Lileks has a typically great post up commemorating 9/11. I want to briefly address an experience he relates from summer camp, 1968.
It was 1968. On the night before the last day of camp, a counselor named Charlie Brown interrupted our sunset meeting by the shores of White Bear Lake to tell us the news: Russia had launched their missiles and they would destroy America before the night was out. It was time to get right with God.That's the impression many adults today have of Christianity. I can't blame them; that sort of bizarre knife-twisting can easily leave a kid scarred for life. Lileks wasn't traumatized by it (or isn't anymore?), but the experience certainly had a profound effect on him -- and not for the better, as Charlie Brown probably intended.
Silence; crickets; small sobs. I’m sure no one thought much about Jesus right then. We thought about Mom and Dad and Spot and our room, where we really, really wanted to be right now, with the familiar smell of the goldfish bowl, and -
Charlie Brown guided us through some prayers. We all said Amen, and I’m sure for some it was the least heartfelt Amen we’d ever said. Then Charlie Brown said he had made up the story. Russia hadn’t launched the missiles. But what if they had? Were we right with Jesus?
I've talked to many people who have had similar experiences, either at a church or at a religious school, or even at summer camp. It's profoundly saddening to me; I work with children, and it's hard to even express how important each one of my kids is to me. The thought that something I say or do may drive one of them away from God is a heavy burden.
But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.
So I'm playing Jenga [Maybe not the best game for 9/11 -- Ed.] tonight with one of my kids from church, and she utters one of my common exclamations when she almost topples the tower.
"You got that from me!" I tell her.
"Probably; I'm around you so much."
"Yeah, I suppose you are."
"No... not enough."
See, that's why it's worth it.