Monday, September 29, 2008

Constructive Thoughts: National Humility, Pt. 2

Ever since Junior High, I have been fascinated by the Fibonacci sequence of numbers. I cannot explain what my fascination is, and I am certainly no mathematician, so I cannot pretend to fully understand it. For those of you who may not know, the Fibonacci sequence is a sequence in which each number after the first two numbers is the sum of the previous two numbers. In other words: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, etc.

The sequence is predictable. There is a pattern or sequence in life that is nearly as predictable as the Fibonacci sequence. That is the so-called Pride Cycle.

What is the Pride Cycle you ask?

The Pride Cycle is a pattern in which a civilization rises and falls, based on their adherence to the Lord's words and the level of their pride. It is a sequence that is repeated over and over in the scriptures, as the Lord's way of teaching us about the pitfalls of pride. We are constantly hit over the head with stories representative of the Pride Cycle, I believe, so that we can learn to recognize it in our own lives and in the world around us, so that we can avoid the serious consequences of pride. The steps in the sequence could be stated as follows: (a) Righteousness and prosperity; (b) Pride and wickedness; (c) Destruction and suffering; and (d) Humility and repentance, which then leads back to (a).

In the Book of Mormon, especially, we see this cycle repeated time after time. In almost every instance where the Lord blesses his people with abundance, prosperity, and material wealth, it is not long before they turn away from Him, forgetting Him, until they are brought to a remembrance of God--through destruction or suffering--at which time they are humbled and repent. Pride always leads to destruction, and usually sooner rather than later.

This scares me.

Why? As President Ezra Taft Benson taught, "Pride is the universal sin, the great vice.... Pride is the great stumbling block to Zion." {Ezra Taft Benson, "Beware of Pride," Ensign, May 1989 at 4.} (Aside: This sermon by President Benson is one of the great discourses on pride; although I am going to cite heavily from it, I would strongly recommend reading it for yourselves in its entirety, if you have not done so lately. My latest reading of it brought all of this to mind.)

What else scares me about it? We all know the words of Santayana: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Look around you; do you see any evidence that the Pride Cycle is going strong?

First, a definition or two. For the sake of this argument, I am going to focus strictly upon current events in the United States of America. This is by no means meant to insult or leave out my non-American readers. It is simply easier for me at this point to make American-oriented references. For that similar purpose, I am going to use the American people as God's people; again, not because they are any better then people elsewhere, it simply helps in the analysis. In addition--as I have written before--this land is a chosen land. {See this post.)

Step one: Righteousness and prosperity.
Four months ago, I urged a "national pride check" because of how prosperous the country had become. And we, as a people, have been very prosperous. "One of the inevitable side effects that occurs as people apply gospel principles in their lives is that their material circumstances also improve.” {Dean L. Larsen, "Beware Lest Thou Forget the Lord," Ensign, May 1991 at 40.}

While we should not expect that we have a right to material wealth if we follow the commandments, "the lord has made it clear...that when his people are obedient, he desires to bless them with the necessities and the comforts of life so that none should live in want.” Id. Material, worldly wealth, however, can carry with it risks of complacency and may distract us from what is eternally important. It can become so important, sometimes, that our possessions seem to possess us. This concern over material wealth is a matter about which prophets have been concerned throughout history.

Moses, for example, warned the Israelites:

7 For the Lord thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills;
8 A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey;
9 A land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass.
10 When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the Lord thy God for the good land which he hath given thee.
11 Beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day:
12 Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein;
13 And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied;
14 Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the Lord thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage;
{Deuteronomy 8:7-14}
Brigham Young also taught: "The worst fear I have about this people is that they will get rich in this country, forget God and His people, wax fat, and kick themselves out of the Church and go to hell. This people will stand mobbing, robbing, poverty, and all manner of persecution, and be true. But my greater fear...is that they cannot stand wealth.” {Larsen, supra (citation omitted).} The central danger with material wealth, you see, “lay in its obscuring the need for acknowledging the Lord’s hand in these blessings, and in failing to use the abundance to bless others and to accomplish the Lord’s purposes.” {Id.}

Step two: Pride and wickedness. Surely we do not have a problem here, right?

