Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Fight or Flight

In light of the new BSA Membership Policy this is my response to a recent Facebook message from a former boy scout from my early days as a young Scoutmaster.

He said “Being a former Scout I am totally in for support of a CHARACTER driven focus when raising boys (of which the boy scouts have abandoned)." He added the following link to a Faith Based Boys organization forming an alternative to the Boy Scouts, to become a leadership and character development ministry serving boys 5-18 years old. While I agree with his statement that Boy Scouts made a WRONG decision this week and disregarded a CORE PRINCIPLE (morally straight)”, I think we see two different possible responses, Fight or Flight.
I must first explain that today I am a Christian, but that belief didn’t happen into my thirties when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord. So my belief came after both my boyhood days as a scout, and my early days as a young scoutmaster.  Nevertheless, I firmly believe that the foundation for my faith began as an eleven year old tenderfoot scout, at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, in Dundalk. It was there where I was first introduced to God. No, not through some direct religious training as a boy scout, but through the godly men and women that sponsored a non-Christian outreach to boys like me.
So I say today looking back, that it was at St Luke’s where I began to develop a lifelong love of God and Country. This love was born as a direct result of my involvement in the boy scouts. It was there that I learned a Scout Oath that still says – “On my Honor I will do my best, to do my duty to…” God and Country, other people, and then myself.
We all must remember that scouting is not a religious organization, but it is based on religious principles. As many as 70% of today’s units are sponsored by religious organizations, where the seeds of God’s Love and a Love of country can be caught rather than taught by those leaders around us.
I’m proud to say that through my membership in Troop 304, which is still sponsored by St Luke’s; I was confirmed as a youth; earned the rank of Life Scout; and served in various leadership positions.  After returning as SGT Wawrzyniak, from a three year enlistment in the US Army during the Vietnam conflict I continued working in various adult leadership roles. Today, I serve as an Elder in a church within the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), I still love the ideals of my Country, and I serve as a Chesapeake District BSA Member at Large helping to keep scouters and scouting true to its ideals.
I have shared a number of fond scouting experiences in my youth with others, which I believe would have happened in no other organization. As a young adult, I especially enjoyed working with some fathers, as we shared a common bond as adults working in various leadership roles at Troop 304. Some of the men were of course Lutheran, some Catholic and other faiths, and some were without a faith.  At that time I was a nominal Protestant but I believe that we all shared a love of the scouting ideals of the duty to God and Country through our association in the Boy Scouts of America.
So while I agree that Boy Scouts made a WRONG decision this week and disregarded a CORE PRINCIPLE (morally straight)” I’ve come to believe that leaving my leadership roles in scouting will make it much easier for those using a different moral compass to more easily bend the ideal of being morally straight.
Today, if I was forced to pick one organization over the other, God’s Church over the BSA, there would be no contest. For me God come first in everything, I literally mean everything. But for me, in the great outdoors of LIFE, Boy Scouting is a place to experience the splendor of God’s creation as found in the Biblical teaching of our Creator through the universal church.
So is it Fight or Flight?
Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary. Isaiah 40:31 (NASB)

Together iHs and YIS
Edward “Keith” Wawrzyniak
District Religious Emblems Coordinator - http://bsa-god-country.blogspot.com/
District Training Chair - http://chessie-know-how.blogspot.com/

1 comment:

Bill Heidel said...

"You must go into the fire if you are to pull others out of it, and you will have to dive into the floods if you are to draw others out of the water." - C.H. Spurgeon

Mr. Keith, I'm glad that God has called men like you to this noble cause.
- Bill H.