Funny to Serious: five increasingly svithey thoughts


1. I have had a problem of late, starting short stories that are lol funny and then, the deeper in we go, seeing them get more and more serious till they feel like Russian novels, only sadder.

2. Humor as a career choice seems to be something that people develop a shame for. And I don't know why. Theseadays we see it most clearly in actors such as Jim Carrey. What's wrong with the funny?

3. I was looking for a Joseph Smith quotation this morning and I discovered that although he accused himself of youthful levity, later in life folks remarked on how levity-free he was.

4. Goats.

5. Humor is an essential part of life. Even Jesus knew this. (You can't tell me the friends-of-Mammon crack ain't funny.) But I suppose there's a time and a place for everything.

a crummy church sign

this svithe on thmusings
last week's svithe


Svithe: The Parable of the Bay Bridge


And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
    Romans 11:5-6

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
    Ephesians 2:8

Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
    James 2:17

For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.
    2 Nephi 25:23

Today in sacrament meeting we had a trio of excellent talks based around that final scripture, and the reconciliation of grace and works. All three were excellent, but I have to say the description of grace as being omnipresent in Creation and the basic truth of our relationship with God is most likely to be most helpful to me.

To sum it up (since I have been told this will not appear online and thus I cannot link to it) is that God always offers grace and we either choose to accept it or reject Him. sorry I can't be more eloquent. I should have taken notes.

Anyway, today's svithe is also about grace and, I think, offers some help in reconciling what sometimes seem to be opposing viewpoints in scripture. I'm going back to the idea of grace being what saves us from our sins etc etc and does for us what we cannot do for ourselves etc etc.

Like most folk, upon first hearing of the Parable of the Bicycle I was quite taken with it. But over time I've grown dissatisfied. Given enough time, the little girl could indeed have bought the bike. A better one even.

So I've come up with this as a stopgap parable:

    FOR BEHOLD, works is like unto three bucks. And when I man haveth it he can take his car across the Bay and into San Francisco. Not because the bucks can accomplish such a marvelous task, nor could it ever, nor could a man with three million times that amount drive his car across that great expanse.

    For that can only be accomplished with the big Bay Bridge, which no man can build by himself.

    Grace is like unto that bridge. It is great and it is mighty and it bringeth the man's car into the City, something no man can do by himself.

this svithe in thutopia
last week's svithe


The rumormongering svithe


So I know, I know: my stated purpose in svithing is to spread Truth and Beauty, but the news that President Obama has tapped Utah's Governor Huntsman (Mormon) to be the new ambassador to China is just too good to not tell whoppers about --- especially since, as far as I know, no one else has started any baseless speculation yet.

And I don't mean that Obama thinks without Huntman Utah will elect a democratic governor because ha!ha!ha! that's crazy. No one would believe that.
    So did you hear that after talking with Obama, he got a call from President Monson?


    Yes! And he's getting all sorts of secret instructions in the tunnels under the temple!


    Yes! And he's being trained in Preach My Gospel!


    Yes! Because he has diplomatic immunity so he can say things like Like Most People We Believe in a Supreme Being as many times as he wants!


    Yes! In fact, Obama's cool with it to --- he thinks its a great way to get back at the Chinese diplomats for all their unpaid parking tickets!


    Yes! And the secret basement under the embassy that the last guy kept stocked with fine Scotch will be filled with Chinese Books of Mormon!


    Yes! And Huntsman will give them away as tips when he eats at restaurants!


    Yes! He's already taken the picture of his family that he's going to stick in the front!




Don't lie, kids. It's not the right thing to do.

(ps: if, postambassadorship, Huntsman gets called as a General Authority, I'm totally running this post again.)

this unserious svithe at thutopia
last week's more serious svithe


Sickly Svithing on Mother's Day


So I'm home sick on Mother's Day. Lady Steed left me with the baby so she could better enjoy sacrament meeting. Right now we are watching music videos. I know, I know. But we both love this one. We'll probably have watched it a dozen times by the time I finish this svithe.

Anyway, I don't usually do terribly matricentric posts on Mother's Day, but this year the time has come.

Last month as part of her daily poetry project, Darlene posted part of "The Lanyard" by Billy Collins. It struck me so deeply I made it part of my Mother's Day present to my own mother and I bought the book for Lady Steed.

Anyway, in respect for the same copyright laws Darlene aimed to repsect, I'm going to copy only the same portion she did. A link to the entire poem is at her blogpost linked to above.

I thank God for Mothers.

The Lanyard
Billy Collins

She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sickroom,
lifted teaspoons of medicine to my lips,
set cold face-cloths on my forehead,
and then led me out into the airy light
and taught me to walk and swim,
and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
Here are thousands of meals, she said,
and here is clothing and a good education.
And here is your lanyard, I replied,
which I made with a little help from a counselor.

Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth,
and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.

this svithe in thutopia
last week's svithe


Svithe: Saving spiders


This morning as I was drying off after my shower, I noticed a spider hanging a few feet off my towel. I tried to shake him off, but his web held, so I grabbed the web and dropped him in the sink.

As I continued drying, I noticed that the slope of the sink was such that he could not get out. Even using old toothpaste spit for traction he fell short of the top.

So after I hung my towel back up I chased him with a piece of toilet paper until his web caught on it, then I shook him off behind the toilet.

I don't kill spiders anymore. I don't even transfer them outside unless Lady Steed insists. The connotation of a spider in our home is that there are also many smaller unseen critters roaming about. Spiders are predators. If there was nothing to eat, he would not be here. By removing the spider, I'm letting the ittybitty population go unchecked. And since I don't know what those ittybitties are, I choose to assume that I would rather the spiders eat them than let them overrun us.

Where's the svithe in this?

I believe that spiders are one of the things that we, somewhere deep in our genetic code, instinctively fear and hate. But why should we?

When I reexamined my relationship with spiders, I realized that the spiders' goals coincide with my own. If my house was ittybitty-free, the spiders wouldn't come inside. So if they're here, it means they are doing me a favor.

Thank you, spiders.


this svithe on thutopia
last week's svithe