STRAWBERRY-M&M-OREO SHAKE AND 12.5
Taylor is going to be here in 13 minutes for the promised run for a cold one.
Here in Utah with a 12 year old boy, even though he’s in prep for his “Year of Manhood” ceremony, this cold one will be a Chills shake at the local hangout. Here in rural Utah, “local” can be in the next town set up in the early Mormon era a day’s wagon train ride between towns. Today, the 10 miles is 15 minutes.
We’re ready for another heart and soul chat. Taylor knows his dad and I are writing a book, but doesn’t know yet that he will figure into it. But, now that we’re staying the summer, it’s even harder to get calm, un-busy face time than webcam time from California.
Ok, we’re back. All Chilled out. Well, we didn’t get off to such a hot start. Didn’t exactly fit granddad’s imagined generational melding. It’s only a 15 minute drive; just right for the warm-up chat with the questions I’d planned. Next week is camp. Gotta get my heart stuff in without seeming too obvious, too preachy. Woops, he found my new Blackberry. I didn’t even know it had games. Silence. Then a shriek. Taylor finished his first game as number 1,866,432. I kid you not. By the time we hit Chills he gloatingly crowed, “I’m up over 200,000 people in two games!” I said something funny about thanking my gene pool and added, “So glad you and two million Millennial nerds are living through your thumbs, but not willing to talk to a human like you old Popi on our man-date?”
Want a summary of what was in our Strawberry-M&M-Oreo shake chat? Here it is in our Q&A dialog: So, Taylor, next week you’ll hear important stuff about how to live for Christ. The kind of camp you’re going to sponsored by Bible and Baptist churches will teach you about following the rules set out in the Bible, about letting God direct your thoughts, maybe about witnessing for your faith, even missionary service. I’m excited for you. I’m picturing all my Christian camps. Wish I were a fly on the wall of your cabin.
So, how do you think it will improve your Christian life?” Taylor scarcely paused. Said something like, “It will help me learn more about God. And I’ll meet new friends.” He’s 12.5.
“You know, if it were sponsored by another group of serious Christian churches, you would get more emphasis on the importance of realizing who you are, developing a purpose in life, treating others well, and, especially, about being happy. Think about it. If someone offered you a week of camp on a beautiful lake in the mountains and let you chose which type of camp you could go to, which would it be; serious about obeying and serving God or about being happy and treating others well.
This time he paused, rather long, in fact. Time enough for another Strawberry-M&M-Oreo spoonful. I couldn’t tell for sure if the ”right” answer or one from his serious perceptive side would emerge, (but it was time enough for me to smile with the fading recollection of my own thoughts at 12-ish and of how truly insightful that age is becoming as the clays of physical, emotional, and intellectual being firm up). Then he said, “The Bible one and learning more about telling people about God. ” “Want me to surprise you and tell you which I’d chose now that I am old and can look back?” (Taylor loves it when I pull the ‘older and wiser’ act because we’re usually in for ribbing fest .)
I don’t recall verbatim what I continued with (another ‘old’ thing), but I remember feeling deeply as I spoke, enjoying the living metaphor of camp and life. “I would go to neither one and would pay for another kind of camp out of my allowance if I knew someone would teach me about what I had to learn through my life. I learned way too much by taking the wrong path or deciding something was God’s plan for me when it wasn’t. I would want someone to assure me I am part of God’s Story written just for me. And, I wish someone would let me in on how God himself was longing for me to truly enjoy Him and how He wanted me to experience real joy in life by being close with Him. Yes, and if I could design my camp based on what I’ve learned over these years of walking with Christ, I would want guys in my cabin to talk about how the Father puts arms around us and nourishes us and listens closely to what we laugh about, what makes us weep, and about our dreams.
“So, Taylor, I would want to learn early in life how God cares about my heart more than anything. Remember, the enemy of our soul is on a campaign, a war, actually, to steal our heart and keep it from God. His favorite trick is to let us do Christian things without a heart completely given to God.“
What’s Taylor doing during this maybe-too-deep soliloquy? Starting to drift off signaled by eyeing the remainder of the Strawberry-M&M-Oreo Dixie Cup. So I said in a tone suggesting I was winding up. “Hey, all of these other things offered by the other camps are actually important. Just remember, God is not pleased just because you do all these good Christian things. We please Him by who we are deep inside. Then I came up with a cutie, and it was just right to turn it back over to him. “So it’s not Christian rules that please God, but how Christ rules.” They may look the same to others. That’s a good thing. But it looks far different to God. He enjoys the behavior that comes from the heart that belongs to Him.
It wasn’t long before we saddle up and headed home with 15 minutes to turn the sermon into dialog. But, my moment of generational fathering had come and gone. Now it was 2 million players of a thumb game through my Blackberry. I took comfort for some reason that before we hit home, Taylor was already 1,244,551 out of 2m. ”That’s my boy!” And he’s only 12.5. Surely there is now a cyber-genius emerging from my gene pool…who walks with God.
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