Friday, September 25, 2009


I just caught up with the latest news about the man who worked as a director at a camp called kanakuk who admitted to child molestation. it's all very interesting to me because i was a kamper for four years, a counselor in training for one, and a counselor for one. and boy did God teach me alot while i was there. in this blog entry, i want to address the deeper issue behind all of this hub ub going on about Mr. Newman (the guy who admitted to child molestation) and how it relates to my own life, and to the everyday lives of EVERYONE who ever set foot on a kanakuk kamp ground.

in my kamper years, kanakuk was like this other world. this heaven on earth i could escape to, where i had tons of instant best friends, worshiped God 24/7, and could dress up in whatever funky clothes concoction i wanted! it was loud, it was sunny, it was high energy, and i thrived. but even as a kamper, i knew kamp was far from perfect. as an osage (counselor in training), i realized it a little more. and as a counselor, that realization almost broke me. it's funny. i look back on all these letter i wrote about kanakuk, journal entries, etc. and see how it grew me.

being a young girl whose world revolved around herself and who was convinced she was more gifted and special than any other young girl, i thrived at kamp, because it was very performance driven. i was even chosen as one of the kamp cheerleaders (called a sage), whose main job was to get the party started. so i wasn't a background type person. but when the time came for my life to be a constant humbling process, i started to despise kamp. i despised the system. the competition. the athletes and the outspoken kids getting all the glory. the funny counselors and leadership getting all the attention. it was one big slice of heaven for anybody who is an extrovert and has a funny bone in their body. i was used to being seen as this type of person. so i didn't like it when others like me had more energy and more clout to get the attention they needed, while i was left in the audience. so selfish, i know. but like i said, i needed desperate humbling. and God gave that to me. much of it through kanakuk. as a leader at kamp, as opposed to a kamper anymore, i struggled. much of my focus became on the kids, as i realized the double standard being held by almost ALL of the counselors i was around. i noticed that the counselors most looked up to were the ones who were completely different people with completely different standards when the kids weren't around. i couldn't stand the hypocrisy. thinking that i was not "one of those" counselors, i put all of my efforts in the kids. but then the next year, i started becoming bitter even about the kids. i realized that most were from wealthy families, lived in dallas, and had tons of friends at kamp, thus not needing to reach out to the ones on the outskirts. this frustrated me. even though i adored being the center of attention, i had always looked out for the kids on the fringe. it was hard for me to be motivated to serve these high society kids who didn't seem like they were there for the right reasons.
by the end of my last year as a counselor at kamp, i had had enough. i was bitter towards everyone at kamp and i thought the place was a fake. but through the years, God has shown me how foolish that thinking was. and how, by thinking that, i was separating myself from "them", those ppl with the wrong motives.

HELLO! i was a counselor while i had an eating disorder and was obsessed with my image. i preached to girls the importance of inner beauty, while i counted every calorie that went into my mouth and got up every morning and ran early, which resulted in me being completely wiped out during free times and napping instead of hanging out with those girls who needed someone to talk to. not only that, but i cared WAY too much about what the boys thought. my whole schtick was to ignore the boys and appear as this girl who was completely there for the kids. but i noticed. i noticed the boys glances and strung a few along, only to let them down hard at the end. at kamp, i found i was constantly aware of my worldly attractiveness. i had a lot to offer the guys who looked for the wrong thing in girls, the guys with the wrong standards. i knew my power over them (don't we all, girls?;)) and i was able to exert it. i could go on about my many many many hypocritical ways while at kamp, but you get the idea...

the past few years have been a matter of God breaking me. crushing me to smithereens until none of my original shape was left. and then molding me into something truly beautiful and useful to Him. God knows i have to constantly be broken again, but slowly, i know he is carrying His masterpiece to completion! And now that i have been broken, I have seen the error of my ways. It's not kamp that i should be bitter towards. it's not these college kids who are still confused and unsure about themselves i should be hatin on. it's not these selfish little brats who get everything they want who i should despise serving. it's SIN. it's SATAN. It's the wickedness of man that is planted in us from our conception. This guy, Pete Newman, he did a horrible thing. and nothing should excuse his behavior. but, should anything excuse OUR behavior? i would say i have sinned as much if not more than this man, but most of it has been undetected, or is easily accepted in our society. it's much easier to admit to an eating disorder than it is to molesting children, i should say. But aren't they both the same thing---SIN??? does my sin of idolizing the physical image count less than this man's sin? What i am trying to say is this...Kanakuk kamps is run by sinners. Sinners send their little sinning children to kamp, who are led by sinning counselors, who are overseen by sinning directors. We ALL are sinners. While i can't imagine being the parent of, or actually being, one of the children victimized by this man, i do know the weight of my sin. and how utterly disgusting it is. and i know this world is a cruel, unfair place. But we have to remember that GOD IS SOVEREIGN. this event, and all the other horrible events, did not pass unnoticed by Him. He wasn't surprised by any of it. He wasn't taken off guard. Nothing happened that was not in His will. We can question Him, and Lord knows i do, about the unfairness of the starving children,the abused spouses, and the forgotten souls of the world, but that doesn't phase God. Yes, He cares about what we think. But He knows that we have no idea what He is about, and we cannot grasp His ways, and we will never see the bigger picture. The cross is there, and we need to run to it. we need to weep at the feet of the One who knows our pain and has experienced it for us. Life is SO unfair, on our terms. But God is greater than Life. God IS Life. and He has a plan. God knew that this would happen to kanakuk. He knew that this man would do this. and it DIDN'T SURPRISE HIM. do you not think he is going to work this out for His good? Do you not think that His glory will be proclaimed through this tragedy? I just want to encourage kanakukers all over the nation. Because God is on our side. He hears the cries of the afflicted, and He answers them. He may be doing something major in the heart of Mr. Newman right now, just as He is in ours. He may be breaking the chains of sin and judgment that kanakuk has let slide in, just as he is breaking the chains of my sins that i continue to let slide in, and not even undetected. i usually know they are there.

some of the most amazing people i know have fallen flat on their faces. they may not have made the news, but they might as well have for the guilt they felt. But God used that for His glory. there are walking miracles of God's glory all around us. We as a church need to build up our shields and expose our swords. We're all in this together. (no, not liek the high school musical song:) or maybe so). Let's fight sin WITH those who are looked down upon by the world. Nobody is too far gone for God to catch in the palm of His hand.

Like all my posts, this is kind of choppy and flawed. but i tried to get my point across. Hope i did. if not, here it is:

God is sovereign. Period.


Lucy said...

I love reading what comes from your heart, Petie.

Erin said...

Me, too! I love how open you are - God's grace is SO evident in you! Praise the Lord He loved you enough not to leave you in that state, Petie! Even after we're saved we are in need of His continual sanctifying grace moment by MOMENT! Have I used enough exlcamation marks? I don't think so!!! ;-) Love you, friend.

petie mae said...

you guys are such a blessing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i hope the amount of exclamation marks is sufficient:)

kk said...

This was a nail that you hit right on the head. Thanks for your heart - when we open it to others, it teaches them so much! God IS Sovereign, period and the end.