Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

Year of Jubilee

April 30th, 2017 by Zen

One of the things that has fascinated me about the Old Testament, since I read Approaching Zion, is the idea of the Year of Jubilee.

There is no record of it actually being fully observed, but the idea is this, every 7th year all debts between Israelites, would be forgiven their fields would lie fallow. After 7 cycles of 7 years, they would have a year of Jubilee, which does this, and any sold land would revert original family holdings.

There is some suggestion (by which I mean the writings of an early 13th century Jewish mystic) that 2017 is a Year of Jubilee. It is also 50 years from the Six-Days War, and the birth of the Nation of Israel, so there is that too.

I know this is unrealistic right now, and yet, I yearn for it. It is audacious, but it is beautiful. That and I dislike the idea that the Law of Moses requires more from us, than we now require of ourselves.

We have talked a bit about a Constitution 2.0. What if we wrote into the Constitution, a 7 year debt release, so that all debts, including mortgages, would be forgiven in January, every 7th year. So, the next one would be Jan 1, 2024. We are a little to comfortable with debt, and too prone to bubbles in the marketplace. This is not the full law of the Year of Jubilee, particularly as that should be voluntary. But it is a significant part of the law.

Dare we go so far as to include that in the Constitution 2.0?

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April 30th, 2017 16:46:01

Reminiscing about the old days

April 30th, 2017 by Vader

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April 30th, 2017 12:23:54

Dynamic versus Static  Analysis, and margin creep.

April 29th, 2017 by Bookslinger

“Dynamic analysis versus static analysis” is a phrase that I should have used in previous posts about SSM and margin creep. Jane Galt describes it, but does not name it in her original article that I re-posted at the first link.

Static analysis is when people say “There’s no way that SSM can affect my marriage.”

Dynamic analysis is when people ask “How will SSM affect my children and their future children?” (more…)

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April 29th, 2017 13:34:09

Whither the Sociality?

April 29th, 2017 by Bookslinger

If my memory is correct, 30 years ago, people came to church 15 minutes early and socialized. Local leaders had to remind people to socialize in the hallways and foyers before coming into the chapel proper, so that everyone could be quiet and reverent in preparation for sacrament meeting.

Now, it seems as if everyone who doesn’t come early for leadership meetings, arrives at the chapel at the last minute. There are exceptions, who are usually the older members.

What’s it like in your neck of the woods?

Have people forgotten how to socialize face-to-face? Is all socializing done online now?

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April 29th, 2017 12:40:11

God Is Not An Intellectual

April 28th, 2017 by Vader

An intellectual is somebody who thinks ideas are more important than people.

— Paul Johnson

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April 28th, 2017 10:41:24

Utter Calm

April 28th, 2017 by G.

I saw a strange image in my sleep last night.  It was a pulp-style book cover.  The title was “Utter Calm.”  The book cover had a tall, slender but muscled man filling most of it.  He was  very blond and seemed to glow.  Indeed, some kind of halo may have been around his face.  He was standing on a rock outcropping.  He was erect but very relaxed.  He was slightly hip-cocked to one side, like all those classical sculptures or Michelangelo’s David.  In one hand he rested a spear on the ground.  In the other he cradled a helmet.  His face was impassive.

Around him surged attacking wolves.  They were hairless and very anatomical–you could see every detail of their contorting muscles as they twisted and lunged in fury.

. . .

There is no such book.

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April 28th, 2017 06:43:41

Abstract Spirit

April 27th, 2017 by G.

  1. Christ dies.

2. Three days of massive darkness and destruction in the Nephite lands.  Cities full of people are obliterated.  See 3 Nephi 8.

3. In the darkness, the voice of Christ announces that He has destroyed those cities full of people.  It is quite the roll call. (more…)

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April 27th, 2017 07:11:54

Remembering Kate O’Beirne

April 26th, 2017 by Vader

You sometimes never know what you had until you lose it. In this case, I do not think I had even heard the name before I saw the obituaries this week. This was my loss, if this quote is typical of her:

Feminist fundamentalism holds that the battle of the sexes can’t be won unless women make war on the tiniest enemies of their independence.
And the remembrance goes on to note:
That line had the ring of Kate’s sensibility, or her sense of irony, always engaged, and so she was quick to spot the “irony-impaired Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D., Calif.) [who] explained, ‘I have to march because my mother could not have an abortion.’”
Go in peace, pilgrim.
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April 26th, 2017 10:42:03

Band of Brothers

April 26th, 2017 by Man SL

Early on, back in the Goth and Vandal days, they wrote a German version of the Gospels where Christ was some kind of divine hero chief and the Apostles were his war band.

