OH. Hmmm.

July 23, 2008 by
Filed under: Religion, Youth 

This weekend, I’m off with 3 other adults, 2 college students, and something like 8 or so high school youth to the Montreat Youth Conference (week VI) at the Montreat Conference Center in (you guessed it) Montreat, NC.

I’ve been a little nervous about this trip.  So much so that I think I’m annoying our youth director with questions, which he is patiently answering.  I don’t have any good reason to be nervous.  I trust the youth director and the other adults going on the trip.  The college students and youth going on the trip are great and I expect fewer than average problems with them or their behavior (as compared to what I read on Youth Ministry websites).  I’ve heard nothing but good things about the place and the conference from a large number of people.

I’ve been telling myself that the reason that I’m nervous is that the last time I went to a church youth conference was the Youth Triennium in 1986 – when I WAS a youth.  That I was just worried about whether the 40-year-old air-conditioning-loving, out-of-shape, used-to-sleeping-in-his-own-room me could keep up.

While shaving this morning it hit me.

Triennium wasn’t the last time I went to a church youth conference.

Several months after Triennium, I went to a weekend retreat sponsored by some of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s NJ chapters.  Here’s what I wrote about that previously:

Back in 1986, I was a freshman at Rutgers University.  On the first day, I was wandering around campus looking at the booths that various student organizations had set up.  One of them near the Busch Student Center was for the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.  They were giving away ice cream.  I figured that as a rather religious person (at this point I was already a deacon and serving on two Synod committees) I should take a look and find a campus christian fellowship.  The local Campus Crusade for Christ seemed too fundamentalist for me, so I tried out InterVarsity.

And this ‘performance’ is the same thing which is required from you is to take these medicines: These medicines should be avoided by men above the age of 18 years and women should not be taking http://robertrobb.com/arizona-high-court-flinches-in-transgender-custody-case/ online viagra australia. SUPER P FORCE AN ED THRASHING PILLS Super P force has picked up huge fame among men everywhere throughout the world primarily in light of this, it has gone beyond apparent check out for more now cheap soft viagra and is a growing realization that the controllers are getting more and more people’s attention. Be clear about what you want to viagra samples robertrobb.com achieve and share it with others. Nevertheless, the recommendation is not needed for those who are suffering from the problem of sexual dysfunction. look at more info australia viagra buy I have since learned that different chapters of IVCF fall into different places on the  liberal/conservative spectrum.  This chapter was VERY conservative.  One of the first Bible studies on campus taught me that I should not be a friend to any Jews unless I was actively trying to convert them to Christ (“be not unequally yoked”).  Other lessons were similarly extreme.

In October I took a retreat with them for a weekend in the woods.  It turned out to be a very cult-like situation for me.  The 48-hour retreat turned out to be (as experienced by me) 24 hours of telling me
how terrible my beliefs are, and then once I stopped fighting them, 24 hours of pouring in their own beliefs.  As expected, those beliefs were strongly conservative.

Fortunately, my personality turned out to be strong enough to resist such tactics.  I made the right noises and they stopped treating me as the “resisting” attendee and moved on to other people.  Once I returned to campus, I never went back to their group again.  And as I wrote before, this was the first step in my turn away from the church

This hit me like a ton of bricks today.  My last experience traveling away with youth to a place foreign to me was a negative one.  While I’ve done some overnights with the youth in the past year, those were either at the church or at Camp Johnsonburg where I felt very comfortable and always knew that I had the ability to leave (since it was at home or I was driving my vehicle).  I wasn’t miles away from home without control over my movements.

Having realized what has been going on in my head, I feel much more comfortable now.  I’m shifting rapidly from nervous to excited.  This is going to be fun!

It’s amazing how things from your past can influence the way you perceive the present.  Not a new lesson for me (by a long shot), but a newly reinforced lesson.

If you or anybody you know will be at Montreat for 7/27-8/1, leave a comment or send an e-mail.  I’d love to say Hi.


5 Comments on OH. Hmmm.

  1. jon on Fri, 25th Jul 2008 12:51 pm
  2. Thank you for sharing that Mark. i have experienced similar things with IV… actually, i have yet to meet anyone who has been involved in IV that hasn’t had negative experiences with them. Mine involved tearing my knee on top of hearing why women can’t serve in the church, and why i should join the Evangelical Free Church.

    i hope the trip is wonderful.

    Blessings to you!

  3. Jon on Sun, 27th Jul 2008 3:58 pm
  4. I was in an IV with a mix of good and bad. My cell group leaders were pretty good; one has now come out of the closet and the other is a liberal PCUSA pastor in the northeast. Camp was a bad experience for me, and I decided not to join their leadership team (after initially agreeing). Actually, when I decided not to sign the faith statement that sort of made the decision for me.

    I suspect many college students go through a more conservative phase, or are still attached to a more childish faith. I’m sorry Rutgers was such a bummer…

  5. michelle Thomas-Bush on Tue, 5th Aug 2008 12:25 am
  6. Mark- I was at the 1986 youth triennium as a youth! 🙂 Not sure what that means- but wondering if our paths crossed earlier in our lives….. Michelle

  7. Montreat Youth Conference, part 2 : Mark Time on Tue, 20th Jan 2009 3:13 pm
  8. […] to a new place and doing “Jesus stuff” for a week, but it’s really worth it.  My nervousness was wholly […]

  9. Joseph on Tue, 12th Jun 2012 10:17 am
  10. I was also a youth at the 1986 Triennium. I sang in the choir. What a fabulous week that was!

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