Monday, August 09, 2004

Camp Songs

Pharaoh, Pharaoh
(sung to the tune of Louie, Louie)

Pharaoh, Pharaoh Oh baby! Gotta let my people go! HUH!
Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!
Singin' Pharaoh, Pharaoh
Oh baby! Gotta let my people go! HUH!
Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!

A burnin' bush told me just the other day
that I should come over here and stay.
Gotta get my people outta Pharaoh's hands
Gotta lead my people to the Promised Land.


The Nile turned to blood! There were darkened black skies!
Gnats and frogs! There were locusts and flies!
The first born died, causing Egypt to grieve,
Finally Pharaoh said, "Y'all can leave!"


Me and my people goin' to the Red Sea
Pharaoh's army's comin' after me.
I raised my rod, stuck it in the sand
All of God's people walked across the dry land.


Pharaoh's army was a comin' too.
So what do you think that I did do?
Well, I raised my rod and I cleared my throat
All of Pharaoh's army did the dead man's float.


The trip this weekend was better than I expected, but worse in one major way - inadequate preparation (on my part) for below-freezing temperatures at night. Ugh! However, friends who had an extra bed in their cabin at the camp shared with us and saved us from another night of cold.

On a loosely related topic - if you've ever been to a Christian summer camp, you've probably sung Pharaoh, Pharaoh. I may be taking this too seriously, but the song really bothers me. Basically the song teaches kids to rejoice in the knowledge that God murdered the enemies of the Israelites. Is that the message we really want to send?

Is that what we hope for as Christians? Are we waiting for God to murder our enemies? I would hope not. I think the song also encourages us to see things in black and white, good and evil. Israelites = good, Pharaoh's army = evil. Is it really much of a leap to Americans = good, Iraqis = evil?

I'm not a pacifist (yet), but I think we need to set higher expectations for our relationships with other human beings, including those who we decide are our enemies. And I think we also need to really think about the subtle messages we send kids about violence, even in wacky, fun camp songs. Our hope should not be that God will annihilate those who oppose us, but rather that we will be reconciled through the power of grace and God's love.

Or maybe I should just lighten up...



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