Shoutout to a great film.

I watched the new batman movie. I about poo-ed myself out of excitement. It was an AMAZING FILM!!!!!! Seriously. It was good. You should watch it. I might spill details in this post, so read at your own risk.

The joker was an impressively evil character. While Heath Ledger played a really good role, I found out to my disappointment that he is a method actor. That means that to get into his character he had to spend lots of time becoming his character. Thus in order to play an wicked scary joker…he had to become that. The word on the street is that he spent so much time becoming the joker that he got depressed and either on purpose or did something bad with prescription drugs and died.

The joker was well played. It was the scariest, most well played joker I’ve ever seen. Still, it makes me wonder about his sacrifice. Was it worth it? He played an incredible role and had some fantastically written dialogue. Yet, he’s dead. He put more or less everything he was into becoming “an unstoppable force” that resulted in a great film, but now he doesn’t exist anymore. I have a rough time seeing that sacrifice as worthwhile. I applaud his acting, but…at the end of the day it made him take his own life. Maybe I don’t applaud his acting for this reason.

Apart from that, the way he played his role made me think. The joker was incredibly focused on doing evil. To a degree that I’ve never even heard of. He was willing to do whatever was necessary to make his schemes come through at whatever cost of human life. I’m sure that people like that exist in the world somewhere. What are we (as christians) to do with them? Do we kill them to stop them from killing others? Do we allow ourselves to be killed? Do we allow others to be killed? It’s a hard question. I was trying to hammer this out with some friends of mine hereabouts last night. I came to the conclusion that I don’t think that killing him to stop him from killing other people is the right choice (neither did batman, neither did Jesus). I would let the joker kill me before I kill him first. Still, that’s a hard road to hoe. Death and eternity with Christ rather than standing in the way of someone else’s ability to share in that relationship…regardless of what it costs. I think that this is what being a Christian means in a world where evil happens. Christ suffered and died to bring us into relationship with the Father instead of bringing the hurt via angelic armies to crush the oppressors. If that was God’s choice how can we do anything different?

The people I was talking with seemed to agree with my position, but stated that they would not act according to what they knew Christ was asking them to do in such a hypothetical situation. Why? I suppose I understand what it means to know what’s right and do the opposite because of my human sinfulness, but I don’t see how the choice can be so easy when it means taking another human being’s life. It seems to me that Jesus would say they were wrong to kill to stop killing, and it also seems like batman would agree with Jesus (watch the movie). That whole “fight fire with fire” mentality seems to only work in regards to forest fires. I don’t think it works in most things. Especially when Paul says “don’t be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

That’s reflection time for now. Camp life carries on. We seemed to have passed our American Camping Association certification process. Once every three years we have to do that. Sigh. It’s obnoxious. For real. I played awkward question games with my friend Erin on the boat as she was my shotgun this morning. She asked a question which had an answer that was too much for her to handle. I won’t tell you what it was, but I’ll tell you that I wasn’t awkward. I beat her at her own game.

We’re mostly half-way through the summer. It’s a bit strange. It’s all gone by so fast. I’m going to miss these people like crazy when I leave in a couple weeks…There’s another thing I haven’t really thought out. Costa Rica. I’m going there. Hasn’t set in yet.

We played a run around game this week. If they got tagged they were in jail. I was in charge of the jail and I made it my goal to have kids to silly things to get out of jail. I made some kids put on fake mustaches and march around saying “I’m in the king’s army!” repeatedly. Another time the kids were required to sit on the wet ground and say “This ground is wet and cold. I regret sitting here now.” tee hee. It was fun. I think the kids had fun too. I’d like to believe that the jail was the best part of that game. Maybe I’m right. You never know.

Junior Camp again.

So we’ve got munchkins here again. They’re 3rd to 6th graders. The sort that ask “what’s for dinner?” Every five minutes until it’s dinner and then the question becomes “What are we doing after dinner?” I think their questions are funny. I like answering their questions with a mix of “All these things will be revealed to you in time.” or “It either is or it isn’t.” It bothers them. Good, I say. Their questions get obnoxious too.

