Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sometimes I Wish I Were Jewish

No, really, I think Jewish people have it easier than I do in some ways, because so many rules are spelled out exactly for them. Not that I know anything about actually being Jewish. And I'm so anxious to talk about things I know nothing about. (Looks like I'm tempting fate with the possibility of being called a racist again. Because that was so much fun last week.) But from what I know, at least the very orthodox observers have extremely detailed rules for things they can and can not do on the Sabbath.

Mormons, on the other hand, are expected to study what limited guidance is out there, pray about it, and do what seems like the right thing. Which as you may imagine, results in every home having a slightly different idea about what it means to observe the Sabbath, and what activities are OK.

When I was younger, you know... back when I knew EVERYTHING... I thought that an ideal Sabbath day would consist of church, service, and family time. It would be enlightening discussions about the gospel, and visits to the elderly or the sick. And always it would include a large Sunday dinner, complete with homemade rolls and the good china.

Ahh, the dreams of youth. Every now and then I try to do that big Sunday dinner with a minimum of work.

(Hey, I can hear you laughing all the way over here.)

Maybe I'm just doing it wrong. Whatever.

This year, we're on the late schedule at church. Since there are 3 congregations that use our building, we rotate schedules at the beginning of each year. In other words, the same schedule comes around every 3 years. And yet, for some reason, every time we change schedules, my family is faced with the dilemma of rearranging and re-figuring our Sabbath activities and standards. (Oh, please - don't start rolling your eyes and telling me that the Sabbath should be the same no matter what time you go to church. You know you do the same thing.)

Though my personal preference is for the earliest time, the latest one is really the easiest to figure out, as far as practicality.

Sleeping of course, is an approved Sabbath day activity (you know, that whole "day of rest" thing), and my teenagers will normally sleep in until late in the morning.
But then what? It's still hours before the kids have to go anywhere, which makes it hard to find a pressing reason for them to get up and get dressed.

With The Brain and I in and out all morning for various church meetings, we can almost always count on our kids to have themselves ready for church on time... But not One. Minute. Earlier.

Can you imagine any other day of the week where you might not even get dressed until early afternoon?

I always feel a little bit sorry for the 12 year old deacon who comes to our door collecting our fast-offerings every month... having to get all dressed up in a suit and tie, just to ring our doorbell AT NOON and be met with morning breath and bed-head-hair. But I'm sure it makes for some good stories during their quorum meetings. And if we can't provide the ward with a little something to laugh at every now and then, well, I guess we aren't doing our job to sacrifice for the kingdom. (Was sacrificing our dignity part of the deal?)

The point is, I think the late schedule is somehow easier to keep the Sabbath because there seem to be less options.

The early schedule gives us too much opportunity for downfall. Once we're home (before noon), we've got nothing but time, baby. And energy. And there are ballgames on tv. And friends on the phone. And all that time reminds us that there is homework that could be done, video games to play, cartoons to be watched, and a hundred other things that are perfectly fine 6 days a week, but (at least for our family) don't fall under the category of keeping the Sabbath day holy.

If Moses had lived in this day in age, do you think he would be as tempted as I am to watch The Unit on Sunday nights?

Yeah, me neither.

43 comments:

Lara said...

I totally agree with you on all counts. We just changed to the early schedule, and I love it, except the minor detail of having to get up at the crack of dawn to get all my children ready and myself with a husband who leaves by 6 for meetings. I like the ability to sleep in on the late schedule. Somehow I think those deacons collecting fast offerings meet up with bedhead at every household. Really.

LisAway said...

Yes, if we were Jewish and knew exactly what we were allowed to do (assuming they do. . .) it would be so much easier to judge our neighbors, too. I mean righteous judgment, of course. I hate feeling guilty when I realize that I'm sort of passing judgment on someone who's kids are kicking the ball around outside or playing video games on Sunday. It would be nice to feel that way without the guilt.

(just kidding, by the way)

goddessdivine said...

LOL randi. I'm on the late schedule this year too. I LOVE it. But I'm one for sleeping in.....because I don't get much opportunity to do that during the week. I'm one of those that lounges around in the morning and doesn't get in the shower until I absolutely have to. Yes, I still am not ready for church until like 5 minutes before it begins. But hey, I do spend the mornings reading scriptures, the Ensign, the lessons for the day, or inspirational books. I actually feel a little more spiritually prepared for my meetings.....as opposed to 9AM sacrament meeting that has me rushing out the door, cursing the early block schedule.

