The Infinite Svithe


I had a circumcised-of-heart svithe I've been composing in my head because it's apropos, but I've rethought the wisdom of that, and Recession Cone gave me an idea at Church today that I'm going to appropriate instead.


    What do I need a Savior for? I'm getting better in this life. I've improved. I'm more that what I started out as, with fewer faults and weaknesses. What need Christ?


    Okay, go with me here. Step one: we're looking at reaching perfection. Let's give perfection a number and see how close we can get in this life.

    Okay. I've been working hard. I got a six.

    Wow! You've got six hundred! Awesome.

    Freaking Ghandi broke a billion.

    Now let's do the math and divide our number by perfection:

    anything over infinity is zero

    Looks like we're all going to need some help. See?

this svithe on thmusings
last week's svithe

note: even worse, I made this equations in mspaint!!!!


A Simple Svithe

Christ Portrait (2007) by J. Kirk Richards.

Jesus said unto him,
    Thou shalt love the Lord thy God
    with all thy heart,
    and with all thy soul,
    and with all thy mind.

    This is the first and great commandment.
    And the second is like unto it,

    Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

    On these two commandments
    hang all the law
    and the prophets.

this svithe on thmusings / last week's svithe


A very little bit on doubt

a svithe

Brian Kershisnik's Sad Dance.

There are gobbles to say on the importance of doubt to a religious person; tonight, however, just a sampling.

I have long believed--and it is certainly a Mormon doctrine--that truth is out there, we are intended to look for it, and we can know it when we find it. This is the process of faith. If you'll allow me to define the terms, faith is two things:
    1. Trusting that truth can be found.

    2. Accepting truth when found.
This definition presumes that somethings are true and somethings are not. Thus it also presumes that as we have faith that we can find truth, we must also assume that we will find things which are not truth.

We call this assumption doubt. And it is important. Not just because it is faith's opposite, but because they travel the same road together--they are fellow guides to bring us to the truth.

“Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother.”
----- Kahlil Gibran

Of course, what this means is that the truth-seeker must be willing to be proved wrong. As time goes on and the fine-tuning of faith occurs, the changes required of one's belief may become smaller, but giving up those small falsities may be all the more difficult.

“Being religious means asking passionately the question of the meaning of our existence and being willing to receive answers, even if the answers hurt.”
----- Paul Tillich

But that's the way it works. Doubt and faith are complements, not competitors.

“Doubt is not the opposite of faith; it is one element of faith.”
----- Paul Tillich

I don't think that all roads lead to Heaven, but I do believe that all earnest seekers find roads that lead to the road that leads to Heaven. I do think that the play of faith and doubt runs a different course for every soul. I do believe that we are obliged to support one another and trust one another's faith/doubt processes. I do think in appropriate relationships we are constrained to share our own discoveries. I do believe that without a Godlike omniscience, faith and doubt remain elements of every person's inner life. And I think it's healthy to recognize that a proceed recognizing that they work together for our benefit.

As Hugh B. Brown was wont to quote:

“No one deserves to believe unless he has served an apprenticeship of doubt.”
----- Will Durant

Let us all serve honorably.

this svithe on thmusings
last week's svithe


How Berkeley can you be? (a svithe)

Grant on the Beach.

I really like living in (or, rather, near) Berkeley. And I live attending the Berkeley Ward. Since we've been married, Lady Steed and I have moved quite a bit (mostly interProvo), yet we've managed to live in only four wards. I'm glad of this because I'm of a mind that one should really become part of a ward, make it family, and that's hard to do when you're swapping families all the time.

One interesting thing about Berkeley is it's sense of history. When our building was dedicated by President Heber J. Grant, a young girl was there who is still in the ward.

We have all sorts of jolly history (eg, J. Golden Kimball helped build our building at 50¢/hr), and all sorts of documentation thereof, which is awesome.

Mormons are a record-keeping, history-building people, but often that history is hidden away and never seen by the people, which sort of defeats the purpose, you ask me.

Anyway, the ward had an 80th-anniversary celebration this weekend. It wasn't done up as big as previous decades, when former members from all over the country were invited to attend, and many came or at least sent photos. But it was still cool.

One high light was a timeline that ran all along one wall. It contained info from the adding-on to our totally awesome organ to a recounting of the civil (but passionate) debate in Relief Society over Prop 22.

Sometimes I hear people complain about the pettiness of their fellow Saints (re: beards, colored shirts, makeup, hairspray, artsiness, blah blah blah); I've never seen it. And I don't even sense a tendency toward it here.

Christ opened his arms to everyone. I don't claim perfection for my ward by any means, but I feel welcomed, and I've heard others say they now feel that way for the first time.

So I think Jesus must be reasonably happy with us.

Me, I think I'm going to start being nicer too. After all: Everyone else is doing it.

this svithe on thmusingst
last week's svithe


Starting September with a Svithe


When we first moved to Berkeley, I was thrilled nearly every week by the variety of thought and testimony on display. Whether the speaker used Japanese literature or economics to explain gospel principles, I was delighted to be around religious grad students. Lovely stuff.

Many weeks, I took notes to be turned into svithes, but we had no internet and had no internet and continued having no internet for some time, and most of those never made it online.

I recently found a quarter page of such notes and thought I might share it today. Who knows--the notes may even be a year old today.
    "Holy God?" v. Humanism

    His talk hit on Kierkergaard + Hamlet thrilling my shrivelled, intellectual soul. But his talk was on hope + in simple testimony and the sharing of testimony + personal experience (UofU) did the meeting become spiritual to me.

    An accomplished organist and violinist the most [illegible] CCYS....
Did you get that? I think it's a pretty fine sentiment. And a good lesson to me. As a svither and just as a believing human being.


this svithe on thmusings
last week's svithe