Kris Camealy wrote “Captivity”, chapter five of “Soul Bare”. She talks about following God’s call to a private Christian college that ended up being like a prison camp. That kind of disillusionment is not uncommon when someone is following God. He can take you down some weird paths sometimes. They always have a purpose, but it’s hard to remember that when you’re in the middle of it.
As she began to describe the rules at this place I found myself feeling that dark oppression that comes with that part of religion. It has taken a long time to not feel that wolf at my back, but I still recognize his breath. I laughed at the absurdity of what she was describing. Especially when she described how she would push the rules. Those tiny social bubbles of religious oppression can make bright colored tights seem like defiant rebellion. I wonder if she would ever have dressed like that outside of that environment. It makes me think of Romans 7.
For apart from the law, sin lies dead. I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. -Romans 7:8-10 ESV
I know these subcultures exist, I just forget the details until I’m reminded. That environment creates all kinds of strange expressions from the people within it. It’s an attempt to push the envelope from the inside while still maintaining its legal integrity and mailability. They feel like they’re really doing something, but outside that envelope, they’re completely irrelevant.
Kris is sure that she followed the call of God there, but the twist of His purpose is a message I preach all the time. God uses the funky along with the ideal. Being trapped for a while pushed her to find God in the bowels of that graceless school. He can be found anywhere. Kris gives a few examples of what her take-away, so far, was from that experience. I think it still speaks to her sometimes.
“He chose the pharisaical camp as the backdrop to love me deeply in a way I hadn’t known” (page 43).
You can tell that Kris can still tap into the feeling of that place, and it’s a good thing. It keeps her from losing this amazing gift of having a healthy dose of the Fear of God. Not in the “I’m going to strike you down” kind of way, but in the “I’m GOD.” kind of way. He can use whatever He wants.
I would bet that it also keeps her from being graceless. You know how when someone says “she’s a good one”, with that knowing look, and you know what they’re talking about? That they mean she’s the real deal? I bet people say that about Kris.
Angie Hong wrote chapter six of “Soul Bare”. I’ll write my thoughts on her chapter next.