Sunday, February 10, 2008

News Flash: Church is Optional

The high today is 1 degree, with a wind chill of a bazilion below and decreased visibility due to blowing snow. My wife and I made the decision at 7am: We're not going to church today.

At 8am we received the official phone call we were half-expecting, except the message was not quite what we expected: "Church is optional. Use your own discretion."

My first reaction: "Was it ever mandatory? Were we ever not supposed to use our own discretion?"

At least my wife and I got to have a good laugh this morning.


Kullervo said...

Of course LDS Church attendance is mandatory. It's a commandment.

Mike said...

I don't think it is technically correct to say that attending church every Sunday, without exception, is a commandment.

Anonymous said...

Uhhh Mike, I'd say it is very technically correct to say that church attendance every Sunday is a commandment. It is a commandment to keep the Sabbath day holy. To keep the Sabbath day, you go to church (among many other things you should/shouldn't do). Of course, sometimes it is just not at all possible to get to church, so I guess there are some exceptions. But that doesn't mean it's not a commandment. And I live in Idaho... one day this winter it was over 30 degrees below zero... and I WALKED to church. It depends on how important it is to you.

Mike said...

Anonymous, thanks for commenting.

Would you have walked to church in 30 degree below temperatures if you had an infant and the church was 20 miles away? Would you drive to church if police are reporting hundreds of accidents due to ice conditions? You're right, it does depend on how important it is to you. And I think it's ok if it's not that important to me that I'd put my children in danger.

My point is, we always use our own discretion in deciding when we shouldn't go to church. There are many reasons we might legitimately choose not to--sickness, safety, natural disasters, etc.

So my point is that when the caller said, "Use your own discretion" my thought was, "I always use my own discretion. Who's discretion was I supposed to use?"

So I still maintain that church IS optional, in the sense that choosing not to go (for a valid reason, which is only determined by our own discretion--which God will judge) is not necessarily a sin. Perhaps we're just debating semantics here, or do you really believe it's a sin to stay home no matter what as long as it's technically possible to go?