O Lord God of hosts, who is a strong Lord like unto thee?
Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance into darkness.
“I, for my wife, the sun uphold,” Robert Louis Stevenson wrote. (more…)
Many of the revelatory insights that have most reached to my soul have come when listening to a bland talk at church cover the same old ground in the same old way; when swapping pet platitudes in Elder’s Quorum with men I’ve known since I was a kid; and when re-reading scripture.
There is no novelty without familiarity.
The active mind when it hears a new thing considers arguments pro and con. When it hears an old thing, the active mind contemplates. It probes deeper.
Filed under: Birkenhead Drill,Deseret Review | Tags: Eliza R. Snow, families are forever, Heavenly Parents, LDS, Mary, Mormon, Mormonism, Mother Earth, Mother Nature, the sexes
What if our imagination should become as a little child’s? What if receiving the kingdom of heaven as a little child mostly meant imagining it differently? Not stern and beautiful like Milton, but jolly and abundant.
Last night I came home to my little boy wearing a red bath robe with a red bandanna on his head pirate-style, a garbage bad tucked into his neckline for a beard, and another garbage bag dragging behind his red trike. He was Santa Claus, he said. My littlest girl was wearing a tan quilt with sticks stuck in her braids. She was the reindeer. The reins were from a swing.
The childish imagination is Calvin and Hobbes, Narnia, the Hobbit. When the Abrahamic trial comes, it trusts, because it believes that something golden must lie out there in darkness.
“If you’re thirsty, you may drink.”
They were the first words she had heard since Scrubb had spoken to her on the edge of the cliff. For a second she stared here and there, wondering who had spoken. Then the voice said again, “If you are thirsty, come and drink,” and of course she remembered what Scrubb had said about animals talking in that other world, and realized that it was the lion speaking. Anyway, she had seen its lips move this time, and the voice was not like a man’s. It was deeper, wilder, and stronger; a sort of heavy, golden voice. It did not make her any less frightened than she had been before, but it made her frightened in rather a different way.
“Are you not thirsty?” said the lion.
“I’m dying of thirst,” said Jill.
“Then drink,” said the lion.
“May I — could I — would you mind going away while I do?” said Jill.
The Lion answered this only by a look and a very low growl. And as Jill gazed at its motionless bulk, she realized that she might as well have asked the whole mountain to move aside for her convenience.
The delicious rippling noise of the stream was driving her nearly frantic.
“Will you promise not to — do anything to me, if I do come?” said Jill.
“I make no promise,” said the Lion.
Jill was so thirsty now that, without noticing it, she had come a step nearer.
“Do you eat girls?” she said.
“I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms,” said the Lion. It didn’t say this as if it were boasting, nor as if it were sorry, nor as if it were angry. It just said it.
“I daren’t come and drink,” said Jill
“Then you will die of thirst,” said the Lion.
“Oh dear!” said Jill, coming another step nearer. “I suppose I must go and look for another stream then.”
“There is no other stream,” said the Lion.
Even Lord of the Rings has childlike elements. It has hobbits, the Shire, the last Homely House, Strider. Even its orderliness, its insistence on getting the details right for their own sake, is childish.
Perhaps, instead of standing in awe at the works of God, we should wriggle with delight.
Filed under: Deseret Review | Tags: C.S. Lewis, imaginative fiction, LDS, Mormon, Mormonism, TF, theo-fiction, theofiction, theological fiction, Tolkien
What is the strange power of chains of memory to move us? (more…)
Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years
We know the concept of mere Christianity.
In Acts, I ran across an example of mere John the Baptistry. In Acts 18, there are two different instances of the Lord and the Church acknowledging people outside its formal limits as already part of the fold in some sense. (more…)
A Northwest tribe pooled money to fertilize the nearby ocean with iron sulfate. They hoped to boost plankton, giving wild salmon more to eat.
They succeeded in spades. The salmon catch quadrupled.
This year, the number of salmon caught in the northeast Pacific more than quadrupled, going from 50 million to 226 million. In the Fraser River, which only once before in history had a salmon run greater than 25 million fish (about 45 million in 2010), the number of salmon increased to 72 million.
I deeply respect the tribe’s initiative and self-help in the service of the common good and of their customs. This is how people should live.
One of my most cherished memories is an Eagle Scout project where we spent a weekend in the mountains improving a stream to make it better habitat, including for fish for fishermen. The sun was bright and there was a breeze stirring the pines. There was something stirring in the soul too that we all felt; working to promote God’s creations, including in our own interests, was right.
I love to see the works of man commingling in harmony with the works of God, caribou warming themselves by an oil pipe, a hawk perched on a powerline, stalk-rustling pheasants in my corn patch to glean it in the fall.
God created earth and sky, water and land, algae and plants, fish and fowl, beasts and people, and saw them all together and judged them Good.
And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
Dr. Charlton’s new book is out. It’s Addicted To Distraction: the Psychological Consequences of the Modern Mass Media.
I read some of the drafts of material in the book. I recommend it. I would describe it as a book of genuine aphorisms—self-validating crystallized wisdom—if aphorisms could sometimes run to paragraph length or even page length. Arguably, book length.
One of his points is that avoiding bad media isn’t enough to avoid bad effects. That’s trivially true. You can hurt your wrists typing away incessantly posting positive messages to your Twitter feed; you can hurt your eyes staring at updates from good friends and family on Facebook. Or, Dr. Charlton points out, you can hurt your mind by accustoming it to a constant superstimulus gorging of mostly trivial information and sociality. It’s right there in the title. (more…)