Cool and Contrarian Experience in Sunday Class today

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SilentDawning
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Cool and Contrarian Experience in Sunday Class today

Post by SilentDawning » 04 Jun 2017, 09:50

Today I had the coolest experience.

They were talking about being a church of assignments, and an ex-Bishop commented on how a woman showed up with a list of 10 things she was willing to do in the church. This was after she refused a calling. Everyone in the room laughed at the ex-Bishops' description of the behavior of this woman.

I sat there bewildered. I have done pretty much the same thing with my Bp, but without a list. Just kept saying "No" until he got it right.

So, I spoke up. I commented on how I thought the lady was giving that ex-Bishop important information. That if I were her bishop, I would be inclined to look at that list and thank her. I would ask questions to find out what those callings have in common, and what drove her to want to do those callings. I'd learn more about her passions, her personality, her strengths, her motives for serving and how she would like to grow and improve. Then I'd probably end by saying "I don't think we've found the right calling for you" and let her know we'll be back in touch after we've thought more about it. I'd thank her for informing our decisions.

I commented on how you have to really know your sheep before you lead them. And that often we just throw the seed (the invitation of a calling) indiscriminately, without considering whether the seed lands on fertile ground. And fertile ground is typified by interest, passion, etcetera in the calling. Diagnose and surveil before you invite!!!

I also told the story about someone who wanted me to be a SS President and framed it up as "plugging holes when teachers don't show up on Sunday". How that was the last thing in the world to say to me to get me to go at the calling with passion. That if he had've said "Your mandate will be to improve Sunday classroom experiences so the place is overflowing with people who come to church for the quality of the classes...etc". How that would've had me wetting my pants with excitement about such a calling. The second frame-up spoke to my strengths and passions -- the first frame-up the person actually gave spoke to my deepest angst about serving in the church. And it would've made me unhappy -- as leaders, don't we want people serving joyfully and contributing to their happiness, rather than subtracting from it by callings they do reluctantly out of duty???

They gave me counterpoint and I counter pointed. Then three of the other brethren in the meeting started supporting me. One was a SP counselor who said that if you get the wrong person in the wrong calling, they do it halfheartedly and then you have to figure out how to release them.

It turned into a lively discussion....and at the end a guy near me I didn't know actually came up and humbly told me he appreciated my comments.

I replied "I'm always wondering how much I should say, in case it's so contrarian I get kicked out!!". And he replied "I hope you are here next week".

I just want to say that the perspectives we have developed in our StayLDS world DO have value in changing the culture in positive ways. I believe I educated an ex-Bishop and some seasoned men in the church about the higher road when it comes to extending callings today.

Have you ever shared contrarian ideas in meetings borne of your unorthodoxy or StayLDS experience, and found it actually met with approval from many people in the room. People who suddenly found a fresh and better perspective?
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- SD

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1576

51Mag
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Re: Cool and Contrarian Experience in Sunday Class today

Post by 51Mag » 04 Jun 2017, 11:31

Callings are a very important part of the Church. Man, the amount of stress placed on a BP when callings are not fulfilled is crazy. You get people complaining left and right when callings are not filled or accepted. After about 2 years into being BP I finally realized that I was doing it all wrong. Number one, it was not by responsibility to fill callings in the auxiliaries. It was the duty of the presidency to recommend names and then for us as a Bishopric to see how that fit into the bigger picture of the Ward. We would look at how that would affect other callings etc. However, we never prayed in a Bishopric meeting if it was correct (I prayed plenty on my own). I also counseled my counselors to meet with the person and to talk with them (have a PPI). The revelation came then, when they are sitting with the person and having a conversation with them. If it isn't the right calling or time then DON'T ISSUE IT! I don't believe it comes in a small office with four people sitting around trying to fill positions. That is all administrative. The inspiration and revelation comes when you are listening to the individual.

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SilentDawning
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Re: Cool and Contrarian Experience in Sunday Class today

Post by SilentDawning » 04 Jun 2017, 12:38

51Mag wrote:
04 Jun 2017, 11:31
If it isn't the right calling or time then DON'T ISSUE IT! I don't believe it comes in a small office with four people sitting around trying to fill positions. That is all administrative. The inspiration and revelation comes when you are listening to the individual.
I agree. Listening and getting to know their strengths and motives is critical. I am at an advantage right now in that I have formed my own non-religious service organization. It was a reaction to my church experience as well as other factors in my life. But the church experience really informed my way of recruiting and leading the people I work wtih now.

We have teams of people that are working on projects. The commitment and talent is incredible. But the advantage we have is the world is our oyster. We can draw from anywhere. And I can get the mix of technical and soft skills that I want. We do things, like track the show rate at meetings, and it's 85% on average, meaning one person is missing. Often all of them are there.

