Thursday, May 23, 2013

Camping on Mt. Insanity!!!

The Cub Scouts are going camping this weekend.  Saturday night we are expecting 65-70 people to be staying overnight.  If that weren't a logistical nightmare by itself, several on the Pack Committee are going to buy the food for this massive 3 day 2 night affair in the morning.  Wow, this is going to be a big one.  I hope we have enough ice chests!

Thankfully we will be using the Adirondack cabins and will only need to pitch a couple of tents for the overflow.

I may be out of my mind by the end of this weekend.  Jill won't be able to go because her hand can't handle the cold and her patience can't handle that many people in such a small area.  :D

Friday, May 17, 2013

Sick Kid and Big Paper

Caleb stayed home from school with a sick stomach.  He's taking a nap now which is how I know he isn't faking it.  He hasn't willingly taken a nap in years.

Last night I rearranged my den slightly so my drawing table is next to my computer desk.  This will let me draw while watching TV on the computer.  Normally I can draw on my lap but I've been trying to use a larger drawing pad and it doesn't work well on my lap.

Because I had to stay home with Caleb I wasn't able to go to the figure drawing session in Bothell today.  I'll try again next week.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Live Figure Drawing

Once again I find myself facing one of those social situations that makes me incredibly uncomfortable.  Before, it was going to the artist trading card gathering in Seattle.  I pushed on and had a great time in spite of my nerves.

This time it is a live drawing session in Bothell on Friday.  It is at an art studio and has live nude and clothed models for people to draw and paint.  I'm apprehensive, as I always am, about being around other artists.  I know nobody is judging me but that is always sitting in the back of my head.  It is magnified whenever I have to be around people I don't know.  I realize that just like the SeARTle gathering my nerves will calm after only a few minutes and then I will be too busy drawing to care.

Most people who know me don't realize how much I struggle with groups of people.  I can get in front of a crowd and make a silly fool of myself and be fine, but put me in a small group of adults or a party and I fold in on myself.  If I could blend into the wallpaper I would sometimes try.  Only by forcing myself to do it am I able to overcome that anxiety though.

There is also some nervousness about drawing a nude model.  I haven't done it before and therefore it is scary.  Once the pencil touches the paper all that will go away though and there will only be the drawing.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Why I left Royal Rangers and How It Affected Me

I've written my reasons for leaving Royal Rangers several times but many are interested.  Now that I have a blog I'm going to write it all out for posterity.  I will add Scout friendly terms in parentheses for clarity.

First, for those not in the know, Royal Rangers is (or at least was) a Christian scouting organization. It is not affiliated with the Boy Scouts but it was modeled very heavily on it.  It is one of the official youth programs of the Assemblies of God denomination.

I joined in 1985 when I was about 16 years old.  For reasons I don't fully understand to this day my mom wouldn't let me join Boy Scouts, which was what I really wanted to do.  When we discovered Rangers this seemed a great compromise.  I went camping, canoeing, and had many adventures.  I earned the Gold Medal of Achievement in 1988, an award with requirements very close to Eagle Scout.  I transitioned quickly into leadership, taking active roles in three Outposts (troops) and learned a lot from many good leaders.  I joined the frontier cos-play group, the Frontiersman Camping Fraternity (later Fellowship) and advanced through the ranks.  I tried to start a Chi Omega Rho group but the program was cancelled before it could grow.  I served on staff at statewide camps and was a leader of our Outpost at the 1990 International Camporama in Missouri.  In all I was active for eleven years.

My problems began in college.  I became more active in District (state) level programs such as our annual Pow Wow (Jamboree).  I served on staff a couple of years.  The Assemblies of God is an Evangelical church.  Praying out loud, raising hands, shouting, and speaking in tongues are all encouraged and expected.  I'm a quiet and reserved person and never felt comfortable with the outward expressions of piety and generally did not participate, but I recognized others had different needs and never said anything.

Pow Wow had a pattern every year.  The first night of camp there would be an altar call and dozens of boys aged 9-18 would come down to the front of the crowd to have a leader pray with them for salvation.  I happily participated in this.

