But Seth and I go way back. He was a member, successively, of Cub Pack 129, Scout Troop 119, and Venturing Crew 119, all chartered to my church when I was the pastor. I remember him as a little smarty-pants always looking for an edge. I remember him as a young Scout at camp, relieving himself out the back of his tent (with tent flaps decorously folded), heedless of the fact that the back of his tent faced the middle of the campsite. I remember him from a lot of hikes (we did Hiking Merit Badge together). And I helped him finish his Eagle.
I also remember a lot of long, important talks. Not always with me: on one of the hikes we did together, I remember 11-year-old Seth arguing over welfare policy (of all things) with 13-year-old T.J. Seth saw everything from the conservative side; T.J. -- who lost his father at a young age and had known significant challenges -- patiently told him about the way the other half lives. Seth also saw that, I'm sure, when he went to Guatemala with his church.
I also remember a lot of talks about God and church. Seth's family belonged to an Apostolic church, and they were faithful members. They trusted me as a pastor and Scout leader, but I was always aware that I had to be careful in my conversation, since Seth wasn't my sheep, so to speak. I had no leave to try to advance him along the path of spiritual direction that I would recommend, but had to honor the way his family was raising him. For all that, he was ravenous for knowledge -- about everything. At the 4-H Fair one year, where I was visiting youth doing the Fair, Seth was troubled by a conversation he'd had with a very earnest religious leader in the community who called him a modalist. He wanted to know what that meant. And he wanted to know how that was different from what my church taught. Which led to a long discussion on church history and theology.
Seth's thirst to know things led him to poke into some odd corners, I'm sure. He is the only person ever to ask to borrow a copy of my Ph.D. dissertation, for instance. And he read it.
Seth started out studying neuroscience. But then his ambition became to practice osteopathic medicine. The last I heard about him, he seemed to be getting attached to a young lady and his plans in grad school were unfolding nicely. And now he is gone. Perpetual light shine upon him, O Lord.
I scoured my LJ scrapbook for pics of Seth. Here's what I could find.
Swingers, Ransburg Reservation 2008
Seth (in orange) with other Cubs visiting the Troop on Family Night
Takin' a break
Seth and Dad on the Young's Creek Trail, a winter hike. He's about 11 here.
It's just been seven miles, Seth
Twenty-miler in Ohio County.
With Cub Scout Harrison C. hiking the Mark Twain Trail in Hannibal, MO
Troop 119 hikers at the St. Louis Arch, Seth in front row, middle
Seth (in blue) petting the miniature horses along Pottersville Road, another winter hike
Magi, shepherds, hikers come to the manger
Marshall F. (left) and Seth (bundled up); this was Seth's last hike to qualify for the MB
January 2015 Winter Rendezvous
An older Seth, a Venturer now, making chocolate bacon with Jeffrey B.
A new Eagle is fledged
Seth's Eagle Court of Honor, Ellettsville First UMC