Elevated Expectations

Last Sunday, my wife and I, who have different callings, were awkwardly both required in a brief, post-block activity. We were juggling our two kids back and forth in order to accomplish our different responsibilities, while simultaneously feeding them, because the activity infringed on their lunch schedule. At one point, when my 1 year old daughter grabbed my white shirt and tie with food-covered hands and spit milk onto me, I declared to the executive secretary, who was standing next to me, that he was to inform the Bishop that I have instituted a policy on behalf of the Church, under which no married couple with children can ever be called to serve in positions with potentially conflicting schedules. We laughed, but deep inside, I was annoyed.

The Bloggernacle and the Church itself are constantly alive with discussions focusing on some variation of the words “I think the Church and/or Church leaders should do [this] in [this way] instead of [that] in [that way].” I participate in these posts and comments, partially because I think navel-gazing is fun, but also because I’ve found myself “enjoying” Church less and less in recent months, and have been trying to find the reason why.

A few days ago, Kevin Barney wrote a great post called “Lowered Expectations” in which he described the effects that improper or otherwise unsustainable expectations can have on a person’s feelings toward the Church, its leadership, and gospel living in general. Although much of his post focused on apparent inconsistencies between science and theology, he generalizes the point in his concluding paragraph:

We seem to have the idea that putting the Church high, high up on a pedestal is a good thing. In my experience, we would be better off if we could “lower expectations.”

I think there is great wisdom in the principle of moderate expectations for almost everything in life–movies, food, relationships, and yes–the Church itself. But really, shouldn’t we be allowed to expect more–not less–from the Church? Shouldn’t the only true Church, according to our own beliefs, be able to give something a little bit special, a little bit more, than what we expect? Actually, I don’t think so.

Several years ago, I worked for a company in a sales position. During one period, our company didn’t seem to be doing very well–sales were low, and because part of our pay was tied to commissions, morale was low, too. We blamed schedules, product assignments, and prices–essentially said it was the company’s (or management’s fault). We held a few meetings, talked things over with our boss, and tried a handful of gimmicks or bonuses for improved performance, but nothing really seemed to improve sales. After a few weeks, my boss called us in for a meeting and said that, after observing us a little more closely, and as badly as it pained him to say it, he felt the problem was not some exogenous influence in the economy, or failure on the company’s part, but was rooted in the fact that we simply weren’t giving our best effort, and that going forward, he expected more effort out of us. I hated him for about a day, because he had told me, essentially, that I was being lazy. However, while it stung my pride, when I honestly examined my behavior during the period in question, I found that he was right.

Is it possible–or even probable–that we haven’t so much overblown our expectations of the Church’s duties in delivering “religion” as much as we’ve assigned duties to the Church that it never agreed to provide? I once had a calling that required me to visit with Sunday school instructors in several wards for training meetings. While my colleagues and I discussed various pedagogical techniques, the primary focus of the training was on helping members of the LDS Church understand that their experience in Sunday school is in their own hands, and that it’s counterproductive for instructors to cultivate an environment in which members come to expect that gospel scholarship and spiritual increase will be served to them on a platter.

I think about my missionary days in Finland, and the way I would describe the Church to the people (hypothetical, mostly…I was in Europe) were nearing baptism or at least serious about investigating the Church. There were a few verses from the Book of Mormon that we read frequently to help these people see what they were signing up for by joining Team Mormon (Mosiah 18 and Moroni 6). According to these familiar scriptures, membership in the Church is about:

*Being part of the “fold of God”
*Reducing the burdens of others
*Mourning with those who mourn
*Comforting others
*Testifying of God
*Serving God and keeping the commandments

And regarding Church meetings specifically,
*Fasting
*Praying
*Discussing the welfare of souls
*The Sacrament

While this list is certainly not exhaustive, it illustrates a theme–membership in the Church is about giving, not getting. Given this, what does the Church do? It houses authority for saving ordinances. It gives to each member, if desired, an opportunity to serve in various capacities. It provides a physical place for members of the Church to carry out certain of the activities listed above that can be lumped together as “worship.” In short, it provides tools for members of the human race to exercise faith, cultivate charity, and become more like Christ through service and sacrifice.

