Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Day 6: Someone That Inspires Me

How do I choose just one person? Seriously?!? I've been so blessed with people who inspire me on a daily basis. One person, who I've never blogged about before who inspires me continually is my friend Scott. The picture on the left (stolen from my friend Stephanie) has Scott, at the top left and his brother-in-law Kevin beside him. In the front row is Becky, her niece Ella, and Stephanie (the source of the picture and Scott's sister).

Scott was my youth pastor when I was in high school and now is a really good "talking out deep concepts of theology, life, and ministry, friend". One thing that inspires me is the way he is constantly learning. When I ask him what he's been reading, he always has an aswer for me, and it's always a variety: Stephen King novels, Lord of the Rings, books about spiritual disciplines, deep theology, social justice, etc. He's just started seminary and before his full course load started he took an intensive Greek class that he passed with flying neon colors because he taught himself most of the course work using a text book he purchased from a friend. WHAT?!? That is crazy.

Another reason he inspires me is that he has a way of slowly, quietly, and kindly pouring love and care on people. I don't know how it happens, but those he encounters feels cared for and are drawnt to his kindness. They want to have dinner, play basketball, hang out with him because people truly experience the character of Christ while in his company. In Scott's office during the time he was my youth pastor, he had a plaque hanging up that said "Preach the gospel always, and when necessary use words." I've heard dozens of people quote that, but very few live it out. He does definitely. (He'd probably list the ways he fails to live up to that call, but don't we all fail a little bit in little ways?)

One way that his friendship has blessed me is that he has challenged me to learn but I never feel like he is condescending or lording his knowledge above me. When I was his intern, he'd give me a book to read, I would mark pages I had questions about, and then he'd ask me about my thoughts on the subject matter. Me, sitting in his office as a 21 year old theology student, felt listened to and not like he was internally correcting everything I said but that he actually valued it. As I've gotten older, I've also felt like he's allowed me to grow up. Some youth pastors I know always treat the students who were in their youth ministry like they are kids. But, Scott has allowed me to grow up and build a friendship with him outside of our experience in youth group.

He also has inspired me to be a truth teller, but to do so appropriately. While I was in high school he was so kind and supportive of difficulties with friends and family, but never said or gave me advice in any way that could be interpreted as being not honoring to my mom. When I graduated from high school, and especially the summer my brother graduated from high school, our family went through some trials, but even as I was devastated and lamenting, he told me the truth when it needed to be said but without condemning, judging, or being snide about people in my life.

I also admire him because he's confident in the person Christ has created him to be. He knows his gifts, he knows his passions, and he pursues them, because those are the ways God has knot him together. I also love that his wife, Becky, is one of my best friends. Even though I don't talk with Scott as much as I talk with Becky, I know that Becky appropriately relates things I tell her to Scott, so I can feel his support and encouragement through her.

So, in a rather large nutshell, that is my friend Scott, one of many people who inspire me :)


Stephanie Breuner said...

Glad the photo could be of use! :)
I too am glad that Scott and Becky have played such an important role in your life! I will also say that I have ALWAYS admired the way YOU have pursued truth, even when no one around you was-even in high school. I have always felt that God has always surrounded you with a protective shield and kept you from making the mistakes and missteps that others around you made.

I am proud of you.

Scott said...

From time to time, I wander over to your blog to see how you are doing, and what you've been thinking about lately.
I was surprised this time to see that you've been working on a fiction piece about some guy that sounds just a little too good to be true. Seriously, I would like to meet this man that you wrote about; he might be able to encourage me as I sit and cry, staring at my syllabi, wondering what I've gotten myself into with seminary. Everyone here seems much more capable of having theological discussions, and definitely more capable of writing pages and pages of research papers. I am truly intimidated, and quite frankly a little scared of the work that seminary has in store for me. I want to be the person that you described, but in this context, I need to find someone who will be that person for me.
Thank you for your kind words. I know that they are not just flattery, and because of that, I was a little overwhelmed reading them, knowing that you truly meant those things. I am very glad that I have been able to play this role in your life. Of course everyone likes to hear nice things about themselves, but I am truly overjoyed because the things that you are saying speak as much about the person you have become, as they do about me. It is easy to teach, mentor, and guide when the person you are investing in responds the way that you have. From the time that you were a teenager, you have been such a great student. You not only have a great intellectual capacity to think and reason well, but you have a humility and teachable spirit that allows for growth. You obviously have a thirst and desire to continue letting God work on/in you. You are introspective, constantly seeking to weigh out your motives, but without the egocentrism that so often comes with that.
I don't think you realize what a joy our conversations were and are for me. It is incredibly fun to hear not only the latest books that you've read, but how you have interacted with the author's thoughts. It is fun to talk to someone who challenges my own thinking, and helps me to see things in a different light. However, I get the biggest pleasure in hearing the compassion in your voice as you share about the people that you are loving and pouring yourself into- the ones that will someday write blogs about how you cared for and loved them. It's easy as a youth pastor to begin to see students as projects, and become proud of how far they've come. You have never been that. I am proud of how far you've come, but I am more proud to call you my friend. I know that you will continue to allow God to work in you and through you, and I am sure that we both will have a lot more to learn from each other throughout our lifetimes.
Thank you again, not just for saying the things that you did, but for truly meaning them. I'll keep working hard at balancing myself up here on the pedestal, but don't be shocked when I fall off in a furious fit of obscenities because I can't find my 10th resource for the paper on applying a Trinitarian model of ethical engagement to problems arising from consumerism and its impact on the church... and other fun things like that.... Seminary is scary!

Suzanne Townsend said...

Scott, if there's anything I'v learned as I've become more entrenched in "hipster Christianity" here in Seattle is that swearing makes you cooler! But, if you really want to fall off of a pedestal, start wearing overalls. No on can recover from that. Plus, it really shouldn't be thought of as a pedestal. It's honestly more like the pacers at a half marathon. They wave the sign that says "2 hours" and you follow them knowing that they're keeping the pace. Obviously, they're just as tired as everyone else running. Them being in the front doesn't mean they're immune from sore muscles, dehydration and the like. It just means that they're setting the pace. However, because life is much longer than a half marathon, it's understandable if from time to time you can't set the pace and need to pass the sign to someone else who can set the pace for a while. So, no fears. As someone who knows all to well what it's like to have someone place you on an unrealistic pedestal, you're in no danger of falling off. Damn the pedestals!