I’m glad I ceded my usual spot to our guest post this morning because what she had to say about mediation was I think very valuable. I am not part of the Ordain Women movement and did not attend the walk to the priesthood session. I do believe that the ordination of women would be a good thing for many reasons. I hope that it happens in my lifetime. This week it has been very hard to witness the open conflict between church members online. It seems that every time I log in I see something that upsets me and my response has been to withdraw and refuse to engage.
When I am unhappy, stressed or depressed often my response is to defuse the tension with humor, often inappropriately timed and unappreciated by others. Maybe that will be the case today as well. However, I’ve decided to go for it anyway and make a post about the silly games my mother and I used to play in church meetings when we got bored or antsy. After a week like this, we could all use a good laugh. Lest you think I don’t have a speck of reverence in my body I will say that in general I pay attention and get things out of my meetings, but we all have our days. Next time you’re at the back of stake conference sitting on the hard chairs for what feels like eternity, why not play one of the following little gems?
If you had to eat a member of the bishopric, who would it be and why?
This game can really only be played once per bishopric, but it works equally well for the stake presidency, one of the speakers, one of the deacons, someone on our pew etc. Popular reasons include an analysis of the quality of the meat or who you would miss the least. It is bad form to let any of them know you play the game.
Cast the musical/film/play of your choice
Do you wish we still did roadshows? Do you think the Elders Quorum President would make a fabulous demon barber of Fleet Street? Why not pick the show of your choice and secretly cast it from amongst the ward members? What sickly tot should be Tiny Tim? What crotchety High Priest should be Scrooge? This works particularly well if you’re in the choir so you can gaze out at the congregation and seem to be thoughtfully taking notes while you’re actually just blocking scenes.
Have you ever sat through an object lesson in which the teacher ascribed spiritual significance to commonplace items (often around holidays) and you just couldn’t buy it? Instead of rolling your eyes, why not join in the fun? This is a great holiday game and can also be played around the dinner table. Consider the Easter basket – the purple of the peeps symbolize royalty. The non-biodegradable eggs symbolize eternal life. The search for the Cadbury egg in the midst of all the bulk jellybeans in the basket symbolizes the search for the pearl of great price, or how the pressures of the world distract us from our goals, or how we need to focus on the best things, not just the good. Instead of bewailing the crass commerciality and thinly veiled paganism of our traditions, why not co-opt them? It makes the tackiest claptrap significant.
The True Meaning of…
This game is closely related to Symbolism Sleuthery. It seems that every year we get a talk about the true meaning of Christmas. Why stop there? I vote the next person asked to give a talk in October remind us all of the True Meaning of Halloween. Remember, if you go the traditional route about remembering the dead, you aren’t getting into the spirit of the thing. We are like Jack-o-lanterns. The Lord picks us out of the field, removes what is ucky inside, including the seeds of wickedness and guilt and creates us in a new image to let His light shine from within. (I actually sort of like this metaphor).
The many candy bowls proferred by smiling neighbors represent the philosophies of The World. Each bowl may contain parts of the Truth, as symbolized by my favorite candy bars such the Snickers of Baptism, the Butterfinger of Prayer or the Twix of Revelation. Interspersed with these, however, are the Smarties of False Priests, the Mr. Goodbar of Infant Baptism and the Mike & Ike’s of Moral Relativism. How do we know to choose the right? We go to a house that has only the good candy bars/eternal principles (like my house) without any of the Milk Duds of Apostasy thrown in.
I spy a Nephite
This is simple. My mom taught us that the Three Nephites always sing in the Tabernacle Choir in General Conference. Your job is to spot them.
My Terrible Affliction
The scriptures are full of terrifying diseases we don’t really see anymore, like leprosy. Testimony meeting can also feature descriptions of appalling physical ailments. What is your terrible affliction? Mine was a scalp infection that consisted of glow-in-the dark elves that run around and keep you awake with their light and their scampering.
Lord of the Rings
Are you as tired as I am of sports metaphors? Your job is to come up with gospel metaphors based on other cultural touchstones, for instance the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Write them on your program and pass back and forth, suppressing giggles as best you can. Examples might include “follow the prophet, like when Gandalf led the charge in the battle of Helm’s Deep” or “redeem the dead like when they go talk to the dead kings.” This game carries the added advantage of preparing you to give an original and engaging talk.
What games do you play in Sacrament Meeting? I hope that the age of texting and phone fiddling has not put an end to more creative ways to keep adults quiet.