It was the second night that got me.  Boys were invited forward to be "baptized in the Holy Spirit."  Essentially this meant deep, verbal prayer until the boy spontaneously spoke in tongues.  I have never spoken in tongues.  It is a gift that God gave the Apostles in the book of Acts to allow them to communicate with people of different languages.  Nowadays it sounds a lot like gibberish and is a "prayer language" that only God understands.  So these boys would come up expecting some miraculous transformation and be told they couldn't leave until the Holy Spirit had blessed them with this gift.  The AG church teaches that it is the proof of the "baptism in the Holy Spirit."  I tried and could not bring myself to force a 9 year old boy to stand there for an hour (yes, sometimes it took that long) in the cold night air hoping God loved him enough to make him speak gibberish.  Meanwhile all he really wanted was to be back at camp drinking hot cocoa with his friends.  I had a boy in tears because he wasn't blessed by God because the whole meeting had built up a hot, religious fervor in him.

I brought up my concerns the next morning with the camp staff.  I was told in no uncertain terms to keep my opinions to myself.  Later, I was asked not to be on staff anymore.

So I went back to my church and continued teaching Outpost meetings with the older boys (12-15 years old).  Eventually the lesson plan called for teaching about the gift of Tongues and Baptism in the Holy Spirit.  I presented the lesson as written.  Then I told the boys that honestly they should not feel pressured and not to feel God didn't love them or that He would not work in their lives if they did not have that gift.  I told them the church's doctrine and my opinion that I wasn't convinced by it and that they should make up their own minds.  I was careful not to denigrate the church or say their teaching was wrong in any way, only that I didn't fully embrace it.

I was pulled into the pastor's office within a week with the Outpost Commander and told in no uncertain terms that if I did not tell the boys the doctrine was 100% true (need to be baptized in Holy Spirit and when you do you will speak in tongues as proof of it) I could find somewhere else to be.  Since I could not accept that doctrine I left Royal Rangers completely.

I do not speak in tongues.  I disagree completely with the interpretation of how it is used today vs. how it is used in Scripture.  I believe that if miracles exist this is certainly an awesome one to have.  I'm not convinced though.  I'm not going to get into the verse-by-verse back up of my position since I'm not trying to convince anyone of my beliefs, but merely presenting them.

I was very sad when I left Royal Rangers.  It changed how I look at religion completely, and not generally for the positive.  I have grown skeptical and suspicious of organizations that claim to interpret the Scriptures as the sole source of authority on God.  I have never recovered from that separation.  Being kicked out for daring to question and encouraging others to question as well was overwhelming and eventually led me to leave organized churches entirely.  I still have a spiritual life but I determine it, not a church.

So, for those who have been curious and always wanted to know, that is the reason I left Royal Rangers.  If someone were to ask me today if their son should join I would hand them a Cub Scout or Boy Scout application and warn them not to go anywhere near Royal Rangers unless they believe in the total separation of church and mind.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Baby Birds and Little Lambs

We have been watching a robin's nest on our back porch for several weeks.  We noticed it when the first few bits of grass were put in and have patiently waited with Mama Robin as she kept her eggs warmed.  We suspected that they hatched a few days ago as Mama is away from the nest a lot but still in for the night.  This morning 3 little heads popped up over the top of the nest to gulp breakfast from Mama.  The chirping is constant and beautiful.

In other news I finished my 4 art cards yesterday but fell asleep before I could post them.  All are done with Prismacolor markers except the black lamb which is done with Prismacolors, graphite, and charcoal.

Here are the last card from SeARTle that I haven't posted yet.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Art Update

I have been watching TV all morning while drawing.  I have finished 3 of the 4 sheep cards.  I have a big horn sheep to complete still to finish the set.  My goal is 2:30 when I have to pick up Caleb at school.  I'll scan pictures tonight.

Junior Art Brigade

Yesterday several neighborhood children became interested in my artist trading card collection.  They looked through my binder at hundreds of cards from around the world and asked a ton of questions.  One second grade girl finally got up the nerve to ask if I had any cards so she could make one.  That opened the rest of them too.  I gave away 15-20 card blanks and plastic sleeves to 3 of the kids and told them to go make art.

I'm excited to see if they will and what they will do with it.  It would be cool to have a junior ATC club forming in the neighborhood.

I need to break my ATC collection into 2 binders though.  The last few pages are filled with nude cards and I had to keep the kids out of that section while browsing.  None are sexual but I'm not letting anywhere near them.  Having a kid friendly book is a good idea.

My own ATCs need to get done too.  My goal for today is 4 cards with sheep on them for an organized swap.  My over-goal is to make 3 more cards to trade with the kids.