An Interview with Scott Rebmann

Scott and I sat down in his office on a cold December day to talk religion, spirituality, death, morality, AA, a little bit about love... 

Raised Catholic, the hymns and songs and occasional prayers continue in Scott as muscle memories of faith, without needing to be about whether or not he believes them.

As a closeted teenage boy, Scott was happy to be invited to join in with his Southern Baptist Theater friends in a prayer circle in the library. 

Tension between the greater call of religion - a God of Love / a Loving God - and the messiness of human beings who put conditions on that love.  

Evolution and a higher power / reason and something more: are they really opposed? Scott wants a little of both but leans to the scientific side of things, if the division is held.

Faith as familiarity, as a thing of comfort connected to a place; a place you go to habitually. Connected in Scott to a place and a people and a habit of childhood. But not ‘faith enough’ to take the faith with him, outside the past traditions. 

To give or not to give; the never quite resolved question of whether to give money to people asking for it on the street. 

AA as a spiritual community, particularly useful for Scott in learning the limits of self and being occupied with ones own self. 

Where to let worry go and where to engage; what is the sphere of our responsibility and our impact in this connected world? 

“To embrace and release” - a lesson learned from Kathy Najimy that has stuck with Scott as a mantra. 

Where does morality come from? How is kindness taught? What are the limits of kindness as a moral framework? Reflecting on his own formation in kindness and the golden rule.

“Death is the great equalizer”; learning a broader perspective through dealing with the stuff left behind after the death of his parents. "It doesn’t matter who you are or what you did in this life. In the end you are going to die and someone is going to have to deal with your shit."

Comfort and joy in the windows of connection that the more loving truths of religion can make possible: in church with his family shortly after coming out to them, Scotts in the choir up front. The priest is preaching about the Love of Jesus, that Jesus loves all, the God loves all no matter what you do or who you are, and Scott and his dad catch eyes and his dad smiles at him.

Enjoy. 

Do you resonate with Scott's experience? What thoughts/questions/memories does the conversation raise for you? 

- Lindsey

Lindsey Peterson