Thursday, December 22, 2005

In Irreverence Lost

Sometimes I allow bad behavior in my Sunday School class with the rationale that it is better to have a disruptive student in my class where they have some chance of learning something, however remote, rather than have then go somewhere else because church is "no fun."

Recently a man related to me the cause (as he attributed it) of his inactivity in the Church as a youth. He went to church classes and all the kids were rowdy. He figured that that wasn't what God wanted and it certainly wasn't helping him to learn, so he stopped going.

I've been afraid to lose kids because I'm too strict. Now I'm hearing that we can lose kids if we're not strict enough. The same gentleman further pointed out the danger in loosening our standards of behavior to accomodate a few. What is the point, he reasoned, of a church that doesn't change people and turn them into something better than they would have been otherwise? What is the help of a Church that says, "we'll take you as you are and that's just fine with us"?

Any religion worth the time and effort must NOT accept us as we are. It must accept us only inasmuch as we are willing to strive for change. Otherwise, what is the point? If that's not what you're looking for, join a bowling league or a reading club. But the Church is about changing who we are. I need to be a better Sunday School teacher.


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  • Interesting. I stopped going to my Sunday School class at 16, mostly because I didn't want to be treated as a child and I didn't care all that much for the other kids.

    Fortunately, I had a Bishop that didn't care that I went to Gospel Doctrine with my Mom every week.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/22/2005 11:03 PM  

  • Your youthful preparation certainly shows now. I suppose a lot of youth could handle Gospel Doctrine class. I'm glad you felt you had someplace to go that worked for you.

    By Blogger Bradley Ross, at 12/22/2005 11:32 PM  

  • My son is now a Deacon. He rarely sits or associates with the other Deacons. I talked with him about it and he told me that he is embarrassed by the way they behave. He seems to think that now that they hold the priesthood they should act a little bit like it. Hopefully this will not become a reason for him to lower his behavior or turn his back on the whole thing.

    By Blogger Eric Nielson, at 12/23/2005 6:53 AM  

  • Yes I am a letter of the law type person, so in the same situation I went to Chapter 24 'Helping Those Who Become Disruptive' of Teaching, No Greater Call. Being a scoutmaster for the deacons quorum has been a real character builder as I've dealt with many difficult situations that luckily don't carry over to Sunday, but come out in basketbrawl and other activities. Let us know what works for you, I'm sure we'd all appreciate your insights.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/30/2005 9:50 PM  

  • Anonymous, thanks for the reminder about that resource. Sometimes I forget about all the things the Church has produced over the years.

    I've also had good luck in asking family, friends, or ward members about how to tackle tough situations. Many of them will have dealt with similar situations and give me good insights.

    By Blogger Bradley Ross, at 12/31/2005 5:37 PM  

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