photo by Linda Hoffman Kimball
We are starting new quarterly themes on the blog. This October-December we will be featuring pieces by several of our staffers on Passions. Do you have something to share on the topic ? Submit a guest post and maybe we can share your passions too.
In anticipation of our theme I wrote out in stream of consciousness fashion what first comes to my mind when I think of the broad concept of “passion.”
Here are my results:
Passion is when I crave something – crave to be involved with it, consume it, handle it, watch it, learn from it, get lost in it, become more fully human and more thoroughly eternal through it, and/or think differently because of it.
When I am passionate about something my voice may rise in giddiness or exhilaration. Or it may deepen in a primal protectiveness (“Don’t mess with me, I know what I’m talking about regarding this”). It can become a low, rumbling, imperative growl (channeling Aslan.) (Or Katy Perry). Continue reading
My heart won’t stop hurting. I’m sure you’ve all heard the news that Kate Kelly and John Dehlin have been summoned to church court for their activities related to the Ordain Women movement and the Mormon LGBT movement. I’m not upset because I’m an ardent supporter of either movement. I’m upset because I firmly believe that every Saint deserves to have a voice in our community. I’m upset because I am so grateful to people like Kate and John who are willing to say “dangerous” things out loud, when so many of us want to, but are too afraid to. I’m upset because of the atmosphere of fear that enters into our faith community when this sort of thing happens. What can I safely say? What causes dear to my heart will be “approved” by my respected church leaders? Do I trust my own spirit to hear and interpret the voice of the Holy Spirit, or do I leave that solely to my leaders, who I am sure listen to the same Spirit? What do I do when those spiritual interpretations collide? This sort of conundrum causes all sorts of self doubt. Some walk. Sometimes I wonder if the best of us walk, and if my choice to stay is foolish or faithful. I’ll say it right here at the start, though: despite all its man-made quirks and flaws, I love the Church and am convinced it holds the power of full salvation. So I stay. But right now, it just hurts. Continue reading
“Where is the quiet hand
to calm my anguish?
Who, who can understand?
He, only One.”
from “Where Can I Turn for Peace” by Emma Lou Thayne
When my husband Chris and I were dating he sent me a love note with this observation of my character. He wrote, “You are always striving for excellence and never quite attaining it.”
Happily, I knew already knew that Chris was a very literal person and what he probably meant was something more along the lines of “You do ambitious things with enthusiasm and still want to improve beyond that.”
But Chris’s first version was right, too. I know I am incapable of doing things quite as well as I hope to do them. All of us who are disciples of Jesus, if we are honest, are in the same predicament. We make covenants – and we’re still not as “excellent” at keeping them as we’d like to be. Continue reading
Several years ago I encountered a transition in my faith. I’ve always identified as Mormon, but I realized in those months of moments of heaving breathing and endless fervent prayers to God, that my understanding and ownership of my faith could not return to its former shape. My mind unfurled an image coiled up in my brain since my former professor, and a current member of the Sunday School General Presidency, John S. Tanner, put it there more than a decade ago. Studying the Songs of Innocence and Experience by William Blake, Dr. Tanner explained the division of the poems and illustrations into two stages of life, the innocence of child-like love and the often growing pain-like cold reality of experience. Then drawing in the air with his finger, he pointed round in a circle, coming back to where he started and around again and again; life is not linear, but round; a spiral.
After innocence is gone, and experience has harrowed out naivete the ground is ripe for something new; the mind can embrace what it once could before, but in a new way. For Blake, this was a turn to Christ, a second innocence that sees as the first one could not, but chooses to embrace hope and love anyway.
I realized I was at a crossroads–what was I to do with my troubled soul, my questions and my answers? Should I wrap myself full-fledged around my new knowledge of church history, gospel understanding and want of more; or bury it in a furtive effort to return to my younger, simpler faith? I heard a question in my brain, What do you really want? I chose both, faith and facts, and began to spiral. Continue reading
Sacrament emblems of bread and water
At church we use the phrase “taking the sacrament” for the weekly taking of blessed bread and water, symbols of Christ’s body and blood offered in His atoning sacrifice. “Do this in remembrance of me,” Christ told his disciples at the Last Supper. Other churches have similar practices that are called Communion, The Lord’s Supper, Eucharist and other titles, often preceded by the word “Holy.”
In Relief Society recently we had a lesson about the Sacrament. At one point the instructor asked us to recall and share particularly memorable occasions when we’ve taken the Sacrament. Continue reading