Wrong.

Some of the earmarks of pride, as President Benson set them forth:

  • Enmity toward God and enmity toward our fellowmen (called the central feature of pride)
  • Essentially competitive: our will against God's
  • Desires, appetites, passions go unbridled
  • Inability to accept the authority of God; Human perceptions against God's great knowledge; Inability to change one's opinions to agree with God's
  • Fear of men's judgments rather than of God's judgments
  • Faultfinding
  • Gossiping
  • Backbiting
  • Murmuring
  • Living beyond our means
  • Envying
  • Coveting
  • Withholding gratitude and praise
  • Unforgiving
  • Jealous
  • Disobedience
  • Selfishness
  • Contention
  • Easily offended
  • Grudge-holding
  • Not easily corrected
Whew. I will leave it to you as to where we stand as far as these things are concerned.

Step three: Destruction and suffering. Here's where I really began to get scared when I started looking at this topic. President Benson said, "God will have a humble people. Either we can choose to be humble or we can be compelled to be humble." {Benson, supra.} I am afraid that we, by and large, are going to be compelled to be humble, rather than choosing humility for ourselves.

Look around.

Where is our perceived power now? Where is our economic power? Are we still prosperous? In the Book of Mormon the Lord used droughts and famines to bring humility to his people. (See, e.g., Helaman 11:3-7; 12:3.) Sound familiar? Droughts, flooding, food shortages, fuel shortages, high prices, low dollar value, etc. Do I really need to go on?

Have we missed the teachings of Moses and forgotten the Lord?

Pride is a stumbling block for Zion, according to a Prophet of the Lord.

Are we stumbling? Or have we already stumbled and are wallowing in the mud?
Step four: Humility and repentance, which lead back to righteousness and prosperity. I do not think it is too late for us to choose to be humble. We may not avoid all of the destruction and suffering that we have sown through our pride, but we may not reap as much as we otherwise might have.

How do we choose humility? How could I put it better than a Prophet? We can choose to humble ourselves by:
  • conquering enmity
  • receiving counsel and chastisement
  • forgiving those who have offended us
  • rendering selfless service
  • preaching the word that can humble others
  • getting to the temple more frequently
  • confessing and forsaking our sins and being born of God
  • loving God, submitting our will to His, and putting Him first in our lives
Four months ago, I said that I thought that we needed a pride check, individually and nationally. I said that our consequences are coming.

I think they are here. Just look at the headlines of the day.

The consequences are here, my friends.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Are we condemned to repeat it? No. There is a way to break the Pride Cycle.

We need to find humility and repent, individually and nationally. Heck, Globally, even. We need to get ourselves back to righteousness and prosperity will follow. Then we need to find a way to cut out the other two steps for good. We need to remain humble, even in our prosperity. We need to continually repent in order to stay righteous. That is how we break the Pride Cycle.

That's where I long to be.

What about you?

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A New Lamp

I need a new lamp for my office desk. My brass-and-green-shade bankers' lamp from Law School has finally given up the ghost, I'm afraid.

This is what I want to get for a replacement:
They have aliens in different poses for the interior, and also feature a human abductee instead of the cow.

But what do you think? How could you NOT trust an attorney with this on his desk?

Not only that, but it's Politically Correct: These are, after all, illegal aliens taking cows that Americans just don't want. How can they be bad?

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Arrrrrr!!!!!

Ahoy, me hearties!

It be me pleasure to wish ye all fair skies and smooth seas on this fine an' rousin' International Talk Like a Pirate Day!

I be Mad James Flint.
Get your own pirate name from piratequiz.com.

