A SCOUT’S REPORT
When I was a boy, my dad died and mom never remarried but besides loving me and taking care of me and making sure I went to church every Sunday, the greatest thing she ever did for me was to get down on her knees before me when I was six years old and tell me that a woman could not show a man how to be a man. She then turned me around so that I was facing a group of men (rural and small town Americans) whereupon she told me to go and watch, listen, and learn. That was the beginning of my life as a scout.
With a fatherless void in my chest, I had all the incentive I needed. I began by scouting my people, followed by the people of other cultures. As a result, I have studied a great many people, not with conscious intent, not as part of an academic study, not with anything but a void to fill in my chest, a void which felt as big as space itself. Into that void, I shoveled everything from John Wayne to Woody Allen. I shoveled until I was plumb full. And when I had filled myself up, I was as confused as ever. That’s right, I didn’t know who I was, and all the knowledge in the world couldn’t help me.
Then I heard my long forgotten friend Jesus calling, and somehow, almost like groping in the dark, I found my way back to Him. He took what I had put inside and brought it to life. And when He did, it was like nothing I can describe except to say my void filled with light, my eyes could see at last, my stars and planets were put in order and I was filled with joy. That is what God did for me. He stoked my heart like the furnace of an iron horse, and it blazed with gratitude.
After I was saved, I was so stoked… I took my journey through America. God, however, didn’t want me to go testifying from town to town (perhaps I wasn’t ready for that). He only wanted me to make it from point A to B with 4,000 miles between… that was His wisdom. Through deep appreciation for those who came before and for those here today, I came away with the truth regarding the importance of culture.
After my journey, God didn’t want me to forget what I’d learned. So it was, I “chanced” on a friendship with the Amish who blew my mind on more than one occasion. Once, while working a horse in a round pen on an Amish farm, I noticed a procession of six or seven Amish girls, dressed like pioneers, walking the country lane. The oldest looked to be twelve, leading the way with direction, but not at all severe. The youngest was about five, and brought up the rear. To my surprise, they turned up the driveway of the farm where I worked. I didn’t know what to think but figured it an Amish thing. I watched as they continued without adult supervision, but each knowing their task, fetched a stocky miniature horse, then a miniature covered wagon. They harnessed the horse, hitched it to wagon, boarded one by one, and as they drove away, they smiled and waved at me. Astonished, I went in the barn to ask my Amish friend what I had seen. He said the girls had stopped that morning and left the horse to be shod before continuing on foot to the one room schoolhouse up the lane. They were not all sisters but children of the community. I’d seen a miniature school transportation system operated by children, working together, without adult supervision; independent, efficient, safe, clean, and yes of course, happy!
I’m not saying that the Amish are any better than any other people. As a scout, I know from direct experience that, white, black, red, yellow, brown, rich or poor, right or left… we are all wonderful, and we are all pathetic. I’m just using the Amish as an example, to show the goodness of a strong cultural bond. On the other side of the coin, I know that mixing cultures can be an equally positive part of the human experience, so long as it’s voluntary. And therein is the danger because, unfortunately in America today, there’s a new extremism that, if given power, would make multi-culturalism mandatory, and punish those with a different view.
Extremist as mentioned above do not view the world directly - but indirectly - from universities, corporations, government blocks, foundations, media outlets, and the like. And while their intentions may be good, their social remedies are skewed by a detachment that allows anger, greed, pride, and other sins to pass under banners of “justice” and “freedom.” I am not saying that I am better, or that I have the answers, but as a scout; I walked through this land, not to make a report, but in the belief that through faith there would be something better: I put my neck on the line for 4,000 miles - and I can honestly say; I came away with the truth regarding the incredible importance of the cultural bond, not for just any group of people, but for any group that centers itself on faith in God. Those who follow the so-called remedies of the state, or market, will march into darkness – but those who follow God (not in concept, but as their forefathers and mothers did) will take the risks, work hard, and grow in the very light that made America great.