Face Palm Sunday . . .

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felixfabulous
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Face Palm Sunday . . .

Post by felixfabulous » 22 Apr 2019, 09:17

We had stake conference on Easter Sunday. I put out an informal poll on social media and most people had an Easter-themed program, some had a different program that acknowledged Easter and some ignored it altogether. A fair number of people (in different areas, not all the same stake), had stake conference. If we are going to try to show the world we are Christian, we need to up our Easter game. We're getting better, but I think not scheduling stake conferences on Easter would be a good start.

I had a great Easter experience going to another Christian church. We could learn a lot from other churches, especially about Easter. I loved how happy everyone was and everyone rejoiced at the mystery of the resurrection together. There were enthusiastic Happy Easters from everyone when you walked in the doors and upbeat triumphal music with trumpets and horns. There were bright flowers and pastels all over the church and it felt like a very special occasion. There was great music, both listening and congregational singing. We get so caught up on reverence that we lose all of that and it ends up being a really solemn occasion in our church sometimes. We are getting better, but I wonder if some of our confusion about the message of Christ contributes to this. "Rejoice! because of Christ's atonement you can be saved if you are almost perfect and keep all the commandments!" This may not be as much of a cause for joyful celebration.

I also loved that this church did a kids service and nursery at the same time as the adult service. We got to go enjoy the service and the kids service was really fun for the kids. They also had an Easter egg hunt for the kids while the adults had social time with snacks and (gasp!) coffee.

I hope that we can keep improving our Easter meetings and get there someday. I think there are so many things we could do to improve our Sunday meetings, shortening the three hour block was a good start. I think the initial thought is that they can do all these things because they have a paid clergy and staff. I feel like we pay a lot of money in tithing and a bigger chunk of that should stay in our wards to help improve our Sunday (and special holiday) worship services.

Arrakeen
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Re: Face Palm Sunday . . .

Post by Arrakeen » 22 Apr 2019, 09:38

felixfabulous wrote:
22 Apr 2019, 09:17
We get so caught up on reverence that we lose all of that and it ends up being a really solemn occasion in our church sometimes.
I think we also sometimes focus so much on remembering Christ's suffering that we miss out on some of the rejoicing. We had a special Easter program here, but it seemed mostly focused on solemn remembrance. I don't think there's anything wrong with remembering Christ's suffering, but I think Easter is supposed to be more joyful and celebratory, commemorating the end of Christ's suffering and the triumph over death and sin. Maybe we should start observing the rest of Holy Week so we can have our time for solemn remembrance, but then also have Easter as a time of rejoicing.

Roy
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Re: Face Palm Sunday . . .

Post by Roy » 22 Apr 2019, 10:12

We have visited a number of our local churches to participate in activities. I have been wowed by their children's ministry.
We LDS do not really have much of a ministry focused on the needs of children. Our model is generally that the individual should be willing to sacrifice and endure for the sake of their convictions. I feel that, our primary is an extension of this model with emphasis on indoctrination over enjoyment.

I agree that one barrier to this is paid clergy. The churches with the best children's programs have paid youth and/or children's pastors. We are a church of volunteers. Most of us do something slightly above the bare minimum in our callings out of a sense of duty. Who would we put in charge of pulling something like this off? The bishop? The RS president? The ward chior director? I cannot imagine who would have either the time or the skillset to make it happen.

Somewhat related, I think many churches see Easter as a showcase opportunity to draw more members to the church. The entire church membership understands this ministry or outreach opportunity and makes an extra effort to make sure that the Easter experience is a fun and welcoming one. I had heard at one church that they strive for a worship service that you would want to attend even if you did not believe the doctrine. The idea is that perhaps over time your resistance to the doctrine might melt away. Church is to be inspiring but also at least mildly entertaining. I feel that this is fundamentally different than the LDS model.

I guess my point is that the LDS church does some things really well and some other things not as well. Some of the things that are really great about us are also reflections of some of the things that are not so great about us. I too applaude the imporovements that I have seen towards holiday specific programs. I also wonder how far down the path of mimicking other churches we could go without loosing some of the things that make us destinctive and special.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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felixfabulous
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Re: Face Palm Sunday . . .

Post by felixfabulous » 22 Apr 2019, 11:21

Roy, you make some good points. It was interesting for me to see that my kids loved it and kept asking when we could go back. On the flip side, a friend who is a former Mormon who goes there said that they love the Church, but miss being able to be more hands on and have more chances to serve and be boots on the ground, especially for their kids.

I think my takeaways that we could change without much effort are: 1. Better/different music (more instruments and variety); 2. I loved the congregational participation (saying prayers out loud together, greeting each other in fellowship, etc.); 3. No one trying to tell everyone to be reverent, everyone was happy and excited and it made it more fun.

I am still trying to work out how to have primary/nursery/youth classes during sacrament meeting, but I don't know how you could pull it off with volunteers.

Roy
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Re: Face Palm Sunday . . .