Maybe that’s not obvious from the Bible, but its not totally wrong either.

The internet is amazing.  There’s this Easter article that looks at Christ and the apostles like they were a band of brothers.  It made me think..  Here’s a quote:

 

we understand that this männerbund is engaged in a battle. However, we also know that it is not fundamentally a battle against an enemy of this world.

What I thought of was the Doctrine and Covenants.

And as I said unto mine apostles, even so I say unto you, for you are mine apostles, even God’s high priests; ye are they whom my Father hath given me; ye are my friends.

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April 26th, 2017 06:54:28

Mormons and metaphysics – should be more aware!

April 26th, 2017 by Bruce Charlton

If Socrates said that the unexamined life is not worth living – he was probably referring to metaphysics: metaphysics being the fundamental assumptions about reality, upon which our knowledge and beliefs are built. He perhaps meant that unless we know our own metaphysical assumptions then we are unwitting slaves to them; and freedom, agency can only come from knowing, evaluating then deliberately embracing our own basic assumptions.

We all have metaphysical assumptions; but most people do not explicitly know what these are. And indeed many modern people (eg. most scientists) do not even know they operate from basic assumptions; but instead deny that metaphysics is a genuine discourse – they regard it as nonsense – either sheer idiocy, wish-fulfilment or covertly manipulative. Modern people believe only in ‘facts’ and ‘feelings’…

Yet we all have assumptions even if we unreflectively take them for granted; and we may be accepting assumptions that we would reject if only we were explicitly aware of what they were.

Mormons are, in an important sense, more aware of their metaphysical assumptions than are most people, including most Christians; although Mormons do not identify their metaphysics as such. I mean the Plan of Salvation or Plan of Happiness, which is one of the first and most basic things that missionaries teach and that children learn – is in fact a metaphysical system expressed in the form of a narrative. It describes the main components of reality, their nature, principles and purposes.

However, Mormons mistakenly label their metaphysical assumptions as ‘doctrine’ – that is, as something given by revelation and to be ‘learned’ along with many other doctrines. Yet the nature of metaphysics is that it provides (in broad terms, at least) a coherence and explanation of everything else; metaphysics really is more fundamental than the doctrines that are derived from it.  Mormon metaphysics really does underpin the detailed doctrinces and practices of the religion – and where it does not, then those doctrines and practices probably require examination, evaluation and clarification of their nature.

What is astonishing about Mormon metaphysics is how truly, astonishingly different it is from anything which (so far as is known) ever came before in the history of the world. Certainly it is radically different from the metaphysics of preceding Christians – but also different from anything known to philosophers or theologians; indeed the basic nature of Mormon metaphysics was not described philosophically until a couple of generations later, by William James (who developed his ideas independently, but then explicitly recognised the similarity with Mormonism).

I cannot go into the distinctive characteristics of Mormon metaphysics in a blog post – they can be found in the work of Sterling McMurrin, Blake Ostler and (more digestibly) Terryl Givens (also, before these, in BH Roberts, although I have not personally read him). (I previously put my thoughts onto a blog: theoreticalmormon.blogspot.co.uk).

As I have often stated, I am in love with Mormon metaphysics, smitten by its beauty and truth – I am thus (perhaps uniquely?) a full and unreserved believer-in Mormonism, even though not a member of the CJCLDS. I hardly know where to start in describing it! But if I was to make just one statement of the unique nature of Mormon metaphysics – that which sets it apart from all others – I would say that it is the first and only metaphysical system built upon the primacy of relationships, specifically of the loving relationship between God (i.e. our Heavenly Parents) and children. Whereas, almost all other metaphysical systems are based upon concepts derived from physics (Time, Space, Change, Stasis, the apparent versus the real etc). The idea of Mormonism is that at the very bottom level of reality is family relationships and love – these are the ultimate things.

From where did Mormonism – Joseph Smith in particular – get this astonishing idea? Well, from the Gospels mostly; especially (I guess) from John’s Gospel and his first letter: a metaphysical system built on the princacy of love, the ‘literal’ relatedness of God and his children. To this, Joseph Smith added many other revelations – but the basic metaphysics is based on the Gospels seen from the perspective of a vast interconnected web of personal relationships; this instead of Christianity being seen frm the persepctive of prior-existing Greek and Roman metaphysics with its already-defined categories. Thus Joseph Smith set aside centuries of philosophical tradition and made a new metaphysical system; and it supported Christianity quite easily and naturally.

Not many people know about this – not many people are interested in metaphysics. Secular non-Mormons are ignorant and incredulous: they simply cannot believe that Mormonism could have a coherent and novel metaphysical basis (“Joseph Smith a major philosopher? Per-lees…”). Mainstream Christians – insofar as they do understand the metaphysical differences – usually regard them as logical errors or dangeous heresies; or simply as unChristian.

