Our Camp Director at CPBC shares a message about what he has learned about living into our value Reflect and Cultivate Diversity. This is the third in a series where we will be sharing how we at CPM live into our six core values.
Reflect And Cultivate Diversity
For many of us, there are songs that speak to us, songs that go deeper than the lyrics or notes should be able to on their own. They are more impactful than just the sum of their respective parts. I don’t remember the first time I heard the song, “I need you to survive” by Hezekiah Walker, but this song is one of those songs for me. Here are a few of the lyrics.
I need you.
You need me.
We’re all a part of God’s body.
You are important to me.
I need you to survive.
As I was reflecting on our core value of reflecting and cultivating diversity I couldn’t get this song out of my head. Usually when a song is stuck in my head it’s not a pleasant or particularly enjoyable experience, but on this occasion each time the song took up residence, it brought a smile to my face. It fed me and produced a deep level of joy in my heart. On one level this song is about humanity’s interconnectedness, our need for one another. For me it brings to mind 1 Corinthians 12 and Paul’s image of the body being made up of many parts each contributing to the whole. If one part suffers, all parts of the body suffer with it and if one part is honored all rejoice. Still, the title implies something even deeper; our very survival depends on one another.
Unfortunately we don’t always experience things this way and we certainly don’t always live this way. In our culture self-reliance is championed and dependence is something we are taught to grow out of. Children are dependent at birth by necessity, but our culture tells us this dependence eventually becomes a sign of weakness. On the few occasions when dependence on one another and on God is modeled, we usually stick to relying on the familiar voices that look like us, talk like us, and often tell us what we want to hear.
Sadly, our world is segmented and separated. It is filled with homogenous groups that fail to recognize their blinders or their deficiencies because they don’t have diverse voices to tell them otherwise. Maybe in their mind they are surviving, but I don’t believe they are flourishing or living into all that God has called them to be.
I’m thankful for Covenant Pines and our commitment to be a place where all are welcomed, where youth and families from different walks of life come together at the foot of the cross and experience God and learn from one another. Whether sitting in the dining hall at a meal or around a campfire at night, camp exists to tear down the walls that all too often separate us in the outside world. It’s a place where kids can arrive on Monday not knowing each other and leave a short week later with deep and meaningful connections with people they may not have spent time with at home. The same thing happens throughout the year when families gather and break bread and worship together, they leave with a deeper understanding and connection with those around them, even those who are different.
Diversity isn’t an extra. It isn’t just a good idea. It is necessary for survival. I need you. You need me. We need you all to survive. Singular and plural, as individuals, we need each other and we need the larger community. You need us and us need you. Forgiving the poor grammar in that sentence, what I’m trying to say is that communities need other diverse communities in order to survive. We, (whomever the we is), need you (whatever community that you represents) and vice versa. This is how God created us and this is who we aspire to be.
One of the lines of the song states, “I won’t harm you with words from my mouth, I love you, I need you to survive.” Can you imagine what the world would be like if we lived like this, if people didn’t injure others with the words they spoke and if words were a tool to build others up instead of tearing them down? While we certainly aren’t perfect, this is who Covenant Pines aspires to be, a safe place where all are welcome. A place where people know their value given to them by God and where diverse people can care for each other and experience the love of Christ; everyone, no exceptions. I need you. You need me. We need each other to survive. Thanks be to God for that.
To read our previous value highlights, click below: