Monday, August 08, 2005

Children's Story: What I Learned At Summer Camp

Here’s another of my children’s stories. I told this story on August 7th.

(I didn’t actually expect to get three stories posted in a row, but it happened to work out that way. There will probably be one more, next week, since my paswor is still away.)

I didn’t grow up in a Christian family; we never went to church when I was a kid. So I didn’t know much about God, or the Bible, or the types of things we learn here at Church. But one summer my family sent me to a Christian summer camp for a week. And I learned two things at that summer camp.

The first thing that I learned was that if you open up your Bible, and leave it sitting on your nightstand beside your bed when you sleep, it will keep the Devil away. However, I’m a bit older now, and I understand things a bit better, and I don’t think this is actually true. The Bible is the most special book ever written, because it’s the only book that was written by God, but it’s the contents of the Bible that are special. The book itself isn’t magic.

The second thing I learned at summer camp was this: When you pray, you have to say “amen” at the end of your prayer, to stop sending it to God. If you forget, and don’t say “amen” at the end, your prayer will keep going, and all of your thoughts will keep getting “transmitted” to God. This worried me, because I used to pray at night, after I went to bed, and sometimes while I was praying, my mind would start to wander, and I’d stop praying to think about something else. And then a half hour later, I’d realize that I hadn’t been praying at all, but that I’d been “transmitting” these thoughts to God. But it turns out that this isn’t really true, either. Yes, people do say “amen” at the end of their prayers, but God knows all of your thoughts, whether you’re praying or not. A prayer is a special kind of thought, which is directed at God, but even when you’re not praying, he always knows what you’re thinking.

So it turns out the only two things I learned that summer, at my Christian summer camp, were both incorrect. And the point is this: Not everything that you learn in life will be correct, either. As Christians, we have to be very careful to think about all of the things that are taught to us, and try to figure out if they’re really true or not.

We’re lucky enough to go to a church where the people who teach us things do a good job, and almost always, if not always, teach us things that are true. But they might sometimes make mistakes. And sometimes we’ll be somewhere else, where people aren’t as careful to only teach things that are true, and we have to be careful there, too.

The best way to be on your guard against this is to read your Bibles as much as you can, so that you’ll be better able to recognize the truth, when you see it.

As is often the case, I don’t actually remember how I ended this. I usually end up fumbling along, by the time I get to the end of these stories, since I don’t write them down ahead of time...

I’m lucky, though, that I go to a church where the leadership takes the teaching of the Word seriously. If I tell the kids that they have to pay attention to the sermons, because not everything we teach might be correct, the pastor(s) and elders are in total agreement with me. They want people to be thinking about the sermons, and trying to discern if they are true or not.

As I say, I’m fortunate to attend the church I do.