Thursday, May 23, 2013

I Agree With Sheldon Cooper

The conversation was innocent enough. We had been practicing outside on the stage for Romeo and Juliet for a couple of hours and had almost considered cancelling simply because we were spending as much time swatting at the bugs as we were reading lines. Even with bug spray  - the deep woods kind.

One of the actors suggested we all bring those candles that keep bugs away to our next outdoor rehearsal. I was silent for a moment, and they looked at me expectantly.

"I don't have one," I said simply. Although I know I should, mosquitoes eat me alive.

"You're a youth minister and you don't have one?" they asked, surprised.

I shrugged. "I like being inside. 'If the outdoors were so great why would mankind spend hundreds of years improving the indoors.' Sheldon Cooper."

The others didn't seem to like my response. A comment was made about how man has messed up God's creation or something. I can't remember exactly what was said.

The thing is - why is this so surprising? I can't recall any time in my ministry training where they told me that being an outdoor person was a requirement for being a youth minister.

I feel this is implied. Youth groups must go to camp. They have to get down in the dirt in order to have fun and experience God. The youth minster needs to wear flip flops and camp t-shirts while signing hippie songs with their guitar.

It's not just in youth ministry though. I see it in the Christian world often. (Or at least here in Southeast Missouri.) Good Christians love the outdoors.

Says who, though? Where in the Bible does it say that this is a requirement for loving Jesus?

I love creation, and I appreciate everything it holds. Some of my favorite memories were spent on beaches or watching the sunrise on top of a mountain. It's amazing to see everything God has created. When spring and fall come around I love walking around the park and sitting outside with a good book. I take the youth to camp and will stick it out in a cabin for a few days when needed.

However, if you ask me to pick between a forest filled with trees, animals, strange plants, and bugs, or an open field, and crowded Times Square with a million options of buildings to walk into, give me Times Square any day.

San Diego, 2006

I'm a fan of indoor plumbing. I like having WiFi so I can connect to my family and friends when they're far away. For a girl like me who is an awful cook, the invention of the microwave is a beautiful thing. Don't even get me started on my Keurig.

I have a couple of friends who would love to take me camping someday just so they can see how I react.

Does this make me a bad Christian? Does that change God's love for me? Does this make me a bad youth minister?

I don't think so.

The Bible talks about creation often, which makes sense. It's amazing and it's one of the many ways God can speak to us. Also, there wasn't much to the "great indoors" back in those days. So why would they talk about it?

Here's the thing- creation is one of the many ways God can speak to us. Who says he can't use technology? Who says we can't find comfort in the little pleasures of first world living? Why says God works more in the country than in the city?

There are times I feel guilty that I am in more awe at a beautiful city skyline than an open horizon. It's like that's the wrong answer. To what question, I'm not sure. But it seems like it's wrong.

On top of the Empire State Building, May 2012

But is it?

Author's note: The prompt for today was "Things I've Learned That School Won't Teach You." I was going to write about that, and I even asked for suggestions on Facebook. However, this popped into my mind this evening and I wanted to write about it. Maybe I'll use the suggestions for another post for another day.

1 comment:

  1. We are both city girls!! I always say that the only way I'll go camping is if it ends at a Holiday Inn, lol. It's like when Carrie tried to spend time at Aidan's cottage...too much nature!


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