Why Stay, Part 2 --
I’m part of a community group in the church I’m on trajectory to join. There are three families in our group, because we are the furthest out geographically from where the church meets and there aren’t many others out that far. One family was sick, so that left me and the leaders, a young couple with two small kids. We typically meet weekly.
We read the bible together and talked about the sermon. One of the couple seemed distant and focused mostly on the kids. I finally had to ask, “is anybody mad at me? Am I disrupting something I didn’t know about?” It turned out that this person was struggling with some personal issues and just needed space. We’ve discussed some of these issues before, and we prayed together and went our separate ways.
I had to reflect for a minute on how genuine and honest our meeting had been. We enjoyed each other’s company for the most part. We shared from the scriptures and other related works. I asked an honest question about whether I had given offense, and I got an honest answer back. We prayed together that burdens would be lifted and the pure love of God revealed.
How unlike the similar LDS experience of home teaching this was. We meet because we choose to. Nobody is keeping score. There is no “report” to higher authority. We share. There is no facade that the home teacher is somehow the superior in the relationship and has authority to instruct and to demand accountability (i.e. the quiz the home teacher is supposed to administer about family home evening, family prayer, etc). There isn’t the awkward moment where the home teacher has to give some lesson the family hasn’t had the chance to think about, while the kids either run wild or are forced to sit quietly, meanwhile hoping lightning will strike the home teacher so they can go back to playing normally. We don’t meet out of a sense of dull obligation, all the while checking our watches and hoping the home teachers will shut up and leave. No, this is a mutually satisfying relationship. We meet weekly so we know each other and are honest about our feelings and opinions. Sometimes we share our frustrations about things at church, but not much.
This is just a warm familiar experience, every week.
I have typically been a big fan of home teaching, but this is better because it’s not done out of obligation. It’s done out of the pure love of Christian community.
Why would I trade it for the drudgery of most home teaching visits?
I have no idea.