Christianity Is Fun
Christianity Is Fun|
I was staying at James Island Campground in Charleston, South Carolina. It was dusk and I was stretched out in my camp chair enjoying a relaxing book. I knew I probably had remnants of the burnt pork chop and charred corn on the cob (have I mentioned that I can’t cook) in my teeth and on my face but I was too lazy to do anything about it. Belle was staked out next to my chair, indignant that I thought she was supposed to lie on the ground. Belle and I had played tag in the dog park in the rain and my still damp green shorts and top were covered with muddy paw prints from the friendly Great Dane. As an accent to the ensemble, I was wearing a large bright green necklace and matching earrings.
It was time to write but I wasn’t ready to go inside. Warily, I looked at the heavy picnic table, which was right next to the street. My campsite was between the popular garbage cans and rest rooms so everyone in the campground was paying me a visit. Feeling very much on display, I got my computer and sat down to work. Belle saw an opportunity and leaped into the camp chair. What a sight we made. Everyone that passed up made a comment.
“You’re not supposed to work while on vacation,” one person said. “Your dog has the best seat in the house,” someone else noted. By far the most common comment was, “You have a Little Lassie.” Since most people were carrying trash or in need of the facility, I didn’t encourage conversation.
Finally, a man stopped who wanted to chat. Like many of the conversations, this one started with the usual questions about Belle, who was suddenly imitating a watchdog. Eventually I told him that I was traveling the country talking to people about their spiritual stories and writing about them.
Warily he asked. “What kind of spiritual stories?”
“I’m a Christian and a Christian writer,” I said quickly, suspecting he was trying to decide if I needed saving. It’s spooky but I’m getting where I can almost predict someone’s particular brand of Christianity or lack there of in the first one or two sentences of our conversation.
“Good,” he said. “I was worried for a minute. Spiritual can mean a lot of things.” He mentally put away his prepared plan of salvation.
I joked, “My church calls me a missionary, my husband calls me an apostle, my publisher calls me a writer doing research, and my father calls me a hobo. I take it you’re a Christian?”
“Absolutely. My name’s Dale,” he said extending his hand. “I go to Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina.” Yep, I was right again. He was Baptist. “Close that computer and come with me. I want you to meet my Christian travel club. We’ve been camping together once a month for years. Do you like fresh churned ice cream?”
“I do but it doesn’t like me. I’ll pass on the ice cream but I’d love to meet your travel club,” I said as I closed the computer and said bye to Belle. I briefly wondered if I was walking off into the sunset with an axe murderer but decided that since the campground was full and we were on the main road, I was probably safe.
I walked about 5 campsites down to find 15 or so people sitting surrounded by elaborate campers, ice cream churns, several picnic tables pulled together, strings of colored lights, and a TV that actually had a picture. These people were professional campers.
“This lady’s a Christian Writer. She wants to know about our Christian travel club.” Suddenly, I was the center of attention as people got up out of their chairs and surrounded me. I grew self-conscious as I realized how I looked. Do writers have paw prints on their clothes and black corn in their teeth? Do missionaries? Perhaps Daddy is right and I am a hobo. Since there was nothing I could do about my appearance, I handed out cards and started asking questions.
The Carolina Travel Trailer Club has been around for years and is on their 3rd generation of campers. Melvin is the only charter member still alive. Melvin was engrossed in the ball game and groaned when they made him get up out of his chair to talk with me. I tried to send him back to the TV and he said, ‘Na, it’s OK. This here’s my son. He grew up camping with us and now brings his family. There’s nothing he’d rather do than camp. I’m the only charter member left but several of the other’s children belong. We camp on the 3rd weekend of every month. We have a church service together on Sundays. Different people lead it. We’ve only missed one service in all the years we’ve been around and that was because we were caught in a flood.”
“How many people are here?” I asked.
“About 30. We don’t allow drinking or misbehaving but we have fun. Tonight we had a Luau. We get together as a group and plan our activities and where we’re going.” I looked at the ice cream churns, the TV, and the children frolicking and riding bikes. Someone’s little black dog nuzzled my leg.
Mike Lowry is this year’s president. “We have a website, a newsletter, and a Board of Directors. I can get you a copy of our newsletter and bylaws.” Fascinated, I thanked him and he left to go retrieve them. He brought back a stack of papers that included a list of birthdays and anniversaries, prayer requests, and recipes.
The seven page by-laws spell out the rules for the club. Potential members must attend two of what they call “Camper Rally’s” (a weekend camping trip) before they are voted in. You’d better behave or you may be voted off the “camping island.”
They are serious about no drinking and are required to help each other at the campground and on the road while traveling. After much deliberation, the Carolina Travel Trailer Club has decided that tents count as a trailer so those that can’t afford something fancy can still join the fun. They camp mostly in South and North Carolina but occasionally venture out into Florida and Georgia. The rally’s start on Friday night and end on Sunday with a worship service. Many in the club tack on additional days and enjoy a week together. James Island Campground is a favorite among the crowd.
As I observed these Christian friends who were so comfortable together, I was struck by the lessons they were teaching their children. These Christians knew how to enjoy Godly fellowship and that Christianity is supposed to be fun. Their children were making memories and friends that will last them a lifetime. I stopped a group of their children, who were playing on their bikes and asked, “Do you plan to join this club when you grow up?’
They gave me an enthusiastic chorus of yeses. Generation after generation joining this travel club puts feet the verse, do not forsake your own friend or your father's friend. Proverbs 27:10 NASU