Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Different types of hunger

“When Christ said: ‘I was hungry and you fed me,’ He didn't mean only the hunger for bread and for food; He also meant the hunger to be loved. Jesus Himself experienced this loneliness. He came amongst His own and His own received Him not, and it hurt Him then and it has kept on hurting Him. The same hunger, the same loneliness, the same having no one to be accepted by and to be loved and wanted by. Every human being in that case resembles Christ in His loneliness; and that is the hardest part, that's real hunger.” —Mother Teresa

Friday, March 25, 2011

Sight


Sight

D&C 76: 116-117 Neither is man capable to make them known, for they are only to be seen and understood by the power of the Holy Spirit, which God bestows on those who love him, and purify themselves before him; To whom he grants this privilege of seeing and knowing for themselves;

D&C 38:7 "But behold, verily, verily, I say unto you that mine eyes are upon you. I am in your midst and ye cannot see me;"

How important is sight?

Luke 7: 21 "And in that same hour he cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind he gave sight"

The Lord still gives sight to those who see, but cannot see. Luke 8:10: "And he said, unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand."

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Diversity of Spirits


The following are a few quotes from Brigham Young in the Journal of Discourses.

"Now understand all spirits came from God, and they came pure from his presence, and were put into earthly tabernacles, which were organized for that express purpose; and so the spirit and the body became a living soul. If these souls should live, according to the law of heaven, God ordained that they should become temples prepared to inherit all things. I wish you to understand that all spirits are pure when they are put into these tabernacles; but we have not time to explain or set before you the reasons of the variation in appearance in the mortal tabernacles. There are causes for it. Our spirits fill the tabernacles organized for them; the body is a habitation for the spirit to dwell in; and if the spirit and the body both agree in keeping all the laws and all the commandments that the Lord reveals unto that tabernacle it never shall be destroyed." (JD 6:291-292)

"We only understand in part why we are required to pass through those various incidents of life. There is not a single condition of life that is entirely unnecessary; there is not one hour's experience but what is beneficial to all those who make it there study, and aim to improve upon the experience they gain. What becomes a trial to one person is not noticed by another. Among these two thousand persons I am now addressing there cannot be found two that are organized alike, yet we all belong to the one great human family, have sprung from one source, and are organized to inherit eternal life. There are no two faces alike, no two persons tempered alike; we have come from different nations of the world, and have been raised in different climates, educated and traditioned in different and, in many instances, in opposite directions, hence we are tried with each other, and large drafts are made upon our patience, forbearance, charity, and good will - in short, upon all the higher and godlike qualities of our nature - .... "where can you find two human beings precisely alike in the organization of their bodies with the spirits?" (JD 9:292-293

"I conclude that there is as great a variety in the spiritual as there is in the temporal world, and I think that I am justified in my opinion." (JD 4:268-269)

These are interesting thoughts. No two people are alike and nor are their spirits. They are as varied as the physical part we physically see. Some wise, some noble, others with varying qualities.

We are all children of God but we need to become reborn here, born into a Family once more. Becoming and developing, acquiring divinity through the Holy Spirit and receiving light and truth.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

There are no private moments


Technology has created now a world with few private moments. I've seen news clips where cell phones can be tapped in such a way that the phone not even engaged in a call yet a third party can listen in on whatever the person happens to be doing or saying through the microphone on the phone. Not to mention how a third party can receive an alert when the other person actually is on the phone and they can listen in. Google I'm thinking has access to almost anything and everything. There are computer programs that can hack passwords.... hack databases.... the "private" moments and information are dwindling. Things that aren't even electronic are being made electronic and in an instant available to a variety of sources. I bit unnerving to think about. There is a funny online little clip about the "google toilet" it's crass and has some language, don't watch it if your easily offended, it however may be worth a look. It shows some of the realities of the present day. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hrontojPWEE

Besides the technology that is quickly eliminating what was once thought of as private moments, it's my view that there is also of course all eternity that is watching us from the other side of the veil. Our relatives, past and future. I think all the modern technology which makes our information more public and with less privacy is merely waking us up to the other realities. Perhaps those who have not yet been born as well as those who have died are able to observe us and learn from us. Much more of life might be what we would call 'public'. We're definitely not able to hide much and just may be performers of sorts. It's not just what we say now on our Facebook posts that's observable by others. Our character is on display too. It's always been observable. How great is our freedom to choose. To choose for ourselves what we think, say, write, do and focus on. Makes you wonder what kind of non visible company enjoys your company.