Every pirate be a wee bit addled. I, though, be more than just a wee bit. Like the rock flint, I be hard and sharp; but, also like flint, I be easilty chipped, and sparky.


Me first mate, the mangy bilgerat, who be marooned in the Lake of Salt, told me of this day last year. His entire jollyboat law office not only spoke as buccaneers all day, but they also dressed up. Aye, lawyers dressed as pirates--how can ye tell who be who?

So this year I got me own Letters of Marque: me own office be doin' the same. We'll be havin' good grog an' fine grub. We be the crew of the Wanderin' Barnacle, the finest ship that e'er sailed the briny deep! E'en th' good Cap'n be joinin' in th' fun! Who knew th' ol' sea dog had it in 'im?

Maybe next year we'll go on the account an' buckle our swashes. It may all rest on how shipshape we be after the sun sets o'er the sea. We may all be kissin' the gunner's daughter once we reach five bells.

Now see t'yer day smartly, an' mind what ol' Jack Flint tells ye: Mad I my be, but I ain't no rum shark bait.

Splice the mainbrace and swab the poopdeck, I be ready to count me swag!

Arrr!!!!!!!

H/T: leehansen.com for the Jolly Roger image.

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Class Act?

Amendment I:
Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech....


Buckle up. I am bound to offend someone today; keep in mind that any perceived offense is not intentional. Before I begin my rant I just want it understood that I revel in my ability--my freedom--to express myself how, where, and when I want. I fully support and uphold your freedom to do the same. That freedom--that right--is one of the things that makes America the greatest country on the Earth.

{Aside: That and Twinkies. Seriously: little sponge cakes with frosting inside? Who else but an American could have made such a thing? Thank you, James Dewar.
But I digress....
}

That being said, I still have the right to mock you or take exception to the things you say or how you express this freedom. I can still support your ability to say the things you say, but I do not necessarily have to like them. My not liking them is not "censorship" or an abridging of that freedom. {Point of order: No-one but a governmental entity can actually infringe on someone's Constitutional rights. That is something a lot of people tend to forget.}

I open my browser this morning and what do I see?

Yahoo! tells me here that Josh Howard, a player for the Dallas Mavericks of the NBA, has opened his mouth and shown just how much class he has.

Again: I respect his right to speak his mind.

I just think that he may have lost his mind. Or his class. Or his tact. You decide.

In a video posted on YouTube, Howard is shown on a football field at a charity flag football game. As the national anthem plays in the background, Howard approaches a cameran and says, "'The Star Spangled Banner' is going on right now. I don't even celebrate that (expletive). I'm black."
Excuse me?

Maybe I am naive. Maybe I have been living in a cave. But somehow, for some reason, I was under the apparently incorrect assumption that black Americans lived in the same America that I do.

At least, that's what I interpret his comments to mean: I'm black, not American. Am I wrong? Please. Tell me if I am.

What is this comment? From whence does it come and what is its basis? On one level, does this idiot realize that it is, in part, this "(expletive)" that has allowed him to make the ridiculous amounts of money he has made from playing a game for a living? In the words of a local sports talk show host from my college days: It's a game. A darn fun one, but only a game. Does he really think that he'd make anywhere near as much money playing somewhere basketball elsewhere in the world.

Send him to China. Let's see what his bankroll looks like then.

Is this just a dumb jock athlete basketball player mouthing off? Is this part of a small subculture in America that feels this way? Is it maybe due to his feeling of entitlement as a dumb jock athlete basketball player that he is somehow more than just a mere entertainer? That people care about his opinion of this country? (Again, I respect his freedom to have that opinion, remember.)

Okay. My fuse is lit: I had convinced myself that some of the furor over Rev. Jeremiah Wright's comments about America--as well as Michelle Obama's comments about America--had been overblown and overplayed by the Republicans. Now? I'm not so sure anymore.

We have a Reverend calling for the damnation of America.

We have the wife of a Senator / Presidential candidate proclaiming that she is finally proud of America.

