so i was at our all church conference this past weekend in the santa cruz mountains. i spent it, as i always have, in the youth dorm with the high schoolers. a) i get to go for free which is the only way i can afford it, and b) they are fun, if exhausting. the conference is a good intergenerational community time.
during one of the main sessions, there was a short period of sharing where a third grade boy had decided that he wanted to get baptized while at the conference. so our youth pastor was up there in front of a few hundred people with this kid, who i'll call sean. as the two of them approached the stage, this fifth grader boy in the row behind me loudly whispered to an adult advisor, "that kid sean is a DORK." the advisor was all, "hey, come on now..." but the boy persisted, "no, sean is REALLY a DORK." at this point i had already had heard enough, turned around, and whispered, "YOU'RE a dork." and then turned around again. the boy clammed up a bit, or at least backed off calling him names, and the advisor cracked up.
it was a purely reflexive reaction. i sat there, first pleased with myself, then felt a little bit guilty about not being a little bit more mature, and then shrugged that off because i made my point succinctly. i mean, WE'RE ALL DORKS. no one has more or less of a right to be at church or in the family of God than anyone else. and when someone tries to pretend that is the case, well that's just like waving a red flag in front of me. me being an angry bull, in this situation.