Monday, November 9, 2009

Walking to Church D&C 61: 3-4, 15

"But verily I say unto you, that it is not needful for this whole company of mine elders to be moving swiftly upon the waters, whilst the inhabitants on either side are perishing in unbelief.
Nevertheless, I suffered it that ye might bear record; behold, there are many dangers upon the waters, and more especially hereafter . . .
Wherefore, the days will come that no flesh shall be safe upon the waters."

My family and I live in Utah Valley, which means that we're almost always within walking distance of a church. Theoretically speaking, so is almost everyone else--but that doesn't keep the buildings from needing very large parking lots. Why do so many people drive to churches that are only a few blocks away?

This Sunday we were running late, and it was awfully tempting to just drive. Cars' convenience is addictive that way: the possibility of speed tends to seduce us when we're in a hurry. We decided not to risk getting any more addicted to the car than we already are though and walked instead, even though we'd be late.

I'm glad we did. Kira, our five-year-old, got to hear the leaves crunch under her feet. We stepped in and out of each other's shadows. We could feel air on our faces and the ground under our feet. This is a worthwhile part, I thought, of raising our child as a daughter of God: spending time on Sabbath mornings with her in the world God made.

We need to learn to not always rush when there is so much to be learned and done walking.

Maybe this is part of the Lord's warning to his servants in early Restoration days against travel on the water. He couldn't warn them about cars and have them understand, so he tried to teach them that acceleration often includes isolation instead. That always speeding to somewhere else means forgetting where you are.

Does Satan ride today less on the river than on the interstates--or even right here on the internet?


  1. Is that why Utahns are so overweight?

  2. Actually, Utah ties for #42 among U.S. states as far as obesity rate. If a few more people would walk to church, we could easily fall down to #47 or even #50.

  3. I know lots of people who walk to church, although more walk home than walk there. I think the main reason why people drive is to get the whole family there on time. And the parents can hardly leave until the smaller children are ready. Time constraints caused by meetings before and afterward are another major reason.

  4. Yes. I think there are lots of understandable reasons why we drive. I just hope we can find a way to cut through some of that hectic b/c of the value of walking when we're blessed with the proximity to make it possible.
    In Columbus, Ohio, we drove fifteen minutes or so to church. The punctuality struggle there was that if we were running even a minute late, we usually got held up by a long train on the tracks between us and the chapel.
    It's interesting the way families struggle to be on time whether it takes a minute or an hour to get to church. When you live close, it's hard for me to believe that driving prevents lateness so much as allows one other reason for everyone to procrastinate a few minutes longer.

  5. The reason so many church members are overweight is that gluttony and overeating are the only vices not prosecuted under the word of wisdom.

  6. So, I realize that flippancy is the dominant tone in internet conversation, but it feels a little out of place here. Here, we work to see scriptural passages in new ways to renew our sense of connection to them and stregthen our power to generate usable insights from them. This post is about the spiritual virtues of walks that cars can draw us away from. It's ironic that the subsequent discussion has been about weight issues because they are beside the point. To think of walks as productive mainly to keep weight down strikes me as exactly the kind of goal-oriented, pressured, rushed modern mentality I am suggesting we should step back from. Even if walks did nothing to promote physical health, I believe that it is good to walk, especially with children, to promote a sense of connection and wonder which is elusive in modern life.
    That the conversation has turned toward stereotype and blame-placing is perhaps a symptom of the underlying problem of rush and disconnection. Perhaps the speed and distance of the internet, as I suggest, can foster the same literal insensitivity that I find problematic about the car experience.
    This does not mean, of course, that I will stop using cars or internet, or that either is all bad. I'm just wondering what insights the scriptures might offer about how to be careful in our use of them.

  7. Just found this blog. The Walking post is wonderful. Thank you! I'll be reading other posts now. Thanks also for you remarks in the comment section about flippancy.

  8. Hi, this is my first time at this blog. I really liked this post.

    I think you'd be interested in a post I wrote a while back that is very similar--I talk about how walking to church is good for our souls (not just our bellies). In fact, it is quite remarkable some of the similar connections we have made (esp. in relation to D&C 61). Here's the link.

  9. Yes, that is a cool post. I also enjoyed the "about" section (and not just b/c the title reminds me of the four questions from Passover).



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