I think that it surprised me how hard the Glenwood Camp was on me. I have known most of these kids for years and felt like I understood them to a degree, having lived in their neighborhood and led them in tutoring (and even some of them in Sunday School). And yet being with them all day every day for 10 days revealed a new level of cultural dissonance and differences that I had not experienced. That made me sad in some ways, that it has taken me 5 years in the neighborhood to get to that level of immersion, and I was surprised at how out of place I felt. I had posted on my blog about the kids speaking a different language when it came to words of kindness and love, but there is just a different language altogether when it comes to understanding the world. The way that my world works is very orderly, controlled, managed. It makes sense to me. There are rules to follow, and the rules are there to be obeyed, not one of many options to consider. Their world system is chaotic, parents loving them inconsistently and in ways far different than I would ever love my kids. For them, rules are an enticement to disobedience, boundaries are meant to be tested and pushed. Order is confining in some ways and is not trusted. Authority is not a safe thing. And so placing a controlled (controlling) person with a managed life governed by rules and systems in a position of authority (not trusted) over a group of kids used to chaos and disobedience was really an interesting mix. I found myself spending more time policing than I did enjoying the kids, more time governing than just showing them the love and life of Jesus.
I’ve also been feeling much more “white” after camp than I did before. I felt the difference between me and the kids, the struggles I had with relating to them sometimes, and I am just feeling much more aware of my race than before. And I find my self drifting back into fear and shame again – fear of being rejected or hurt because of my skin color, shame over how much that I have. Last night we did a Bible study on God’s renaming of Jacob, and I am in need again of God’s reminder to me of my new name. He has called me
Chosen, not Shame, not Fearful. If I am Chosen, then I can walk my streets as one sent, confident in my Father’s hand on my life. If I am Chosen, I can walk without fear – God has Chosen me, picked me, and He will be with me to accomplish His purposes.