This is Stephen and Steve. In fact, there were 4 of us Stephen's working in and around the production area. There were multiple Davids, and when anyone called out "hey pastor" all of us turned around.
But what we lacked for in diversity in name and title, we had a great deal of in regards to race.
At first glance you could easily divide most of us into groups of black and white. But look a little closer, and it was more and more diverse. Some from Europe, some from Central America. Our leader claims Romania, others were born in the Philippines or Korea. And then the speakers, musicians, and those with ministry stories to tell - this camp meeting doesn't just talk diversity, it actively plans for it. So that when we arrive at the beginning of the event, we all, no matter where we are from, - just do it.
If there was any racial tension in our group, I didn't feel it. Perhaps that's because I am the white male, the group known for its lack of noticing racial tension! But I don't think so in this case.
We joked - I would say "I'm white, Adventist, and English - I don't say Amen, I don't hug, and if Larnelle Harris tells us to stand up and clap (apparently not the cheering kind) I'll try, but I won't be good at it! There were jokes about time keeping, sermon lengths, and clothes.
And all of this came while America was struggling to interpret the racial signals in many communities around the country.
Isn't it great that a church organization can do that?
Yes it is. But we'd be naive if we thought this was the full story. For all our good racial vibes, you have to realize that everyone here all earn pretty much the same amount. We have a great deal in common beyond race. And while we as a nation struggle to come to terms between black and white and everything in between - it really has a lot more to do with the haves, and have nots.
This is a complicated country in a broken world. And I am incredibly thankful our church event this year was able to rise above much of it - and this is not to be understated. But only Jesus saves. He saves us from ourselves - from our broken world. He saves us from our jealousy and abuse.
Which brings me to this - heaven is going to be one awesome camp meeting! Here's a video showing one reason exactly why that will be!