I am forced to examine my behavior over the past several months, during which I’ve felt less thrilled with Church meetings on Sundays. Just like I realized years ago with my employer, I found that I have not been giving it my best effort. Worse still, I realized that, over time, “going to Church” has become all about me–how I missed a class because my child had a tantrum, how I was bored in Priesthood meeting, how I had to do some task for calling during Sunday school, how tired I am of fighting with the kids to get them ready for Church–and how rarely it is about seeking those who mourn, are in need of comfort, or are carrying heavy burdens. My recently-returned missionary-self of 10 years ago would slap me in the face. I should expect better scripture study at home and with my family. I should expect a quicker response from myself when opportunities for service arise. I should expect more meaningful prayer and fasting. I should expect myself to greet new members and make them feel welcome next to me. I should expect a more concerted effort in missionary work. I should expect better temple attendance.

I agree with Kevin that we need to temper, or even eliminate at times, our expectations of other people and of the Church. However, I believe it is time to elevate my expectations for myself.

_________________

Elevated Expectations

[Note: This thread was beginning to take a direction I didn't intend; rather than repeatedly edit and delete comments, I have closed it up early.]

Comments

  1. aloysiusmiller says:

    Well said.

  2. Very nice post, Scottie B. I painfully see myself in your words.

  3. Thanks for this, Scott. Good stuff.

  4. I agree with you.

  5. Liberal Mormon says:

    I agree. We will get out what we put in.

  6. Kevin Barney says:

    Very good, Scott!

  7. This was President Hinckley’s oft-repeated message. We can do better. Well put, Scott.

  8. Not exactly what I wanted to hear, Scott. But exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you!

  9. Antonio Parr says:

    Your conclusions are wise and enlightened, and something that, thanks to your post, I will try to better incorporate into my own life.

    That being said . . .

    There may be others in your Ward who are also struggling with the quality of their weekly Church experience, and who, for a variety of reasons, may not yet be able to practice what you so eloquently preach. Moreover, there are often investigators whose impression of the Church might be dictated almost exclusively by the quality of their “going to Church” experience. For the sake of these “others”, it may still be useful to pay attention to those aspects of your experience that are less than fulfilling, and then humbly and lovingly and prayerfully and discreetly seek out your Ward leaders to discuss your observations.

  10. Sharon LDS in Tennessee says:

    Scott……..Your honesty after looking into a blazoned mirror is very noteworthy and admirable. KUDOS.
    It’s basically the message I bring to all my posts, I think?
    One way or another we are not taking the ME into account in our journey of progress and developement. Reaping what we sow, or KARMA coming right back at us is sometimes cold water and wake up time. Lest we don’t be too hard on ourselves, after repenting and starting diligent intent again…….we are even at those low times doing the very best we can while not doing the best we can. Sheri Dew said “If life were easy, it wouldn’t be hard”…Mortality is a huge classroom. Billions of lessons to learn, one of them being that there is always more to become, more to accomplish, more to improve. May I encourage us all to pray for Increased Capacity in anything area needed, you are prompted to ask for. Ask Father for increased energy.
    Extended time when running short of same. Plead with him for help from ancestors / extra powerful help from the whole family council in the spirit realms. Plead for angelic help, even from legions…when on your knees and feeling dark powers asailing you. Pray for MORE wisdom, to remember Christ more througout the day, moment to moment. Focusing on him and the Atonement power will lift, heal and fill with extra light and with letting go and letting God, we obtain power and gifts far above our own limited. Its not just for miracles guys, when one is dying.
    We are dying sometimes every day, piece by piece with our loads…..He will be there for you to make it all possible and better. That is my testimony. Hope it helps. We can do better like Daniel said…….especially through Christ who strengthens us.
    Love to All.

  11. Scott, I’m going to have to agree with you here, I’ve expected much more out of you. Your post has inspired me to greater heights in helping you live up to my expectations.

  12. SteveP, Thank you. I confess–I was starting to lose faith in BCC’s readers. The fact that it took 11 commenters before someone hit that softball out of the park is just embarrassing.

  13. Thomas Parkin says:

    Perfect.

    Here is something: when I try to do better and improve my contribution … I discover that doing so is very difficult. Talk is cheap. ~

  14. Matt A. says:

    Well put.

  15. Cynthia L. says:

    You’re a gem, ScottB. A much needed post.

  16. Not so Astute says:

    And with small children, what were you doing wearing a white shirt to begin with?