So don't worry. You're not the only one who answers the door with bed-head. I actually just don't answer the door, and pay those things at church.

The late block does put a cramp in the schedule for getting that VT done and/or having the home-teachers over.....because you know that before the block is out of the question!

Yvonne said...

Just know I'M LAUGHING WITH YOU!!!

We have gone to Church at the same time for 12 years--one of the benefits of living in an area where you are the ONLY WARD that meets in your building.

I just wish they'd remove that verse in the scriptures, "he that must be compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant". I really want things spelled out!!!! (I think it would have been much easier during Moses's day ; )

Kerri said...

Never posted before, but I've been reading your blog for a long time. We're on the morning schedule this year and although I enjoy a sleep in as much as the next guy, I love having the rest of the day to relax and take a nap every Sunday after church. But the first couple of Sunday's, I kept wondering just how long it was going to take for bedtime to arrive.

Barbaloot said...

It's true---it would be helpful to have it cut and dried. But what if my preferred activities fell on the "don't do it" side? Then I think I would change my mind:)

Barbaloot said...

PS-just looked at your Friday buttons again and I'm definitely laughing still:)
And I feel the desire to play hangman.

Dave said...

We are in the middle block. I think it's may favorite, because we actually make it to sacrament, and we still get home in time for a nap and football.

Becky said...

We're in the late block, too, and I know what you mean. It's easier to do nothing all day in the morning than in the afternoon.

And you got called a racist? Man, I miss all the fun!

Becky N. said...

We've only got our own ward in our building. And yet we've been on the 9am schedule for over 5 years. It's MADDENING!! It's difficult enough to just get the family out the door and to church on time. And not only that, but it's a reversed schedule, with Sacrament last. And I've got young kids. Kids who are hungry, tired of sitting still, and just want to play by the time Sacrament meeting comes around. And try as we might, naptime rarely happens once we're home and done with lunch. And yes... when you have the whole rest of the day free, it's very difficult to say, "No, you can't play computer" or even "No, I'm not going to play my favorite games". Sometimes I hate being in charge of my own decisions, too. I'm with you on that one.

And can I just say I've never once lived in a ward where anyone actually came around to my house for Fast Offering? Sure would be nice, though. Half the time I forget to bring a check along with me to church, and then I have to mail it in, and then by the time it's cleared through my bank, it's halfway through the month and I feel like a putz.

I wish my ward would move to something like 11am instead of 9am. We certainly have the flexibility with nobody to share our building.

kim & co. said...

When I was growing up, we were the only ward in our building most years and had the 10 a.m. schedule which was pretty awesome. Not too early, but you still have the afternoon to enjoy--and I was in one of those families where watching football as a family counted as a good Sunday activity, so the afternoons weren't too long for us :)

Now, with young kids who get up early and one still needs a nap, I'm all for early church. I love sunday afternoon naps, love being able to get the kids dressed right after breakfast, rather than having to wait until after lunch so they don't spill on their church clothes, but then we have the mad rush to get out the door in time to make it to our 1 p.m. church (and it always feels especially lazy to be late to p.m. church, although I truly find it more difficult to be on time then). And I love having time in the afternoon to make something special for dinner if I want without feeling hurried and overworked.

Erin said...

We had 1:00 church last year, and I definitely don't miss it. 9:00 suits me just fine. But I still don't make a nice dinner. Too much work, too much effort. Sunday dinner is usually sandwiches or leftovers. I know you are dying to become a member of my family now, but homemade rolls just aren't on my menu.

That Girl in Brazil said...

I'm lucky if I even MAKE dinner on Sundays. My husband is bishop - if he's home an hour on Sunday it's a miracle. Why cook if he's not there? Especially a big fancy "Sunday dinner" dinner. Pfshaw.

Kristina P. said...

We have church at 10:20 now, which is perfect.

The last book I picked for our book club was "Living Biblically for a Year." I think that's the name.

It was about a man who lived mostly the Old Testament, literally, for a year. So fascinating! It did not make me want to be Jewish.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

I personally like the A.M. church schedule, but that's mostly because I'm the primary president, and who wants 53 tired, hungry children at 4 p.m.? And our rule is just to take it easy on Sundays as much as possible. It's rare to have a whole big Sunday dinner around here (then it wouldn't be MY day of rest), so we do breakfast-for-dinner every week. Pancakes are so easy and the kids love it.

