Sunday, October 15, 2006

What if we really are all equal?

If we really are all equal, and if we really are supposed to love and care for each other, then my right to be offended at my bishop is about equal to his right to be offended at me. My duty to reach out to him is the same as his duty to reach out to me.

I take it literally when I am told that we are all children of God. We are all children. It is important to think of others as children who need to be treated kindly, no matter who they are. I thought a lot about that in church today, and have been thinking on the topic for a while.

One other thing that I've thought about, in different ways, was the topic of today's lesson in church. It was on being followers, and I've been thinking on that. To follow and support leaders it is important that we be:

thoughtful in relation to problems

One of the most important gifts we can give others who deal with us is the comfort of predictability, so that they know what to expect from us. Yes, I want someone who can be reliable, but I would rather have predictability, because without it, I can not rely.

Next, reliability is so important. At work things would break down if we could not rely on each other.

Being cheerful helps so very much. If I ask someone for help, or just talk to them, and they are cheerful and pleasant, it makes life so much easier. It lightens my day. When combined with kindness, it provides a sort of safety, a type of comfort, a level of peace that is important.

Finally, when dealing with problems, it helps so very much if people have invested themselves in some thought. Not "I don't have any chairs in the class room" but "I need to set up forty chairs, could you help me set them up." If we ask leaders for help doing something rather than just reporting un-thought problems to them, it makes life easier for them.

All five of those things are also things we strive for when we work with others as equals. To let them know where they fit and what they can expect. To be treated pleasantly and with kindness, and finally, to be informed of problems in an action oriented way rather than a passive whine, makes life so much easier and a task so much more pleasant.

We would do it for our equals. If we can do it as followers, we can be better children of God and fellow citizens of Christ.


Anonymous said...

As long as the sacrament is passed to the presiding priesthood holder first we are not equal.

Stephen said...

Anon, you make an interesting point, the thought that having a Christ makes everyone inherently unequal, even if he is the servant of all, as are those who serve under him.

I'm not big on the basic arguments on Anarchy as a political and social statement, but I appreciate that some people insist that there can be no equality without anarchy.

I'd disagree, but understand that others disagree with me.

annegb said...

Okay, Stephen, dish. Why are you mad at your bishop? I'm mad at my stake president because he was a jerk to me when I insisted we need new round tables in the cultural hall. He's a mysoginist. However you spell it. He must make amends to me, I think. and I'm not being silly, either.

You should have been in my ward the Sunday I insisted on opening the meeting with prayer (in my ward, the woman can only end the meeting.). I did it, but a lot of men were seriously ***issed off.

There have been times when I'm in leadership (to go on to your other topic, are you channeling Elizabeth, she had a lot of topics, also?). I value reliability. If I can't count on a person, I do not want that person working with me in an organization. I'm all those things as a follower. I'm a better follower than a leader.

Stephen said...

My bishop is tenderhearted and kind of sweet. I don't know anyone who gets angry at him.

It is an interesting experience. I'm glad we have a strong relief society president to balance that out. She is great. So is the bishop, but you know what I mean.

Anonymous said...

Once again I appreciate all the thought that has gone into this post. It does make such a difference when people are cheerful in serving!

I was meeting with a Bishop once and an elderly lady popped in and let him know that she was praying for him. Bishops need all the support that they can get. Positions of leadership in the Church are opportunities for those who hold the office to service. I know that Bishops, Stake Presidents, Patriarchs, Mission Presidents have been very humble and kind as they have served me.

I do think we can show great leadership in the manner in which we follow.