  17. Terrakota says:

    Thank you, Scott B., I so much agree with your words. I also remember once mentioning to our District President that I think I’m becoming worse, not better. And he asked me a very unexpected question, “Did it start before or after you got married?”. I said that definitely after, and he felt relieved and said I was fine. I asked him to explain, as I have a wonderful husband (who was his counselor and then our branch president), and he said that it’s because I’m no longer alone, and that makes the task harder, no longer I can do what I want when I want, there are so more temporal things to do when you are married and have kids. Not as an excuse, but rather as an insight. I agree that we should alway expect ourselves to do better. Thank you for the post!

  18. I am forced to examine my behavior over the past several months, during which I’ve felt less thrilled with Church meetings on Sundays. Just like I realized years ago with my employer, I found that I have not been giving it my best effort. Worse still, I realized that, over time, “going to Church” has become all about me

    Nicely said. As Terrakota notes, it is a transition that is part of the adjustment that comes with marriage and children, and coping with it is a real step towards adulthood.

  19. Very well said. I have fallen into the trap myself where my church going experience is more about me than about how I can serve others, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed by myself. I regularly reflect on how little I’ve been putting into my duty to use church as a place to serve rather than as a place to be spiritually fed by others. On the upside, I make sure I let those who are doing the serving are appreciated and thanked regularly. I am in awe of them!

  20. [Sorry I have changed the post's title twice now. I will leave it be after having been called a coward multiple times for changing it.]

  21. “…how I missed a class because my child had a tantrum, how I was bored in Priesthood meeting, how I had to do some task for calling during Sunday school, how tired I am of fighting with the kids to get them ready for Church”…

    Guess you’ve experienced “how rarely it is about seeking those who mourn, are in need of comfort, or are carrying heavy burdens.”

    YOU are carrying a heavy burden (a young family) and apparently there hasn’t been a plethora of burden lifting coming your way. It is nice you can start looking outward again, and that will likely help. But others can recognize (and help lift) some of your everyday burdens as well.

    It shouldn’t require hurricanes, car wrecks, or cancer to get some attention. Young mothers and fathers, lonely singles, disaffected, distracted, disenfranchised anybodies — we likely all have burdens that could be lightened. Hopefully while you’re looking for (even little) burdens to lift, someone will recognize yours. There’s a time to lift burdens — and a time to have your burdens lifted. I’m all for lower expectations — so I’ll still hope we can become as good at lifting the little burdens all around us as cleaning up after hurricanes.

  22. Thank you, Scott.

  23. While I now have a few grandchildren that spit up on my clothes, it is nothing like the years that you are currently in.

    My question now is, do we need the Church or does the Church need us? My expectations from the Church were higher as a young father; they were also more hopeful.

    Kevin’s post probably hits more at home with me now as either through experience and/or disappointment, the Church did not live up to its billing; or perhaps my expectations. With lower expectations comes a chance to forgive more easily but for me also a risk of over the top cynicism.

    Thank you for your positive outlook!

  24. Peter LLC says:

    Well, I’m pleasantly surprised–this post wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. 8)

  25. Scott,
    I often have very similar sentiments when I read posts/comments suggesting disappointment in one or another aspect of the church experience. Being called into a bishopric quickly disabused me of my previous focus on “getting” something out of church. My paradigm has since shifted and therefore have no expectations for getting anything from church, only on my level of giving (which is almost universally too low). Thank you for this post.

  26. Jim Donaldson says:

    I think the key is raising expectations for yourself while lowering expectations for others and the institution.

  27. To clarify and avoid any future confusion, I didn’t say anything about the Church having a claim on my best effort (although it does because of covenants I’ve made, but that is a different story). Rather, I just said that I’m disappointed in my own effort, and expect more out of myself. This is not a new or difficult concept–higher returns require higher investments. I promised–both to myself and to the Church, years and years ago, to give my best effort, and I haven’t given that in recent times. No one from the Church has come calling and asked why I haven’t lived up to my own expectations–I am my only judge here.

    Also, I didn’t say I get “nothing” out of Church. I said I’ve been “enjoying it less” of late–that is very different. Moreover, “enjoyment” really has very little to do with my testimony of the gospel; it wasn’t born out of enjoyment, and I doubt seriously that it will die due to a lack thereof.

  28. I think people should have expectations of getting something from belonging to a group, and expectations of having to give something back. Too high, or too low of expectations is likely a mistake in understanding what is possible.

  29. Steve Evans says:

    call me crazy, but if I leave the Church the last thing I’m doing is hanging out on Mormon blogs.

