Friday, April 21, 2006

The Cost of Discipleship –

Our Elders Quorum presidency was replaced last weekend while I was playing hooky at Episcopal services. Our new presidency is a fine group of men. The new president is about 30, a reserve pilot in the Air Force. His wife is extremely pregnant with their second child, and he just quit his day job to start a computer consulting business out of his generously sized home, bought no doubt in anticipating the church’s cultural imperative to raise large families.

The first counselor is about the same age, and his wife just gave birth to their fourth child.

The second counselor is a recently reactivated returned missionary who is coming back to church after probably 20 years of inactivity.

The thing I have to wonder is why in the world these men are being called to an Elders Quorum presidency. The first two clearly have enough family and personal responsibilities to occupy their lives, and the second is just getting back on his feet. I can probably see the calling of the 2d, but I just wonder how we can consider ourselves a family-centered church, while at the same time we burden eager young men trying to raise their families with time-consuming callings. Their first calling should be to the raising of their children, not running the programs of the church.

Can we not find older men with their child rearing days largely behind them to take on these responsibilities? Oh, wait, because their faithfulness in earlier assignments they're high priests, and thus ineligible to preside over the Elders Quorum.

I’m in a unique position to appreciate this, since I am months from being an empty nester. When the kids were little, church callings and activities came first, despite our best attempts to balance family life. Near the end of this pipeline I found the best years of my kids growing up were spent in church meetings and other well-intentioned civic activities, when I should have been at home enjoying these precious moments.

Bitter payback came all too quickly. The last priesthood session I would attend with my son before leaving for college was this past April. He had the choice between attending the priesthood session with me, or responding to a crisis at work. He chose work, and I realized I taught him too well.


Toy Soldier said...

The family/work balance reminds me of a conversation my wife was having with friends.

She was giving details of meetings we had to go during that week, and their response was 'but I thought it was supposed to be a family-oriented Church'!

Equality said...

CF, I like your blog, but I think the cursive writing makes it look kind of girly. I believe the church does not want us to spend time together as a family--they would rather have all family activities be church-related so as to create a sense that the family and the church are inseparable. That way, if any individual member of the family gets it in his head to leave the church, it will be viewed not just as an affront to the church but as an attack on the family itself. This melding of identities can't be achieved if the family has an established identity outside of church activities. You don't see it for example with Episcopalians so much because most Episcopalians go to church for about an hour a week and there is no concerted effort on the part of the organization to make the members feel this adhesion of identities.