And we have an over-rated pseudo-celebrity glandular case comparing (take your pick) the national anthem, America, and/or American traditions to "(expletive)."

Wow.

Good thing the First Amendment is in place. Think about what would happen without it. Think about where these people would be without the good old American values they hold so dear contemptible.

The good Reverend would be doubly lost without the guarantee of freedom of religion and freedom of expression.

Michelle Obama? Take a look around the world and see what happens to "outspoken" (I acknowledge this is not the best choice of words) women: Pakastani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto? Tibetan nun Phuntsog Nyidron? How about Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Agathe Uwilingiyimana?

Again, I could be naive, but I am pretty sure that all of these women had more than a little pride in their individual countries.

And we've already discussed just how much our little game-player could earn elsewhere in the world. Let's take it one step further: imagine playing for an Iranian National team... or the Chinese National team... or the (fill in the blank) National team. What do you think would happen if he refused to acknowledge the National Anthem of his host country? if he insulted the Anthem or his host country itself? How long would he continue to play his game?

How long before he was "disappeared"?

How much play would anything said by these three get in a country dominated by, say, the Taliban?

Anyone? Anyone?

That's what I thought.

Back to my original point--Mr. Howard, you may not like what the country stands for, you may not want to celebrate what you term: "(expletive)", and you have every right to speak your mind. Your so-called "(expletive)" gives you that right.

You may just want to recognize that the rest of us have our OWN right to speak OUR minds as well.

And like it or not, all of us red-blooded Americans who may not like our country likened to "(expletive)" by someone getting paid outrageously for a playground game? We red-blooded Americans that buy NBA tickets, merchandise, and programming?

We red-blooded Americans pay your salary, kiddo.

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Oops, they did it again!

So much of the left just does not get it.

Lest I be accused of over-generalizing, there are some who do. This post is not about them.

This post is about that segment of the left that are willing to make fun, call names, point fingers, and generally act childish when they don't like their opponent.

Oh yeah, pouting. I forgot pouting.

They are those who cannot stand us religious whackos who cling to our firearms. {Aside: this is funny, by the way. I always thought that the First and Second Amendments allow me to cling to whatever the heck I want.}

Not only can they not stand us, they cannot understand us.

They think that perfectly rational ideas should be unthinkable and that right is wrong and wrong is right. There is no evil, and how dare you insinuate there is (because if there is an Evil, there must, by corollary, be Good (or God)). Strong and solid is scary.

Strong and solid. That's what I want out of a President.

They cannot understand this philosophy.

Here's the latest, for those who have not seen it:

H/T: Bruce Henderson of And Still I Persist

Beverly Hills photographer Jill Greenberg secretly took this photo of Senator McCain at the end of a photo shoot for a magazine cover; she lit him from beneath and no-one realized the photo was taken until, apparently, it started circulating.

Now please, do not get me wrong: I am not excited about a McCain Presidency. I am even less excited about an Obama Presidency. I do not yet know for whom I will cast my vote in less than two months. I am not a Republican. I am not a Democrat. I am not an Independent.

I am an American.

But still-- This photo adds some weight to McCain. This photo looks like a President. I do not want a President who will cuddle up to me and make all my feel-bads go away. I do not want a President who gives trophies to all the other countries too--even when they are underachievers or slackers--just so that they feel better about themselves. I do not want a President whose every photograph looks like they've used a filter to soften the light and create a glowing effect. I do not want a President whose every photograph makes you think of fuzzy kittens and cute little animals with big eyes.

Yeah, I know, how very un-PC of me. How dare I?

Y'know what? I want a President who looks like he is going to kick your butt and write your name in his Book of Grievances. A President who looks like he will kick your butt as many times as he needs to do so, plus one for good measure.

Not that he has to do so. We should not be warmongers. I am not advocating that.

But the other countries absolutely do not need to know that. I do not mind if a few countries are seriously scared out of their collective wits by us. We are a super-power after all.