Loralee and the gang... said...

Call me strange, but I LIKE the early schedule, because then I have all afternoon to make that fabulous Sunday dinner with my best china! We used to watch TV on Sunday, until my husband was made Bishop, then we all had to go through withdrawal. We still allow the kids to watch Scriptures videos and Veggie Tales, and sometime those family shows like 'Jon & Kate plus 8' and '17 & Counting', and of course anything on the BYU channel.
:~D

Lauren said...

Oh Sabbath days. Ted and I have totally not started on a good note. Between watching Smallville and lots of video games, we are going to hell. Thanks for the post! It has helped me rethink things :)

Amy Peterson said...

I haven't seemed to figure out the big Sunday dinner thing either! I think it should be my day of rest as well! I mean honestly which day do I get to rest! REALLY! One of my friends pass this little saying along, and it really seemed to help out the attitudes of everyone in my house. Of course Saturday is a special day, the day we get ready for Sunday. So "Special Saturdays, Sacred Sundays, Magical Mondays"! And Magical Monday is spent taking inventory of the last week, reseting goals, and resolutions.

Heidi Ashworth said...

You're so funny. Hmmm, somehow I missed the racist thing. Was that last Tuesday?

Heather said...

We're at 1 pm this year, which is not great but better than the 2pm of a the year before!!

I like big Sunday dinners but I only get to those maybe once or twice in the month.

Seriously love that you got called a racist. Today maybe the bigot card will get thrown out!! Can't wait!

No Cool Story said...

Wait, what? Who called you racist? And how did I miss that?
I am not very impressed with that. At all.

The 1 pm church time kills. My favorite has to be at 9 am because you get to do everything early and then have the rest of the day to read scriptures, leisurely eat, etc.

PS; Whoever called you a racist is an idiot.
So tehre.

madhousewife said...

I prefer the earliest time, too. I hate the latest time. It feels like the whole day gets sucked away. Fortunately, we share our building with the singles ward, and the singles ward always gets the latest time (lazy singles sleeping in ;) ).

We used to have a rule that the kids could only watch church movies on Sunday. Then we bent the rule to include Veggie Tales because they talk about God. Then we bent the rule to include Barney because Barney is relatively quiet. Then we bent the rule to include any video that keeps the younger kids happy. Happiness is a serious problem in our house.

mormonhermitmom said...

We're back at 9 after being at 1 for two years. It's harder to get the kids to stick with the "Sunday crate" of videos (which includes veggie tales, The Best Two Years, Baptists and our Barbecue, Meet the Giants). If I take an afternoon nap, I don't know what the kids get into.
Sunday is my day of rest, so it's leftovers for the fam.
I read that year of living biblically too..funny in someways, a little uncomfortable in others.. so for the most part, I'm glad I'm not living the law of Moses, especially that animal sacrifice thing. ew.

The Miller Family said...

Lol. Amen, sister! I totally agree!

We're at 11, with Sacrament last. My kids usually nap at 11:30, so by the time Sacrament gets there at 1, they're tired and hungry and cranky. And from the sound of it, so are everyone else's kids, lol.

Jessica G. said...

We're on the middle schedule. It's my favorite because you get to sleep in a little but then aren't completely starving on Fast Sunday.

(And just TIVO The Unit...you can watch it Monday after FHE.)

wenderful said...

Just popped over from Annie's blog.

We are on the late schedule which is my favorite because
1. I have all morning to prepare for church - when else would I have time for that?

1. It makes fasting WAY easier! No tempting food around during the weak hours of the afternoon.

Love your blog! I'll be back.

Annette Lyon said...

Painfully true, alas. We're on the 1:00 schedule this year, and fasting is even easier to do "right."

I have a sneaking suspicion that the deacons come across a LOT of pajamas and bedhead when they do fast offerings. At least, that's how I comfort myself.

The trouble with the Jewish thing is picking how orthodox you want to be. Every rabbi interprets the laws differently!

Melissa said...

I'm not a fan of the late time either. We're at 11:00 and for us, it's perfect. Enough time to sleep a big, but have some extra time to prepare. Not really enough time when we get home to get into trouble, but enough to enjoy each other for a bit. Maybe as the kids get older it won't be this way, but for now it's great!

