Autumn was in full effect last weekend at Camp Shiloh as 82 teens and volunteers came together for our annual teen retreat. It was a reunion of prior teen campers & our NYC Hi Def crew. The retreat focused on noticing the labels we give ourselves and others, and how Jesus treated labels. We also had some local seasonal fun: pumpkin carving, cider pressing & leather stamping.
“Camp is the place to be yourself and a chance to get away. I love it❤️.”
-16 yr old
Join our us in reflecting on how we use ‘tags’ and what we saw in Jesus’ encounters:
- What labels do we accept knowingly and unknowingly?
- How can we take away the power of labels?
- How do we see Jesus and his followers respond to labels?
As one teen said in a small group discussion, “I’ve never thought about it, but my friends and I call each other a lot of names. I just realized that makes it hard for me to even come up with positive labels for them.” Teens discussed the things they are called, or what people say about them or about people their age. They talked about what they know to be true about themselves with comments like, “I am very smart, I just have trouble expressing myself”; “I love myself and my size even if other people have negative things to say”; “I know I am capable and I just keep working hard.”
Some of our labels are just our lens, or perspective and they can’t be taken away, but we can choose for it to not have power by not judging it to be good or bad.
We can notice in Jesus we find acceptance and a call into a new way of living where love disrupts the divisions or barriers that labels create.