Saturday, March 22, 2014

Congratucallings

I was offered a change of position at work this week.  Some co-workers congratulated me.   It didn't strike me as odd, and I found myself congratulating others who had also received a recognition or promotion.  I saw it as an appropriate gesture of recognition for their work and efforts.

Ironically this week there were a number of changes of position at Church.  As the bishop extended new callings to my wife and I, many ward members and family members were, upon finding out, repeatedly saying "congratulations".  As if the callings indicated some achievement.  It seemed almost as if to say that as a result of faithful service one had "ascended" up the Church Organizational chart.  Or even that you've ascended a rung closer to God.  I do not see it this way and so felt very funny upon hearing congratulations in this context of a calling to serve in a new capacity.  It suggests just how much of a business the Church has become both in practice and in the minds and culture we live in.  Callings sometimes get viewed as an indicator of someones spirituality or perceived righteousness.

There's nothing wrong with supporting someone, or sustaining them in the capacity they have been called to serve.  We're all supposed to do that.  It just seems the higher up the Church Org Chart you are "called" the more praise and honor and congratulations others offer you.  There is something amiss in that mindset although I can't totally put words to it.  God's authority and power aren't gained in the same way and fashion one obtains earthly power and authority.  There are undoubtedly status and power symbols in the Church related to callings.  Therefore it makes sense there would be a draw for folks to seek after or aspire to various callings because there is power and social status associated to it.

But I find no examples in scripture that support that kind of culture.  When someone is called by the Lord to do something, it more often than not brings upon them trouble, rejection, misunderstanding, judgement, etc...

I don't think callings in the Church were intended to heighten our pride, or give us increased sense of achievement and recognition among our fellow man.  

That's just me though.

3 comments:

  1. The whole culture in the church is weird, I was inactive for a long time and then came back for the last few months, I think I am going to stop going to church, it really is a cult culture and it is not something I can be a part of.

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  2. I too find myself wanting to leave on occasion. However I have yet to find how that would please the Lord more than staying and doing what little I can to point out error and point back to the truths that Joseph Restored. I sometimes forget that I am under no obligation to accept or adopt predominant church culture. The Church may not offer much substance anymore, and the cultural stuff is a mess, but that doesn't and has never limited the Lord in keeping his promises to individuals who follow Him.

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  3. I have been known to sometimes offer "condolences", especially for callings that seem to have a lot of time committment without (or even with) obvious external rewards (bishoprics, presidencies, etc.). When our bishop moved out of town to accept a new job after being fired from his previous job (public service job, his being fired being very political), I even congratulated the previous bishop for "dodging a bullet" of not being called back to be his emergency replacement.

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