Interesting to think about. We're pretty accountable. It's not others that are responsible for our performance, it's us. No one else's performance is yours, each is unique since we are free to choose our behavior as well as our responses to life. (2 Nephi 32:9)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Teachable

I don't think being teachable means you are gullible, or that everyone else is smarter than you. I think it means you have a mind and heart that are willing and receptive to things that are true. Wherever they come from.

The following is a post from the blog Denversnuffer.blogspot.com. It spoke to me in so many ways I had to read it a few times. By the end I think I understood how valuable it is to be teachable. Perhaps It will speak to others like it did me. If not, then it was just for me.

The rest is a direct quote from that site:

"3 Nephi 11: 37-38
:

"And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and become as a little child, and be baptized in my name, or ye can in nowise receive these things. And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God."

Repentance is not likely unless a person is willing to undergo a change to become more "childlike" in perspective and attitude. I've written a chapter on this in The Second Comforter. I used that as the basis for my comments at the recent Chiasmus Conference. It is more than just an analogy or good advice. It is a prerequisite. It is the only way you can "inherit the kingdom of God."

Children are open to change and willing to learn. They welcome new ideas for all ideas are new to them. The world is new to them. They feel their ignorance and are anxious to fill it with information and understanding. They know they are unable to cope with the world they live in unless they obtain more understanding than they have. So they relentlessly search to know more.

On the other hand, adults are generally closed. They believe they already know something, and therefore are unwilling to receive more. (2 Nephi 28: 29.)

Adults learn disciplines of study and then think the Gospel should be viewed by the tools of the scholar. To the economist, all of the Gospel appears to be financial. To the philosopher, all of the Gospel appears to be dialectic. To the lawyer it is a legal system. But the Gospel is separate from the understanding of men. It requires us to surrender our arrogance and foolishness and come as a child to learn anew everything about life and truth. This is why the Gospel always begins with creation, informs of the Fall, and preaches the Atonement.

We must "repent" because the foundation of accepting new truth begins with the realization that we're not getting anywhere by what we've already done. We need to abandon old ways and begin anew. Until we are open to the new truths offered through the Gospel, we can't even start the journey. We're headed in the wrong direction and don't even know it. First we need to realize our direction is wrong. Then stop going that way. When we turn to the new direction, we've begun repenting. (2 Cor. 5: 17.)

From repentance comes light and truth. At first, just turning to face the new direction is a great revelation. But you've not seen anything until you walk in that direction for a while. As you move toward the light and receive more, the world itself changes meaning and nothing you used to think important remains important. (Isa. 65: 17.)

Becoming as a little child, or repenting, must precede baptism if you are to be saved. Otherwise, you cannot "receive these things" or, in other words, you cannot accept the new truths and perspectives the Gospel will require you to know and accept. Unless these steps are taken you cannot "inherit the kingdom of God" because only such people will be able to enter.

Teachable. Open. Willing to receive more. Able to endure difficulties as a result of the changes which come to them. Patient. Submissive to God. And eager to learn more. (Mosiah 3: 19.)

Not arrogant. Not trying to fit the new truths into your existing framework of false notions. (Mark 2: 22.) Not resisting truth and arguing against it. (1 Tim. 6: 4-6.) Not proud or boastful, secure in your own salvation. (Luke 18: 11.) Not holding a testimony that you will be saved while others around you will be lost because they do not believe as you do. (Alma 31: 14-18.)

How few there will be who find it. (Matt. 7: 14; 3 Ne. 14: 14; 3 Ne. 27: 33; D&C 132: 22.) Most people are simply unwilling to repent. They have such truth as they are willing to receive already, and want nothing more. (2 Nephi 28: 14-15.)

Even Christ is unable to persuade them to accept His Gospel."

