Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Montreat! Montreat! Montreat!

Although I've certainly shared videos, myself, I have to admit that I really wish that people didn't share videos on Facebook and elsewhere as much as they do. I would much rather everything shared was text. The reason for this is that I do much of my browsing during downtime at work, and I don't wish to disturb my co-workers with the sound (obviously, an audio-only piece can be even worse). Also, it's much easier to leave a page of text alone when a task comes in, and come back to it once I'm done, than it is with video.

All this means is that, when I started to see this video of "Stuff Presbyterian Seminarians Say" making the rounds on Facebook Monday morning, I waited until I was at home that evening to finally watch it. You can watch the video for yourself after the jump, or just go straight on to my comments.

As I started to watch the video, my initial reaction was one of basically understanding what they were getting at, but feeling that it didn't really apply to me all that well. For one thing, I've long had an aversion to "Christianese," and when I'm aware of it, I try to find more... "organic" ways of saying what I want to say. Hopefully, long-time readers of this blog recognize that this doesn't mean I don't like to talk about God or about Christ, but rather that there are certain common patterns of Christian speech that I try to avoid (perhaps not always as successfully as I'd like, but you get the idea). This video pokes fun at "Christianese," too, and I very much appreciate that, but I didn't really feel like I fit the idea of "Presbyterian" that was at view....

...until they started in on Montreat! (If you haven't watched the video yet, go to about the 55 second mark) That nailed me! In my defense, I've often felt like I'm the only person around who knows about Montreat, living as I do in Southern California, a good couple of thousand miles away. But I'm sure that more than a few of my friends over the years would agree that I sometimes sound much like the guy in the video when I get talking about Montreat.

I'm especially reminded of when I was in high school, and going to the Youth Conferences was the highlight of my year. I'd not only come home from a conference and talk my parents' ears off babbling on and on about the week, but well... there was this girl....

I'd had a crush on this person since about fifth grade, and although the feelings were never reciprocated, she was always very kind about it. When I'd call her, she'd never hang up on me, or tell me to stop calling. I'm sure that there's a way in which I could talk about whether or not it's kinder to "cut things off" or allow a person to keep hanging on to a delusion, but that's not what I really want to talk about here. The point I'm making here is that, for a period of time in the middle of high school, when I'd call, I'd basically retell all of the sermons I'd heard during my time at Montreat. I'm sure it could be viewed as a kind of evangelism, since my friend was not actually a Christian, but I never thought of it that way. I just wanted to share the joy I'd felt during those weeks with whoever cared to listen. If my friend thought I was a little insane, talking about this Christian youth conference for nearly an hour at a time, I'd hardly blame her, but she never said so.

Although I'm more than a little embarrassed at the endless hours I spent bothering that person, I find myself missing that sense of joy that I would get whenever I'd come back from a week at Montreat. I enjoy teaching Sunday School, or sharing in the work of the church in other ways, and I obviously enjoy writing about Transformers and other things here on this blog, but it's just not the same. Reverting to "Christianese" for just a second, I'm sure that someone could come on and say that I should be finding my joy "in Christ," rather than in any of these other (even Christ-related) things. I'm not entirely sure I disagree, but I'm also trying to be honest and realistic about the concrete ways in which I've felt Christ's joy.

I felt a bit of that joy again, if only for a moment, watching that segment of the video. It reminded me that I'm not alone, even if it does sometimes feel like it two thousand miles away from that little valley in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. I'm so thankful to my Facebook friends for sharing it.

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