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God loves camping

I come from a family of outdoorsmen. My father was a blue-blood Yale medical student and my mother was from sun-baked Las Cruces, but they met in the 50’s while working in Yosemite National Park. Their dates were long hikes through the splendor of the park adjoining the Ahwahnee Hotel. …
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

I come from a family of outdoorsmen. My father was a blue-blood Yale medical
student and my mother was from sun-baked Las Cruces,
but they met in the 50’s while working in Yosemite National Park.
Their dates were long hikes through the splendor
of the park adjoining the Ahwahnee Hotel.

My dad used to take me on two week-long backpacking
trips into the high granite-encrusted reaches of the Wind
River Mountains where
we’d fish for the fabled Golden trout in the eerily isolated Wall Lake. I knew well the splash of a Mepps spinner on
the unbroken crystal surface of a mountain lake as the day was dawning and the feeling
you had inside your tent after it rained all night and were calculating the
pain/pleasure tradeoff that awaited outside the warmth of the sleeping bag.

My parents still have a love affair with camping,
living across six river crossings in the middle of the Gila Wilderness. And I think God does too. He even named a feast after the temporary
shelter known as a tabernacle. His
people were always moving around in tents.
As you look through scripture, you see a God who helps his people fight
their proclivity for comfort by unsettling them and sending them off with
little more than tents. He even chose a
tent-maker to write much of the New Testament

Shane Claiborne says this about the God of camping: “In an
age of million-dollar mansions for God, it’s hard to imagine that our God
prefers tents. But God has always had a
thing for camping. “Tabernacles” means
“sets up camp.” And it is in the life of
Jesus that God puts skin on to show us what love looks like. John’s Gospel calls this incarnational act
“pitching God’s tent among us.” And then
God wanders the Galilean countryside with “no place to lay his head.” In 2 Samuel 7, King David finds himself in a
supersized mansion, living in a “palace of cedar,” and starts to think that
maybe God needs a fancier place to dwell.
But God rebukes David: “Are you
the one to build me a house to dwell in?
I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites out of
Egypt
to this day. I have been moving from
place to place with a tent as my dwelling.”
God just digs camping.”

Comment

  • I so agree!! And if you’ve never celebrated Tabernacles/Sukkot, I strongly suggest it. The hebrew observance includes eight nights of God’s goodness, feasting and fellowship. It is a reminder that God dwells/tabernacles with and in us… Oh, I love camping, too.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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