Church Activity & Capacity to Love

For the discussion of spirituality -- from LDS and non-LDS sources
Post Reply
Featherina

Church Activity & Capacity to Love

Post by Featherina » 20 Apr 2010, 21:55

God is LOVE...and many other things...but mostly LOVE, right? :D

I'm thinking that love is the monetary system, spiritually. We can spend all our lives learning...& that is a noble pursuit - but it's only a tiny fraction of the knowledge we'll get after death (according to Near-Death-Experiences). It seems that our energy, intent, or capacity to LOVE is most important. I think the LDS church is, potentially a great tool for developing & increasing capacity to love. It provides many service opportunities: callings, home & visiting teaching, socializing, missionary & temple work & high values (self-love). I also think it can diminish capacity to love...with shame, judgmental (high values), illusion/nonquestioning & (the one that is most difficult for me:) the exclusive cliquish manners of some.

Currently, I don't have a calling (besides visiting teacher - which I love). I live in an area where people have lived here for generations & don't socialize (besides superficially at church) much with newcomers (relatively) like us. I don't do missionary or temple work. Honestly, the sense of community is superficial - except if there were emergency, I think (& hope) we'd all have a network of support. Lately, I've been wondering if living here, going to this ward is enhancing or hindering my capacity to love. Maybe there are perspectives I haven't thought of & maybe there are lessons I need to learn here.

How do I serve/love in the church when I don't believe everything about it & when I feel like such an outsider on so many levels?
How is your activity in the church increasing your capacity to love?

nightwalden
Posts: 73
Joined: 05 Sep 2009, 19:34

Re: Church Activity & Capacity to Love

Post by nightwalden » 21 Apr 2010, 08:37

I, for whatever reason, have always been drawn to people on the fringes at church, other people that don't fit in. I look the part but I don't ever feel like I fit in either. I tend to try to sit by people that don't seem to fit in well, we talk and develop a rapport. I also interact a little with the ward social leaders as well. When I do, I talk up all the great people that they inadvertently fail to get to know. This takes no special effort on my part, it's just what I do.

The way you described your ward, I am sure that there are other people who feel like they don't fit in. Try to befriend those people. In my experience, they are worth getting to know far more than the more visible people. They need love and return it in spades. Also, don't hesitate to ask for a calling. If there is a calling within any auxiliary that you want, mention it to that auxiliary leader so they can request it. It may not work exactly how you want but it certainly cannot hurt. I have done this a few times and it hasn't worked that well for me but it did no harm and I felt better because I did something to improve my situation.

Good luck.

User avatar
Heber13
Site Admin
Posts: 7152
Joined: 22 Apr 2009, 16:37
Location: In the Middle

Re: Church Activity & Capacity to Love

Post by Heber13 » 21 Apr 2010, 10:55

Great post, Featherina. I think that love is the foundation of my motivations at church. I mostly go because I love my family, and I try to develop love for God individually...but find I can't do that on my own, because I show God my love by showing love to His other children. But I never put church teachings above love...kids make mistakes and need to be reprimanded...but out of love that it will help them in the future, or protect them now...not just cause I'm mad or because a rule was broken.

I'm convinced obedience without love will lead to disappointment or hurt feelings by somebody.
Featherina wrote:How do I serve/love in the church when I don't believe everything about it & when I feel like such an outsider on so many levels?
How is your activity in the church increasing your capacity to love?
I don't think service has to be tied to believing EVERYTHING. I think faith motivates us to act and serve with hopes it is the right thing to do and will lead to good results (within ourselves and outside of ourselves), even when we don't know all things and can only hope we are on the right path to make sense of it some day. In fact, I think sometimes that is what we need...while we are struggling to find answers...doing something (serving) helps get us moving so we find the answers.

So in that light, even when we don't feel we fit in, our service can be the best thing for us...sometimes letting us know that even if we are outsiders, the orchestra is better with us a part of it. And when we serve and see the benefit of developing our talents to contribute...we see evidence of it.

I think serving helps increase my capacity to love because instead of just sitting home being myself and thinking I don't want to interact with others who are different from me, I see that even with differences, I can love the good that is in them...or in other words, look past the differences and not let them be things that separate me from them...but things that I ignore or even learn from. Serving helps to see that there is not just one mold that fits all situations. There are times my talents are needed, but times that others' talents are needed. Sometimes the people who are most annoying to me and I don't personally like as "friends", are still the most valuable to carrying out a successful activity.

