aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,

Sticker witness

People attending Annual Conference often wear stickers on their name badges, or pins, or (nowadays) little stoles -- not to mention, whole t-shirts with slogans -- to indicate their support for various ministries and positions. I saw a lot of rainbow stickers and stoles, and several of the Resistance t-shirts in evidence. There were WCA pins, too, on the other side, though the trads are usually less showy than the progs.

I picked up a WCA pin (that's my tribe), though I never got around to wearing it. The reason is that I feared that it might take away from my primary witness at Conference, which is usually Scouting ministry. I wore a lot of t-shirts and polos with NAUMS emblems or high adventure stuff on them. I wanted everyone to have a favorable view of Scouting ministry, so I didn't want other identifiers that might cause someone to view it unfavorably because they viewed my other commitments with scorn.

Because, to be honest, I look at the people I know wearing those rainbow stickers and such -- many of them people I love -- and I am aware of a negative reaction somewhere deep down inside me. Not enough to not engage them where they are on other issues, not enough to keep me from continuing a long-standing relationship, but nevertheless there is -- a disappointment. And if I don't know them from way back, a wariness.

In fairness, I should trust the rainbow tribe to filter out this particular disagreement in their relations with me, even as I filter out this particular disagreement in my relations with them. From experience, however, I find that many do not. Old friends remain old friends, but the newer folks see everything through the lens of their zealotry, and so I remain wary. I don't engage on that issue, much. I talk about Scouting ministry instead, and tailor my appearance to match my patter.

In the end, we are all who we are, and we stand for what we stand for, and I don't object to people advertising their commitment to what they think important. It's just that, for me, I feel so identified with one particular cause at Annual Conference that I am reluctant to be visually identified with other causes, though I make no other effort to hide where I'm coming from. I'm not ashamed of my commitment to the truth as I understand it, nor reluctant to defend my positions. But I want all clergy and all congregations to consider the value of Scouting ministry, and that means I don't want other things to get in the way; most of all, myself.

  • classical t-shirt slogan


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