Grace Baptist in Evans holds first Trail Life meeting

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Fingers tapping on his palm, Clay Holland searched for the right word.

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Chaplin John  Marzano (left) laughs alongside troop master Clay Holland as boys laugh and break into smaller groups during the first Trail Life meeting at Grace Baptist Church.  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Chaplin John Marzano (left) laughs alongside troop master Clay Holland as boys laugh and break into smaller groups during the first Trail Life meeting at Grace Baptist Church.

“Morals?” he asked. “No, no, not morals. Beliefs. That’s it. We just have a difference in beliefs.”

Holland and son Daniel are one of many father-son teams to migrate from the Boy Scouts of America to Trail Life since the Scouts chose to accept openly gay members last May.

The decision, Clay Holland says, was bittersweet in some ways.

“It was a cut-and-dry choice,” the former BSA leader said. “Our beliefs wouldn’t let us stay, but leaving friends behind was hard. We’d been with Boy Scouts for four years, and those relationships weren’t easy to say bye to.”

After he stopped meeting with BSA in May, Holland began searching for an alternative.

What he found was Trail Life USA, a Christian-based program that’s undergirded by biblical values and unapologetically reflects a Christian world view, according to official TLUSA membership standards.

“It stands for everything I want to be associated with,” says Daniel, a 10th-grader at Greenbrier High School. “Also, it’s exciting to be part of something unique, something new.”

With the help of both Hollands, the Augusta area’s first Trail Life group – Troop TL413 – was finalized March 5, and its inaugural gathering was held Monday at Grace Baptist Church in Evans.

Nearly two dozen boys attended the meeting, representing five churches.

“Grace Baptist is the troop’s charter organization, but boys from anywhere are welcome to join,” said John Marzano, the TL413 charter organization representative. “It’s an exciting time. Our goal is for this original troop to be the foundation for the Augusta area and that more troops will form because of what we’re doing at Grace Baptist.”

Like the Hollands, Marzano and his 15-year-old son, Mike, transferred from Boy Scouts to Trail Life.

But for high school students Daniel and Mike, leaving BSA wasn’t as simple as switching to another program.

It meant sacrificing years of progress.

“Daniel started Boy Scouts at 11, and for years we heard talk about becoming an Eagle Scout,” Holland said. “The (BSA) leadership kept telling us Eagle, Eagle, Eagle.”

From age 11 to 15, Daniel steadily climbed the BSA charts, making it as far as Life rank, a step below Eagle Scout.

Then, as his father says, “The Scouts changed beliefs.”

“So I asked Daniel what he wanted to do,” Holland said. “He was two merit badges and a project shy of becoming an Eagle Scout.”

Holland went silent, then moved his fingers two inches apart: “My son was this close.”

Still, Holland left the decision to Daniel.

“I chose to take a stand,” Daniel said. “Being an Eagle Scout might mean something to colleges, and it looks great on résumés, but why would I want the highest rank from an organization I don’t agree with? It would have been a pointless endeavor.”

In the end, Daniel remained Life rank, a title often viewed negatively in the Scout community.

“Life rank typically goes hand-in-hand with being lazy,” Daniel said. “Or not being able to get over that last hump. For me, it goes hand-in-hand with putting beliefs above anything. I couldn’t be more proud to say I’m Life for life. It’ll always remind me to take a stand.”

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InChristLove
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InChristLove 03/14/14 - 12:26 pm
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(corgimom) "I guess if you

(corgimom) "I guess if you consider a good and strong soul to be that of one that excludes people, ok. I don't consider that to be a positive moral character thing.

But it's real nice that parents are teaching children discrimination of a entire class of people. Real classy, that."

Corgimom, no one is excluding anyone from joining the Trail Life organization so long as they adhere the standards and beliefs for which the organization lives by which follow closely with those biblical standards Christ has set before His children. That is not discrimination.

What is "real classy" (NOT) is someone who professes to be a Christian promoting behavior that is in contrast to the teachings of Christ.

Galatians 6:7-8 "Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. "

May these young men and their parents/leaders continue to sow to the Spirit.

