Guest Column

Why not view Boy Scout decision as an opportunity?

(Dr. Joel Richardson is senior pastor at Central Baptist Church located in downtown Newnan. For many years, the church has sponsored Boy Scout and Cub Scout organizations. Currently, they are the sponsors for Troop 47 and Pack 47. In a recent “Notes From The Pastor” in the church’s bulletin, Dr. Joel discussed the recent BSA decision to allow openly gay boys into the organization. Reprinted with permission.)

There has been a lot of news bouncing around about the Boy Scouts lately, regarding a decision made by Scout executives to allow any boy to become a Boy Scout. Some churches are abandoning their long-held charter to separate themselves from this decision. Why would we NOT take an opportunity to try to teach a young man about how to live life with greater confidence and maturity?

Central has had an association with Boy Scouts since soldiers returning from World War II decided to begin a troop at our church.

Hundreds of boys have worked their way through a pile of merit badges and advancement steps on their way to the Eagle award across the ensuing 68 years.

Some made it to getting that Eagle pinned on their chest. Others didn’t quite make it to the finish, but I bet they learned a lot about life from those former soldiers and other volunteer leaders along the way.

This church has a history of opening its doors to people who have found closed doors in other places. We developed this habit the hard way, by unlearning some of our former restrictive ways. We are a better church for having opened our arms and our hearts. Our family of faith has been immeasurably enriched by this expansion of reach.

My experience of God through scripture and the church across my life has been one of unbelievable grace and mercy. Yes, I have experienced the restrictive ways that churches can use to say “No” to people.

However, I have also seen churches repent of their former ways and ask forgiveness from those they shunned or turned away. From this perspective I have felt closer to Christ than at any other time, and John’s words echo in my mind and heart— “For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

The easy thing to do is to close our doors to those not like us. The harder thing to do is to try to look through Jesus’ eyes instead of ours. So, hanging in there with the Boy Scouts seems to be one more way we can keep the doors open to all who come our way, just like Jesus tried to teach us.




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