He Was a Carpenter (in an age of no power tools)
-----a svithe-----


He was a carpenter
in an age of no power tools;
no Black & Decker for him

His friends were fishermen
without power trawls
or fluorescent PowerBait

They did a lot of walking

As he healed the sick
and raised the dead
and fed the thousands

And then, finally,
allowed his own murder,
and raised himself from the dead

Then generalized salvation
for you and you and you and you and me

Which thing is power.

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Nonononono, thank you (a svithe)


I am grateful....
    for library sales;

    that sneezing is usually actually quite fun--since I'm going to have to do it anyway;

    that the world is filled with beautiful details;

    for the ability to make crap up;

    for today's cool breeze;

    for my sweet green shirt;

    that I can wear a tie to work;

    I'm an optimistic person;

    for a woman who thinks I'm borderline alright;

    for books to read;

    for great art;

    to be able to walk;

    for the magic of physical contact;

    to be able to express myself, given enough retries;

    for a son who is happy to see me;

    for the (temporary) end of diaper-changing;

    for the notion of forever;

    for parents who try to adjust their expectations the reality of Me;

    that I own a pair of orange shoes;

    that I'm not a picky eater;

    to have dreams;

    for weather;

    that our ward is stuffed full of strings players who graced us with Pachelbel's Canon which, no matter what the antipopulists say, is still a beautiful piece of music;

    for the kind people who've done kind things that I can file away for the times when I need those kinds of memories;

    that Moroni didn't give up when he felt weak;

    for genes that may keep me alive in spite of myself;

    that I can still think I'm one good-looking man even when I desperately need a haircut;

    to be a human jukebox--even if some songs seem to get stuck on endless repeat;

    for the Internet, which helps me keep in touch with so many people I otherwise might lose track of;

    for patience--especially that of others;

    for cranberries;

    for garlic;

    for the cuisines of Mexico and Korea and Italy and India and a bunch of other countries--some of which I've still to be introduced to;

    for the smiles of young children;

    that I suck at video games;

    that most sneezes smell good;

    for a faith that builds bridges in my mind;

    for the USGS earthquake reports online;

    to be able to laugh;

    for a lovely place to live;

    for easy freeway access;

    for love;

    for you.

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Caught in the svithe


I mean, of course, the Gospels are exciting. I mean--sitting before Christ and being taught by him--what could be more exciting?

Well, how about Acts?

Here are the Apostles, but now instead of listening, they are speaking. They are being what their Savior told them to be, doing what He told them to do. Following His commandment to go forth into all the world and bear testimony of Him. They are doing it. They are standing in His place and doing and acting and behaving and being as He would, were He there.

And they are like us.

I find that exciting.

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I Svithe America


So this week we vote. By we I mean all of you Americans out there. Get with it.

This year I have not received a sample ballot so I don't know what I'll be voting for, but I rest assured in the knowledge that I pretty much never vote for the winner anyway.

Lately I've been going through old notebooks and uncovering forgotten plays and short stories that I will be typing up and rewriting in the coming months. I have also found occasional religious notes which I will be cannibalizing now and then for svithey purposes, starting today.

Today's svithe begins with an opinion that most American Christians seem to hold and that Mormons worldwide accept as something close to a fundamental truth: God's hand was behind the founding of America.

Latter-day Saints feel so strongly about this because we figure that anywhere else in the world and at any previous time, we would have been wiped out by religious maniacs--and this is probably true. Religion has kind of an unpleasant record for killing people of differing opinions. And we Saints can't help but be different.

But the Land of the Free wasn't all peace love & tolerance either--plenty of early Mormons were killed/exiled/raped/pillaged/etceteraed by unpleasant neighbors, and since there was not yet a Fourteenth Amendment, the Supreme Court found that the Mormons didn't really have much complain about re: Freedom of Religion since it was a state oppressing their religion and not the feds. Which states had a right to do.

Missouri weren't no Rhode Island, people, and Lilburn Boggs weren't no Roger Williams, neither.

America might have been the freest, most tolerant nation on Earth, but it wasn't all that free and tolerant.

So here's a question for you: Why then was the Church restored in America in the 1830s? Why not wait another hundred-fifty years? And then go to Amsterdam?

Or, why not start the Church in Tonga, which has displayed such a knack for turning out copious Mormons? Maybe the Saints would never had to deal with any persecution at all!

Why in the United States? Why 1830?

Yes, America 1830 allowed for a legal restoration, but that did not stop the citizenry from trying to wipe them out.

So what I propose is this: The gospel was restored in America in 1830 because there and then and only there and then could be found the correct and proper--the perfect mix of freedom and intolerance.

Okay, but why not in Tonga? Why not restore the gospel somewhere with a (hypothetical) 100% conversion rate?

Because the trials the early church suffered made them strong.

Could an always-had-it-easy Church survive devilish wiles?

I suggest it could not.

So let's be grateful for the sufferings of those who went before and let's continue to struggle for the cause of freedom and let's svithe out the vote.


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