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Change




Something that catches my eye from Church history is the fact that some -and in the early days MANY  changes came as a result of inquiring of God on some issue.  As was the case of much of what Joseph Smith learned by revelation. Now days things change but I hear of no revelation, they are more of policy changes that some even presume are a revelation.  Sometimes a revelation is claimed but I have have never found how how to actually read the revelation.  As the institution to which I pay tithes, I feel it within my appropriate bounds to ask to see or at least occasionally be able to read the modern revelation that is claimed.  Feelings and a committee's decision are not revelation.  I read Joseph's revelations, they inspire me.  However I can't find any nowadays.   

Sometimes it's good to ask tough questions.  I wonder if some changes at Church don't occur simply because no one asks. Or if we don't even consider the possibility that we are not acting correctly.  I've tried this personally and while difficult it has resulted in a total change of mindset for me.  What if we've fallen asleep to something, what if we are in a trance just doing what we are told? What if we are so afraid of an answer that implies our failure that we don't dare ask the question?  What if the answer required a foundational change? We'd almost shy away from asking it wouldn't we?  I've asked some of these kinds of questions and while not always flattering, it has been very beneficial.  Sometimes we don't even consider that "all the churches are wrong" as Joseph was told.

After listening to the music at church today I wondered about it.  The last time it was changed was 1984 I think.  It's almost become a "don't add anything to this" type of volume.  It took has taken on a "thou shalt not add to the words of this book" kind of thing.    

I wonder if there would be a change or some additions were someone to inquire of God if it would please Him to make any changes to the music of church services for example.  Or changes to how our curriculum is developed.  Or any number of chances.  All church decision making now comes from headquarters, whereas each stake used to have much much much more flexibility and freedom to make choices.  The way it currently operates is everything is centralized, the entire hierarchy is not unlike a very large business.  This was not how the church began, but it has evolved into this.  If we ask those tough questions maybe we'd learn that everything is perfect how it is, but maybe not.

Interesting to think about.  With the music example I have no problems with the songs in the lovely green book. I absolutely love many of them. I just think it's beneficial to ask ourselves these kinds of questions from time to time. Helps us know if something we do is revelation or just tradition.

My parents are very musical and have often been in charge of the ward choir or church music in some way. Being musicians themselves, and having written a lot of great music, I know there have been times when their own music was not able to be played in church because it wasn't a hymn. I can see why such a policy could have been put in place. Who knows what music some people would want played/performed at church. Someone has to create a policy against all the potential riff raff right? It has to be standardized right? I really do see both sides.

But going back to the point here, my dad asked me one day what I thought of a ward musical number performed by the choir. He was sincere and I could tell he would listen to my response so I responded very honestly. I said the choir sang words that were strung together by an author.... they sang exactly how that little rhythmic/tempo indicator says on the top of the music. (IE, Reverently, solemnly, worship-fully, peacefully etc) they did all the outward musical actions. However there was no life to the music, the vibrations didn't communicate that the singers had a feeling or understanding of what the message of the music even was. It was just words heard hundreds of times sung according to the accepted musical indications.  It was tradition and musical rules, not harmony and music.  Music can be alive, and speak wonderful things to the spirit of all present, but what I typically hear from the choir is nothing like this.  and it doesn't have that much to do with the peoples individual musical ability.

If we put our own limits on how it must sound and look, we may forget just how inspiring and uplifting worship in song can be. My opinion anyway.

Again music like prayer can become vainly repetitious.

Ask yourself would it be better to ask the tough question and deal with the answer, or better to remain in a trance and just do what your told because it sounds safer?

(Picture at beginning of post from LDS.org website)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Confession


I have a bit of a confession to make. Kels and I went to see an acupuncturist on Friday. We were curious and wanted to see what it's all about and what benefits it may provide. We were referred to a Master Lu. The acupuncture was interesting, I went more to just try it out and seeing as it's been around for upwards 3000 years I thought it may be worth some investigation.

As Master Lu was putting the acupuncture needles in part of my head he commented on my receding hairline. I'm not going bald or loosing my hair all that much, nor am I all that concerned about it but he recommended a traditional Chinese herbal product he himself developed and got produced to carry in the office.

