Tuesday, April 15, 2014

No Conflict: An American Christian Looks at the Age of the Earth

From time to time I hear some religious people believe the earth was created in 6,000 years. I was never taught that, but I can see where it comes from.

One day God, who can do anything, announces a plan to build the earth. He lays out the plans and says that it should be done in 6,000 years. Then, having other things to do, he turns the earth project over to his angels. I don't know how many angels there are, but let's assume it's a bunch. The first thing they do is look at the plans. Since they are God's plans they look great. The angels get to work. They start by organizing themselves into appropriate committees. Planning committees, review committees, supply committees, and relevant sub-committees, then boom! 4+ billion years later the project is done.

Now, scientists might estimate that the world took 4 billion years to organize, I might know the world has 4 billion years on the clock, and the angels must know that the world took 4 billion to build. But if anyone asks how long it took, nobody wants to argue with the boss' announcement that it was a 6,000 year project.

Monday, January 27, 2014

LINKS: Please Don't Say This Anymore

When poverty is discussed, all too often I hear the phrase..."If you teach a man to fish..."

And in my mind I picture people living in this world.

Talking about people living in this world.

If you don't live by the water and if you don't have money to buy fishing gear what use is it for some rich people to share their hobby?

If you think a man should learn how to fish then take the time to learn where he can fish and give him the tools to fish with. Make sure you buy him a license and give him a ride to the water, and then bring him home. Take the time to teach him how to clean the fish, and cook the fish, and to protect the future of the fish.

In this modern world with urban living and so many rules protecting established businesses, if you just teach a man to fish, then you have nether fed him for the day, nor have you prepared him for a lifetime of feeding himself.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

St Martin-in-Provo

As a child I remember visiting St. Martin-in-the-Fields. Standing in the church some adult told the story of a brave priest who stood up to popular opinion and left the door to the church unlocked so that the homeless would have a place to sleep in the heart of the big city. I looked around what appeared to me to be a fancy church and I could understand why people would want to protect it. I also through that the priest had the right idea. There, in a city filled with palaces and museums, was one place where no matter how poor you were, no matter how low you were on the social scale, no matter how damaged you might be, there was one place that would let you in on a cold night.

Now, I understand that there were risks in the priest's behavior. Risks to the building and risks to the random individuals that might enter it. But it was still the right thing to do.

We have a chance to do the same thing. With winter approaching Provo I can see the need for a refuge for those who have nothing. Perhaps one of our leaders will be as brave as that English priest and suggest that when the new temple is finished we could open, if not its doors to the homeless, at least the doors of the parking garage*. Each night after the temple closes a group of brethren could volunteer to let the homeless sleep in the lower levels of the garage where the depth of the earth will insulate the ground and keep the people from freezing. Early in the morning as the temple opens the homeless could wander out, the area could be cleaned, and the temple patrons could park. It wouldn't take many people to support the operation and the cost would be minimal.

Who knows, if it works they could try something similar in Salt Lake City with the big new mall that sits empty between 10:00 pm and 6:00 am.

*As I recall, from time to time the homeless in Provo were housed in the Hotel Roberts which stood close to, if not exactly where the new temple parking garage will be built.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

How Can You Promise Me Heaven?


 How can you promise me heaven when you can’t provide on earth?

How can you promise choirs of angels singing praise when my ears ring with the sound of my neighbors mocking of the poor.

How can you promise mansions in heaven when we have no shelter for the homeless?

How can you promise infinite wisdom when our leaders vote to destroy our education system?

What makes you think we will live united above when down here we can’t abide those who cross borders, are gay, or don’t look like us?

How can you claim we can progress forever when you can’t see past the number of piercings in my ears or the color of my shirt?

How can you promise divine forgiveness when our politicians pass petty laws to punish those who make difficult personal choices they disagree with.

Why do you promise a future of charity and love from the pulpit when so many voices in our community promote greed and fear?

Why do you extol the potential of women in the next life when you exclude them from leadership today?

How can you promise me heaven when you can’t provide on earth?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Really

It is great that the Church took a strong stand against racism recently (http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/racial-remarks-in-washington-post-article).

Now I hear that the Church owns a radio station the airs Rush Limbaugh (http://www.bonneville.com/?nid=42).

I'm happy that we are working to put racism behind us. It looks like we will have to keep working on our respect for women.

(Don't even get me started on what our "LDS" legislators are doing to our hope for education.)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Skinny Genes

So I hear some kid in Idaho is all worked up because some girl at BYUi has skinny genes. She can't take a test. She is embarrassed at school all because of her skinny genes. And I figure, hey, why is it anyone's business if she has skinny genes. In today's world, lucky her. Leave her and her skinny genes be!

Turns out they were talking about pants.

Now that is even sillier.

Monday, December 12, 2011

TBM, TBML, HASM, or FPR? Now add BCM

It is time for a new Mormon acronym. Let's go with BCM for "Business Card Mormon." A BCM is the type of person who will not acknowledge any scripture outside the one verse that suits their immediate need. The one verse that possibly supports some passionately held typically worldly view. Hence, they can carry their scripture(s) to church on a business card. They don't need all those other verses, chapters, books, etc.

There are a great number of BCMs in the blogosphere at this time. Sometimes you can even meet them in person if you pay attention at church.

Try this, enter a blog discussion that is looking at immigration in the United States. If you try and say anything about charity, kindness, families, or common everyday respect for other humans--BAM! Someone drops the 12th Article of Faith and there can be no further discussion. The 12th Article of Faith is all that matters. If you mention anything else the BCM will imply that you are something of an apostate, unpatriotic, and lacking in any understanding of the gospel. The "gospel" of course being that one verse the BCM likes. Now, some people might read, oh, say the 13th article of faith, with its mention of being benevolent or doing good to all men. Some people might even read the Book of Mormon and learn from the stories of pride, humility, charity and migration. In fact there is nothing stopping us from using all the scriptures from Genesis to the proclamation on the family. But the BCMs appear to know better.

I suspect that BCMs do not read the scriptures much, or at least they don't do so with charity in their hearts. In fact, I suspect that the current crop of BCMs are influenced more by the still small voice of cable "news" and talk radio than a more spiritual guide. But that is just my assumption. I don't have a favorite scripture to back it up.