The Bloggernacle and the Church itself are constantly alive with discussions focusing on some variation of the words “I think the Church and/or Church leaders should do [this] in [this way] instead of [that] in [that way].” I participate in these posts and comments, partially because I think navel-gazing is fun, but also because I’ve found myself “enjoying” Church less and less in recent months, and have been trying to find the reason why.
A few days ago, Kevin Barney wrote a great post called “Lowered Expectations” in which he described the effects that improper or otherwise unsustainable expectations can have on a person’s feelings toward the Church, its leadership, and gospel living in general. Although much of his post focused on apparent inconsistencies between science and theology, he generalizes the point in his concluding paragraph:
We seem to have the idea that putting the Church high, high up on a pedestal is a good thing. In my experience, we would be better off if we could “lower expectations.”
I think there is great wisdom in the principle of moderate expectations for almost everything in life–movies, food, relationships, and yes–the Church itself. But really, shouldn’t we be allowed to expect more–not less–from the Church? Shouldn’t the only true Church, according to our own beliefs, be able to give something a little bit special, a little bit more, than what we expect? Actually, I don’t think so.