Post by Roy » 22 Apr 2019, 11:40

felixfabulous wrote:
22 Apr 2019, 11:21
On the flip side, a friend who is a former Mormon who goes there said that they love the Church, but miss being able to be more hands on and have more chances to serve and be boots on the ground, especially for their kids.
Yeah, if our church is like a training ground and their church is like an entertainment center - at some point they may wish for their children to be more … committed.
felixfabulous wrote:
22 Apr 2019, 11:21
I am still trying to work out how to have primary/nursery/youth classes during sacrament meeting, but I don't know how you could pull it off with volunteers.
I think it would have to involve a rotation. Maybe you do primary once a month. Still though, there needs to be somebody consistent and in charge to coordinate everything. I suppose we can still have an unpaid clergy AND pay some childcare workers. ;)
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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felixfabulous
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Re: Face Palm Sunday . . .

Post by felixfabulous » 22 Apr 2019, 11:50

I would also love to figure out a way to have some kind of post-meeting fellowship. I think that would be possible with the two-hour block now, but it would bring everyone a lot closer together and foster relationships if there was some social time to interact with ward members after the meeting.

nibbler
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Re: Face Palm Sunday . . .

Post by nibbler » 22 Apr 2019, 13:03

felixfabulous wrote:
22 Apr 2019, 09:17
We're getting better, but I think not scheduling stake conferences on Easter would be a good start.
That's tough because Easter often falls on general conference weekend (which IMO is worse than doing stake conference on Easter) and that's dictated by about 150 years of tradition and maybe some loose ties to scripture (April 6th). I think a lot of stake conferences occur shortly before or shortly after general conference, like some sort of conference season, so that also increases the chances of Easter Sunday coinciding with some conference or other.
Roy wrote:
22 Apr 2019, 10:12
Somewhat related, I think many churches see Easter as a showcase opportunity to draw more members to the church. The entire church membership understands this ministry or outreach opportunity and makes an extra effort to make sure that the Easter experience is a fun and welcoming one. ...
That's a good point. To that I will add an observation that I've seen over decades. When I was a kid most of the people that attended church were in their 50s and older. Most of the kids my age didn't go to church but you would attended with the grandparents... on Easter Sunday. It's easier for churches (with an actual budget) to pull out all the stops for a one time event when they know attendance will be higher than any other time of year. It's their Super Bowl.

Meanwhile LDS church members (that are active) attend and contribute dutifully every Sunday. It can have a wearing effect over the long haul. It's hard to muster up the energy to do something special because of the toll that being an active LDS member can take.
Roy wrote:
22 Apr 2019, 11:40
felixfabulous wrote:
22 Apr 2019, 11:21
On the flip side, a friend who is a former Mormon who goes there said that they love the Church, but miss being able to be more hands on and have more chances to serve and be boots on the ground, especially for their kids.
Yeah, if our church is like a training ground and their church is like an entertainment center - at some point they may wish for their children to be more … committed.
A chicken and the egg problem. I think the better approach would be to keep people entertained and maaaaaaybe they'll get some indoctrination out of it through osmosis but we take the approach of making it all about the indoctrination and maaaaaaybe they'll get some enjoyment out of it through osmosis.

It's a church, there's a purpose, I get it, but I think we could take a more balanced approach. The leaders (as recently as this past general conference) appear to have the mindset that people would be more committed (not go inactive) if they were indoctrinated better but making everything at church about being indoctrinated is turning lots of people off. Community is crowded out to make room for commandments.

Do commandments sustain people long enough to form a community or does a community sustain people long enough to get on board with commandments? Some of both I suspect. But at church it's very business like and efficient. What's the purpose of you talking before SM starts? I can't imagine Isaiah talking before his SM started. Be quiet.

And that's where we're at.

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mom3
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Re: Face Palm Sunday . . .

Post by mom3 » 22 Apr 2019, 13:06

If we are going to try to show the world we are Christian, we need to up our Easter game.
And Christmas. I could soapbox on this for hours. We really need to un-Morm on Christian Holidays - Big Time.

I want a month of Christmas/Easter - not just one week. Right now, one week for each is a great start. If this is really all about Jesus - then let's Jesus. We have great hymns we could sing. We would soak in the New Testament - twice a year. It could really rock.

I chose not to go anywhere. I didn't want to be disappointed in any form.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

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DarkJedi
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Re: Face Palm Sunday . . .

Post by DarkJedi » 22 Apr 2019, 14:29

felixfabulous wrote:
22 Apr 2019, 11:50
I would also love to figure out a way to have some kind of post-meeting fellowship. I think that would be possible with the two-hour block now, but it would bring everyone a lot closer together and foster relationships if there was some social time to interact with ward members after the meeting.

Some wards do. Ours has a "linger longer" once a month. It's not like the every week coffee hour the local Methodist church has, but it's better than nothing. The local Methodist church also has a monthly "supper among friends" where the community is clearly welcome regardless of affiliation.

FWIW, I don't usually go to the linger longers because I'm not all that into the socialization, but I recognize others are. I also am frequently away on linger longer Sunday. I used to use the joke "three hours is enough lingering for me" but I haven't had the chance to say it yet for two hours.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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Curt Sunshine
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Re: Face Palm Sunday . . .

Post by Curt Sunshine » 22 Apr 2019, 14:32

I wouldn't mind Stake Conference on Easter, if and only if the entire meeting was focused on Easter. Otherwise, amen - completely.
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.

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