IVP - Strangely Dim - The Cedar Journals

June 3, 2005

The Cedar Journals

by David A. Zimmerman

I spent a week recently at Cedar Campus, a camping facility associated with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. I was serving as staff for “Encountering God,” a study track for college students. I drove there alone, and I drove home alone, but in between I ate, played and bunked with a bunch of people I’d never met. Being a neurotically social person, I found my transition into camp life difficult, and I caught myself journaling quite a lot. The journal is presented here, in chronological installments, for your own amusement.

Sunday, May 15, 2005
I’m here alone, surrounded by four hundred students and staff from InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. I am an outsider—neither staff nor student—and though several staff and even a few students have made welcoming gestures toward me, I am feeling alone.

When I’m alone by myself, I do pretty well. But when I’m alone in a crowd I regress. I’m childishly protective of my space and my stuff; I’m desperately clingy to people who have left me an opening. I eat too much; I don’t think straight. Even my jokes suffer—they’re too forced, too contrived, too desperate.

My cell phone doesn’t work here. I don’t have access to the Internet. There’s no town within range for me to console myself with the trappings of suburbia—no movie theater, no shopping mall, no Starbucks. There’s no TV to watch, and I just read the last page of the book I brought to read.

My only hope against this encroaching sense of isolation is God and the four hundred staff and students he has surrounded me with. My hope—and my fear—is that I will go to him, and he will send me to them.


In other news . . .

This summer's theme for youth services in Illinois public libraries is "Superheroes--powered by books!" As a result, I'm getting invited to speak to a number of library groups. It's a book geek's dream, but I suspect I'm going to get shushed by many a librarian before it's over.

If you're bored in the next several weeks, it's not for lack of sweet action movies. Three (count-em) superhero-themed films are coming out between now and the end of July: Batman Begins, Fantastic Four, and Sky High. I'll have articles online related to these films: two on Batman (at Pop Matters in June and In the Fray in July) and one on the Fantastic Four (at Christianity Today Online in July). What can I say? I babble about superheroes.

Posted by Dave Zimmerman at June 3, 2005 9:47 AM Bookmark and Share

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Behind the Strangeness

Lisa Rieck is a reader and writer who likes to discuss good ideas over hot drinks and gets inspired by the sky. She takes in all kinds of good ideas as a proofreader for InterVarsity Press.

Rebecca Larson is a writer/designer/creative type who has infiltrated IVP's web department, where she writes and edits online content. She enjoys a good pun and loves the smell of freshly printed books.

David A. Zimmerman is an editor for Likewise Books and a columnist for Burnside Writers Collective. He's written three books, most recently The Parable of the Unexpected Guest. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/unexpguest. Find his personal blog at loud-time.com.

Suanne Camfield is a publicist for InterVarsity Press and a freelance writer. She floats ungracefully between work, parenting and writing, and (much to her dismay) finds it impossible to read on a treadmill. She is a member of the Redbud Writers Guild and blogs at The Rough Cut.

Likewise Books from InterVarsity Press explore a thoughtful, active faith lived out in real time in the midst of an emerging culture.

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