I do my best to make sure that the gist of the conversation is picked up by the microphone. Thank you for your patience.

Listen: JM1 2013 Wednesday Merciful

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JM1 Monday: Mighty

The theme for the summer is “Be Imitators of God.” Our concept for Monday was God’s Mightiness. For Chapel we read about Gideon’s army (Judges 7) and Jesus sending out the Disciples (Matthew 10).

My sermons at Camp are always highly interactive.  I do my best to make sure that the gist of the conversation is picked up by the microphone.  Thank you for your patience.

Listen: JM1 2013 Monday Mightiness

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