Monday, October 08, 2007

Cat Thoughts,


Why People Who Drive Scooters
Should Not Spin Out on Gravel

Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings? Yes, but what they don't tell you is every time you listen to a Janice Kapp Perry song, an angel has to shoot a baby kitten in the face.

* * *

Co-worker: I miss the old machine for metering postage on the mail.

Me: You mean the one that used to peel off the stickers inside itself and jam a snarl of adhesive paper in the rollers and then you had to run a few kittens through to clear the blockage?

Co-worker: Yeah, that one.

* * *

"There's more than one way to skin a cat."

True, but only one is very efficient:
1) Take one warm, large, flexible cat.
2) Split the skin vertically from just below the jaw, up the snout, between the eyes and to the back of the skull.
3) Grasp cat by tail.
4) Crack like a bull-whip. (This step takes practice. You may want to have a few other cats on hand for this purpose.)

Note: It is always best to spread out some newspaper before beginning. Skinless cats moving at this velocity don't so much go "thud!" as "splash!"

* * *

Why People Who Drive Scooters
Should Not Spin Out on Gravel:

Saturday, October 06, 2007

GC Roundup

Actually this won't be much of a roundup, but I just had to make some comment about Jeffrey R. Holland's talk.

WOW. That was a doctrinal smack-down par excellence. It was ecclesiastical Mortal Kombat: "Finish them!"

How does he rock so hard?

Also, let's all send up a few for Elder Wirthlin. He did not look well.

(Oh yeah, I am stoked about the new apostolic appointments, but it seems to be somewhat above needing my opinion.)

Monday, October 01, 2007


Some grab-bag bits:

Here's a fantastic interview with Orson Scott Card and the host of the famous blog

•I was just made aware of a positively craptastic CES policy. Yeah, yeah, the church is still true. But remember kids, all is well in Zion, yea, Zion prospereth.

•New cool blog here.

•Oh, Robert Jordan is dead. The nerve of that guy; the ultimate cliffhanger. We ought to bring him back, make him finish the last volume, and then shoot him.

That is all.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Chestnut tresses and a great poem...

So, I looked in the mirror today and thought to myself: time for a trim. The top has gone all luscious, and when I can describe my hair as "luscious", it needs to be cut. Alas, it was not to be. I have just received a directive from the stage manager for the opera (and by extension from the director... the school of music... the board of trustees... the universal church... and God Himself) not to cut my hair until the show closes. That's two months! But when the Almighty tells you not to cut your hair, you listen. That's what the Biblical tale of Samson was all about. The Scriptures (TM): written for our day.

And now, a lovely poem by a Trappist monk that bears a few readings:

Lo! There he hangs
Ashened Figure
pinioned against the wood.
God grant that I might Love Him
Even as I should.

I draw a little closer
To share this Love Divine
And hear him softly murmur
"Ah, foolish Child of Mine,

If now I should embrace you
My hands would stain thee red,
And if I leaned to whisper
The thorns would pierce your head."

'Twas then I learned in meekness
That Love demands a price:
'Twas then I knew that sorrow
Is but the kiss of Christ.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Giblets (yeah, I mean the chewy gut-bits of a turkey)

Just a quick update...

In less than two weeks I get to quit my job. I am extatic. I really need to find a summer job that doesn't make me want to open a vein.

Reading (almost finished) Barbara Kingsolver's "The Poisonwood Bible." Well written, but I hope she didn't mean it to be a virulently anti-American as it is coming across. Given her political writings though, I bet it is. Summary: Jesus and Uncle Sam ruin a perfectly happy African nation.

Finished Harry Potter. No reason to live. It was good, but the last word was not "scar." Harry it a total Christ-character.

Reading more Robert Jordan. I wan't to stop, but I can't. Isn't there a 12 step program for this?

Feeling happy for the first time in months. Likely the effect of a new bag of kava.

I will be visiting Boston between Aug 22 and 26. Then to Missouri. Then to 17 credits of madness.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Big Ben XVI on "Jesus of Nazareth"

Okay, class. These are my initial impressions: brilliant, inspiring, and... depressing.

The book is not depressing in itself, but because I cannot help but keep thinking: "Why, oh, why could we never have anything like this in Sunday School? Why do we spend so much time and effort on fluff? (And I don't mean the lovely marshmallow spread you can only get back East.)

What do we get in SS? (Not, by the way, auspicious initials.)
1) Brief overview of some text.
2) "Personal interpretation" of the text from teacher and class-members.
3) Debate about the value and credibility of these "interpretations," most of which are worthless, as the laughable exegesis in which we, as Mormons, engage draws on nothing but the KJV text and whatever we make up. No cultural understanding, no textual criticism; most class-members didn't even read the text before coming to class.
4) Invariably, the interpretation we settle on as valid is the one that corresponds most exactly with the Mormon practice du jour, because, of course, the way we do things today is representative of the actual personal opinion of deity; that is, we have finally "arrived" as an institution. No further thought or innovation is necessary: sorry, Gordon. Please maintain the status quo.
5) Flaccid application to our lives. Acceptable as long as we do not need to really live the law of consecration. It is a lovely plan, but really, the Lord wants you to have that boat/car/house. We love the honeyed flavor of scripture; we just won't accept what makes our bellies bitter.
6) Obligatory "testimony." Tears are a plus (and a sign of truth).
7) Pat yourself on the back! We are the one true church, and no one else has anything to offer!