Bizkit
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Bizkit 03/14/14 - 12:26 pm
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Don't get me wrong ICL it's a

Don't get me wrong ICL it's a free country so if they want to create Trail life its fine with me. But I think this is an over reaction. I grew with two friends who turned out to be gay-I had no clue during our adolescents nor high school as they were just like any other male. Later in college they came out. They never tried to seduce me-people seem to think someone who is homosexual is a predator-but no more than heterosexuals. And I am concerned about environment which the science indicates also plays a role along with genetics-is there a biological and evolutionary consequence time thing.

InChristLove
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InChristLove 03/14/14 - 12:42 pm
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Yes it it's a free country

Yes it it's a free country Bizkit and truthfully there are a lot of people who are homosexual that are wonderful people and there are hundreds of people who you would never know what their sexual preference is (and it should remain that way) but in today's society it seems that is the going thing now, the "IN" thing, is to pronouce you are gay and proud of it. Personally as a Christian I would want my children to be taught along biblical standards what is sexually moral according to the standards given to me by my Heavenly Father and not what the world deems acceptable or fashionable. We expect our children to learn from good role models and someone who see's nothing wrong with homosexual behavior in my view, isn't a good role model.

Bizkit
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Bizkit 03/14/14 - 01:02 pm
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Sadly ICL almost all my role

Sadly ICL almost all my role models through time have failed me for sexual immorality, egomania, drug addiction, etc, so I've learned to expect disappointment from people. Fortunately my trust in Christ hasn't been misplaced. But I think it one thing to recognize sin, speak out against it, but then be free from its wretched grip. I have to love the sinner and empathize with the struggle with sin-because it's me, my wife, my kids, everybody. Who hasn't stumbled and fallen-it isn't easy staying on that narrow path. And I guess we don't need distractions either is your point which can lead us astray. I've got to think about all this more.

Bizkit
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Bizkit 03/14/14 - 01:05 pm
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I have a bad habit of making

I have a bad habit of making things complicated, but often the answer is the simplest and most obvious (Occam's razor-parsimony). I can't see the forest for all the trees.

stuaby
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stuaby 03/14/14 - 01:08 pm
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Lev. 18:21-22 "You shall

Lev. 18:21-22 "You shall not give any of your children to devote them by fire to Molech, and so profane the name of your God: I AM THE LORD. You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination."

God said this directly. Why are some Christians so eager to come up with excuses for abortion and homosexuality? Do you think that the I AM has had a change of mind on these things? If you think so, might I remind you of Malachi 3:6, “I am the Lord, and I do not change..."

stuaby
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stuaby 03/14/14 - 01:17 pm
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stuaby: Why are some

stuaby: Why are some Christians so eager to come up with excuses for abortion and homosexuality?

Is it because Target, Fresh Market, Red Box, etc., etc., are always filled with goods you want, you who promote these things?

Is it because you feel no pain from this idolatry?

Do you think all this will go on forever?

Check your assumptions.

karradur
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karradur 03/14/14 - 01:27 pm
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@stauby

Did you just... quote yourself?

stuaby
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stuaby 03/14/14 - 01:37 pm
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@karradur

Indeed, I did.

InChristLove
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InChristLove 03/14/14 - 02:06 pm
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"I have to love the sinner

"I have to love the sinner and empathize with the struggle with sin-because it's me, my wife, my kids, everybody. Who hasn't stumbled and fallen-it isn't easy staying on that narrow path. And I guess we don't need distractions either is your point which can lead us astray"

Bizkit, I believe you are getting a small glimpse of the issue here. No one is saying don't love the sinner and we can empathize with their struggles but God has loaned us our children to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. It is my opinion, allowing them to be influenced or taught by leaders who's behavior goes against the teachings of Christ, isn't raising them righteously. I would feel the same way about a hetersexual who was cohabitating with a partner and not married to that partner. People are not perfect but that does not mean we can not hold our teachers/leaders to a higher standard...I do believe scripture speaks about this also. The world today goes against everything our Lord teaches as far as sexual purity goes and Christian have gotten brow beaten to the point they are afraid to take a stand for Christ because of the condemnation this world has placed on Christians. Personally, it has taken a lot of soul searching and a lot of prayer but in Him there is no condemnation and it no longer matters if this world thinks I'm being judgemental or hateful or unChristlike. I only answer to Him and the rest doesn't matter any more.

Kingbiscuitboy
479
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Kingbiscuitboy 03/14/14 - 03:52 pm
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Homophobia runs rampant

The majority of kids today, if you ask them about it, just don't care. It amazes me at how rampant homophobia runs through the adult ranks. I'm sure those will give this comment a thumbs down, too. The bigotry needs to stop.