And when I see that...I increase my capacity to love them for who they are...and me for how I am without wanting to be like somebody else, or make them be like me.

That is probably the greatest reason I Stay LDS...it helps me love more, and I know I need that (even if at times it is like a root canal...I hate it while going through it but just know I need it).
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

User avatar
Rix
Posts: 562
Joined: 20 Jul 2009, 14:29
Location: Bluffdale, UT

Re: Church Activity & Capacity to Love

Post by Rix » 21 Apr 2010, 11:53

Heber13 wrote: ... it is like a root canal...I hate it while going through it but just know I need it).
I need one of those right now, but I keep putting it off. And suffering. Hmmm...

:lol:
Überzeugungen sind oft die gefährlichsten Feinde der Wahrheit.
[Certainty (that one is correct) is often the most dangerous enemy of the
truth.] - Friedrich Nietzsche

God is a metaphor for that which transcends all levels of intellectual thought. It's as simple as that. -- Joseph Campbell

Featherina

Re: Church Activity & Capacity to Love

Post by Featherina » 22 Apr 2010, 10:46

After I posted that, I was a little nervous, because it was kind of personal, so I especially appreciate your kind responses.
Nightwalden, That's a good idea to look for those overlooked. We've done that a little - had people over & I just mentioned getting together with another family.
Rix - that analogy was funny! :D
Heber, What you said, & what I turned to in the scriptures last night, were similar...let's see if I can find it again...

"For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. & if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same...But love your enenmies, & do good, & lend, hoping for nothing again; & your reward shall be great, & ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful & to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, & ye shall not be judged; condemn not, & ye shall not be condemned; forgive, & ye shall be forgiven." (Luke 6 - 32-) ...Now if I can apply it!

I was also thinking about how having a large family is associated with capacity to love & church activity (following the Family Proclamation). I've had several difficult misscarriages & my last pregnancy was hospitalized & put on bed rest. Also, I know that once you're in you're mid 30's, pregnancy risks increase. Also, honestly, my kids give me a run for my money already! I don't know if I could handle more children without being neglectful. So with all of this & spiritual answers, we don't plan on having any more children. But I keep getting asked if we are, as if it's expected. I've also wondered if my capacity to love would increase if I had more children, but I don't think so, necessarily. I'm thinking that how much you love & take opportunities to show kindness - doesn't depend on how many people are in your life, but how much life & heart you put into loving.

Curt Sunshine
Site Admin
Posts: 16707
Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 20:24

Re: Church Activity & Capacity to Love

Post by Curt Sunshine » 22 Apr 2010, 12:48

I was also thinking about how having a large family is associated with capacity to love & church activity (following the Family Proclamation).


Fwiw, that's not doctrine now and it's not actually part of the Proclamation. Seriously, that idea is a cultural leech that just won't let go.

The idea that we should have as many children as we personally and individually can handle is embedded in doctrine, but that number can be 0-50. If Sheri Dew can serve in the highest eschalons of the Church without even being married, and if apostles can have relatively small families, you'd think that cultural leech would die - but, like cultural cockroaches, those suckers :roll: are hard to kill.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

User avatar
Heber13
Site Admin
Posts: 7152
Joined: 22 Apr 2009, 16:37
Location: In the Middle

Re: Church Activity & Capacity to Love

Post by Heber13 » 22 Apr 2010, 14:45

Featherina wrote:I'm thinking that how much you love & take opportunities to show kindness - doesn't depend on how many people are in your life, but how much life & heart you put into loving.
Wow. That scripture, and this statement you make above really deeply touched me. Thank you.

We have 4 kids, the youngest us 7. After he came, we decided we were done. I wish we could have a few more, I just love kids so much. But I strongly believe you have to be the one to make choices in your life, because your the one to have to live with the choices. At one point my wife brought up that if we had another child, that might help bring more love in the home and help us get through our challenges. I don't think that is a good way to go...the home needs to be on good ground to be ready for all the extra work kids bring...not hope the kids will solve my problems. We are sticking with 4. We're done. We have enough opportunities for love with 4 kids, and like you said...I just put my heart into that without any guilt I should do anything else.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

Featherina

Re: Church Activity & Capacity to Love

Post by Featherina » 22 Apr 2010, 22:20

Ray -
It's actually really hillarious if you think about it... although the # of children was never commanded, there is (cultural & pulpit) pressure both to have as many children as we can have...& also to not even mention sex! :lol:

Heber -
Thank you too!

Post Reply