This t-shirt slogan is a humorous play-on-words; true camping takes place within the tent structure and camping is an emotionally moving experience.
If I were the kind of person inclined to advertise my theology on shirts or stickers, I might opt for a slogan reading: “This Pilgrimage is In-Tents.” I know, it’s lame. But stay with the post, I quote Horton later.
One meaning would be our current physical dwelling place, our earthly tent in which “we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling” (II Cor 5). Another meaning would be what I experience as a Reformed believer as I try to keep the “already” and the “not yet” in balance. Hear Horton, Michael:
To be sure, there is a tension in the Reformed position to see all of life under the reign of God and yet to affirm that “we do not yet see all things subjected to Christ.” Some err on the side of triumphalism (an over-realized eschatology emphasizing the “already”), while others err on the side of pessimism (an under-realized eschatology emphasizing the “not yet”). But if Calvinists are not expected to endure tyranny, they are also not given liberty to take justice into their own hands or to exercise the judgment reserved for the King of Kings on the last day. Nor are they to seek to impose their distinctively Christian convictions on society through the kingdom of power, as both Rome and the radical Anabaptists tried to do. Rather, they are to pursue their dual citizenship according to the distinct policies proper to each kingdom. The Bible functions as the constitution for the covenant people, not for the secular state.
God of Promise (Grand Rapids, MI. Baker Books, 2006) p. 127
That’s tension. And that’s intense.
And if I may, there is a possible third meaning related to the other two. As part of God’s remnant here on earth, living in the Spirit, I am part of God’s heavenly temple presence. While I am presently encompassed by the tent of God in principle, and part of His presence on earth, the universal extent of His presence will not be achieved until the last day when Christ returns and makes all things new. Only then will the tabernacle of God at long last be with men (Rev 21:3), when Christ destroys this cosmos and brings the new heaven and earth.*
Indeed, this pilgrimage is in tents, and in a tent. But don’t worry, I won’t get shirts printed.
*I leaned upon some of G.K Beale’s thoughts on page 387 of The Temple and the Church’s Mission here.