We just concluded 5 days of meetings that our church fellowship now calls a “national convention,” but it’s really a camp meeting — tents and all. Many of the people spend the week on the convention grounds in RV’s, fifth wheels and, yes, tents. But more significant, I think, is the mood of the people who come and the way they spend their time.

They schmooze. OK, so that’s a Yiddish word, but it well describes what Christian folk do at a meeting like this. They mill around the snack wagon, loiter on benches, rock their baby strollers, and gab about nothing in particular. The topic of conversation isn’t nearly as important as the fact that we’re having conversation. We are talking candidly, informally, and transparently with other human beings about mundane issues of everyday life.

In a society like ours, where so much of our communication is electronic and task-oriented, it’s refreshing to talk with your mouth full about things of no great import. We realize again that the point of conversation is not the information conveyed, but the life shared.

We long for community because we need to share life with someone. Not necessarily someone wise or knowledgeable or even articulate. (“You got mustard on your chin.”) Camp meetings are good for that. You see people in their down-to-earth, unshaven and unwashed humanness. And you still see the image of the Creator in them. Gotta love it.