They act autonomously with only brief status reports, and they do quality work with me only providing broad visionary stuff. It is SO fulfilling after so many decades of starting things in the church but never seeing them come to fruition.

At church, you have a limited people from which to draw. In those cases, I would want to be reasonable about what I can expect from a Ward that has a severe lack of passions, talent and drive in a particular area. I like your approach of pushing it down to the appropriate level with the Bpric acting as filter.

But what I am taking exception with is the "never say 'no' to a calling", which I call the conscription model of service. My approach in the class I was in today epitomizes that method, whether conducted at the Bp level or below.

I was inspired, years ago, by the LDS author Clayton Christianson who wrote a book called "How will you measure your life?". He made this comment...substitute manager with church leader and employee with volunteer. Make any other adjustments so it fits the church context.
... if you want to help other people, be a manager. If done well, management is among the most noble of professions. You are in a position where you have eight or ten hours every day from every person who works for you. You have the opportunity to frame each person’s work so that, at the end of every day, your employees will go home feeling like Diana felt on her good day [fulfilled]: living a life filled with motivators. I realized that if the theory of motivation applies to me, then I need to be sure that those who work for me have the motivators, too.

Christensen, Clayton M.. How Will You Measure Your Life? (p. 39). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
So often, our conscription model of service puts people in positions they hate. They frustrate the people who depend on them to do their callings...etcetera. And I see people who recommend and call people to positions as having the same potential effect on other church members. I would want, where possible, people to experience joy in their callings, and that comes from alignment and listening understanding their motives, personalities etcetera.

I realize that it's not always possible to have such alignment; there are jobs that are just drudgerous (like chapel cleaning) or for many, administering home teaching. But when we replace the alignment model with the conscription model, as if conscription is the model we hold up as our go-to model, then that's dead wrong, in my view. Try the alignment model wherever possible and use conscription as a last resort.

Also, I no longer believe leader when they say "This is something the Lord wants you to do". "Your name keeps coming up when I think of someone who can fulfil x calling". Inside, I sort of smile or smirk because I know that it's often a tactic to get you to say "yes". If I don't have direct revelation its inspired, then I take such statements with a grain of salt.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- SD

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1576

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Minyan Man
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Re: Cool and Contrarian Experience in Sunday Class today

Post by Minyan Man » 04 Jun 2017, 15:06

SD, what a great experience. I love it when it comes together like that. I wonder if a teacher could plan for the lesson to go this way? Probably not.

You asked:
SilentDawning wrote:
04 Jun 2017, 09:50
Have you ever shared contrarian ideas in meetings borne of your unorthodoxy or StayLDS experience, and found it actually met with approval from many people in the room. People who suddenly found a fresh and better perspective?
I recently taught a HP lesson on Family History. To introduce the lesson, I handed out a worksheet to demonstrate the impact of compounding
numbers as you go back in history. For example, I started out with me in the first generation. Then my parents in the second generation (or 2)
Then my grandparents (or 4) & my GGP's (or 8). The numbers double as you go back. By the time you get to 20 generations you have over 524 000
direct relatives without children. Then I asked the question: how do you ever get back to Adam & Eve as the first (2) people on earth? It did
generate an interesting discussion. My question was never completely answered. A week or two afterwards, people came up to me & asked
what my conclusion was. When you teach orthodox lessons, there is very little or no room for discussion or questionable options. As I've stated
in other posts, I crave questions or challenges to my belief system. If we really believe the gospel, we shouldn't be afraid of questions &
alternative view points.

I guess you can plan for an unorthodox presentation & discussion.

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Sheldon
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Re: Cool and Contrarian Experience in Sunday Class today

Post by Sheldon » 04 Jun 2017, 18:08

When I would meet with new members of the ward as bishop, I would always ask them what calling they wanted. I found out if you gave people the calling they wanted, they did a better job in it (what a concept!). As an aside, nursery leaders were only called for 6 months, then released.

Ray DeGraw
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Re: Cool and Contrarian Experience in Sunday Class today

Post by Ray DeGraw » 04 Jun 2017, 20:43

I have served on the High Council three times, in three different stakes. Each time, I gave input honestly and directly, albeit gently, and my input sometimes was the only such input given Every time I was released, the Stake President thanked me for my input - and, in one case, after I left the Stake Presidency was reorganized, with three members of the High Council who had expressed thanks for my unorthodox input.