One thing about Master Lu is he's mostly bald. My instincts told me not to buy a hair loss product from a bald guy. I asked him if it worked and he insisted he would not sell it if it didn't work. I asked him if he used it on himself and in his Chinese accented English way wiggled around my question. He said I'd sleep better, have less stress and "more full hair". Out of curiosity I bought his bottle of Chinese herb for hair regrowth. I asked if there were side effects and if it would stimulate all body hair or just the hair on my head. He said just head hair would grow more thick.

So my confession is that I bought a hair regrowth product that only affects the head, and from a mostly bald Chinese guy. haha I'm not proud of how that sounds.

Not all the results are in, so we'll see if I got duped or if bald Chinese men do in fact sell hair regrowth products.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Unity and Uniformity.

In Ephesians 4:3 it says "Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."

Unity is something we're supposed to keep. It's so easy for uniformity to replace the unity God intended all along.  Things that outwardly may look "the same" often in actuality are not the same at all.  Some folks appear to have unity because they fall in line behind some sort of authority figure.  Or political leader.  Those people appear to have unity but they don't, it's fake unity, only lasting or present due to the power structure that exists.  Take away the power structure, or leader, and the unity all falls to pieces. 

Christ, while talking about the Spirit and those born of it says (John 3:8) "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit." Unity with that kind of Spirit to me is not uniformity. It's too spontaneous, too individual, too uncontrollable and un-cookie cutter. Unity of the Spirit seems to me, is having God's Spirit abide with someone. You can't cookie cut that. Sometimes people even conclude lack of conformity equates to lack of worthiness.  This is wrong.  It's that kind of thinking that can result in religious people persecuting Christ, and his followers.

Scriptures talk about Zion, how it's made up of those of one heart and one mind. This is real unity, not fake appearance.  Scriptures about Zion talk about having hearts knit together in unity. To me it speaks of being united, having a mutual purpose and love, a shared level of character and growth. You can't force unity.  When it's forced it just becomes uniformity and unity is gone. I suppose there is an element of peace in uniformity, but it's not the peace of unity.  One reduces freedom, the other expands it. 

To me unity does not mean that everyone has to have the same opinion, believe exactly the same, see things exactly the same, and act the same, or do the same things.  That sounds like uniformity.  In a religious context just like the development of an orthodoxy and a creed.  But if we all use the wrong vocabulary word, and call what we're doing unity when it's not.... that creates a problem.  It blinds and deceives. 

I don't know that our day is under any less danger of adopting creeds and requiring uniformity than at any point in the past. The creeds of the past are sometimes looked down upon for their errors, but meanwhile we may be following the same road that got them there.  The primitive church of Christ fell away, and creeds or established rules, perspectives, opinions, and belief systems became what one was required to adopt as true.  They were required to conform.

There is a tendency to want everyone to believe a set of standards and creeds so there won't be any divisions and won't be any weirdo's and won't be any cause for looking outside the box, and everyone can feel nice and safe that everyone believes just the same as you.  Again, unity is headed another direction.  Unity will cause what's most important to bond people.  Uniformity causes "us" and "them" thinking.

I've heard a lot of examples of a particular kind of unity that is very fascinating to me. Like when a skilled musician plays his or her instrument. A violinist, or a maybe a singer, or a surgeon operating. There is unity between instrument and person. It resonates with something intriguing.  A Samurai who can draw his sword and cut a bb shot from a gun. There is flowing smoothness and grace when these types of things happen. A skier going down a mountain. A figure skater gliding, spinning or jumping with finesse and grace. When a tennis player's racket seems like an extension of his/her arm. There is unity. Rules are replaced by the flow and unity of the action. A bunch of people just imitating the same exact rules or believing the same beliefs that make them look alike and act alike just isn't the same as unity.

A friend David had this on his blog which I loved: "We need to forget conforming to an imaginary pattern, and allow the unique gifts each of us have been given to mature. Becoming "one" does not require us to become "the same". there is a great difference between the "oneness" God asks us to acquire, on the one hand, and uniformity on the other.

Find out what God want YOU to be. Be that. It is "one of a kind". It will make you free."