Saturday, April 12, 2008

Second Thoughts

I’ve been thinking about the TMI documentary that will be aired tonight on CBS, and my thoughts are not happy ones. I am fairly certain the filmmakers are gunning for TMI, especially after reading their own words on the Huffington Post. They referred to Boot Camp as “odd and radical” and their comments were, for lack of a better word, snarky. Heck, they didn’t even get the length of Boot Camp right; they said it runs three weeks. Believe me, it’s only two. And after talking about how greuling Boot Camp is, they have this quote, which I’m sure they think is the height of cute: And, while the kids learn to grin and bear it, (TMI founder Bob) Bland -- that wily man! -- gets all the landscaping, weeding and pipe laying his property needs for the year. However, they do end their column with these words, which give me a ray of hope: Should we mandate Lord's Boot Camp for all American kids between 12-18? Should Christianity become the law of the land in order to motivate our somnambular children? Hell no. But encouraging kids to drop the remote, the joystick, the i-phone, and get a little dirty in a poverty-stricken foreign land may awaken them to just how lucky they are, and how much needs to be done.

And even as I’m concerned for TMI, I imagine some of the filmmakers’ points will be valid. For instance, the evangelism training seems to have morphed from, “serve to earn the right to be heard,” to “turn or burn.” That’s a real concern for me; when I went we focused on our building project and playing with the local children to earn their trust. When Michael and Amy went I got the distinct impression the teams were in a competition with one another to see who got the most conversions. Quite honestly, that is a major reason my children won’t be going on another TMI team. If the filmmakers hone in on that, I can’t say I blame them for being skeptical.

Life is different than it was 22 years ago when I served with TMI. Kids are different. And is seems the leadership of TMI has changed. Which is so odd to me; the actual people haven’t changed, but the approach certainly has. I am axious to see what the two filmmakers, two women with an obviously distrust of Christians, have to say about The Lord’s Boot Camp. I guess we’ll know in three hours…