Monday, January 24, 2011

Needing the gospel to be simple

The gospel is simple for those who need it to be but expansive, complex and awesomely thought-provoking for those who don't need it to be. The people who need to get by with the gospel in terms of scripture stories, parables and being commanded in all things still make it through this life having accomplished what it is they set out to do. And that works for them. Its good for them. I think of the phrase in the Word of Wisdom "adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints." If that's all they can handle, then its a good thing that there is a program that works for them. Quite honestly, the church is best at this program for these members.

Its not so good at what I call the underbelly and that's where I find myself. A friend once suggested that to me that HF/HM want and need Sunstone/Dialouge/JMHA/Mormon Stories, etc. to exist because it provides the outlet and "meat of the gospel" for those who need it. In that way, there is enough of what each group needs.

The only problem comes when the Butter Side Up and the Butter Side Down people (name that reference for 1,000 points) get on persecuting and harshly judging each other. Often it comes from feeling threatening and a perception that the "other" is thinking negatively about self and then people start jumping to defensiveness and criticism which are two of the horsemen of the apocalypse (according to marriage researcher John Gottman).

I'm happy to live and let live for the people who need the gospel to be simple, *IF* they can allow me the same respect.

We here have obviously taken the blue pill (I think the gospel=simple folks took the red pill because they are stopped in their understanding) and we have very valid concerns that we will not be treated respectfully and kindly by those who live the gospel differently than we do. We after all have the memory of excommunications for apostasy because of others' earnest desires to seek and know.

I don't exactly understand why the gospel=simple people are SO defensive and protective of their stance and why they find us so threatening. Maybe its hard enough as it is for them that the thought of something harder is unbearable?

This is kind of my thoughts taking a turn but I'll just make this case for those of us who are here: if the plan really is to be able to create, lead and sustain our own worlds, we are going to need to know and understand a great deal more than what the 72 correlated points teach us. The way I see it, those who seek the mysteries of the gospel and aim to understand the complexities are getting some progressing done here on the earth that for the gospel=simple folks is saved for much later. At point, they are going to have to mature in their thinking and understanding. But it is going to have to be on their own time, in a way that God knows best.

Its not fair for us to force it (thinking: "for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength" Mosiah 4:27) but at the same time I do believe there can be more balance, respect and openness at church for all of us to fit there. There may be times that we can introduce some of our ideas in a way that does not inflame them and I would guess that the Spirit would be able to enlighten us at those times and with the right words.

Want to try an experiment where those of us who attend church pray to know the right words/timing to say something that is near and dear to our hearts? And then report here when it happens....


RasJane said...

I think that sounds like a great experiment. I'm game. Of course, I have to get my 3 yo to agree to go to class so I can stop chasing him in the hall. Not a lot of doctrinal discussion come up in the hall class. Unless someone has some suggestions for how to get one going?
I was actually thrown off by the little bit of the RS lesson I was able to attend yesterday. It was a lot meatier than I expected it to be. I just wish I could have stayed to comment. But I will definitely keep trying and see what happens!

WRT to the 1k points--the Butter Battle Book by Dr Seuss!

Amy said...

I like this post, and theoretically I like your challenge. My favorite church lessons are when people give honest and heartfelt comments. Still, I've been burned enough times that I don't often share things that are closest to my heart, in church or elsewhere. I'm really bad at handling people who think my ideas are dumb or crazy or both. I'm interested hear a report on this challenge.