April 19th, 2005


Rounding Third, Heading for Home

It's 5:30-something here in Nashville (6:30-ump back home). I couldn't sleep, so I went ahead and got up. This is two mornings in a row of getting up early; usually, by the second morning on a trip I can sleep in. Maybe it was the birds singing outside my window, which was open. It feels like those first few days in summer camp, when you wake up early and can't wait to get the day started.

I just hope that I won't be too tired/sleepy on the drive home this afternoon.

It's been a good training session. We have a strong corps of UM chaplains. We will have about the same number as the Catholics (20 each). We are the two largest contingents. It does bother me a bit, though, that we do not have all ordained clergy. The folks in-process or who minister under limited authority are great people, and they love the Lord and the Scouts; however, they are not fully formed and trained as clergy, and thus do not look at the world in quite the same way we do, for whom this is our whole calling. We can't prepare them to do everything we'd like to in a two-day training session: they just don't have the background. They'll do well enough in the field, but if I had the choosing we would accept none but fully credentialed ministers for this task.

I'll be home tonight, and then the endless to-do list starts up again.

Habent papam fratres et sorores vestri

Well, that didn't take them long. It would appear that the favorite won this time. My initial thoughts on Benny the Sweet Sixteenth:

1) What little I know of Ratzinger I'm inclined to like. He's orthodox. He's not a loon. He seems to be possessed of internal discipline, as well as the ability to demand discipline from others. This means he is less well liked in America, particularly among the more liberal of his priests and religious.

2) I'm a bit surprised that the cardinals picked a guy with an enforcer's reputation; but then, his age seems to indicate that maybe what they want is a steady hand right now -- just not for too, too long.

3) I'm also surprised that they picked a German. I guess I shouldn't be, at least for this German, since he's been at HQ for a long time (and speaks several languages). But I thought that Germany and the US, whose Catholics provide the most funding for the papacy, would therefore be avoided as sources of leadership, so as not to be seen as too beholden to these powerful communities. (I actually woke up this morning from a dream which convinced me that I had heard that Cardinal Shoenborn of Austria had been elected. Oh, well. Prosit! anyway.)

4) The papal name doesn't surprise me. Benedicts are conservative, orderly, a bit curmudgeonly and prone to be suspicious of new-fangledness, I think. Sounds like Ratzinger. (Edit: Benedict XV was a peace-maker who tried to moderate the curmudgeonliness of Pius X. Mea culpa, as they say.)

I hope that he is of a mind to work with his non-Catholic brothers and sisters. Who knows, maybe his steadiness will incline our leaders to keep station on him and we'll all grow closer to God and each other. At least one can hope.

And a good time was had by all

Well, we had a great training event for UM Jamboree Chaplains. I'm busy enough, so I don't envy them the work this summer; it was enough to be with them as they prepared for the work. And I am deeply, deeply touched to know that the leaders wanted me, only me, especially me to come and lead the training. I did not know that I was so loved and respected. In our closing moments, UM Head Chaplain Greg G. said that I "set the standard" in 1997, when I had his job. Wow. Who'd'a thunk it?

On a related topic . . .

I have felt for years that we UM clergy Scouters need a way to stay connected and informed: some way where the Office of CYSA/Scouting can find us when they need us, too. I wondered about the Office of CYSA/Scouting creating a Corps of Chaplains, but then I thought, they'd probably have to clear the concept with the Division of Chaplains. The Div/Chaps is part of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, and that's another bag of cats from the General Commission on United Methodist Men, which houses the Office of CYSA/S.

But then, I thought, we could create a NAUMS Chapter just for clergy: The National Association of UM Scouters Corps of Chaplains. Clergy Scouters could join in directly, as people join other chapters; those who already belong to NAUMS one way or another could join our group for a mere $5 a year more. We would send them two newsletters a year filled with Scouting stuff of particular interest to our clergy. They would also receive the NAUMS newsletter and all the GCUMM mailings. And when we went looking for Philmont and Jamboree Chaplains, well, we'd have a built-in bunch of people already talking about it and recruiting for us.

Other stuff I learned at the meeting . . .

The next World Jamboree will be in 2007 -- the 100th Anniversary of Baden-Powell's original Brownsea Island test-launch of Scouting. That's a year later than the normal cycle. AND, the next National Jamboree will be in 2010 (also a year later than usual) -- the 100th Anniversary of BSA.