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GOTT-February 21, 2007

Calvinism comments temporarily closed; My days in the Corps

I leave tomorrow for a philosophy of religion conference (pdf link), where I’ll be giving a talk entitled “Christian Belief for the Experientially Challenged” – hope it will be fun.  Since I won’t be around to monitor comments, I’m turning them off while I’m gone – hoping that I’ll remember to turn them back on when I get back, just in case some interest remains.  (2/25: I’ve just turned comments back on.)

Since the posts with sort-of active discussions going on are on Calvinism, I leave you with a little story of my childhood that may give a little something of the flavor of my Calvinist (CRC-Christian Reformed Church) upbringing.

When I was a child, I belonged to a paramilitary organization called the “Calvinist Cadet Corps.”  Well, it was really just a church version of the Boy Scouts (with similar military trappings), but the name I gave is correct. [Hey, I just Googled the CCC and found their web site.  The uniforms still look just like I remember them.]  My sisters, of course, had their own CRC-version of the Girl Scouts; they were in what was called the “Calvinettes” – No lie.

I wasn’t much of a cadet, but then none of us were.  In the Cadets unit for my particular church, while it was not considered cool to be the lowest rank of cadet, it also wasn’t cool to rise any higher than the second-lowest rank, nor to earn any more merit badges than was absolutely necessary to get out of bottom.  So upon entering the Corps as “Recruits,” we all worked feverishly on our merit badges and on the other requirements needed to become “Pathfinders.”  And then we just completely coasted – for several years, until we graduated from the Corps, ready to do battle against the forces of evil – Arminians, mostly, I suppose, or, more generally, the reprobate.  (joking, joking)

I have many fond (and some not-so-fond) memories of “my days in the Corps,” but one of my favorites is a simple one involving one of my favorite adult counselors.  Every week, we’d recite the Cadet’s pledge, which, as I recall (and if I’m getting this wrong, please don’t correct me: I’d like to maintain the illusion that my childhood memories are accurate), went exactly like this: “A cadet must be reverent, obedient, compassionate, consecrated, trustworthy, pure, grateful, loyal, industrious, cheerful.”  And this counselor often then quipped: “Well, at least you’re cheerful.”

Posted by Keith DeRose

All of my Generous Orthodoxy Think Tank posts, saved from destruction (albeit in this no-frills format) as GOTT slipped into oblivion, are posted here.

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