scouts-l Mail Archive for November of 1999: Re: OA Religious Objections
MAJ) Mike Walton (settummanque, the blackeagle (blackeagle@SCOUTER.NET
Fri Nov 26 1999 - 16:44:09 CST
Thanks, Don, for sharing your Scout's concern with all of us. I'm
cross-posting this over to the Order of the Arrow discussion group because
they need to be aware of this possibility and some ways to help Scouts like
yours to understand the "voice" and "where that voice is coming from or
Because much of the Order of the Arrow is tied with a little mystery, I
won't go into much detail except to say that the "I" referred to in the
booklet is the "inner being" of the candidate and his motivation toward
completing the Ordeal "with no flinching." That's the true "Spirit of the
Order." The booklets doesn't refer to any "god" or religious figure but
rather to the ability of the Scout or Scouter to take those things taught
from his or her personal faith and combine them with those things he has
been taught as a Scout or Scouter and combine them into a sense of
self-comittment and self-determination.
For the benefit of the Arrow-L folks, Don Scruggs wrote:
> I have not posted regularly of late but now choose to weigh in
>on the issue of a scout who felt uncomfortable with the ordeal.
>Several scouts in our troop went through the ordeal last year. One
>particular scout came to me during the feast and confessed that he
>was about to leave earlier due to what he considered religious
>discomfort. I spoke with him at length and am now able to share
>with you what he felt.
>First of all he had NO problem whatsoever with either
>ceremony. No problem with the scant food or the hard work. The
>silence and the night alone were not in and of themselves problems
>to him but he felt that they may have heightened the real problem.
>His problem was with the booklets. He said he very nearly walked
>out of the ordeal because of the wording or phrasing of the
>booklets. I asked him to specify what he meant and he told me that
>they seemed to resemble religious tracts.
>If you objectively read the booklets you may see what he
>means. The booklets are written as though someone (unnamed) is
>speaking to you. It then goes on to use the pronoun "I" a lot. In
>one of the booklets it is written "I am here to help you...". In
>another it says "I am the Spirit of the Order"
>This scout felt this writing was intended to imply that GOD or
>a god-replacement was the one speaking.
>Once the ordeal was over he really had no further problem.
What can we do, Arrowmen, to bring home the fact that we're NOT talking
a religious deity here but rather our internal abilities? Does those
"Spirit of the
Arrow" booklets need to be rewritten to explain it or can we provide Elangomats
and others to explain the purpose and nature of the booklets?
Is there another ground we can travel to place those Scouts and Scouters
more at ease?
(MAJ) Mike L. Walton (settummanque, the blackeagle)
personal inquiries via firstname.lastname@example.org,
blackeagle@SCOUTER.net or email@example.com
professional inquiries via firstname.lastname@example.org
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