Buy the Pope's book. You won't regret it. You can even find time to read it in Sunday School; after all, you've got nothing better to do.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Mormonism and the Orthodox Tradition

Today, class, we are going to discuss why LDS meetings are so blasted low-church (not a pejorative) protestant / evangelical in nature. We share very little tradtition with older faiths like Catholicism or Eastern Orthodoxy (which I will lump, for convenience, into the classification of "Orthodoxy"). Why is this? Are we afraid of ritual or ceremony? Certainly not! Have you ever been to the temple?

Let me offer a suggestion: of all the things that are mutable in the Church (and there are many) one of which is the rather basic nature of our meetings and our lack of liturgical year. I also would suggest that this is the case not because of some specific revelation, but merely because the Church was restored within an evangelical cultural milieu.

Can you name a good reason why we should not adopt some of the beautiful traditions of our fellow priesthood-authority-acknowledging brothers and sisters?

The following is a good question from "Answers to Gospel Questions, Volume 5" by Joseph Fielding Smith:

Question: "Can you please tell me why members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints do not observe Good Friday as other Christians do?"

Answer: The reason why we do not observe Good Friday should be clear enough.

Easter is taken from a pagan spring holiday, that was governed by the moon. The Roman Catholic Church connected the birth of the Savior with this pagan ceremony. As you know, Easter is governed by the moon, and this spring pagan festival was celebrated according to the moon, any time in March and the end of April.

Now as you well know that the resurrection did not vary and it is foolish to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord at the end of March or the first of April, or middle of April or near the first of May, and put Good Friday the Friday before the Easter Sunday. I think you are wise enough to see the foolishness of it. The resurrection of the Savior does not vary year by year but it is a constant thing. Why should we follow the silly custom rather than to have one day for the resurrection?

Lovely, but by the same logic we shouldn't celebrate Easter either!

So what say you? I think we ought to push at least for Holy Week. Comments?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Editorial (that will never see the light of day)

Submitted to the Daily Universe re the flaccid state of BYUSA:

To the Editor:

A few of the recent responses concerning the latest BYUSA election have lamented the lack of student interest and involvement, and suggest that with more participation the organization could be fixed. Sadly, they are wrong. BYUSA is already overly "fixed" -- like my dog. All the involvement, money, and veterinarians in the world could not make my Labrador capable of siring pups. Similarly, BYUSA is a completely emasculated organization, unable to produce anything substantive. That is not meant as an indictment; it is merely the nature of the beast.

BYUSA is not a student government; they do not govern. They cannot effect change; they have no leverage with the administration because they derive their authority from the administration. They have no significant autonomy.

Thus, if students want to apply pressure to change policy, they must do it at the "grass-roots" level. For instance, do you think BYU Bookstore charges too much for text books? (Who doesn't?) Then organize a program or website that publishes booklists earlier so students can buy them cheaply online; arrange for students to advertise directly to other students the books they need to sell, eliminating Bookstore involvement.

Students can, in fact, be the agents of improvement at BYU, but they ought to understand the power dynamics behind the bureaucracy, which is by nature resistant to change. The only leverage they can bring to bear is making it less uncomfortable to change than it is to maintain the status quo.

If it gets published, I'll be quite surprised. And pleased.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Random dribbles

Wow, it has been a really long time since I've posted. Life has gotten crazy and I don't have nearly the time anymore. In any case, for my faithful readership (of one) I ought to scribble down a few things that I have been looking into recently:

I. Why do LDS ignore (largely) the psalms?
They are holy writ, and they can teach us amazing things about the gospel. For instance, take a look at one of Christ's last utterances in mortaility: My god, my god, why had thou forsaken me? Most LDS don't realize that this quote comes directly out of the 22nd (in the KJV reckoning) psalm. It is a prayer that begins with desolation, but ends aknowledging that the Lord will triumph. Christ wasn't just expressing his sorrow, but his ultimate confidence that he would be victorious. Most LDS would say that here, by quoting that phrase, Jesus was fulfilling prophecy, but to suggest that that was all he was doing would be to say that Christ was not aware of that scripture or its implications, which is surely not the case. Christ chose it intentionally for what it would teach his disciples, who were steeped in the OT.

II. What is a "vain repetition"?
CS Lewis suggests that our prayers are bound to become repetitious no matter what we do. (In fact, it is just as artificial to be concerned with always coming up with new phrases to express our needs and thanks.) We will use the same words, period. The only important thing, then, if that we are constantly pouring new meaning and immediacy into those words. What then is the problem with using traditional phrases in prayer? That is not to say that we should abandon the extemporaneous for rote prayer, but that there might not be a problem in "festooning" our prayers with ancient, traditional phrases, which have become, over time, packed with meaning. For more info read: Letters to Malcom, Chiefly on Prayer by Lewis.

III. Pattern of prayer?
In the church our pattern of prayer is very basic:
Address God.
Thank him.
Ask him.
Close through Jesus Christ.

Might I submit that we try a slightly expanded version? It is called the ACTS pattern, and it addresses somethings we often leave undone in out prayers.

Address God


Close through Jesus Christ.

This has been working well for me. Try it and see what you think.