Camping is like Church, Relief Society is like sushi night

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Camping is like Church, Relief Society is like sushi night

Post by Heber13 » 29 May 2009, 08:22

Today I take my 6 year old boy and 10 year old boy camping out to the wilderness to spend some father/son time showing them the beauties of nature and the skills needed to cook, eat, and sleep without the power and technology of modern life.

It is a great idea for an activity and has many virtues that can benefit the boys as they grow up.

Problem is, we are going camping with our ward on our annual father/son campout. So actually, we will be at a reserved campsite with 25 other dads and their sons with their tents only a few feet away from ours, so we really won't be out in nature by ourselves like I picture the "ideal situation". Also, they bring the boyscout troop grills and the HP group cooks breakfast with pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, and also bring juice and milk. So we're really not cooking for ourselves or learning those skills. In addition, some fun activities like capture the flag and night-hikes are planned, so my boys will likely spend more time with their primary friends than with me. And that disappoints me. Maybe I should boycott the ward campout and go do my own thing? Maybe I should really make a stink and raise my voice to the church leaders they are corrupting the experience and their organized effort is ruining the purity of what it is all about??? (Whoa, take a chill-pill Heber)

Then, this morning it hit me (as I was thinking how unprepared I still was to get our tent and gear together but since it is planned and we’re committed to go, I’ll go do my best with what I’ve got) it kind of is like what church is for my family. Ideally, church would be my family worshipping the Lord with our whole souls and feeling the benefits of being "apart" from the rest of the world on a Sabbath day of worship, taking the sacrament, learning deep meanings of the gospel to benefit my life, and feeling close to God.

However, my church experience often has its flaws, and doesn't deliver the full experience of what would be the "ideal situation". Sometimes I’m unprepared to go, but just go because it is planned and I don’t want to be late. Even if not ideal, it is still an organized effort that provides an opportunity for my family to participate weekly, and there are lesson manuals and tools to help make it easier and more comfortable for us. Sometimes I think that if church wasn't organized, my family would not do any worship on our own because we just get busy or lazy or don’t know how to do it. At least church allows the experience for my kids to go to primary, my teenagers to go to youth activities, and my wife and I to serve and go to our classes. Every time I go, I think of how much better it could be if talks and lessons were better, but I also am grateful at least I have something. I could complain and raise a stink about how much better church should be, but that would be forgetting that at least it is an organized effort that provides a good experience, and outside of that, my family can do more if we feel additional worship is needed. Church isn’t perfect, but does provide a benefit.

So maybe the father/son campout isn't all the "ideal" camping, but it is a way that puts it on my calendar every year and the boys get to experience some activity that is fun and they'll remember. I would rather have a more ideal situation with just me and my boys at a great remote camping place where we can fish and cook our meals, and maybe I’ll try to plan that this summer and include my wife and girls. Until that happens, at least the father/son campout provides something for my boys to experience, even if some of the experience is watered down by an organized effort to make it more comfortable and easy with organized activities and cooking.

I guess sometimes, we need to accept the good even with its flaws, even though it isn’t perfect, because the perfect will never happen in this life. And the church certainly isn't perfect.

Interestingly, as a side note, because only the boys go camping at the father/son campout, my wife takes my girls out on a "girls only night out" to get pedicures, see a movie, and go get some sushi. They love it and it fits their needs. Kind of like Relief Society in the church, the girls find a way to have an activity that fits their needs, it is better planned, and seems to run more smoothly than our father/son campout does. :)
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."

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Re: Camping is like Church, Relief Society is like sushi night

Post by Curt Sunshine » 29 May 2009, 12:17

So much truth; so much humor.

I really enjoyed this post, Heber.
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

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Re: Camping is like Church, Relief Society is like sushi night

Post by Brian Johnston » 31 May 2009, 20:20

I enjoyed reading that "slice of life" story about your experience. Thanks for sharing it Heber. I agree. You made some very nice observations.
"It's strange to be here. The mystery never leaves you alone." -John O'Donohue, Anam Cara, speaking of experiencing life.

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