There’s a strange thing that kids do. They say “I can’t do (fill in the blank).” This bothers me. They obviously can do whatever it may be, but for some reason they think they can’t. Anything from putting on shoes to just letting a game be unfair. My friend Keaton wondered if we were like junior campers to the Lord.  Are we always whining to God about things like fundip when in reality there is way more important things to care about? I think the answer is yes. As much as little kids bother me sometimes, more often than not they’re a great window into how we must be with our heavenly Father. Plus they say really funny things. I bet God thinks the same about us.

I was spending a bit of time looking at my myspace page. I never check it. I don’t like it, but I used to blog there. Not as well as here. I’m a good deal older now. In any case it’s interesting to see what a blogging Chauncey from 2005 is like. He’s really wishing to date girls. He wants to. It’s something that was huge for him. I guess that probably didn’t change too long ago. He was totally into my friend Krista. I don’t blame him, she’s great. Nonetheless, he was moderately obsessed. I wish I could take a step back in time and tell him what’s up. I wonder if he’d listen. I would say something like: “Man, what you want isn’t what you need. You want girls, but you need Jesus. Without Him everything you could ever win is pointless.” I’d try to explain to Him a few things about emotional intimacy. I doubt he would listen. I’m very stubborn. Still, looking back I wonder how much time I’ve wasted thinking about things that don’t matter. Not to say that girls don’t matter. Jesus loves them, but a relationship with them isn’t a replacement for a relationship with the Lord…I wish I could show that to past Chauncey. I wonder how different I’d be if I had used the moments I was given instead of wasting them on stupid things. How much different would the world be?

I wish I had more people to process with. I’m so used to having people to talk to about what I’m experiencing and give me advice or counsel on life…It’s much more difficult here. The door has been opened by people in my small group here, but I don’t walk through it. I guess what it comes down to is that everyone is busy and I don’t get to see them enough to just chat with them. Either it’s time for an important thing that cannot be interrupted or I don’t see the people I need to see when I need to see them…or when I do talk to someone in particular I get my experience invalidated and get pissed off.

Not seriously angry, but I express emotion because I need to learn how to do so better. It annoys me when people don’t give me room to do that without making statements like “You shouldn’t…” I will do whatever I need to do. I’m not going to be an emotionless robot just so everyone feels comfortable. When I’m mad, I show it. When I’m sad, I’d like to cry but in reality I don’t feel comfortable enough around 95% of people to cry for real in front of them. It doesn’t help when there’s not room for even a frustrated response to hitting my head on something.

In other news I woke up at balls o’ clock yesterday. For you cultured folk, that’s 6:20AM. I woke up that early and made my lifeguards practice spinals. They mostly hated me, but I’m not here to be their friend. Plus, I gave them donuts afterwards. They were more happy then. After an hour or so of pretending people were getting a herd of spinal injuries in the lake, we were free. My friend Erin is one of the sassiest girls I know. I think it’s funny. She’s one of my lifeguards. Sometimes she says she hates me…I chuckle.

My niece was home yesterday. I got to spend time with her. She’s funny. She’s got this whole game where she tells “secrets” to people and you’re supposed to respond with giggling or “oooooooh!”. It’s nice to see her having fun with my dad. It’s odd to think that I’m her uncle. I’m really not that old. I don’t have odd hobbies (except for this blog) and I don’t have a mustache. I’m also not fat. I’d better work on these things as she gets older so I can be a fun uncle or “funcle” for short. Kudos to Aaron Bollinger. Who I really miss here by the way. Psst Aaron, if you’re reading this give yourself a high five and pretend I’m giving it to you.

K. Bye for now.

High School Camp.

Oh yes. High school camp. It’s been interesting. Lots of kids flirting with each other, not so much in the way of playing with stuff. There’s mostly hanging around on stuff or in stuff. Everyone is wicked tired (myself included to some degree) and lots of people are sick. I suppose I’ll give you highlights.

I got punched in the face being Two-face in our batman skit.

I scared the heck out of kids during the night game while driving the gator.

I drove a boat for wakeboarders all week.

I somehow earned “cool” status among the high schoolers.

I didn’t wear a shirt as much as possible.

During high school week we do a carnival at camp. Many of us man booths and do assorted things like allow kids to shave balloons for tickets. The tickets earn them food or the right to send their counselor or counselor in training into the water from about 15 feet. My booth was a wrestling booth or better yet a “wrasslin'” booth. My friend Riley and I wrestled a whole bunch of campers. Some were good. Some were not. Riley and I switched off, we battled them based on points because submission wrestling would have resulted in broken bones or dead campers. I played “wrassle the suckas” until a camper who had something to prove put his head into my jaw. Either he head-butted me or tried to get up and my face was in the way. I’m still not sure which.

