September 25th, 2008

hound of heaven

Today's Good Turn

I got asked by a neighboring Pack's Cubmaster to come give a presentation on Cub Scout-age religious awards at his Pack Meeting tonight. I agreed, reluctantly.

Oh, I gave the presentation all right. But I don't know how much sank in. Speaking to a non-church-sponsored Pack of parents who go everywhere and nowhere for their religious affiliation means I have to pitch things as simply as possible. And it's not a simple pitch to make, once you get off one's own turf.

I am a United Methodist Elder. I invite children and youth and their families to participate in United Methodist stuff, including our religious awards programs. We are, being UMs, quite open to non-UMs participating, and we're not particularly pushy about joining up. But we are who we are, and I'm not going to be less than that, or teach other than that, just because you showed up. As long as we all understand that, we'll all be fine.

But there's always the one parent who's got some weird, personal religious trip and he or she wants to take time to ask convoluted questions that have no official answer. Ask your pastor doesn't help when a person doesn't have a pastor -- or even an organized movement to belong to. And I really can't help those people.

And while BSA doesn't define "duty to God" -- quite properly leaving that to families and religious bodies -- they do get to say what awards are worn on their uniform. And that means that if your strange little sect has no way to relate to BSA, then you probably can't earn this award. And I'm sorry, but it's not my problem.