The Perfect Cabin

On the Sunday before a summer camp begins Scruffy can be found scowling into his computer trying to make cabin assignments. Sometimes he hands the girl cabins over to me. And while he sits hunched over his screen shuffling campers around on a spreadsheet, I am on the floor with scrap paper and a pen drawing arrows between kids that requested each other as cabin buddies and drawing frowny faces next to girls who requested not to be together. And oh the horror of that moment when we realize that Suzie requested Samantha who requested Brook who requested Audry who’s mother informed us that she cannot be within 20 feet of Brook or the kind of apocalyptic event will occur that makes the great Chicago fire and the San Francisco earthquake look like practice drills.

All this to say that whoever does cabin assignments tries there absolute best to get it just right. However, I remember this one cabin in a summer long past that seemed completely wrong in every way imaginable.

On that Monday afternoon three campers strutted through the doorway fresh from the big city of Seattle. (Ok, I know that in the grander scope of things Seattle isn’t all that spectacular, but to a group of nervous counselors from the woods and orchards of Eastern Washington, Seattle was huge) It was the 90’s and so to prove to the world that they were indeed of the city, these boys had baggy clothes and wore stocking hats in July and emanated an irrepressible coolness that none of us could deny.

And somehow they ended up in Nature Boy’s cabin.

Nature Boy was our neighbor across the meadow. He was smart and tall and handsome, but about the closest thing to a Puritan that I had ever met. He had never been to public school, was a classical pianist, and only endured the syncopated rhythms of camp worship because he felt God’s call to serve more strongly than his concerns for our musical preferences.

It was absolutely the worst match that could have been made.

And then on that first night after chapel, those three city boys sauntered in for cabin discussion. Nature Boy sat them all down, looked them in the eye, and informed them: “You are all going to Hell.”

They gasped in horror. “Why?”

“Don’t worry about it. I’ll tell you later. Let’s go play night games.” Nature Boy brushed off their protests and got the cabin into their camos before rushing them out the door to play.

Needless to say, this was not the approach to sharing the gospel that we had all learned in Staff Training.

The boys hounded him all week. “Why are we going to Hell? You’ve got to tell us!” When he finally did share the gospel it was clear why they had been so desperate to know. They had no idea who they belonged to. No allegiance to the One who would welcome all His own at the end of their lives. And so they pledged themselves to Him, all three of them. One of those boys even returned to camp a few years later and became the beloved counselor called Doughboy. 

And Boo Boo, what did she learn? I learned once again that the wisdom of God seems like foolishness to man. And you know what? I’m ok with that.

I Corinthians 1:25–“For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.”


Boo Boo


CamasCon is about board games. It’s about 35 guys and 2 or 3 gals sitting around in pajama pants and slippers playing Settlers of Catan and Dominion and Battle Star Gallactica until 4:00am without getting up to pee much less going outside to breath any fresh air. But CamasCon is also much much more and thanks to John, one of our regular gamers, we are about to jump past the boards and bits and the fact that Scruffy always plays red and dive into the strange beauty that lies within this odd unorthodox ministry.

Green Meadow is the first word that comes to my mind when I think of CamasCon. I have this game I play called Castle Merchants. It is a light strategy game in which players take on roles of various merchants who are racing around the board trying to sell their wares. It is a race between the players—whoever can make the most gold wins the game. Castle Merchants can be a frantic game at times and players can feel a sense of urgency to get to a castle before another player. In a player’s endeavor to arrive at a high paying castle before another player, he may find himself expending more cards than he desired too. If he is left with a small hand of cards it can handicap him for the rest of the game. Luckily, there is hope though. In the middle of the board there is a place called the green meadow. This is a place where a player can go when he has exhausted his resources to replenish his hand.

We live in a culture that is constantly on the go and we are all under a lot of pressure to race for more gold. In my own life I have felt the toll of this pressure. A few years ago I was working at an exhausting job, which didn’t have a future for me. I worked about seventy hours a week and I never slept. I had just come through a divorce, which I never ever intended to go through. I was struggling to find peace in my life. At this time I was tempted to draw away from my friends. This is around the same time my friends and I started getting into strategy games. I found strategy games to be an incredible escape for me.

In his book Wild at Heart, John Eldredge describes the need we, as men, have to feel a sense of contention, or valiance, or adventure in life. We all have a deep desire to contend against something, which we need to overcome. In our culture this longing can be hard to fulfill; especially if we allow ourselves to get caught up in the daily grind. And our culture wants to deflate us and tell us masculinity is thing of the past.

