Monday, June 2, 2014

Book Review: Chocolate Chips and Charity - Linda Hoffman Kimball

Chocolate Chips and Charity: Visiting Teaching in the Real World compiled by Linda Hoffman Kimball

One of the things that I have hung onto from the LDS church is visiting teaching. I may not go every week to services there, or every other week, but I do have a good companion who keeps us on track and so we do our visiting teaching every month.

For those who don't know, visiting teaching is a program in the LDS church where women are paired up and given other sisters to contact at least once a month. If they can they visit the sister in her home where they may or may not give a message that's published in the church magazine the Ensign. While there, they have a chat and see if the sister has any needs.

Sometimes visiting teaching is a blessing and sometimes it's a failure.

Like most things.

Sometimes I love visiting teaching and sometimes I don't. Most often I love it. I like getting out and spending time with other women.

Sometimes you connect with the women you visit teach, or who you are companions with, or who teach you. Sometimes you don't.

My current companion was my first visiting teacher when I moved to this town and we've been friends ever since. Good friends. Although at the time of this writing she doesn't know about my disaffection to the church. No one at church does as far as I know. And frankly I can't tell my own visiting teachers because they both have husbands in the bishopric and women tell their husbands everything. So unless I want them to know, I can't let my VT's know.

Anyway, this book is about visiting teaching.You would think it would be filled with faith filled stories - the kind we hear about at church to uplift us and encourage us to sail forth with conviction to do His work through loving our sisters. And it's got the word chocolate in the title, so it has to be good.

To be sure there is some of those feel good stories, but there are also examples of where it didn't work. Sisters who's needs were not met, or sisters who recognize where they screwed up.

I have no problem with this. I like the honesty.

What is puzzling, are the stories that simply aren't stories. They don't go anywhere one way or another.

It's like Kimball, who compiled this, simply asked her friends (some known within the church) to write something, anything about visiting teaching.

And so we get a book (a very short book - it can be read in a couple of hours), filled with the good, the bad and the indifferent.

So I'm not sure what to make of this. Perhaps that is visiting teaching. Good, bad and indifferent.

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