Girls in the Boy Scouts? That’s a _________ idea!
“For he laid the earth’s foundation on the seas and built it on the ocean depths.”
— Psalm 24:2
This week, the Boys Scouts of America announced they are now letting girls into their organization. I’ve heard mixed reviews on this. That is why I left a word out in this prep’s title for you to fill-in. Girls in the Boy Scouts? That’s a _____ idea!
Before you fill-in the blank, switch the words “Boy Scouts” with “Church.”
This changes everything.
Or does it?
I’ve been a part of the United Church of Christ (UCC) my entire life and inclusion is the name of the game here, so welcoming everyone has been hardwired into my head since I was a little UCC kid. So, it’s not the welcoming part I want to talk about; it’s the church part.
On the upper management side of things, the Boy Scouts made one big, bold move. The higher-ups changed their focus. When churches change their focus, what does it mean? A slow and steady decline in boys in Scouts is the reason the Boy Scouts broadened their base to include girls. One of my doctoral classmates reported the following yesterday: A statistical profile conducted in the Fall of 2017 reveals the UCC has experienced decline similar to other mainline Protestant churches. Between the years of 2005 and 2015, the UCC lost 601 congregations and over 315,000 members.
Huh. Maybe the Boy Scouts and the UCC are now more alike than you thought.
And maybe now it’s time to think like their management thought. We should always, always, always hold our doors open (literally) for inclusion of all, oh yes. In addition to that, is there an upper management shift we need to think about here?
We can continue the “wait it out” method, the one where we quietly remind the world we had it right in the good ol’ days, and, if we just keep waiting, they’ll all come back.
Or we can see (or begin to see) our bold God has even bolder plans for His church. That means that yes, we have grieving to do of days gone by. It also means we trust that God IS God, and these ________ (another fill-in the blank!) challenges for us are His purposeful way of drawing us closer to Him — and to each other.
LORD: What the psalmist wrote then is true now. You surprise us with where You build. We would think You’d build on solid ground, but You chose water. Like Your building on the ocean depths, You are building (and building us) in places we have not thought of, or were afraid to go. Thank you. No, seriously, thank you. Amen.