BCC Watch: Hope, Atonement, and Islam

My goal to read BCC for a month continues. Here are three posts I liked.

SteveP writes a good post on not losing one’s faith because you don’t like some aspect of the Church.

Blair Hodges writes about the various ways Christians over the centuries have understood the atonement. I enjoyed his point that the atonement was about healing relationships (specifically with God, but also with others).

I also enjoyed this post by Michael Austin about Islam as a religion of peace.

On that last one, I wrote a Facebook post a while back on the same subject. My view is a bit different. I think this is not a religious problem, per se, so much as a political problem. Religions that control states are dangerous, but they aren’t the same as religions that don’t. “Islam” is a term we use for both types as if they aren’t really very different things.

My BCC Thoughts: On Faith and Choice

There is an interesting post at BCC today called “On Faith and Choice.” The thing I find most interesting about it is that I feel like I wrote it in another life or something. It just sounds too much like me.

Though the post doesn’t really make any specific point (the author notes this), let me see if I can make a related point.

I do believe that faith and choice are universal. We all do both — and we all do both in large measures, though not necessarily in the same way or even in the same amounts over the same things.

I seem to be a very natural skeptic. I joke that even legitimate prescription drugs won’t work on me because of the nocebo effect. Luckily I am not a cynic, however (though after this post you’ll wonder if that’s true or not!)

Not all of us have the same capacity for spirituality nor the same capacity for belief in a spiritual world. Sam (the posts author) points to the very same D&C passage I use to talk about this. We don’t come to earth with the same spiritual strengths and gifts.

We do, however, all have a capacity to improve our spirituality — that is to say, we are all spiritual to some degree. Continue reading

Mormon Blogging and Cross Talk

McConkie follow the prophet.

I haven’t been blogging much for quite a while. First I had depression and couldn’t. Then that ended and I got a shoulder injury (repetitive strain injury, I think) that made it near impossible for me to blog without significant pain. That’s been going on for a year. It sucks getting older and — at least on the inside — I seem to be aging particularly fast. I haven’t had consistent good health for a couple of years now. If its not one thing its another. Did I mention the eye surgery I have to have in a couple of weeks?

J Max, ever my counselor on blogging, actually encouraged me to stop blogging until I fully recovered. And when I do get over this shoulder problem, I’ve decided I’m going to “go back to school” and do an online master degree from Georgia Tech in computer science. For the most part I hate computers, I’m an technology laggard, and I was never a good programmer. But I love artificial intelligence, computational theory, computer graphics, and quantum computing. So I guess that means I like computer science more than I like computers. So my life is a bit strange. (Didn’t Geoff call me the blogger that reads books no one else will? Guess he’s right.) So I don’t see a return to my mammoth blog posts with lots of references any time soon.

So I’ve wondered about how I might contribute to Mormon blogging given my limitations. I had an idea a while back that I’ve never done and I think now might be the time. Continue reading

Man of La Mancha: A Deconstruction

215px-Playbill_Man_of_La_ManchaThe following is really a personal tale of a story that helped me in a personal way at just the right time. But I’m telling it as a review of the play, Man of La Mancha. Spoilers abound throughout, but this is a rather old story by now.

As many of you know, I sometimes struggle with my faith, especially during times of depression. One night when I was at a low, my wife reminded me we had a play to go to that night. We’d already changed our date for the play once, so even though we didn’t feel like going we decided to not waste the tickets. When we arrived at the theater, I saw that the play was Man of La Mancha. I groaned inwardly, “Ug! Not Don Quixote!” Boring! Or so I thought.

Half way through the play I still had no idea where the meandering storyline was going. I couldn’t relate to the characters either, so I wasn’t enjoying the play much.

Then all of a sudden the threads of the story came together in an unexpected way that.  As the play ended I turned to my wife and said “well… that was sort of like God shouting a message to me… just when I needed it the most.”

I will explain the play and its theme and why its message was one that I needed to hear. Continue reading

The Difficulty of Dialogue Without Disclosure

Many moons ago, there was a certain person that started a certain movement that included something about using civil rights tactics to make changes within the LDS church. At that time I questioned this person, on behalf of a woman thinking of joining this movement, about her [the founder’s] beliefs… and started a firestorm. But I promised to revisit the issue later. I never did.

I started to, but then gave up on it for lack of time. Time passed, the movement largely died out and lost media attention. People got sick of talking about it, and that was that. But I still had this long post that took an interview (that I had in fact, at least in part, caused to take place via my questions) on FMHW and asked questions and drew conclusions based on her own words.

And just being me, I couldn’t resist throwing in a bit of irony:

On the day that Mormons believe John the Baptist restored the priesthood to the earth, [this movement] launched their 6 discussions to promote their cause. Ironically, the question [the founder] would not answer was if she believed that John the Baptist, as a resurrected angel, restored the priesthood to the earth because it was no longer found on the earth.

Continue reading