Monday, February 21, 2011

My Other Ward, Part II

Church was really good on Sunday. I quite enjoyed it. Sometimes people ask me why I still attend a church that has basically rejected me. I don't really see it that way, and I still like going and still get a lot out of it.

I especially felt the need to go on Sunday because I was feeling kind of hard-hearted about something and thought a day at church would help me feel the spirit. It did.

Again, I just love how welcoming and friendly the people in this particular ward are. I really admire it. I love, too, how diverse the ward is. So many colors and unique individuals in the palette. Not what I'm used to seeing in Utah.

A youth speaker was the first one to speak at Sacrament Meeting. There is little doubt in my mind that he is gay (or will realize he is soon). Furthermore, his name was Halston Hightower (mom and dad, if your last name is Hightower, and you name your boy Halston, you're pretty much begging for him to be gay; you might as well have named him Clea).

Anyway, his talk was about missionary work and his desires to go on a mission. I'm curious what his life will be like ten years from now.

The next speaker gave a terrific and unexpected talk about immigration. Hers seemed to be a pro-immigration position. She talked about how our ancestors immigrated to this country in search of a better life, and that today's immigrants were doing the same. And while she did stress that the laws of the land should be followed, she also stressed the compassion and love we must have toward our neighbors from foreign lands. While the immigration issue is a tricky one (and she stressed that, too), I really liked what she had to say and was kind of surprised to hear such a talk in Sacrament Meeting (but thought it was very well-done). I'd be surprised to hear such a talk given in many Utah wards.

The Young Women sang a song, which was...meh.

The next speaker gave a talk on temples, which I wasn't into as much, but was still good.

Sunday School was about the Beatitudes, which I like. There was one woman in there who brought her granddaughter in, and that kid was LOUD! Really loud. And the grandmother made no effort to quiet her down. It was very distracting. The girl practically screamed, "I WANT TO GO BACK TO PRIMARY!" and I thought, "Why did she bring her here then?" Eventually, the grandmother relented, and the kid went away, and the lesson was much better after that.

When I volunteered to read a scripture, I was then asked to give my opinion about it. It was the one about blessed are they that thirst and hunger after righteousness, for they will be filled , and I made the point that Christ didn't say "Blessed are they who are completely righteous" or "Blessed are the perfect," but, basically, "Blessed are those that want to be righteous or who are trying really hard to be righteous, but might be failing in some aspects." Although somebody else later made the point that the 3 Nephi version says "they will be filled with the Holy Ghost," I was saying that those that lack in complete righteousness will be "filled"; that is to say that Christ's atonement will fill in the parts that we are unable to fill in ourselves.

In any case, I spoke for probably less than 45 seconds and said nothing different than I would have said if I was still a member, but it felt really nice to vocally contribute to the discussion.

I've mentioned this before, but another thing I really like about the ward is how active these members are in contributing to the class discussion; and not just standard "Sunday School" answers, but thought-provoking and thoughtful stuff. I've been to many wards (including my mom's ward, which I still love a lot) where people either sit like bumps on logs or just give pat "Sunday School" answers. I like the Sunday School lessons here, and like I said, it was really nice to actually be part of the discussion for just a brief moment - something I know will not happen often.

Anyway, it was a really nice day at church, and I was really grateful I had gone. ...and yes, it did make me feel better.

I spent the rest of the day cleaning part of mine and Jonah's house. It seriously needed it. We still have a way to go, but it was nice to clean our environment a bit.


Beck said...

Thank you for sharing your special witness!

J G-W said...

Wow, you've kinda summarized my Sunday too. I too pretty much felt I needed to go to Church Sunday, because I needed to feel the Spirit, and chip away some hard-heartedness. (And for me some sadness too.) We had a pretty cool discussion of the beatitudes which I got to participate in as well.