Scouts Own

“Where two or more are gathered in his name, there am I among them” (Matthew 18:20)
This passage has been stuck in my mind and my heart for some time now.  You see, Church to me is less in the building as it is in the community and in the heart and mind of the believer.  I was dragged into a debate the other day about salvation and church.  I won’t recreate the debate here, but the gist of it was that a coworker of mine seemed to think that if you did not attend one specific church, well than.. you are doomed.
The basis of his argument tended toward the brick and mortar of the church, and in my opinion, less with the matters of the heart.  We agreed on each and every point that should lead us to a good life and a possible salvation, but in the end could not come to resolution on which building we should worship in.
I shared with him the idea that I did not need a church house to be “saved”.  I have everything I need in my heart and mind.  Well this blew his mind.  I talked to him about Scouts own services… held in the woods.  “Can’t be done” he said.. “No substitute for ‘the real thing'” he went on.  I told him that I am a lot more connected with my God when we are out in the woods than I ever have been sitting in the pews at church.  Watching as our young Chaplains Aide conducts the Scouts own service is more spiritual to me than hearing someone go on and on about how I should live my life and oh by the way.. dig deep when the collection plate comes around.
I have heard wisdom beyond their years come from a Scout as he talks about what living the Scout Law means.  I have seen as both young and old men tear up at the sight of Gods majesty as we reflect on his power and wonder sitting at a vista along the trail.  I know God and He knows me and He gets to decide who joins him in heaven.
I have sung praise in snow banks and got on my knees in prayer led by a Scout that does not recite a prayer, but talks to Our Father from the heart.  This is Church… this is where I know God.
We were on a camp out one gorgeous Spring when our Chaplains aide spoke the words, “Where two or more are gathered in his name, there am I among them”.  I looked at one of the Assistant Scoutmasters that was standing next to me, we nodded in agreement.  I then panned the group of Scouts that sat quietly listening to their friend talk about a Scout being Reverent.  I honestly felt the presence of my God right there.
Now I am not saying that churches are not an important part of people’s lives.  But Brick and Mortar buildings only stand to facilitate what goes on inside them.
My coworker is a good Christian man, I am sure that his heart is in the right place.  But sometimes don’t you think the mind should follow.
My sister and I talked the other night about church.  We were both raised in a family that never missed a Sunday.  We believe and participate fully in the sacraments.  As we have aged, we both have spent less time in the building, but our faith has grown stronger.  It was interesting to talk with her about how she feels about this.  There is some guilt about not being in the building, but fundamentally we both feel stronger in our faith.
I suppose I have separated my faith from the business of the church.  I can’t stand the politics and the drama, I refuse to participate in a show.  I want spiritual food and I find that within the context of the Scouts own and my relationship with our Lord.  I have heard some churches refer to the “personal relationship with our Lord and Saviour”.. I have one of them, do I need the building or is two or more of us gathered in His name enough?
It is a debate in the mind now, one that I seem to be winning.  I believe.. sometimes I think the show that runs at 8 and 11 on First street misses the point sometimes.  It’s not a curtain call, its our spiritual well-being that I seek.  I find it in the woods.
This is a heavy topic, I want to know what you think, how you feel.  I don’t want to debate you… but I am interesting in hearing your take on this issue.  Leave a comment.

Have a Great Scouting Day!


  1. I agree whole heartedly. Being in the church that God himself constructed is more meaningful to me and allows for better reflection and closeness to the Father.


  2. There’s a lot of us that share the same experience.
    Like you I don’t want to argue anyone away from the spiritual enrichment they may find in being part of a church or a faith tradition; it just doesn’t do the same thing for me that it does for others.
    As I grew older I thought that spiritual things would become clearer and more defined; that eventually I would find ‘the’ way (I was convinced that I had as a young man).
    At first it was a little disappointing when that didn’t happen but eventually the world opened up.
    There’s a lot of profound beauty to the way people find spiritual meaning; it all agrees at one point or another. When we work and live together in those areas of agreement we can bring great benefits to our community and the world. If we close our minds and hearts to each other we can’t.
    Scouting is an ingenious way to approach spirituality; it has great potential for openness and peace.


  3. Well said. It is what goes on inside the building (or outside the bulding) that counts. Put another way, it is what goes on inside the “heart” that maters. One can’t be spritual only in church anymore than one can be a scout only during a Troop meeting.


  4. Growing up in the same church as you, I went to church every Sunday until I departed for the Navy. Once on my own I allowed John Barleycorn to become my higher power for many years. It wasn’t until I was learning how to stay sober that I also started learning about spirituality and having a belief in and a relationship with a power greater than me.

    I know that it doesn’t take a building to have a worship service, and some of the most enjoyable “services” have been on a Scout campout.

    Thanks for reminding me of something I’ve known all along.


  5. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. That’s one of the [many] things I love about Scouting; it provides the opportunity for young men to interact with good, solid men of faith and commitment. It is a wonderful thing to see the rising generation gain their own beliefs and show that through solid action and citizenship.

    While I agree that our faith and connection with God is a deeply personal thing that we must each build individually, I personally attend church in a building each week. I don’t feel that the building itself provides anything special; it is a place, however, that I can go to renew my covenants with God, associate with others who share my faith – and to serve.

    I am grateful for the opportunity we each have to follow our own personal beliefs and convictions. I believe in God. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and atoned for each of us. I am a father, a husband and a Scoutmaster. I am a Mormon. (Also known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints – or LDS –


  6. I agree with you. I am a member of a brick and mortar church, but my family are members of a different brick and mortar church. We attend both of our churches as we can, but I have had some of the most meaningful church services out in nature where I am certain that God was present in a service where Scouts of many different faiths were able to share those faiths and learn. This is one of the things that I really appreciate about Boy Scouts. It is an organization that does not require you to be a member of any one church, but it allows Scouts of all faiths to interact and share. Our troop has members of many different faiths and backgrounds, from Christian, to Jewish to Islamic, and we have had Hindu Scouts. Who are we to say that any one faith is the only way to see God, and who are we to say you must be in a brick and mortar building to see God?


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