But Christianity can and should be distinguished from the metaphysics used to make coherent and explain it – one can be a real Christian on the basis of many types of metaphysical assumption.

Yet some metaphysical systems do interfere-with Christianity, do tend to subvert it. For example the mainstream modern (but implicit and denied) metaphysics that everything that happens is either directly caused or else ‘random’ does make it hard to believe in the agency necessary to Christianity. The usual non-Mormon Christian emphasis on reality as being essentially like physics, can make it difficult for Christians to have a relationship with God, or even to be confident in God’s personal qualities such as love, or to know that humans are genuinely agents… and so forth.

Mormon metaphysics really does have many very helpful qualities compared with what went before – and has the advantage of explaining what is most distinctive about Christianity (as contrasted with other religions such as Judaism and Islam); but first we need explicitly to know what our metaphysics is, to understand it – only then can it be evaluated.

So, in the end, nobody is really off-the-hook: we need to know our own metaphysics. It is too much to say the unexamined life is ‘not worth’ living – what about children? – but it does leave us defenceless against the kind of covert metaphysical manipulation (the smuggling-in of false and incoherent – but undetected and denied – fundamental assumptions) which undermines Christian belief, and which has probably been Satan’s most potent weapon over recent generations.

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April 26th, 2017 04:55:26

Communication beyond Words

April 25th, 2017 by G.

There is a form of communication that transcends the power of words

thus Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin

All that is best transcends the power of words. All that is best goes beyond our descriptions of it. There is always a remainder.

But just as the body can be a vessel for a spirit, words can be a vessel for that which transcends words.

Other Posts from the Sunday Afternoon session of the October 1975 General Conference

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April 25th, 2017 07:30:01

Orders

April 25th, 2017 by G.

Order is always particular. Universal order doesn’t end universal chaos. It ends thousands of particular forms of order.

Yet where particular orders rub against each other is chaos.

The most impressive feat is an order of orders. A way of allowing particular orders to rub along together.

Things like federalism and capitalism, classical liberalism in some forms, freedom and subsidiarity, tolerance and diversity–tolerance and diversity, how beautiful you are, and how badly perverted today!–these are all partial approaches to an order of orders.

But the ultimate order of orders is called the gospel, and only a god can achieve it.

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April 25th, 2017 05:52:13

Two Friends in an Airport

April 24th, 2017 by G.

Two friends were in an airport.

“I don’t get it,” the one friend said. “Your life is so constrained. So narrow. You are standing in here in this little line. You won’t leave it. And then you’ll stand in another line and you’ll shuffle onto an airplane with an assigned seat you’ll have to sit in. It’s so suffocating. Me, I love my freedom too much to ever do that. By rejecting all these rules, I get to wander around wherever I want. I can go down to the luggage return or even out to the parking garage. I get to experience the airport to its fullest. There no limits. Whereas you, you just stand in line. Why do you do it?”

“I am flying to Paris,” the other friend said.

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April 24th, 2017 06:18:39

Define the Modern Left

April 24th, 2017 by G.

The modern left is knowledge class purity spirals.

That’s my entry. What’s yours?

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April 24th, 2017 05:17:17

The Haves and the Have Nots

April 22nd, 2017 by Bruce Charlton

I hvae often seen people pondering about their good fortune in being born among the Haves rather than the Have Nots of the world (and of human history) – meaning that those of us born into the modern West and to wealthyish parents have undeserved good fortune.

(And therefore a reason to feel guilty, or perhaps grateful, for being who we happen by sheer chance to be.)

But for Christians and in a spiritual sense; this is to put matters exactly the wrong way around.

Those of us born into a society of material peace, plenty, comfort and convenience – but of spiritual poverty incuding value inversion the likes of which is unprecedented in its badness.

The compensatory supposed-imperative of the Developed ‘helping’ the Undeveloped nations (via so-called ‘aid’) therefore ends-up being also an inversion: inversion of the traditional idea of Christian mission: because – insofar as it is effective, rather than counter-productive (e.g. funding guns and thugs for warlords) – Western redistribution acts as a potent materialist corruption to infect those more spiritual parts of the world.

We are the spiritual Have Nots; therefore by spreading around our ‘fortune’ we act to make the rest of the world more like ourselves – in our irreligion, alienation, nihilism, anti-morality and despair.

 

(Note: The spiritual reality is that we in the prosperous West, now;  have been born into the most difficult, challenging environment that humans have ever experienced.)

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April 22nd, 2017 07:53:28