On a different note, I almost always frame the lessons I give in non-standard ways - not for any purpose other than to accurately represent how I see the lesson topic and materials and broaden exposure to different ways to look at things. I use classic Mormon-speak when I teach, but I teach what I believe.
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

DoubtingTom
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Re: Cool and Contrarian Experience in Sunday Class today

Post by DoubtingTom » 04 Jun 2017, 21:53

SilentDawning wrote:
04 Jun 2017, 09:50
Have you ever shared contrarian ideas in meetings borne of your unorthodoxy or StayLDS experience, and found it actually met with approval from many people in the room. People who suddenly found a fresh and better perspective?
In WC a couple weeks ago, it was my turn for the handbook training. I shared part of the handbook about administering the sacrament and where it says that if possible, those handling the sacrament should wear white shirts, but should not be turned away from participating if they are not wearing such. My focus of the training was about how certain aspects of church culture get adopted into assumed rules over time, when there are not really any rules that exist. Then, when someone doesn't conform to that culture, church members often make judgment calls because they are assuming that person is breaking a (non-existent) rule and how this can ostracize members, investigators, visitors, etc. I shared that there are no direct statements (that I could find) stating white shirts as a "rule," other than when directly participating in the sacrament - and even then the handbook only says when possible.

The "white shirt rule" was just my example as a springboard to the larger point I wanted to make, but I could see my Bishop squirming a little when I stressed that there is no rule that men should wear white shirts to church. I ended by focusing on not judging others and not being pharisaical on these sorts of things, but instead on being Christlike and accepting and helping others feel loved and never judged. In the end, I got several comments from other members of the council telling me they appreciated my comments. Slightly unorthodox, but rules that aren't really rules but are treated as rules by the church culture is one of my small pet peeves about the church. For this reason, I find myself wearing white shirts less and less these days, mostly because I like the way they look on me better, but I suppose it is a small way for me to be visibly unorthodox however silly that may sound.

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SilentDawning
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Re: Cool and Contrarian Experience in Sunday Class today

Post by SilentDawning » 05 Jun 2017, 07:58

DoubtingTom wrote:
04 Jun 2017, 21:53
The "white shirt rule" was just my example as a springboard to the larger point I wanted to make, but I could see my Bishop squirming a little when I stressed that there is no rule that men should wear white shirts to church. I ended by focusing on not judging others and not being pharisaical on these sorts of things, but instead on being Christlike and accepting and helping others feel loved and never judged. In the end, I got several comments from other members of the council telling me they appreciated my comments. Slightly unorthodox, but rules that aren't really rules but are treated as rules by the church culture is one of my small pet peeves about the church. For this reason, I find myself wearing white shirts less and less these days, mostly because I like the way they look on me better, but I suppose it is a small way for me to be visibly unorthodox however silly that may sound.
This is excellent! I wish someone would pioneer "Wear a colored shirt to church day" for people who aren't passing the sacrament. It would be liberating.

I wear white, black, and other colors to church constantly now. It is whatever I have available; I no longer go out of my way to get a white shirt together. And I don't enforce it with my son who sometimes wears a plaid shirt.

I am glad you made your Bp squirm a bit, and that he didn't correct you. And I hope the day comes when we shed so many of the artifacts from the 1950's that typify our church. As Hawk said "we've come a short way baby". It wasn't until the 50's that I think Harold B Lee adopted a "modern" look composed of a clean shaven image, white shirt, tie and black glasses. When he ditched the long beards that BY, JFS and so many other prophets had adopted in previous decades. And with the exception of the glasses of that time, that 1950's dress code has stayed. Further, the authoritarian, 1950's top-down method of leadership that is so unlike the leadership that typifies high performing organizations. I think my opening post made a drop in the bucket toward a more "inspired" form of leadership.

I am loving hearing these stories as they show that if you word it right, and make sure you are not too radical, or sound apostate, you can challenge existing cultural norms and thought patterns and actually meet with approval from others in your ward!

See, the unorthodox CAN belong in their wards, and can be a force for good.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- SD

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1576

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SamBee
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Re: Cool and Contrarian Experience in Sunday Class today

Post by SamBee » 05 Jun 2017, 08:38

I think one that has come up time and again is the thou/thee/thy/thine thing. People have it the wrong way round - they think it represents respect and authority.

"No," I have to remind them. "You wouldn't say 'thou' to your boss at work or your king, you would say it to close family and close friends."

This bewilders a lot of them so I often point out most European languages including Spanish, French, German and Russian all use a word related to "thou" for familiarity to this day. Not for respect to a higher up.

It amazes me that a church that lays so much emphasis on eternal families, spirit children and God being "Heavenly Father" could overlook such a thing and GAs could make statements that go against linguistics.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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SilentDawning
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Re: Cool and Contrarian Experience in Sunday Class today

Post by SilentDawning » 05 Jun 2017, 09:33

I don't really have a problem with Thee, thine, and thought, but if I wanted to change it, I would start by saying prayers that start and end with the various thees and thous. But in the middle I would use you, and yours etcetera. I think there has to be a strong rationale for it though -- you have to have a really strong set of reasons for wanting to change the cultural norms that typify Mormonism. Not all are bad; some are good.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- SD

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1576

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