I got to spend time with some great campers. This one cool kid and I went kayaking this morning at 7AM. We talked about life and Jesus. It was great. That’s what you can do as waterfront director. After that I drove a boat for a long time. It didn’t start for awhile. I felt dumb.

I’m starting to realize something about myself. I do a crappy job of accepting the love of Jesus. Every day. I found myself being stupid this week and crushin’ on the ladies. That’s not always stupid. But when I find myself drawing my value from how they make me feel loved…It’s stupid. I rode a stupid emotional rollercoaster all week until I realized this and then afterwards. Then I didn’t know quite what to do. How do you change something about yourself that you hate? I hate feeling like crap because girls aren’t giving me attention.

The speaker this week really helped figure that one out. His name is John Enbow. He has wicked funny hand gestures and stories. He was talking about prayer. I remembered something important in the process. God answers prayer. I guess I forgot that. I was praying, but somehow I forgot that Jesus actually listens and answers. That means when I ask Him for something like “Let me feel loved by you.” He follows through. He answers. I waited.

He answered. I was sitting at the music time we have at night called center stage and I was taken aback by a skit that some Counselors in Training did. There was this girl who was hanging out with a guy in a white shirt (Jesus) and things in her life kept getting between them. Jesus kept chasing the girl. More and more crap came inbetween them. Jesus kept pushing forward almost in tears because of the things she was doing to herself. Eventually He broke through to the girl and held the things that had creeped into her life at bay. That hit me hard. Jesus is chasing me. He’s chasing you. He hurts when I hurt. He doesn’t give up. Why? Because He loves us. A lot.

He’s doing a good job of answering my prayers. I started reading this book called “the shack”. It’s about this guy who meets God (in person) and hangs out with Him. God is funny. God is almost overly playful sometimes in the way the author portrays Him. One thing is clear though: God loves the main character in this book. There’s this line from the book that goes something like “The way people are meant to live is as though they are loved. Because they are. To live in any other way is to not experience what you were meant to.”

In essence I walked away from reading this book (which took me awhile to open because it came as a gift
from a girl who placed significant amounts of pain in my heart…yep. It’s one of those days where I don’t hold back) feeling for the first time I can remember that Jesus loves me. I suppose that I knew it before, but there’s a difference for me between knowing something in my head and owning it in my heart. Maybe you have that too. This was a big one though.

It’s interesting to me how many things we “know” as christians, but at the same time don’t really know to the core of our being. Somtimes they’re silly things, other times they’re things that change your outlook on life. I felt at peace for most of the day. Wasn’t always like that.

To bring it back to a silly note before I leave I was thinking about how much unnecessary time I spend naked. Not enough I thought. My goal is now to go to the bathroom and sit and read for a few hours late at night. I think it’ll be good. Reading, no clothes, reading, and no clothes.

That’s all for now. My friend Zac is getting married this weekend. Hurrah! I am an usher. I can usher in a new era of peace and happiness…or I can take people to their chairs.

Dry clothes = better than wet ones

Wet boardshorts chafe. I know. Every week I wear boardshirts on Sunday from about noon until 6:30. I am in and out of the water. Then I walk places. In general every week I find myself waddling around camp by about 6 because my legs are chafed from wet boardshorts rubbing about. I put on dry clothes awhile ago and I just wanted to say how good it feels. 

There are oodles of white caps on the lake right now. White caps are the things that happen when there’s enough wind to have fun while sailing. I love white caps. They relax me and make me think about how cool Jesus is. 

I had fun conversation on the dock today about my views on nonviolence and war. I’ve blogged about it before and I won’t beat you over the head with things I’ve already said, but to review lets just say I don’t think you can ever “love your neighbor as yourself” while killing him. Ever. 

One of my lifeguards tried to say that this was something where “people just have different opinions” and not to be obtuse, but Jesus has the same opinion I do. Read the gospels. Look at the first 300 years of church history. Read Paul. Think about martyrs who died instead of joining the roman army. I think we have to draw the line here. Christians don’t kill other people.