  30. Phouchg says:

    I’m not crazy – I take maybe 10 minutes out of my day checking the blogs and forums. I still have several friendships going back over 10 years through various LDS fora and blogs. I didn’t end those friendships just because I now attend a different church.

    Plus, my wife is a long-term member so I am still interested in what is happening in LDS-world…just as my wife has been doing reading about my church’s General Convention which just wrapped up a couple of weeks ago.

    Expecting those who leave the church to drop any and all interest in the church is unreasonable.

  31. The Church needs its members — I really don’t like the attitude (that can be seen in the Church sometimes) that the Church doesn’t need one individual or another, that it will roll forth with or without you. It may well be true that the Church will continue with or without you but it will not be as strong or vibrant without your presence. We need you, all of you, and all other people too. We should try to show our appreciation and gratitude for people’s attendance and presence at meetings and for any service they render. We should view any and all such as a bonus to us as a Church body and should not take such attendance or service for granted as if we as a Church body are entitled to it.

  32. Back to the original post, this line was wonderful:

    “[M]embership in the Church is about giving, not getting.”

    Perhaps that line is a bit too simplified given the Church’s authority to dispense ordinances, but your list of the why’s from the books of Mosiah and Moroni was a good reminder of how my attention should be fixed. Thanks for this. I needed it.

  33. Hunter, I think Scott was paraphrasing Elder J. P. McCartney, who said, “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”

  34. Scott, I can’t help but notice that your present difficulty with church meetings seemed to start right about the time I moved out of your ward. Sorry about that.

  35. Indeed, gst. I always felt much better about my discipleship when I could look down the pew and see you sitting there with your fly open, either asleep or playing chess on your PDA.

  36. Scott,

    Thanks for a great post and reminder of what the gospel is all about. I’ll be the first to admit that there are some callings that I have enjoyed more than others, but even the busiest, most demanding ones were best when I lost myself in the calling, and truly engaged with my friends and neighbors in church.

    I’ve been struggling with giving my all of late in a new calling that is more practical than my recent time on the high council, which, although pretty time consuming, was more theoretical and strategic. Show up to an early morning meeting, give a talk in some other ward, supervise the semiannual audits, and oversee the welfare stuff in our stake. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it, but it was more administrative than ministerial (ie, less involved in actually serving face to face). My new calling in my ward really means visiting folks who are ill, who are not very interested in church, who are struggling with issues, and in trying to help others fulfill their callings. At the same time, we are having some issues with a family member, who in spite of everything we’ve done, is making a lot of bad choices and is in a not very good place right now. It’s taxing, but the more I find myself engaging with others, the easier it is to deal with my immediate family problems. There is wisdom in your “elevated expectations”, and it puts into words what I have been experiencing myself the last few months. Thank you, it’s very helpful to me.

  37. gst: Or maybe we could rephrase it to be, “Taking love at Church is not as good as making love at Church.”

    Oh wait.

  38. Terrakota says:

    I’ve read in a book recently about some Raymond Moody who, in a lecture at BYU, stated that he had interviewed one hundred people who had died and returned to life. They all responded that they followed a bright light and then were asked, “How have you loved and how have you served?” Not that the question is surprising, but it’s a sobering reminder.

  39. I think the concept is we need to have elevated expectations of ourselves, but not Unrealistic expectations. The scriptures encourage us to run the race, but not run faster than we are able. At the same time, my spiritual growth is up to me. I don’t get it from the classes at Church, as most of the instructors look to me to answer the questions they ask. Instead, it comes from my worship of God.
    While I also get spiritual refreshing from walking through the woods, I realize that such is incomplete. I also need to serve. My responsibility is to take up the cross of Jesus, and serve others. This comes through my imperfections, working with others in their imperfections. And unless you have lots of time and energy on your hands, it is unwise to accept 4 callings at once. Just because the Bishop calls us to something does not necessarily mean it is the right thing for us. We have a right to pray over the call, and see what God would have done, because our Bishops are not always aware of what’s going on in our lives.
    The key is, we are to be assisting in building up the kingdom of God and establishing Zion. I have to determine just what I am able to give, then give it. It should be a growing experience for me, though not necessarily always a blissful experience. Abraham did not enjoy sacrificing Isaac, but it was a necessary test for both of them.

