Wednesday, October 9, 2013

From the Mother of a Boy Scout

I've been sitting on this post for awhile, and when I say that, I mean not that I've been sitting on it in draft form, but that I've been trying to figure out what I want to say and how I want to say it.

Let me start here: my thirteen-year-old son has been a Scout (first Cub, now Boy) for six years or so. He loves Scouting, and I think it's been good for him. I joke sometimes that--thanks to Scouting--he could probably survive more easily in the wilderness than in our home. 

Some of Cade's fellow Scouts have become his best friends over the years, and let me tell you: I love these boys. So does my husband. So do my little kids. We really know them, too, because they've camped out in our play room over and over, and three of them have vacationed with us at one point or another. They all want to be Eagle Scouts, some day, far as I know. And they're already six years in; I imagine it'll happen.

Cade's dad and I have discussed the Boy Scouts' decision to welcome gay members but have never (for one second) considered pulling Cade out of the program. We're saddened that--because of the policy change--Scouts are being rejected by certain churches. Of course, in our minds' eye, we see the face of our son, the faces of his friends.

I think I'm safe in saying: my husband Jim (Cade's stepdad) and I see from the churches' point of view more easily than does Cade's dad, who grew up Methodist. Jim and I grew up in Baptist (and East Tennessee Baptist, at that) churches, where we heard homosexuality preached against regularly and vehemently. In my experience, life can open a person's eyes, mind, and heart; she can reject some or all of the viewpoint she was offered, first; but she can never unlearn it. She'll never forget that initial position and how/why it works. Even if she no longer agrees with it, she'll have sympathy for those who continue to hold it.

Anyway. At this point, the decision's been made, and we could have a lengthy discussion in terms of whether or not it was the right one. Many churches see the new policy as a means to condone or encourage sin, and I get that. But isn't every Scout a sinner? Every single one?

I know: if my son were to come to me, tomorrow, and tell me he thinks he's gay, I'd be thankful he could still participate in Boy Scouts, where the Oath continues to be:

On my honor, I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my Country and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight. 

My son and his friends, far as I know, are not gay. I see them--and Boy Scouts, in general--as future leaders in our community; indeed, I see them as future leaders in our country, in our world. My son and his friends did not make the decision in question, and they've long benefited from the support of local churches (one, in particular). 

Churches who struggle with the Boy Scouts' new policy, I ask you: do you intend to stop supporting future leaders because someone who participates in the program, somewhere, is openly gay? And if so, what does that mean, exactly? Does that mean you don't want an openly gay person in your building? And if so, why? Because you perceive him to be a sinner? Aren't we all sinners? Isn't the church supposed to be a place where people draw closer to Jesus?

I'm so thankful the Southern Baptist Convention didn't call for a Boy Scout exodus. I've been a Baptist most all my life; do you see me hanging on? It's by the very skin of my teeth, sometimes. Churches of the SBC, you've been given a choice: to 1) reject the Boy Scouts or 2) "impact as many boys as possible with the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ.” Won't you choose the latter?

If not, I'm curious: have you withdrawn your support of our military because they welcome openly gay service(wo)men? If you're a veteran, have you (in shame) stopped admitting it because someone who serves this country is gay? If you have a loved one in the military, have you closed your doors to him or her because someone who serves this country is gay? And speaking of that gay someone: aren't you thankful that (s)he stands on the line for you? Would you refuse him or her entrance to your church? I guess I fail to see how this situation with the Scouts is so different.

Tonight, my dear, conservative husband leaned toward me and said: "I think I'm coming your way a little. I'm starting to see this, with the Scouts, as an opportunity to minister to someone who's never stepped inside a church before." My heart swelled; my tears welled; I sat down to write this post.

Who is this Jesus you serve? Do you doubt for one moment that He would sit down with a gay Boy Scout?

7 comments:

  1. Your heart grows bigger with time Brandee. I'm proud to call you my friend.

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  2. Good thinking! Not an emotional reaction but thinking through the opportunities and the parallels. ....K

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  3. So glad you took the time and energy to write this. You put into words, the feelings I had but couldn't articulate. Thank you.

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  4. This is exactly who Jesus WOULD sit with. Great post!

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  5. What a beautifully written, honest post. <3

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  6. Annie Watson GislasonOctober 9, 2013 at 9:56 PM

    I love you and your words so much. And your heart. ♥

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