I don’t understand how the church in the United States has become so broken that we raise our children to believe that following Jesus while killing people is a possibility. It isn’t. It may have been in the past, but after Christ it’s not a divinely supported action. We are called to love others to Jesus. We are called to see victory in terms of eternity. Victory isn’t measured by how comfortable, safe, or militarily powerful we are. Victory is found in Christ. 

It may be that because of our “Christian nation” ‘s foreign policy we may have done more to hinder people finding Jesus that to show people that He loves them. The victory that we may someday claim on the field of battle may leave us without victory where it matters. I wish this was something that people were taught in church. The sort of thing I am espousing here could and would get me fired in many churches. It could and probably does piss a lot of people off. They say “pacifism doesn’t solve problems”. I disagree. I would encourage them to consider the problems armed intervention create.

I don’t have time to get long winded. Carry on.

Ahh…High School camp.

In about an hour there will be almost 300 people in camp. Most of them will be in high school. I am excited. High school camp is by far my favorite of all the camps. The kids I have had in the past were fun to be around, curious about what I had to say, and in general thought I was cool. I know that it’s not the same with everyone else, BUT I’m pumped.

Staff break ended about 3 hours ago when we cleaned up camp. Here are some thoughts on the matter.

I like staff break and it’s always nice to have time to do whatever I want for however long I want, but at the same time a three hour dance party that ends the night is hardly restful. It was great in some ways, but in other ways it felt just like high school. All the awkwardness, drama, and general discontent I remembered from high school dances were recreated in a night where I was hating high school (and mostly wanting to leave the dance floor) the whole time.

Highlights of staff break:

1) My friend Wade and I double blobbed a bunch of people. The blob is a giant inflatable pillow that people jump on in order to launch their friends. Together Wade and I weigh about 500 pounds. We blobbed a girl who weighs roughly one hundred pounds. She did a flip, went about 25 feet in the air, and survived. Awesome.

2) I like good food. I ate lots of it.

3) The sun was shining like it was it’s job. I am still brown, but it was nice to be warm.

4) I took the whaler out for a spin…money. Straight money.

Well, it’s time to go wrangle up a clip board. Bye for now.

Waterfront director is a super tight job.

I came to a lovely realization today. I love my job. Let me paint you a picture of my day.

I woke up. I spoke with Jesus. I went to staff meeting. Admittedly I had to make several phone calls to the Aquatic Center. No big deal.

After staff meeting I went and got my board shorts on and proceeded to play with water smorg. The water was deathly cold. I managed to trick some campers to jump into the water just like I did. Little did they know how cold it would be after they got out. Muahahah! No, but really…it was cold out of the water in the wind.

After I played in the water, I then went kayaking around the island. Because as a waterfront director who has highly capable lifeguards I am able to do things like that. My friend Tyrell came with me. We kayaked directly up the channel into the marauding waves. They crashed against the bow of my kayak like…well…waves. It was a great opportunity to have some time to spend with Ty.

I then put on my “party pants”. The “party pants” are my oldest pair of carhartt jeans. I have worn them for an entire summer of working 40 hours a week outside, an entire summer as a camp counselor on every single overnight, and at every possible occasion where they might get dirty. They have paint stains, dirt stains, rips, and in general are an awesome pair of pants. My mom hates them. I thought she threw them out once. I got really anxious and angry in my room until I found them. It was close.

Anyhow, I put my pants on so I could go play paintball with one of my campers from last year. He’s a great kid. I almost wish I was a counselor again so I could have hung out with him all week. As it was, I just shot paintballs at other kids with him. Today we crept through the woods in an effort to exterminate the evil red team. It was mostly a stalemate. I lit up a couple campers in highly satisfying sneak-up style.

I then ate lunch. After lunch I made sweet awards for my lifeguards. One of the awards was clearly better than the other ones, but in all honesty…My creativity had peaked at that point, so she’s just lucky. Hopefully the other lifeguards don’t feel let down. After award time I proceeded to take a shower and brush my teeth for the first time today. Clean aren’t I?

So as you can see I have a pretty great job that allows me to do so much cool stuff.

In other news I was the speaker at center stage last night. It was guys night it. So just the dudes. I told a story about how Jesus kept hurting me to get my attention so He could tell me that His love made me valuable, not how strong I am or how good I look without my shirt on (I had it off for most of the talk). The kids seemed to love it and staff members told me how good of a job I did. I suppose Jesus used me to do His work. Neato. I was also somewhat frustrated because I really enjoyed speaking. That’s one more step closer to me having to be a pastor. Touche Lord. Touche.

