Sunday, October 23, 2016

The blessing of hearing and turning away. Acts 3:26

"to you first, God, having raised up His child Jesus, did send him, blessing you, in the turning away of each one from your evil ways."
Acts 3:26

The lessons we teach here often focus on the Atonement of Jesus Christ, speaking reverently and gratefully for his gift of taking the punishment for our sins, paying the price for them, so that we may repent and stand, redeemed and "justified", before God at the last day. 

There is another profound blessing that comes as we learn the teachings Jesus taught when God sent him to earth and he lived here and as, a result of that learning, repent,  turning away from our evil ways.  And that blessing is every day, not just at the last day.

I realize how much freer and meaningful and profound our daily lives are when we turn from "evil ways" and follow the teachings of Christ (whether or not we realize they are the things he taught). And also, I am aware of how many unhappy natural and logical consequences we avoid that would otherwise arise from our own personal choices to indulge in "evil ways".  

We do not usually speak of this because doing so causes us to sound too much like the pharisee praying in the temple "Oh Lord, I am grateful that I am not like so and so...."  (Luke 18:10-12) And that's a pit to avoid like the plague.

But this verse at the end of Peter's remarks to the crowd at the temple reminds me that it is good to stop and recognize privately, to God, the daily, freeing, blessing it is to have been made aware of the wise principles and practices that Jesus taught while on earth, and the blessing of being able to choose them, and that I should be humbly grateful for the logical and natural consequences that result when we incorporate them daily into our lives.

"We thank thee for every blessing, bestowed by thy bounteous hand".

Monday, October 17, 2016

On politics and elections and Matthew 16

My current work makes it foolish for me to comment in public forums on current American politics.  But I can post a comment here to articulate what has been going on in my head after reading JST Matthew 16.  And I think that's okay considering how few read this blog.

“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.  And now for a man to take up his cross is to deny himself all ungodliness, and every worldly lust, and keep my commandments….Break not [abandon not] my commandments for to save your [political or physical or social or any other kind of] lives; for whosoever will  to save his [political or physical or social etc.] life in this world, will lose it in the life to come.  And whosoever will lose his [political, physical or social life], for my sake, shall find it in the world to come."

It is always a bad idea to vote for a candidate who directly advocates and personally embraces ungodliness and lust simply because you believe the hate speech directed at his or her opponent or fear the opposing political party or potential  future legislation.  Fear and hate are never good reasons for voting and they are definitely never good reasons for compromising one’s commitment to Christ and his prescription for godly behavior.

 A politician who revels in his or her ungodly behavior daily  in his interaction  with others, denigrating other human beings, will never listen to you as a constituent unless you excuse and justify or minimize his wickedness and actively or passively support it.  And I, as a follower of Christ, have made a personal commitment that I will not do that.

I have lived long enough to have learned that it is not the party platform that makes a political candidate reliable and responsible.  It is not his or her foreign policy proposals or his or her domestic agenda.  It is not how much I disagree with the platform of the opposing party or how much I am bothered by his or her opponent.  It is the candidate’s personal commitment to basic godly principles of civility, decency, and willingness to sacrifice for the good of others, his or her moral compass, that makes a candidate reliable and responsible.  That personal commitment to basic principles may not have led that candidate to the same political conclusions that I have made.  It may sometimes even lead him or her to sponsor  legislation that I think is short-sighted, or wrong, or downright stupid.  But that moral compass must be there if I am to have any hope at all that he or she will listen to constituents or work with opponents to craft legislation that supports the vision of his constituents, including me.

No political candidate is without sin.  None  of us are.  All them have done stupid things.  All of them have bought into some of the world’s lies. But some have developed moral compasses and others simply have not.

Never vote out of fear.  Always vote for people who show evidence of civility, respect, goodwill, and a moral compass in spite of their stupid mistakes and their political ideas that do not mesh with yours.   (I have never met a politician that I did not seriously disagree with on some point or other.)  People who show evidence of those qualities can be persuaded to look at truth and work with opponents and listen to their honest hearted, civil, engaged constituents who see things differently than they do.  People who don’t, will never be.

As a disciple of Jesus Christ I hope that I would not ever support, embrace, or even justify or excuse ungodliness and lust or reveling in breaking basic commandments of God in any situation in order to save my own life.  And certainly never, ever, in order to save the life of a political party.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

You can't ask someone to....

"I think one of the most important traits a leader can have is knowing as a leader you can’t ask someone to do something you yourself wouldn’t do.
"I think this starts with the simple things and still applies with the large things; from things like a dress code to things like expecting employees to stay late at the office. If you ask something of someone you aren’t willing to do yourself it makes your credibility and respect factor decrease"

HS:  "Knowest thou the 'condescension' of God?"  The 'coming down to experience with you' of God?

N:  "I know that he loveth his children".

1 Nephi 11:16-17

God is our model of leadership.  He is love, expressed in His coming to be and work with us, not just directing the work, but coming here and living the work, and the circumstances, and the limitations, and the requirements, and the struggles too.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Paul on Self-Deception

Thanks to the Scriptorium Blogorium, part of which is posted below, that made me chuckle because it hit so closely to something that Lewis and I had just been fussing over that morning.  Touché.

3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.
4 But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. (Galatians 6:3-4)

"When we think we’re something when we’re nothing, of course we lie to ourselves. And if we persist, we will also deceive other people.  But eventually we will be put to the test, and it will reveal our nothingness and disappoint both ourselves and others.

"Also, it is easy to get a cock-eyed notion of what we’re capable of when we judge others or mentally charge them with neglect or pride or some other deficiency.  So often we think, “I could do better than that.”  But so often we are ignorant of what is involved—of the challenges to be overcome, of the opposing forces to be balanced, of the negotiations to be made, of considerations to be taken into account, of the skills required. The only way to find out how good you are at something is to test yourself, to prove your own work.  That will turn into a humbling process.  Ultimately, you’ll know more about yourself and you’re less likely to deceive yourself that way again.

"We can be tested by the Lord through circumstances, and we can also test ourselves.

"The one time I remember saying, “I could do better than that,” I then tested myself and over the process of a year or so discovered that I had indeed been deceiving myself.  It was a painful experience, but I’m still grateful for having done it because of what it taught me about myself. It also taught me much greater respect for the person I had previously looked down on."

Monday, October 10, 2016

Use and Discard. Exactly.

The Deseret News nailed it:

"Trump’s banter belies a willingness to use and discard other human beings at will. That characteristic is the essence of a despot."

In my opinion it is this objectification and complete disregard for the dignity and value of not only women but any person or group of people who is not himself that is at the heart of one of the most horrendously concerning examples of narcissist and sociopathic behavior by a political figure in our country's history.

Link to the newspaper's editorial:  HERE