Thanksgiving is, IMO, the perfect holiday: good food, a day off work, and no presents to worry about. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I wanted to post 10 Things I’m Thankful for about the church and ask that each of you share what you are thankful for.
While there’s a tendency at times in the Bloggernacle to pick scabs and focus on the things that drive us nuts or that don’t make a lot of sense, I thought this week’s holiday was a perfect excuse to share what I love about the church. Here’s my Top 10 (in no particular order).
- Tithing. It’s egalitarian, like a flat tax. No matter how little or how much you make, you can feel like you are contributing proportionally the right amount.
- Fast Offerings. OK, not a big fan of fasting per se due to headaches and grumpiness, but I love the concept of understanding hunger in a personal way once per month and using that money to help those who don’t have enough to eat. What a great principle!
- Sincerity. I seldom encounter a church member who is not trying very hard to live a good Christian life, to raise a strong family or to live what they believe. People are just so gosh darn nice and earnest. While outsiders may be skeptical of that, I think most insiders see that it’s a byproduct of the lifestyle.
- Helpfulness. I love that no matter how menial or repetitive the task, members are willing to pitch in and do whatever is needed: putting away chairs, cleaning up after a social, helping in the nursery, and cleaning the ward building are just a few, to mention nothing about the humanitarian and service projects.
- Human potential. I love the concept that we are God’s children and can become like Him in a very real way. It’s a genius concept! Far more compelling than sitting on a cloud strumming a harp listening to instrumental soft rock.
- Word of Wisdom. OK, so it’s not perfect – we’re probably over-reaching a bit – but I love the idea of all of us forgoing what is harmful to “the weakest of the Saints.” And I love the original intent of the Word of Wisdom–that through keeping our minds free and bodies healthy and not indulging in things that are harmful or addictive we can achieve more spiritual enlightenment.
- Pantheon of Leaders. There are so many different church leaders with different perspectives and styles that if one of them rubs you the wrong way or fails to inspire you personally, there are many many more to choose from.
- Personal Revelation. Not only are we given ongoing revelation from leaders, but we are entitled to our own personal revelation, making it a church of prophets in essence. Everyone has the ability to receive inspiration for their own lives, families and responsibilities. That also helps us stay open-minded.
- Callings. While it sounds like some sort of shangri-la to go to a church where you are one of thousands in the congregation, church is over in an hour, and there are coffee and donuts afterward, there is nothing like a calling to take you out of your comfort zone and make you grow. The hardest callings are often the most rewarding in terms of the skills you gain, and even just giving talks creates a ton of personal and spiritual growth.
- Open Canon. The concept of ongoing revelation and that scripture continues to be revealed (even if it is in the more fluid form of General Conference talks now vs. new sections to the Doctrine & Covenants) means that change is inevitable. Doctrines continue to be revealed and reinterpreted. Change happens. Our understanding evolves.
These are just a few of the things I would hate to do without in my religious worship. What things are in your Top 10? Any similarities? Differences? Discuss.