Wow! What a month for me to take off from the Blog!
My hour a week left over after Scouting has seemed to vanish lately, and the last thing I’ve wanted to do was think about Scouts more and post here, but as Summer is upon us and “The Vote” is behind us, I figured it was about time.
My intention has never been to turn this into a forum of my personal complaints about the program but more to be a resource for others that are looking for ideas or struggling with the same stuff that I’ve dealt with and a diary of sorts to remind me of the cool stuff that we do in Scouting, so hopefully this doesn’t come off as real preachy… but it kind of is.
Right now I’m struggling with the aftermath of the membership standards resolution. Many Chartered Organizations in our area have either been making noise about dissolving the charter or have already sent out emails to the units to that effect already. Volunteers and parents of Scouts have already emailed me with their intention to leave Scouting as well.
My struggle has really been one of perspective.
I guess I kind of understand the Volunteers and Parental perspective a little. Many of them have been involved with Scouting because, to them, it has been this iconic safe-haven of Americanism and traditional Judeo-Christian values. Discussions about the resolution (more so than the resolution itself in my opinion) have shattered that image and they feel a sense of betrayal. BSA has proven that it isn’t the world depicted by Norman Rockwell; it is the world we live in. Petty people from the left and right are here, squabbles about money are here… we have ugliness and warts.
The churches that are dissolving their charters I understand less. Very few churches that I know of around here actually use Scouting as their youth program. Most view Scouting as an organization that gets free rent on their property for meetings and a few use it as an outreach to the community. I can understand where churches wouldn’t want to condone in any way homosexuality, but I don’t see how this equates. I get that many believe that this is just the first step towards acceptance of gay Adult Leaders and some kind of program that proselytizes acceptance as a form of diversity, but I sure don’t know how leaving the argument will get your message across that this is wrong.
For the chartered organization that is looking at it as a rental, I’d ask them to evaluate their charter on the basis of what it is supposed to be and make their decision on whether that is what they want to be a part of.
For the church that is using Scouting as a youth program, that in my mind is kind of weird anyways as there’s already a ton of secular stuff in Scouts, so I’d guess there probably is a better youth program for Christian kids wanting to learn about God.
For those that use this as an outreach, what does this resolution have to do with your program? Aren’t we already reaching out to lost sinners? (Mark 2:17) As far as I understand, there hasn’t been any proposal on the table to take away the Charter relationship and rights of an organization. If my understanding is correct, the Scouting curriculum is designed to supplement the goals of the Chartered Organization, not supersede it. Carefully select the adult leadership roles within your unit. Take a look at your bylaws. Set clear expectations and standards. Be the light of the world. Yes, people will complain about you. Yes, people will say derogatory things about you. Yes, you’ll be ridiculed by some and hated by others. Welcome to Christianity! (Mark 13:13).
By taking your responsibility as a Chartered Organization seriously, by intentionally using the Scouting program as a method for advancing your Church program (and ultimately the message of salvation through Jesus Christ), the church becomes the safe haven that all of those disaffected Scouters and parents have been looking for, which in my mind is as it should be.