As my 15-year high school reunion looms dangerously close on the horizon, I’ve been thinking a lot about the classic 80’s movie of teenage sturm und drang: ‘The Breakfast Club’. For those of you who may have missed one of the 157 airings of the TBS ‘Dinner and a Movie’ versions of ‘The Breakfast Club’ (‘Twister’ is this weekend!), the story is about five teenagers all from very different backgrounds, forced to spend the day together in the school library one Saturday as punishment for various indiscretions or acts of violence perpetrated upon unsuspecting freshmen.
At first, the teens eye each other uncomfortably and pretty much keep to themselves, but then, with no other form of entertainment around to distract them, they finally start talking to each other and, of course, discover they have a lot in common. The day of detention then becomes a day of discovery and reconciliation. And, true to form for all respectable John Hughes movies, Molly Ringwald ends up with the cute, but rough around the edges, guy (Judd Nelson, for all you fans of ’80s trivia).
But everyone watching the movie knows that while they’re all happily dancing around the library now (where is the principal when all this is going on?) and sharing their innermost teenage secrets and desires, they’ll awkwardly ignore each other in the school hallways on Monday morning (completely forgetting the Simple Minds’ prescient warning ‘Don’t You Forget About Me’).
So, back to reality. Jim Faulconer has a great post up today about (among other things) how much he appreciates all of the unique people and their interesting personalities in his Ward. Which got me thinking. Are our experiences at Church like “The Breakfast Club”? Where we say hello, share a few meaningful spiritual experiences together, go home, and never make much of an effort to really get to know each other? Are we supposed to spend time outside Church activities getting to know each other as part of building a community of Zion, especially in places where there are few members? Do we have to be friends with people just because they are Mormon?
And, in our every day lives, how often do we go out of our way to acquaint ourselves, get to know, and appreciate people who are different than we are, i.e., of a lower or higher economic class, different race, religion, etc.? When we find out that someone is different in ways that we may find difficult to identify with, do we want to continue to be their friend? Say you just found out that someone at work you like and are getting to know better is gay and lives with a long-term partner. Do you continue the friendship in the same way?
How many of your friends are just like you? Do you socialize with people of different ethnic, religious and social backgrounds?