Friday, May 7, 2010

Defending Scott

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I mentioned in a previous posting that Scott Burlison (at left with Carol Kraus in NYC) was unlike anyone else I ever had in a youth group.  This is actually somewhat of an understatement.  Scott was (and I would think still is) a completely unique individual.  He was often capable of making both myself and his peers a little crazy.  He said and did things that left you shaking your head with your mouth hanging wide-open.  He will be the subject of a few other stories on this blog that will tell you more about his antics.  He could be very strange.  But he was also part of our youth group family...

Very early in our week at Mountain Top some of the guys from other groups who were sleeping in the same cabin with Scott decided that he would be fun to pick on.  The irony of this is that most of our group felt the same way.  One evening some of the other guys put water balloons in Scott's bunk, and when he laid down he smashed them, leaving his sleeping bag soaking wet.  I told them that this was not cool, and we found Scott some bedding to sleep on that night.  No one stepped up to apologize, but I had a pretty good idea who did it.  The next morning I informed our guys (who, remember, were not sleeping in the same place) what had happened.  They were livid.  To paraphrase a great line from the movie Animal House, no one could do that to our friend Scott; only WE could do that to our friend Scott!!!  So our guys, led by Matt Schmidt, began to confront and interrogate the boys from Scott's cabin to determine the culprits.  You may remember that our guys were high school kids and most everyone else was in middle school;  it didn't take long for those boys to start singing!  Once names were named, Matt and his vigilante crew moved on to accuse them- and they confessed quickly.  Fear is a great motivator.  They were told in no uncertain terms what would happen to them if they were anything less than wonderful to Scott for the rest of the week, and suddenly Scott had some new best friends.  The group building I had hoped for was happening, and it was all happening around Scott Burlison.

And we weren't done yet.  Sometime during that week June 17th arrived, which is Scott's birthday.  We wanted to throw him a little party in the dining hall around dinner that night, but were told by The Director that this would break rule #1 of Mountain Top- no group can do anything that might exclude any other group.  This got us motivated.  We got some decorations and some goodies and that night we celebrated his 15th birthday.  I was reprimanded for our actions, but I really didn't care.  Scott was someone who needed our youth group to be a family.  He needed to know we were there for him.  This was a show of commitment- and sometimes you have to break a few rules to do the right thing.  And besides, when we sang Happy Birthday to Scott that night, it was not just our group.  His new friends from his cabin joined in and sang with great gusto! 

You never know what small things or unusual events will help lead a group towards a better understanding of what it takes to reach koinonia- true Christian community.  Scott had helped us on our way.  We were beginning to bond.  Tomorrow you can learn how my guitar almost got us sent home, and in doing so, set our relationships in concrete.

Because of Jesus,

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