    I do think that when it comes to doctrine, we need to be realistic as to what really constitutes doctrine, versus left-field speculation by some GAs. While I’m conservative, I do not believe all the propaganda put out as doctrinal by certain conservative groups. And I shouldn’t do the same with LDS teaching. For the individual who tries to save him/herself by accepting a bunch of callings and burning oneself out, you are creating straw men to knock yourself over with. We can’t save ourselves, regardless of how many callings we have, how many temple trips we make, etc. We can only be saved by nourishing a close relationship with God, and doing His will in our personal lives.
    I once had a stake president that gave us minimum quotas for temple ordinances for the year, prior to handing our new recommend over to us. Imagine driving 3 1/2 hours to the temple, trying to squeeze in 5 or 6 sessions, and then driving 3 1/2 hours back home. While the numbers were impressive, the temple ended up being a workhouse, not a House of the Lord. Now when I go, I do one or two sessions, and make sure I spend time pondering in the Celestial Room. It becomes a pleasure to work at a reasonable pace that not only brings salvation to some, but also nourishes me.
    I think this also needs to be considered when we are elevating our expectations: seeking a spiritual rebirth and renewal, and not just running faster and faster.

  40. Seriously freaking awesome post.

    I’ll try to put greater effort into my commenting in the future.

  41. FMaxwell says:

    [edited by author]When I read here about the problems some of us have had with the Church, the thought occurs to me that perhaps it’s more precise to say that some of us have had problems with people in the Church. In one sense, there really is no such thing as the Church, there are only the individuals we interact with in a church context. Whether our experiences with those individuals are good or bad, filled with empathy or insensitivity, we extrapolate from those experiences to describe or perceive the Church as a whole.

    I can’t count how many times while reading people’s experiences on this blog I’ve shaken my head in dismay at the insensitivity some have experienced. It’s good that people can share their frustrations in this venue. But it’s sad if they weren’t able to share them or resolve them with the folks who were directly involved in the situations. Burdens were not being borne. Charity was failing. So I tell myself I’m not going to let those things happen on my watch, or in my circle of influence. Then if people extrapolate about the Church based upon their experiences with me, the results will hopefully be better than some of you have gone through.

  42. If I put my hands over my ears and scream, “la la la la la la,” can I just go back to fussing about what I don’t particularly like at church?

  43. Bro. Jones says:

    Scott–I commend your ability to take a step back and reassess your efforts at applying service as a spiritual experience in church, and I found your OP to be good reading.

    That said, it just can’t bust through the armor of my pessimism. I happen to be in a great ward now where I can both serve and be served, and love and be loved. But this isn’t a function of my improved discipleship, it is directly a function of leaving the jerkholes in my last ward behind. That doesn’t make me less grateful for my new ward, but when someone attends a ward where they only feel darkness and the fleeing of the Spirit, it’s tough to beat the dreadful conclusion that they’re not any better for attending church.

  44. Sharon LDS in Tennessee says:

    I, too, have enjoyed visiting a UU and go almost weekly to the local Baptist church here as assistant to a lovely elderly lady who has dementia, needing someone to guide and remind her about almost everything. I enjoy the company, smiles, and ‘worthwhile’ time spent, but am never fulfilled in my intellect or spiritual feeding. The doctrines given there are so elementary and basic and a lot of times confusing. No time for details, and it doesn’t matter, as I do NOT want to bash them in any way. I love my ‘friends’ there and I love visiting everywhere I go, Catholic, Jewish, whatever as I see and feel God and the sincerity of the worshipers.
    It just never is enough though and no one can ever answer questions I ask or have any material that goes beyond kindergarten in religion 101. There are no pictures of the Savior in either of the two I mentioned. When I visited the temple of the RLDS few years ago, I got so ‘spooked’ out with creepy feelings…I started chilling and got sick. The spirit was mixed up and was not edifying. And then there is my ward, and those before the one I’m in. Much more info, much more answers, however, dum de dum dum.
    I am who I am and know what I know because I went to God and asked him. Kept studying, kept learning. People will always let you down. Organizations are always faulty.
    I go to Sacrament to partake of the ordinance of the bread and water and renewal of my vows. I prepare myself and am fed. I never expect the talks or lessons or handshakes to “do it for me”. I go to minister hugs, smiles, bear my testimony and usually go home and study for a few hours and take advantage of the great info we are promised from heaven, if we prepare and ask….and it is given. Voila.
    Froggie, I hope your needs and dreams can be realized. I know Heavenly Father loves you and yours and will always be there for you.
    Johanna……..the Holy Ghost and the Savior are my best friends (not to lower their deification status), but the spot in my heart is full because of them, not humans! My purpose in keeping going to LDS church is always what I said above, partake of ordinances….because I got a sure knowledge they the true way -are of God and a divine tool and means to growth, renewal, change, peace, and feeling the Savior’s touch. May God bless your search as well for meaning and fulfillment.