You seriously think that Al Qaeda is going to mess with a country with someone that looks like this at the helm? Seriously?!?

And yet the Left thinks that this picture is a detriment to him. They think that this will somehow cause him to lose the Presidency. No-one wants a dragon, they say. The people want unicorns! They think that no-one wants a big, scary man as the leader of their country.

I'm not convinced that I don't.

Dragon? or unicorn? Which is going to scare a terrorist more?

I know which I would choose.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Lest thou forget....


[L]est thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons. {Deut.4:9.}
In loving memory of the 3,000+ American lives that were brutally cut short seven years ago today. God bless them and their families, friends, and loved ones. Lest we forget. It's only been seven years and where are we now?
It's next to impossible to find footage of these events that are not wrapped up in "truther" conspiracy theories. Have we already forgotten? Why are we not seeing these videos, these images, on the news all day long?





These are the sights and sounds of our fellow Americans dying.

These are the sights and sounds of what we are fighting against.

Don't bother giving me your Truther spins. Sorry, but that money's no good here. I won't go into my reasons for this position here. Suffice it to say first that there were simply too many variables to keep quiet for this long and second that this Administration is too unpopular for someone truly in the know to have not yet stepped forth and said, "Here's how we did it. Yes, WE did it." There. That is all I will say about the conspiracy theorists. What matters today is that it happened.

I will tell you how it happened: EVIL.

It is not a popular position in our modern world, that Evil exists. Sure, lip service is given, but it is not generally believed, truly believed, that Evil is alive, well, and active in the world.

It is.

See above for an example.

How many lives cut short? How many families broken and destroyed? How many individual faiths and testimonies shattered? How many beliefs in God shredded?

You tell me these acts were not Evil and I will raise an eyebrow.

We must not forget.

We must teach it to our sons and our sons' sons.

Some may say that we must forgive and forget. That it is pointless to dwell on the images and the events of that day.

That's like saying that we should not dwell on the instances and examples of evil pointed out in the Scriptures.

Forgive and forget? Excuse me? Hello? If you weren't aware, there is Evil in the world.

EVIL.

Maybe, maybe you could make a case for forgiving those who actually committed the acts? But only so far as you forgive their individual choice. But to cast a "blanket of forgiveness" over it? We should turn a blind eye to it and forget about it?

No. It is our responsibility to watch for and expose that Evil. It is our duty to make sure that our friends, families, and children understand this Evil and can recognize it for themselves.

Recognition is key to stopping Evil, crushing Evil, and digging out its roots. We are at war with Evil; the ancient War in Heaven continues today. {Aside: Please do not misquote me and tell me I am equating any specific religion or people with Evil. I am talking about a much larger scale, a larger philosophy than this narrow view.} I will say it again: We are at war against Evil. This is not just Iggy talking; this was expressed by a Prophet of the Lord. {See Gordon B. Hinckley, "The Times in Which We Live," Ensign, Nov. 2001.)

Granted, the people of this country have done some really, really stupid things in the guise of stopping Evil. And yes, I am talking stupidity on both sides of the political aisle. We, as a country, have made some mistakes.

But the acts that happened seven years ago? These were works of Evil, not mistakes. As President Hinckley said, "Out of that vicious and ugly attack we are plunged into a state of war.... But this was not an attack on the United States alone. It was an attack on men and nations of goodwill everywhere.... It was cruel and cunning, an act of consummate evil." {Id.}

An act of consumate evil. Recognition of this fact is key, lest we forget.

On this day, and every day, God Bless America.

We really need it.

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Thursday, September 04, 2008

Strangers on a Train, Pt. 5

Over the Labor Day weekend, I packed up the LW, the Horde, and traveled over to Salt Lake to visit. It was a whirlwind trip, but it was nice to be able to get away from home and see our friends and family. I was even able to spend an afternoon with a good friend from my mission days, and with whom I attended law school.

