I was looking for someone’s name in one of my old journals and starting skimming; I came across this entry:
Feb. 7 1997
Last night was stake priesthood. A farce. First talk starts with ten virgins and prodigal son and uses them to say we should be careful with our resources. Is that what Christ meant? Hmm. Then talked about 401Ks and mortgages and whatnot. Very practical I guess. Next was the importance of appearances. White shirts! Get your haircut! No references to scripture. Then came how Christlike attributes will make you more successful in your career, and some advice on career planning for boys. Apparently Monson doesn’t care for basket weaving . Last was an appeal for more fast offerings. No problem, but not spiritual. I can’t believe I dragged [named some YM] there. Like a bad joke by Mencken , or from a Sinclair Lewis novel. These are not my people . Weren’t we supposed to consider the lilies?
 I think this obscure statement was responding to an anecdote about President Monson, but I don’t recall.
 H.L. Mencken: ‘Perhaps the most revolting character that the United States ever produced was the Christian businessman.’
 This is a phrase that runs throughout my journals when talking about the church. It’s from a Joe South song.
Now obviously this was an unusually bad meeting, even by stake priesthood meeting standards. But I think there are elements of this in many meetings. We are a practical church. I was struck by how much of General Conference Priesthood Session was taken up by very practical matters: getting a job, staying out of debt, etc. I’m not against these things: we do stay out of debt, and I went and bought ten kilos of rice last week.
Yet there are the lilies of the field:
28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
One of the common responses to this is that it is meant for the apostles, so don’t worry about it. But we apply the things meant for specific people all the time. (‘Elder Holland: To shift the emphasis a little for broader purposes here, let’s substitute the word called for ordained. Ordained would be priesthood language, and we are going to talk about the general call to teach.’) As John Taylor says, ‘We, of course, must take this as being specifically addressed to his disciples under the circumstances in which they were then placed; the principle involved in his words is nevertheless true.’
So what is the principle? I’ve always read this as saying, Don’t worry about the physical details: focus on the spiritual and all will be well. It repudiates Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, suggesting that we become self-actualized in our relationship with God first and the physiological need will be met (v. 33: But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you). There are scads of scriptures that support that sentiment. But it seems that recently the only thing we consider about the lilies is that the pioneers found them edible.
So. Consider the lilies of the field.
And when did the church become so