Monday, September 19, 2011

What Place Should Religious Activity Play In Your Life?

I'm a Church geek - a Church junkie, if you will.

I simply LOVE organized religion, generally, and the LDS Church, specifically - for the community of believers and the chance to serve an extended family. I can work out my own intellectual understanding of the doctrines outside the meetinghouse, but I can't walk away from the service I provide to and within the community. Therefore, at certain points in the past, I have attended 6-9 hours of meetings most Sundays - and my wife and I were fine with that. I was there to help and serve, not primarily to learn - so I was pleased and gratified when I did learn something. It wasn't expected or required, so it was wonderful when it happened.

Having said that, the ONLY "required" meeting each week is Sacrament Meeting - for the sacrament, primarily. Attend that meeting, and "The Church" officially considers you to be "active". (Your local ward or branch won't consider you fully active, but you will be considered active from the global church's statistical reporting perspective.) In fact, if you have a job that requires you work most Sundays, but you attend Sacrament Meeting as often as you can (and are known to be "faithful and/or believing"), you still probably will be considered "active" by your Bishop or Branch President.

What I'm saying is that there are many, many "levels of activity" possible within the LDS Church for someone who wants to be "active" but can't or doesn't want to attend every possible meeting. Two simple examples:

1) I have a family friend who was raised with the idea that to be active he had to be involved in EVERY SINGLE SCHEDULED ACTIVITY, and it's taken him years to see that it's ok to miss this and that when there's something else on his calendar that is more important (including when he wants to go out on a date with his wife).

2) My wife and I once considered Home Study Seminary for my second son, who is diabetic and tired easily, but we didn't pulled the trigger on that because he wanted to have that time with his church friends each day. It worked out in the end, but if his health had started to be compromised by Seminary, we would have found an alternative for him.

What place should religion and religious activity play in your life? I can't answer that for others, but for me it is vitally important but secondary to my individual pursuit of righteousness and the development of a godly character. It acts for me as a strong motivation in that pursuit, and it should be whatever works for others in their current situations. After all, there is a time and a season for all things under the sun - and that includes "level" of church activity.


Anonymous said...

Balance and reasonableness. I've been to plenty of PH Ldsp meetings where a leader (above a stk pres) advised men to assess their priorities, listing as first, their relatioship with God, spouse, children and family, work, then church. It is a very individual thing. Personally, I consider someone "active" if they attend the 3 hour block of meetings and magnify their callings. I know there are exceptions to that general rule, but in general if you love God and the Savior and want to assist helping God's children make it to the Celestial Kingdom, normally it takes more than a token appearance at a sacrament meeting once in a while to accomplish that. It does mean attending sunday school and PH/RS meetings, volunteering to help and serve, home teaching, etc. If you keep the priorities in order, you are far less likely to feel resentment over time spent doing church related things. I also ask myself sometimes: What would President Hinckley or President Monson or someone along those lines do in my situation? We can't always make that comparison, but if men up in age can get out of bed and attend their church meetings and duties, then I think I can, too.

Papa D said...

"Balance and reasonableness."

Amen. Veyr well said.

I also agree that my own definition of "active" (generally speaking) includes regular attendance - but I qualify that by saying as regular as is possible in individual circumstances.