Svithey toves outgrabe


The great desire of postenlightenment minds seems to be clarity, but sometimes religion does not easily provide that. In reading Jared Diamond's The Third Chimpanzee this week, I came close to "understanding" the divinity-directed genocides in the Old Testament. And, as I think pretending they don't exist is a mistake, surely therefore working to understand them is a virtue? But is something so . . . that . . . possible to fully understand? And if not, is it worth wasting brains on? And if not, then am I a head-in-the-sand religionist?

To be a postenlightenment religionist is to grapple with these question.

So. How shall we grapple?

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Today I heard a simile from Carlos which, he alleges, originates from Richard G. Scott. But I am too lazy just now to confirm.

Here it is:

The Holy Spirit is like a grape, a soft and sweet taste.

In our plugged-in world, with all our zangwow, we are trying to taste the grape while simultaneously eating a jalapeno.

Not easy.

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the Happy-Heavenly-Mother's-Day svithe


Of all the mysteries in Mormonism, perhaps the most perplexing is the seeming absence of the requisite Heavenly Mother. I don't have an answer to that question, nor am I choosing to let it bother me at this moment, but it does remain a source of curiosity.

So happy Mother's Day. A day of mysteries.

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A special svithe for Berkeley Warders


I am currently a regular substitute teacher in our ward's Sunday School. But I will be late this week. These are my notes for whoever takes my place those first few minutes, to get things started:

    Here is a well known story ending in a moral we often like to cite, Numbers 11:24-29 (have someone read)


    Moses chooses 70 men to assist him and the Lord sends his Spirit. Then there are these two other guys. (A slightly clearer translation (NIV) of verse 26: "However, two men, whose names were Eldad and Medad, had remained in the camp. They were listed among the elders, but did not go out to the Tent. Yet the Spirit also rested on them, and they prophesied in the camp.") Why do you suppose they still received the Spirit even though they missed their meeting?

    Why even have a meeting if you could skip it and still get the blessing of the Spirit?

    Regarding verses 28 and 29..... 

    Why was Joshua alarmed?

    Why wasn't Moses?

    Do we feel more like Joshua or Moses?

    What is the lesson here?

    Now let's skip ahead to the next chapter. Aaron and Miriam (but especially Miriam) get in trouble for talking bad about Moses. Even though they've been kind of emergency backup prophets in the past. Now notice how God phrases his displeasure with them in Numbers 12:6-8 (again in the slightly clearer NIV):
    [God] said, "Listen to my words: 
           "When a prophet of the LORD is among you, 
           I reveal myself to him in visions, 
           I speak to him in dreams.

     But this is not true of my servant Moses; 
           he is faithful in all my house.

     With him I speak face to face, 
           clearly and not in riddles; 
           he sees the form of the LORD. 
           Why then were you not afraid 
           to speak against my servant Moses?"

    And then Miriam has to be leprous for a week to learn a lesson.

    My question is this: Is God's take on our chapter 11 discussion more akin to Joshua's or to Moses's? Explain.

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