Last week, Chris returned from his summer church camp at Quaker Meadow. We picked him up from the bus and, of course, made the ritual post-camp visits to In-n-Out and Donut Man (the one Glendora landmark!) on the way home.
Sitting together over burgers and fries, we had a brilliant discussion ranging from evolution, to the nature of truth, to how thoughtfulness is often an unwelcome trait among Christians to what it means to "act like a Christian". I was amazed and honored to have this kind of discussion with my son.
And I was thankful to the the two guys who served as Chris's counselors. They both did a great job of guiding Chris and framing the camp experience for them. I especially appreciated their approach of telling the boys to "make sure you do and say all of the obvious Christian things so we'll look good as counselors". If you've been around Christian groups much, or any group for that matter, you know every group has characteristic ways of talking and acting that serve as kind of a short hand for who's in and who's out. These things are not bad, but they often count for way too much.
Chris is already the kind of kid who sees through this kind of thing, and so his counselors' ironically angled request affirmed his sensibilities. But it also had the affect of getting him to focus on what a Christian is really supposed to be like, and he has returned home a kinder and better focused person.
Near the end of the conversation, I told Chris that I thought he would especially like getting to know his counselor Robert, along with Aaron whom he already knew well and thinks is great. Chris gets along well with me and I told him, "Robert and I have similar sensibilities, but he's not as grouchy as I am".
Chris responded enthusiastically: "Yeah, Robert is like a happier, younger and cooler version of you".
I don't know how this would make Robert feel, but it made me feel, well, I don't know how it made me feel. But I'm glad to have him back and glad for what Aaron and Robert were able to give him.