My Two Cents
August 18, 2019, 12:00 AM

One of my most unique adventures this summer happened up at Camp MaryMac in Sharpsburg, MD, where I was a counselor for what our region calls Pioneer Camp. On a fine weekend in June I had the lovely opportunity to hang out with fifteen of my closest first, second and third grade friends- six of whom were from Christian Temple!


For three  days we took turns on the tire swing, crossed back and forth over the old rickety bridge spanning the swollen creek, played with the parachute, did yoga(!), roasted s’mores on the fire AND learned about how we are all part of ‘Team Jesus’.


It was great. Except for one thing.  Unless I miss my mark, I think that over the course of our weekend, I got to witness a bully in the making. And I was surprised at how it sounded and looked.


One of the kids in our group (NOT from Christian Temple!) related well to the adults, was extremely smart and seemed at first to get along with everyone. In fact, for whatever reasons, the other kids really wanted to be among this guy’s buddies. But not too long after the camp began, this little boy began doing this strange thing. He started giving nicknames to all the other boys.


This naming could have been harmless enough, right? Except that each one was demeaning in one way or another. One referred to something embarrassing that had happened at camp a year earlier. A few others had to do with size and shape. After a while the nicknames began to catch on. The other boys were using them. And before you know it, there were tears. “That’s NOT my name!” And there was a sideways smile from the one who had started it all- a smile I have seen way too often over the past three years.


Bullies aren’t brave. They are afraid like everyone else- maybe more so. And the way they deal with their insecurity is to name the world in a way that diminishes others and makes them feel superior. It’s so easy to see- in children and adults.


And so, in a world full of bullies and other things that can make us feel diminished, one small thing we can promise ourselves to do? Call people by their names. Say those names often. And speak them with the reverence they deserve.


Welcome to worship Christian Temple!