The other day we had Church board meeting, but before we tackled the current issues, we discussed the camp. All of us present were in the camp, so we got to share our experiences as counselors, admin team, music team, and director.

At one point, we started discussing the various names for the teams that kids proposed. There were rather random ones that weren’t chosen, like “Happy Mattresses” or “Skulls,” and there were actual ones, like “Pirates” and my team called “Phoenix.”

My pastor finally stopped bugging me about my love for Harry Potter series, yet I know that he still doesn’t like it. No one, except me, has read any HP books so their view of them is rather biased by the comments of different people (mostly those who oppose the series yet never read them).

At first they did not like the Pirates name. Then they switched to Phoenix.

“What kind of a name is Phoenix? It’s a pagan symbol.”

I groaned. “Phoenix has been used in Christianity for centuries as a Resurrection bird, i.e. a symbol of Christ.”

They looked surprised, but didn’t let go.


“Duh, it dies and it rises from the ashes. There are tons of lessons to be learned from that bird if we only explain it to kids. And I did take time to discuss that with my boys.”

“But it isn’t a Christian symbol.”


I was getting really frustrated because Harry Potter and its opposition has been a very sore subject for me for years. “There is a lot in Christianity itself that isn’t Christian.”

UGH! Why won’t people get it? Why are they so freakin’ afraid? Just read one book and you’ll see what I’ve been trying to tell all along. Is it because of the magic? Well, then one needs to define magic – because Aslan used it too and so far no one really questioned Aslan’s creation of the world with a song (magic spell?). Harry Potter has been a scapegoat for far too long.

Besides, [and this is mostly for those who are familiar with Orthodox Christianity in CIS], I don’t hear a lot of people discussing HALF of the Orthodox holidays and their roots! Those are okay, right? Just because you get to celebrate that at Church makes it right? What the heck? I can name two holidays which have the tradition of the paganism, blatant paganism. Yet no one cares! It’s a Church-approved thing.

Sorry for ranting, this indeed is a sore subject. Especially when my team’s name was criticized… for nothing. Just because I took something that is deemed “wrong” by some people and used it for the good.


I would rather have the name Phoenix, a name that I can discuss with my kids and use it for the lessons, instead of something “nice and neutral” like “Happy Mattresses” which would be just a name for the team but without any context.

If you’ve ever been to a camp (as a counselor or a “kid”), what was the most memorable team name for you?

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