Elevated expectations

Last Sunday, my wife and I, who have different callings, were awkwardly both required in a brief, post-block activity. We were juggling our two kids back and forth in order to accomplish our different responsibilities, while simultaneously feeding them, because the activity infringed on their lunch schedule. At one point, when my 1 year old daughter grabbed my white shirt and tie with food-covered hands and spit milk onto me, I declared to the executive secretary, who was standing next to me, that he was to inform the Bishop that I have instituted a policy on behalf of the Church, under which no married couple with children can ever be called to serve in positions with potentially conflicting schedules. We laughed, but deep inside, I was annoyed.

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.

Read the rest of this story at bycommonconsent.com
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