I’ve been feeling lonely lately and I realized something. If I want intimacy on the relational level where people know what’s going on…I have to let them see. If I keep the happy face on, they don’t catch much and don’t ask me about my state of mind. However, It’s difficult for me to let the guard down. I don’t like being hurt. The more I let the guard down, the more hurt I may get. Some risks have to be taken in life though, especially if you want to live in real community with people.

Staff break is coming up this weekend. We get to enjoy lots of rest. I hope that the relationship sort of drama leaves me alone. The theme for break is Homecoming so we “had” to get dates. I was rather bitter this week after I got shut down a couple times.  No matter how much I tried to be positive about it…I wasn’t. So I enter the restful time with a bit of hesitation. I’m pleased to eat food and rest and read, but I’d really like to do so without remembering high school and the reasons I mostly hated it.

We’re doing skits tonight. My friend Robb and I are doing some great skits. You should be excited.

Why I’m wet, how I lost my opening day bandana, and thoughts about life.

The reason I’m wet is the same as how I lost my opening day bandana. I stepped into the water…fully clothed. Why? Well, simply put…I was trying to walk on the water. I felt like it was possible and Jesus says we can do things He did. So I went for it. Me and my friend Keaton. We are now both soaked and I have no more opening day bandana. I tried this last summer in shallow water and got wet feet. This time it was in deep water off the sail dock and now I am semi-wet (having since changed).

So…I fell in. I did not walk on the water. Is it because I didn’t have enough faith? Quite possibly. Is it because Jesus didn’t want me to? Also quite possibly. Here’s the thing. I took my glasses off before I stepped out. I didn’t want to lose them. This isn’t exactly a faithful act. I guess it’s not that I don’t trust God to hold me up, I guess I mostly don’t trust myself to have enough faith to do it.

The director of camp laughed at me and said, “When Christ did it, it was for the Father’s glory.” It was to show that He was God. Okay. I’m not God. Nope, in case you’re wondering “Is Chauncey God?” the answer is an emphatic “NO.” However, Peter walked on the water too. I thought about this. He went out because He saw Jesus doing it. He saw and followed. Still maybe I don’t have enough faith to walk on water, but it seems to me that when Peter walked Jesus had told him to come out on to the water to meet Him. I don’t know that I had that. Perhaps I lacked a sense of timing. Maybe the Lord was saying to me, “Chauncey, If you do things when I want you to do them then they’ll work. Otherwise not.”

As I washed my feet in the hot shower after dampening myself I thought of this line from Indiana Jones where the man in the fez asks Indy, “Why do you seek the cup of Christ? Is it for His glory or for yours?” I suppose that if that guy asked me the same question I wouldn’t be able to say that I took that step for the glory of the King…more so to prove that I had the faith to do it.

So at the end of this day of taking too many photos and successfully delegating responsibility to trustworthy lifeguards, I have no opening day bandana and I feel quite the fool. All this to say perhaps I’m in the right place. I read this quote once it went something like “May all your plans fail, may all your dreams be shattered, may all your hopes come to naught, so that you may learn to live and dance simply and unadorned in the love of God.” Here I am. Jesus loves me.

PS: Almost done, but one more thing. We’re having staff break this weekend. The theme is “Homecoming”…I feel like I’m in 10th grade again. It’s frikkin’ awkward. I tried to ask a friend who I thought it’d be fun to go with and she said “I’ll pray about it.” (Really. She did.) then when I pressed the matter further I got a “Well, you can ask other people….I’m waiting.” So, in other words: “No.” Then I asked another friend who I thought it’d be fun to go with via a note with “yes” and “no” check boxes. She said she was going with someone already. Then I got the “you should ask so-and-so.” Well balls people. If I want to go with someone I’ll ask them. I don’t need “helpful hints” as though I was reliving the 8th grade. I hate school dances where you ask people. They make me feel lonely again.

Still, all that being said. I hadn’t fell off the dock yet. I have now. Maybe the whole point of me falling off the dock was for Jesus to say that He loves me again. I never get tired of hearing that. I think that’s the way it should be.