Yet again, I relied upon Salt Lake's public transportation to get around. And yet again, I have some sightings to report.

On the first morning we were there--Thursday--I wound up standing on the TRAX train platform nice and early: had to get my day started as soon as possible, after all! It had to have been around 7:00 a.m. Now, those who know me know that I am not a morning person.

Far from it.

So here I am, trying not to fall asleep and careen off the platform onto the tracks, questioning my sanity, and reveling in a real good, deep, dark grump. The platform was crowded with people headed to work and to the University. Halfway down the platform from where I stood is a woman, mid-sixties, plump, grandmotherly. She's regaling a few other passengers-in-waiting in a loud voice with some story about a dog she had when she was a child who caught a watersnake in her backyard and how it horrified her mother.

Then, jarringly, she just stops talking to the people around her, walks up the platform towards where I was standing. In an even louder voice she calls out, "Hey! Good morning to all of you! Here's hoping you have a wonderful, glorious day!"

No joke.

It took me aback; my first instinct was to cower from the crazy lady. Honestly. Now, I'm a little ashamed that this was my initial reaction, but there it is. And I'm not the only one who felt that way, judging my the looks on the faces around me.

Plus, c'mon. Who really can be that chipper, that happy, on any morning, let alone at 7:00 a.m.?

Then Loud Chipper Grandmother walks back to her previous audience and tells another quick story about her dog. Again, she finished up the story abruptly and wandered down toward the other end of the platform. I heard the following come echoing down the tracks: "Hey! Good morning to all of you! Here's hoping you have a wonderful, glorious day!"

Yep. Same spiel. Word for word.

Even from the other end of the platform I could tell those people were having the same "first thought" that I had.

A few minutes later, after she had returned to hold court with the doggie crew, the train pulled up and as it approached where she was standing, she turned and waved at the engineer.

That's when it hit me.

She's happy. Genuinely happy. And she doesn't care who sees it, who knows it, who feels it. And because she's happy, she wants to share it.

Share it she did. After my first embarassingly ugly thought about her sanity, the happiness and good will settled on my shoulders, into my heart and mind, and it was clear that others on the platform had the same sensation. It may have been 7:00 a.m., but I was happy. I wanted to share the happiness too; I wanted to wish everyone around me a good morning.

There was no racing for seats, no jostling for position. There was kindness and camaraderie on that train. That feeling lasted and stayed with me for hours.

Bless you, ma'am. Whoever and wherever you are. Keep up the good work.

And to my readers: Good morning! Here's hoping you have a wonderful, glorious day!

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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Kind of like playing "House" but not really.

Sometimes I feel like I am just playing at being an attorney.

I am feeling that way today. Right now, as a matter of fact.

I really hope that I am not alone in this feeling. Play-acting grown-uppery, that is.

Forgive me for my exercise in affixation, but I do not know how else to describe it. "Grown-uppery." "Adultitude."

It is kind of like playing "House" but not really.

Now, I have to be careful and differentiate here: I do not mean "House" as in "House, M.D."--I am not talking about "playing Doctor" or something like that. {Aside: Ewww. I cannot even imagine the images that "playing Lawyer" would conjure. I am shuddering just saying the words.}

It's a feeling that you are just a small child sitting at your father's desk. You can almost imagine that your feet are not touching the floor and you can feel the desk edge pressing into your upper chest--you can almost rest your chin on the desk. It's a feeling that you are signing random pieces of paper instead of important letters and documents.

It's a feeling that you could pick up the phone and spend time giggling with one of your friends about how you are sitting at daddy's desk and he is letting you play "office" and touch all of his work stuff.

It's a feeling that you should be doing something constructive, like linking all of your paperclips into one long chain and then feeding them back into your magnetized paperclip holder. You know the drill: it's the office version of unscrewing the salt shaker lid.

It's a feeling that you are playing dress-up and walking into court to babble made-up words into the microphone, making things up as you go along. Oh wait, that one really is what lawyering is all about.

