Abraham and Isaac Preview (svithe)


This is one of the Old Testament's most terrifying stories. Sure, sure, filtered through a New Testament lens it makes some sense, but Abraham and Isaac is --- awful. Admit it. (And really, if God the Father is standing above us with a knife --- is that really the image of him we want?)

I'll be teaching this story in Sunday School next Sunday and I've been struck by the list of takes on the story by Bored in Vernal at Mormon Matters (note the comments also).

One of the stories she mentions, Master Fob's "Abraham's Purgatory" has proven to be one of the most thought-provoking bits of Bible-based fiction I've ever read. It started me on the path of thinking on all this.

I'm still just percolating how I will approach this topic, but I am definitely planning something more like BiV's list than the traditional way of looking at the story.

Your suggestions are welcome.

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Svithing the Quadrennial


Four years and two days ago, I posted my first svithe (thutopia, weekly svithe. Four weeks later I explained what my svithing was all about (thutopia, weekly svithe):
    I did not make up this idea; I took it from the Sabbath--the one day in seven dedicated to God. . . .

    I maybe might just maybe be addicted to blogging.

    Part of my redemption is this svithing. Every Sunday I write a post that is intended to be godly.

Lately I've been observing a shift in the blogosphere. I think we can blame the lessened audiences on Facebook and Twitter. It's about impossible for me to get conversations going in the comments section anymore --- if a conversation about one of my posts happens, it happens on, wait for it, Twitter. What do you know.

What's the implication for svithery? Is it still needful? Should I just try to be, I don't know, a holy tweeter?

Who knows. It may be broke, but that diagnosis isn't certain yet.

So I'm going to keep svithing. Shall we not go forward in so great a cause, etc.

It's not like I'm doing anything more important.

Ah, the littleness of a person.

There's religion in here somewhere. We don't have to look hard.

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Happy Valentine's Day, Abraham! Have some virtue! (a svithe)


1. The sociologist suggested today that perhaps we call it the Abrahamic Covenant for similar reasons to why we call it the Melchizedek Priesthood. I find this a very striking possibility and I will leave you to ponder it.

2. From Ben Crowder:
    D&C 121:45 says to “let virtue garnish your thoughts unceasingly.” You know, I looked at that verse and thought, “What in the heck does that even mean?” In today’s English, “garnish” means “to decorate (a dish) for the table.” As in parsley. Okay, I’m thinking, we’re supposed to let virtue decorate our thoughts, adorning them with beauty and loveliness.

    But “unceasingly”? Unceasingly means not letting up — it means urgent, important. I don’t know about you, but decorating doesn’t seem to fit with urgency. It doesn’t make much sense.

    So I went back to the OED and found that “garnish” originally came from the Old French garnir and meant “to fortify, defend (oneself), provide, prepare.” It’s also directly related to our English word “warn”/”warning.”

    Okay, that makes a whole a lot more sense. We need to let virtue fortify our thoughts unceasingly, defending them with the strength that comes from godliness.

3. Happy Valentine's Day. Though not even Pope Gelasius I has the foggiest idea who he was.

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Super Bowl Svithe (a metaphor)


So I just learned why football is so boring: on television, you only see about 11 minutes of the actual game (this is supposed to make it more interesting --- by adding a story --- but if that's so then the NFL would be fatally boring and lose fans one stadium-full at a time and I can't accept that).

On the theory that professional football is actually interesting in person, I'm going to make a metaphor about life.

Life = football in this metaphor and watching it on tv is sitting around watching life pass you by. Actually attending a game and being part of the cheering crowd makes you more involved and less bored and, one presumes, actually putting on a helmet and getting concussions will be less boring of all.

To svithify this, may I suggest that God put us on earth to play a game and not sit around and watch others play.

That is all.


this svithe in thutopia
last week's svithe


Enoch's eyes (a svithe)


Yesterday I taught Sunday School and this is something we did not get to:

    35 And the Lord spake unto Enoch, and said unto him: Anoint thine eyes with clay, and wash them, and thou shalt see. And he did so.
    36 And he beheld the spirits that God had created; and he beheld also things which were not visible to the natural eye; and from thenceforth came the saying abroad in the land: A seer hath the Lord raised up unto his people.

We were talking about opposites, good and evil, in the world and within ourselves. What I love about Enoch is how he demonstrates that weaknesses can become strengths, etc. (1,, 2, 3)

The scene above is particularly interesting. Clearly we are meant to read this as symbolic of Christ, but Enoch is playing both roles, Messiah and blind man. Because, being a fallen man, being a child of God, he is both.

And so are we.

What a beautiful message.

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