Bizkit
35644
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Bizkit 03/14/14 - 04:26 pm
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Christians aren't homophobic

Christians aren't homophobic no more than any other religion that forbids homosexuality-they just have tenets and rules as about everything else. Just like atheists have their own tenets and rules such as their belief there is no God. So do they have theophobia? A fear of God.

InChristLove
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InChristLove 03/14/14 - 04:30 pm
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Of course kids will tell you

Of course kids will tell you they don't care. Most haven't matured enough to know or understand the importance of biblical truth, that is why they have parents to teach them God's way.

Kingbiscuitboy, you throw around the work "homophobia" but sad to say you have no clue the proper context to use it in. In this case it doesn't apply. Bigotry needs to stop no matter what the subject matter and in this case you've misused the word again.

stuaby
4919
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stuaby 03/14/14 - 04:51 pm
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"The majority of kids today,

"The majority of kids today, if you ask them about it, just don't care."

Of course they don't care. They don't have anybody around them to help make them care. Even the ones whose parents drag them to church aren't really hearing anything to make them feel differently.

Kingbiscuitboy
479
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Kingbiscuitboy 03/14/14 - 06:21 pm
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Jesus never spoke about homosexuality

Jesus never spoke about homosexuality but spoke extensively about divorce. WWJD? Should we move to follow Deuteronomy word for word? I don't think so.

stuaby
4919
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stuaby 03/14/14 - 07:16 pm
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"Jesus never spoke about

"Jesus never spoke about homosexuality..."

And? He didn't say anything about small engine repair either.

Did he not say "Go and sin no more" ?
Did he not say "Confess your sins..." ?

He said enough.

InChristLove
22485
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InChristLove 03/14/14 - 08:21 pm
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"Jesus never spoke about

"Jesus never spoke about homosexuality but spoke extensively about divorce. WWJD? Should we move to follow Deuteronomy word for word? I don't think so."

biscuit boy, Jesus did not use the word homosexuality but he did speak against sexual immorality and he did speak extensively on the relationship between a husband and wife. He never once spoke about two men or two women being joined together but he said a man should leave his mother and father and him and his wife should be one flesh. Never said two men or two women should become one flesh. Hmmmm, what say you?

rebellious
21882
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rebellious 03/14/14 - 10:48 pm
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Karruder (or whatever)

Your response to my comment made no sense! I had to read it thrice, yet still cannot correlate to my comment.

So that being written, I will make some observations. These folks are responding to an action they do not endorse, believe in, respect, etc, etc.... They are not saying they don't believe Homosexuals don't exist, which is what I think your pretzel, liberal logic implied in your response to my comment.

What I can infer they believe from their choices is this...they think a man should not "know" a man, nor a woman lay with a woman. They carry that to say if an organization my kids are in (Boy Scouts) adopts that perverted action as acceptable, we can no longer be a part of it. But rather than fight and fuss and push against a Homosexual agenda, we will pull out (no pun intended) and start our own group which shares the ideals, morals, and values we believe in.

How in your mind you see that as translating to a person being born with a certain skin color is beyond me. Unless you are making a feeble attempt at race baiting. If so, that is better left to professionals like Al Sharpton or Jesse (baby daddy) Jackson.

In the future, try to keep arguments closer to a challenging thought process, if you can.

Apologies for the late response, had to work you understand....Oh maybe not. Nevermind.

Kingbiscuitboy
479
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Kingbiscuitboy 03/15/14 - 06:38 am
1
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wearing religion on their sleeve

Too many out there wearing their religion on their sleeves, criticizing others and needing to get out and actually see the world as it is and accepting what they cannot change, instead of spending countless hours posting comments on anything and everything that comes up. Get a life.
Back to the original issue, Trail life thought there would be a mass exodus from the BSA. There was not. It will die a slow death. Their membership cannot and will not support it financially. I say, good riddance.

Bizkit
35644
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Bizkit 03/15/14 - 09:17 am
2
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Like Kingbiscuit you aren't

Like Kingbiscuit you aren't wearing you ideology on your sleeve and then being so judgmental assuming people need to get a life-dang that Catch-22. Take a chill pill and make a cogent argument.

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