Blog is my Co-Pilot said...

late schedule here too, and I LOVE IT! It really works out alot better for us, except for the sunday afternoon naps we love so much, those are now not possible. *tear*

Sue said...

The 1:30 schedule is the pits so we decided this is "crockpot year". Dinner will be ready when we get home because during the winter months - it's almost dark already!

Alison Wonderland said...

On the Sabbath I get up early and warm up the fully prepared nutritious breakfast that I made the day before (Saturday is the day we get ready for Sunday afterall) and then my children and I spend an hour or so reading scriptures and discussing our thoughts. The we do a final church prep (we got dressed first thing of course, we just make sure all is in place) then we walk to church so that we can spend some time enjoying nature and our family. And then...
What's the matter with you?

Alison Wonderland said...

On the Sabbath I get up early and warm up the fully prepared nutritious breakfast that I made the day before (Saturday is the day we get ready for Sunday afterall) and then my children and I spend an hour or so reading scriptures and discussing our thoughts. The we do a final church prep (we got dressed first thing of course, we just make sure all is in place) then we walk to church so that we can spend some time enjoying nature and our family. And then...
What's the matter with you?

wendy said...

That's a tough question perhaps. I guess it goes back to that scripture that says something like "if you are commanded in all things you are a weak and slothful person" (Isn't that in the scriptures somewhere or did I just make that up.) My husband is not LDS so our Sundays are probably NOT what the Lord would wish from me. Hubby say's football is a righteous experience. Kids are all grown and gone but ya just keep doing and keep trying and you'll figure it out.

Nancy Face said...

I've been reading the Old Testament, and when I got to the part in Exodus about people being put to death for doing ANY work on the Sabbath Day, I have to admit it pretty much got my attention! :0

There is nothing I love more than Sunday family dinners, because my married kids come! And yeah, they are a TON of work! :0

The Blonde Duck said...

Saw you on Kristina's blog and wanted to say hi!

Whitney said...

Growing up when we had the 1 o'clock time, we did the same thing. No way would anyone be ready earlier than when we had to leave.
I think whatever Sunday activities that don't cause the spirit to leave are good :) So yes....that makes it go to the whole point of your blog. Because it's different for every person. Dang...you have a good point, :)

Vern said...

I've always wanted to be Jewish too, but only because they seem to have the corner on coconut covered marshmallows. Why is that always in their food section near the Matzo balls? What is it with that food item that gives it its own section? Any Jews out there who wanna help me clear this up?

joanna said...

I agree - we're on a late schedule too this year and we're STILL late for church! I'm trying to incorporate the crockpot into our Sunday routine but I can't even get THAT done. Late Sunday church just makes me feel LAZY all over.

Heather of the EO said...

I missed the racist thing too. Ugh, those anon comments from angry people. NOT fun. I'm sorry.

I grew up in a Baptist church and now go to a Methodist church. I've often thought about how little focus there is on the Sabbath at all anymore. I think I've heard one sermon on it my whole life. I kind of like strict guidelines because I'm SO undisciplined otherwise. Because I'm lazy.

Good post, lady.

Jennifer said...

the Unit!!....that is what DVRs are for!

But I do hear you. It is hard to make all the activities....okay I mean any of the activities "sabath worthy". I guess I have lowered my standards because hey, I am thankful when I arrive home and the house is not a disaster. That way I don't have to repent for the words that are said in my mind. :)

stephi k said...

I'm reading the Old Testament right now and I don't think I could be Jewish. The whole unleavened bread and passover observance. Have you ever had Seder with someone? I have. Gelfelte Fish. No thanks.

Yael said...

I am Jewish(Orthodox).

It is definitely easier in terms of knowing exactly what we are allowed to do on Shabbat. It is complicated and there is a lot to know, but as I grew up religious I've learned it along the way.
I'm not tempted to watch tv or turn on a light switch since I know it is a 'sin' for me to do so on shabbat.

Passover is only once a year for a week (and we have off of work the whole week), and in Israel there is only one seder. It might be difficult, but it's a beautiful family experience.

Help I need a user name! said...

I always want Sunday to be church, home, jammies, sleep, jigsaw puzzle, nap, easy, EASY dinner, and Extreme Makeover Home Edition. Then bed. Early. Ridiculously, decadently early. EMHE ends at 8:00 in my part of the world. Bed at 8:00 seems so awesome, some days.

I have never, not once, pulled this off. (hangs head in shame...)