In my own life I have struggled with my masculinity. I grew up with no dad and three older sisters. Until my junior year in High School most of my closest friends were always girls. I have always been more in touch with my feelings and emotions then most guys I know. It has only been the last decade or so, in which I have started to think more like a man. Some say men and women are the same and they don’t think differently. I do not believe the Bible teaches this. There is a logic a lot of men have to the way they think: a logic, which helps them lead. A lot of men have learned to use their minds when making decisions. For me, this was a skill I used to lack. Being led with one’s heart and emotions can be a dangerous thing and it has gotten me in trouble on a number of occasions. In fact, leading with my heart is one of the reasons I married someone in such an irresponsible fashion, as I did.  

The truth is God wants us to use our minds and our hearts. He wants us to submit them before his throne and to his will. Playing a 3 hour long strategy game is an excellent way to peer into the mind of men. For me, strategy games have been instrumental in helping me think more strategically in life. I tend to be a free spirit. I don’t like to plan things out in advance. But, God is bringing me into a phase of life where he is teaching me to live more strategically. As I am becoming more strategic and learning to plan my days out better; I finding greater success in areas of my life, which have often eluded me.

I believe strategy games can be a way in which men are able to fulfill the role of battle or conquest in their lives, which we so desperately crave. We sit across from each other and we try to surmise a way to conquer that great foe of ours—that one guy who always seems to be a step ahead of us. Some men hunt and some men fish, others play basketball. These are great ways to learn to be wild at heart, but strategy games engage the mind. Strategy games allow me to escape to a distant land, a distant place—where I am the conqueror; where I am the great Lord of the realm. This is all happening in the imagination, whilst at the same time I am trying to see if this might be the day in which I might actually do the impossible and dethrone my friend— Clint.

CamasCon allows us, as men, to have a place we can go to and battle against the mind and prowess of other men.  In an ever increasing feministic culture this can be a powerful thing. But, CamasCon isn’t just a place of battling, where men can be men; it is also a place of rest and rejuvenation. When I first came to CamasCon, I honestly wasn’t looking for a spiritual revival, but that’s what I got. I was looking to unwind, play some games with my friends, and get away for a weekend. I achieved this, but I also achieved so much more. God used CamasCon to awaken me out of my spiritual complacency. I was really challenged by the speaker that year. I found myself spending some much needed time with God. CamasCon, for me, was a place of rejuvenation for my spirit. It was my green meadow where my hand was replenished. It was at CamasCon that God first started speaking to me about my need to go back to school, which I have now done.

The men at CamasCon are high quality guys and it is a deep spiritual encouragement to me to know that in another city and another place there are intelligent men out there who want nothing more than to serve their God. Each time I go to CamasCon I am able to play games with other guys and I learn more and more how they think and this allows me to grow in my own walk as a man. I really like how CamasCon has been set up as a place where we can come play games, have fellowship, but more importantly we can draw into God and remember the calling he has on our lives. It truly is a unique and much needed ministry. I thank God for CamasCon and Daryl and all of the men there. And I continue to look forward to the next time when I will be able to come there, contend, battle, and one day conquer them all. J

Sincerely yours in Christ,




Sometimes you can’t see the beauty of camp until it has been going on quietly around you for a number of years. Ministry can be big and loud and brash and beautiful, like that angry kid who falls on his face before God during the last day of camp. But much of what occurs is done with a quiet power in the background where only a few get to see.

Such is my story for today. The quiet ministry of connections. A few years ago Scruffy was at a loss. He had 16 girl campers at the Sr. High Teen camp and only one solitary girl counselor. And so he took over my parenting duties for the week and sent me off to camp to be a counselor for the first time in ten years. It was a terrifying and marvelous week and I still have contact with those eight wonderful girls.

Several of my campers became counselors themselves with campers that they prayed for and maintained contact with. The other day I came home to a message on my answering machine. I never call people back right away when they leave messages. Talking on the phone is a difficult proposition with three small boys roaring through the house and my phone messages can stay blink blink blinking at me for days. But this call was from one of my old campers and so I called her back right then.

She was scared because she had just gotten a text message from one of her campers. A young girl who had just taken a bunch of pills in an attempt to kill herself. But after the pills were downed, she was terrified and needed someone and remembered her counselor from back at summer camp and texted that counselor, my former camper.

Together we were able to infuriate the poor girl by contacting her mother and getting her the medical and emotional assistance that she required. She is mad, but doing better and it is all because of the quiet beauty of connections.

God is busy and at work in the dark and deadly world around us. Occasionally He shows His power in a large and mighty fashion. But so often He comes softly, in the background. Appearing in a summer of fun, a girl who grows up from camper to counselor, and a desperate text message to the first person that a kid can think of who just might care.

I Kings 19:11-13—“The Lord said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’ Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.”


Boo Boo