Not too long after Meka and I joined our church, we started attending a covenant group. A covenant group is a number of adults who get together every so often to discuss a given topic. There were about a dozen of us in our covenant group. We met on alternating Tuesday nights. We shared the hosting duties and everyone got a chance to come up with a topic to discuss.
Over time, the covenant group began to falter. Not everyone could make the meetings, so oftentimes there were only five or six people instead of twelve. Some topics were very interesting and entertaining. Others weren’t. We finally decided to formally end the group before it withered away. It was an amicable separation. We still see each other at church, of course, and we also get together every so often for breakfast.
This isn’t a decision made easily. There are over a dollar’s worth of tolls between us and Rockford, gas is over $4 a gallon now, and Meka and I are both on Weight Watchers. Still, we went a couple of Saturdays ago. I had an order of toast and some Egg Beaters. Meka had oatmeal. We both eyed Daniel’s pile of French toast and sausage, but both of us managed not to sample it. Despite the temptations, we had a very nice time seeing everyone again. It made me wonder how we had all drifted apart. The conversations around the table were very interesting. Everyone is well versed in a number of areas, well educated and friendly.
I think the problem was the covenant group format. We discussed topics every time we met. I remember ones we did on our concepts of the afterlife, how music appeals to us and why. I did one on faith and science. We even had religion as a topic once (go figure!). However, what fell by the wayside was any personal discussion. Originally we would start the meetings with a “check-in”. Everyone would tell of their joys and concerns since we last got together. As time passed, we would spend more time checking in than discussing. We agreed to reduce the check-in time and actually made it voluntary rather than required. While this allowed us to cover more issues, it also marked the beginning of the end.
For while I respect the opinions of the people in our covenant group, I value their friendship more. We didn’t cover any serious issues over breakfast, not a single breath spent on the problems of the world. I heard about kids and grandkids, travel plans and concerns with school and jobs. We checked-in then checked out, paying our respective bills for breakfast with promises to meet again soon… maybe some Tuesday evening…