It's a feeling that you are so far out of your depth that someone, somewhere, will surely notice that you haven't the vaguest idea of what you are doing.

It's a feeling that someone, sometime soon, is going to come busting through your office door, point at you, and screech like Donald Sutherland. It can be a very surreal feeling, much as if you were a pod person, a different intelligence--a naive intelligence--looking out of another person's eyes, an adult's eyes. You are someone different, just going through the motions and hoping that someone--a co-worker or a boss does not pierce your masquerade and see through your harlequin mask. "EEEEEEEEEEEEE," they would squeal.

That's how I feel today.

I wonder if my colleagues ever feel that way.

Heck, I wonder if my LW ever feels that way.

I can almost feel the phone book on which I am metaphorically sitting even as we speak.

I am struggling to decide what causes this feeling. Is it, as I fear, a coping mechanism? a way to handle an inordinant amount of stress? Or is it a self-esteem issue? Or, even worse, is it true that I genuinely do not know what I am doing?

On that note, I think I will have to lock the door and hide in my fort under my desk.

Watch for the boss, won't you?

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Monday, September 01, 2008

Constructive Thoughts: Hurricane Gustav

The news is reporting that Gustav has passed New Orleans and is losing steam as it heads inland.

Thank heavens.

My heart goes out to those who perished in the storm, and to their loved ones. At the same time, I am so glad it was not any worse.

Thanks to the guys over at Spirit of the Law for their wake-up call.

"These are good people," the Spiriters say.

I concur, and will certainly will keep the people in my thoughts and prayers.

And I think it is important that we receive this fine reminder: there are good souls in Louisiana, just as there are elsewhere. I have a self-proclaimed "Christian" co-worker who believes (and will be quick to tell you) that Katrina was sent as a message to New Orleans and was a "cleansing" of the land, because of course, "everyone" in New Orleans is part of "a decadent lifestyle" and deserves what they get.

Yeah. No joke.

Soon after my mission began, I was in an area where a few un-thinking 19-year-olds thought it was funny to broadcast the comment that we just needed one good typhoon to serve as a mass baptism and let God sort them out. Those broadcast obscenities soon reached the Mission President's ears. I still remember the scathing talk all of the missionaries in my area received at the next Zone Conference.

"Ouch," doesn't begin to describe the feeling. A band-aid wouldn't cover the resulting wound--it was stiches- and staple-worthy.

I am sure that there will be those who say the same things about the victims of Gustav.

Let us remember, as we open our collective mouths to do so, that there are good, fine souls down there, be they members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Evangelicals, Baptists, or any other denomination or belief. Just because there is prevalent decadence does not mean that everyone is tainted. I say "we" need to remember: I am speaking to myself as well. I confess that I must work on this as well at times.

Remember: We are all Children of God.

There are very few, if any, persons that I can think of on this earth that truly "deserve" to die.

Please: remember the humanity behind the news reports.

And as you open your mouth to decry the people and their debauchery, see if you can remember at least one of the following two passages:

  • JUDGE not, that ye be not judged. {Matt. 7:1}


  • And the second [commandment] is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. {Mark 12:31}
Choose one--choose both, if you are willing--and liken the scripture unto you, unto us.

Let the spirit of the scriptures--let the Spirit of Christ--engender a bit of compassion in our hearts.

And may God Bless those upon whom Gustav has had an effect.

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Good news!

Here it is September and I'm still waiting for 2008 to get really good. I mean, "having the knife stop sticking me in the back"-good.

Yeah. Going on nine months. (Aside: This is a post for another time.)

But at least today I learned that I have a fairly viable option for an alternate career, should the need arise.

75%
HOO-AHHHH!

Of course, on the other hand we have this:

$4615.00The Cadaver Calculator - Find out how much your body is worth.

Does that mean my new career choice could only gross me $4,615?

Hmmm.... Maybe I will have to think this over some more.

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