Svithing Pure Religion


The first paragraph in a recent press release from the Church:
    For members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and many others, the biblical apostle James’ definition of pure religion is more than a platitude. It is an extremely practical way to approach personal, family and community challenges. James’ understanding of this principle is expressed in this way: “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”
Thanksgiving is a good time to think about Pure Religion. Me, I spend a lot of time utterly failing in this camp. I'm not the world's best sharer. Within my family, sure, but outside? I have a lot of growing to do. Don't expect me to sell all my crap and give the proceeds to the poor anytime soon. I've had too many bad experiences with beggars to trust them anymore and if I gave a buck to every kid who asked, I'ld soon be in the hole. And debt isn't precisely what deity has in mind for me, I don't imagine.
    Latter-day Saints take this interpretation of pure religion very seriously. Being a person of faith is something you do within the context of a world full of suffering, not just what you say or believe. Genuine and frequent charitable acts, though, are not enough on their own. They need to be enacted by individuals who are trying to live morally upright lives, or are striving to keep themselves “unspotted from the world.”
In other words, the best 'charity' is committed by the charitable. Christlike acts by the Christlike.
    Many Latter-day Saints feel this desire to reach out to the downtrodden — James’ widows and fatherless — and find that the two elements of his pure religion exist in a symbiotic relationship. Learning Christ’s teachings and reading about the way He conducted Himself motivates individuals to look for ways to engage with others the way He did. And serving those in need functions as a refining process — humbling the server, bringing her or him closer to Christ and His example.
It's cyclical. Act more charitable to be more charitable. Not hypocrisy, practice. Thy present becomes thy future. My present'll become my future.

Something like that.

this svithe on thmusings
last week's svithe




Of all the things I am grateful more, one is topmost on my mind: Lady Steed.

Lady Steed and ThericThe most immediate impetus for this decision is Mr Fob's beautiful post on the occasion of his anniversary. The second, in good Puritan fashion, is guilt.

Two Friday's ago it was our 100th Lunaversary and I had been making plans. (And what better event to make plans for? Lady Steed would never see it coming --- it would be a grand romantic gesture. Just arrange a babysitter and --- )

Yeah. Then I completely forgot. In my favor, that was one of the busiest weekends of our life, but how can one forget the number 100 which, in our base-10 counting system, is among the most significant numbers we have? I screamed in agony as I sat reading, suddenly realizing that I had forgotten. I ranted and raved, cursing myself.


Because Lady Steed deserves a good 100th Lunaversary. She deserves a lot of things I'm less than perfect at delivering.

So for my svithe this week, although I've failed my wife, neither she nor God have failed me and I thank them.

    And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, . . . [it] shall be of full force when they are out of the world; and they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever. Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting . . . .

My love, it's a wonderful journey.

this week's svithe on thmusings
last week's svithe


Svithing a Grudging Agreement with Thoreau


I don't like Thoreau. I think he's a moron and a hypocrite.

That said, I still like the call for simplicity is a good one.

Walden Pond via WikipediaSo does Elder Perry. Last Conference, he gave a bit of Thoreauvian sprachin; some of it was in that charming but sort of silly forced metaphor we see a lot in Conference and the Ensign, but I still think the call for simplicity is, if anything, more timely for ever. And so I will try and swallow my irritation with Thoreau and quote this one line from Elder Perry's talk: "Just before Thoreau died, he was asked if he had made peace with God. He replied, 'I was not aware we had ever quarreled.'"

(Yeah, whatever, Thoreau. Anyway,) that sounds like a good goal for any of us. And simplicity is a dandy path.

this svithe on thmusings
last week's svithe


High-fantasy svithe


Something peculiar happened during my nap this afternoon: I dreamed in high fantasy. I've never done this before, best I can recall A sorceress, the priestess of a pagan cult, served as the most frightening villain. The heroes had infiltrated a city glowing like embers at midnights to ... who knows what. But it was a risky business they were up to. Once in the city, its glowiness dissipated and it looked quite normal. One of the heroes was peeved because his contractor culture could have easily built this city for them at half the price.

I have no idea what the point of this dream was, or even if it had one while I was dreaming it. Is the average dream only given plot and structure as we remember it? Discuss.

But for all its pointlessness, it had some marvelous images and set pieces. Like a really crappy movie with awesome effects.

But nothing in this dream, best I can recall, was borrowed from real art or real life. It was all new, cut from whole cloth. And I did it without even trying. Which magic all people do all the time.

The creative potential of the Children of God is staggering.

Let's not waste our gifts.

The city is burning, the sorceress is stalking, the time is far spent.

And tomorrow we die.

Carpe diem is a religious principle.

this svithe on thmusings
last week's svithe


another late svithe


(this time because our internet was on the blink)

I know that [God] loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.

last week's svithe