  45. Thanks for the post Scott B, I really enjoyed it. Although, as a frequent viewer of MAD tv I enjoyed the other post as well.

  46. Bro. Jones,
    Well, yeah sure. I mean, if the ward is full of jerkholes, of course.

  47. ummquestion says:

    To Scott B.

    Brilliant post. (read with British accent)

    I don’t know if JT was being condescending or not, but I think maybe I attend Church for reasons that differ from Johanna too. Um…a man walks into a bar…(so as not to be taken as condescending?)

    What I love about my LDS Sunday is that I get to renew my covenants and ask for forgiveness. I get to spend three hours in a quiet, clean, uncluttered place thinking about God and thanking Him for all He has given me. (like the noise and clutter and disarray of a home filled with kids) He gave me life, love, talents, intellect, buildings filled with books and an internet to boot, a world to explore and learn about, music, food, shelter, forgiveness and the knowledge that I can dwell with Him on top of it all. Three hours a week dedicated to Him seems to pale in comparison especially when the rest of my week is spent on far less important and often selfish pursuits.

    Members of my ward(s) have mourned with me, fasted with and for me, carried my burdens, borne testimony to me, brought me meals, taught loved and-camped with my children. They have shared talents with me, made me laugh, taught me to forgive, let me serve them and mourn with them and share their burdens in return. Without them, I would not be who I am.

    Members of the Church have been there during my darkest hours and my most joyous. It is because of the Church that I met and befriended two of my best friends-both NON-members still today. I cannot honestly think of one aspect of my life that isn’t better because of it.

    Thanks to both Scott B and Johanna for helping me remember that.

  48. ummquestion–

    That is my story too–every truly good thing in my life has come through living the gospel and serving in the Church.

  49. While I think ummquestion’s thoughts are lovely but I don’t think they are on point for my post about the Church’s ability to change to better serve its members.

    Many, many of the very nice things that members have done for you (and me) have probably NOT been done in the 2 hours after sacrament meeting. For many men and women it is a time that is full of crying in the nursery and wrangling other peoples children (not that I didn’t enjoy that MORE than Relief Society! :)) Three hours is unnecessarily long to accomplish what needs to be done. It’s tough on the children and it’s tough on families.

    And as a person that sat through 30+ years of sacrament meeting, I’m a little taken aback that you feel that the church is a “quiet, clean, uncluttered place [for] thinking about God and thanking Him for all He has given me.” There was a huge difference between a typical Sacrament meeting in an LDS ward and being able to attend a meeting where the children were invited to go to classes so the members could really concentrate on what was being said. Like I said, adults (even ones with small children) deserve an hour of worship.

    Thanks for your thoughts, though. I’m glad the members have been good to and you [gasp] have friends outside the church. Good to see.

    johanna
    ************

  50. Folks,
    As lovely as it has been and as much as I enjoy the thought of folks proselytizing for their local UU congregation (my non-Mormon faith of choice, BTW), it is irrelevant to the thread and really, really, really inappropriate. While I appreciate that some people feel better about themselves once they leave the church, this is isn’t the appropriate forum for that particular discussion. While we’ve had the call for a shorter block meeting time, we haven’t had it in the midst of a discussion of how the church is inadequate at present and since that is (somehow) the context here, please stop. Scott’s post, as near as I can tell, is a discussion of the meaning and value of discipleship in his life. It is about sacrifice and why that has meaning for him. It isn’t about creating a wishlist for how the church could make his life easier. It is about why he finds the church an appropriate vehicle for sacrifice and discipleship. I’m speaking for Scott a lot, but that’s what I got out of it. All this discussion of “why I left the church” is a threadjack of the highest and most irritating order, prompted by an apparent troll.

    Phouchg and Johanna,
    I’m sorry that the church wasn’t providing the things that you needed. Please know that if you ever want to come back, we’d love to have you back. In the meantime, good luck in your journey.

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