Church is always an adventure, isn't it? Our Sacrament meeting theme was "Temples." There are so few RM's in our area that we actually have TWO High Councilmen speak on High Council Sunday (which reminds me of the only other joke I know, KimBlue; I'll have to pass in on sometime).
(Aside: I've just noticed a ridiculous number of capitalized words in the preceding paragraph, some of which I'm not sure about. If you have any corrections, I welcome them!)
Anyway, the first talk, from a new councilman was exceptional. Though I hated when he said, "This is the fourth time I've had this calling. I guess I haven't gotten it right yet." I hated it because first of all, that joke is old and tired: almost as bad as when the Bishop says of every advancing kid, "They've reached that ripe old age of _________." But I digress. This guy had not been called four times because he didn't have it figured it out. Quite the opposite. He was one of the best High Council speakers I've heard in ages.
The ward choir was good, and then the second speaker.
The. Second. Speaker.
I know you have to be careful about criticizing your leaders. I know. I learned that lesson the hard way once. (Not a bad story--maybe later.) But I think you also have a reasonable expectation to go to Sacrament Meeting and feel uplifted. I should have known we were off on the wrong foot when he prefaced his remarks by saying that he felt impressed by the Spirit to speak off the cuff. Even under the best of circumstances, he would not have been eloquent. That is okay, I don't really expect speakers in Sacrament meeting to be eloquent, but this was well. . . .
* He talked about a lot of temple symbolism, but not in a spiritual way. He talked about signs and symbols on the building itself and what they mean and he was all over the place. I kept waiting for him to whip out the Abraham papyri and wax poetic.
*He talked about temple dedications, quite specifically, sharing a few things that made me feel quite uncomfortable in the chapel.
*He came down really hard about choosing NOT to go the temple, particularly not to be married in the temple.
*He berated other churches for their lack of understanding of our beliefs and their criticisms of our practices.
Now, this ward, probably has more single sisters, sisters in part-member families, and sisters with less-active husbands than any ward I've ever lived in. So the worst is when he said, "No doubt many of you sitting here today feel," and he paused for a long time, "I'm looking for just the right word here," another long pause and then the moment that made me cringe more than any other, "chagrin . . . over not having a family sealed in the temple."
Plantboy had kind of a blank look, I felt the blood leave my face. I leaned over and hissed, "that is NOT the right word."
Chagrin (n): mortification, vexation, disappointment, embarrassment, sorrow, annoyance.
NOT the right word. At all.
Especially synonyms 1 and 4. Why should any sister in the congregation feel mortified if her husband walked out? Or if she never married? Or if she brings her kids on her own week in and week out because her husband's faith has faltered? Or if she felt inspired to chose a good marriage to a decent, supportive, non-member man over a life time of loneliness?
He then took a few minutes to share some really good doctrine on being faithful and no blessings being denied, but the tenor of the meeting had so changed by that point that is was really too little, too late. He then gave a personal example of a single sister in our ward and went through a complicated what-if/story about what would happen to her in the next life. I leaned over to Plantboy again and said, "This is making really uncomfortable." I was secretly hoping my baby would start bawling his head off so I could have a reasonable excuse to leave.
Now I sound like a real snob. I promise, I'm not. I can even concede that he probably was doing his best and felt like he'd really reached a lot of people. But for me, it was the most awkward 17 minutes I've had at church in a long time.
One of those "embarrassed" non-temple married sisters later gave one of the most wonderful RS lessons I've had in a long time as she testified powerfully about the nature of our Father in Heaven and understanding our relationship to him.
Saturday I went to Goodwill on my own and was able to really dig. I found a 3 dollar corduroy skirt from the Gap, that I really love. I also paid $4 for a gray Merino wool sweater from Banana Republic. And yes, I know that BR clothes are made in the same sweat-shop in Malaychinphilippico as clothes from Old Navy and the Gap. But this sweater spoke to me. And for $4 it didn't matter if I just bought a gray sweater around Christmas time.
Two funny things and a link, and then I'll be done. Promise.
My mom and dad went to buy a humidifier at Sears. Mom waited in the section where they were, while my dad went to find a sales associate so they could ask some questions about the model they were looking at. While standing there, a friendly Asian man walked up to my mom and smiled at her. He pointed at the humidifier and said, in very broken English, "We buy one from War-mart. Rast four day. We take back to War-mart and rady says, 'we have 20 return this week.'" He then shook his head, "Very cheap. Made in China."
My mom just smiled, though she wanted to laugh. She also admitted that what she really wanted to say is, "You look like you were made in China." My mother doesn't have much cultural sensitivity, but at least she did refrain from saying THAT.
Check out this video. If you have ever had an airline lose your luggage (as I did at Christmas), or if you really just love British humor, you'll think this is hilarious.
And click on this link. This guy has some ideas about the tax system that I really like and back up a lot of things that irk me: noticeably that tax-cuts during war time are just asinine and that an extra 4% tax on the super-rich doesn't really affect them, but cutting it undermines the government's ability to run its programs. And not just the Social Security programs the Reds are always railing against. Student loans/grants, public education, scientific innovation: the types of things that are programs that invest in people over the long run and have a proven track record of improving our society. Anyway, very interesting.