Can freedom of religion be nondiscriminatory?

Okay, this will be a bit of a diversion from our conversation on the family. I want to just take a quick detour and address some current events. We’ll resume our family focus on Monday.  (Hey, with someone kind of nuts, it really isn’t that surprising is it?)

Many of you may have heard the announcement of support of nondiscrimination rights for the LGBT community yesterday by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

It didn’t strike me as new or groundbreaking; rather, it was entirely consistent with support given a few years ago when Salt Lake passed similar legislation. It rings true to me.

What surprised me a little, however, was the response. During a news interview, a panel was discussing the prospects of state-wide approval. Consensus was that there was absolutely no reason not to vote for this.

But the representative from the left said that while it was a good start, there were many of his counterparts who were upset.

I thought I had surely misheard him. What was there to be upset about?

Continue reading Can freedom of religion be nondiscriminatory?

The Family: The Final Frontier?

smithsonianThe National Gallery of Art at The Smithsonian in Washington D.C. has a room with four walls and four doorways. While walking slowly through the museum more than 25 years ago, I found myself captivated in this particular room. In fact, I returned two more times just to take it in.

There was just one painting on each of the four walls; the four paintings telling one story.

childhood

(Source of Voyage of Life paintings: Explore Thomas Cole)

Completed by the 1850s, The Voyage of Life by Thomas Cole is a series depicting one man’s journey, beginning at Childhood and then going through Youth, Manhood, and ending at Old Age.  The allegorical paintings are rich in color, imagery, and meaning.

youthI saved up and bought large prints of the series. They have hung in every living room we have ever had, wherever we have lived. Currently, they are in the small piano room right by the front door. Continue reading The Family: The Final Frontier?

… and then what?

Watching current world events unfold sometimes leaves me with a kink in my neck. You know the kind you get when watching a fast tennis match, or a game of ping pong? Each side lobbing, or hurling, or firing a return volley as quickly as they can reload.

The thought process seems to be the need to demonstrate and enforce our superiority over the opposition.

The Israelis and the Palestinians.

Radical jihadists and pro-democracy forces.

The president and congress.

Cuban diplomatic talks and a Russian spy ship.

I think we could argue all day about the larger world conflicts and what we see as the best solution and just how they should be implemented.question mark3

… and then what?

For example, while Ann and I were driving to Salt Lake she had an incredibly insightful and simple solution to the forecasted sharp rise in gasoline after OPEC has driven the shale oil companies here out of business.

She suggested that the government enforce heavy embargos and fees on foreign oil, and then forward those revenues to the domestic energy producers to keep them going.

It was brilliant.

Continue reading … and then what?

Could it really be okay to come back?

A good and genuine person recently expressed having feelings of wanting to return to the fellowship of the gospel, after having left years ago.

But just having the feelings to return isn’t like waving a magic wand and erasing all that had caused the rift in the first place. Her reasons for estrangement were based in love, not hate. That makes it a little harder to try and overcome, wouldn’t you think?

defeatYou see, in her past when a beloved family member had shared homosexual feelings and the need to pursue a corresponding lifestyle, the response was one of anger, and ostracism, and a severing of ties.

Watching people who faithfully attend church each Sunday turn so quickly on a loved one left a pretty bad taste her mouth.

Yet after all this time, she recognizes the honest feelings and yearnings in her own heart, drawing her back to the gospel of the Savior.

So, how does she reconcile what seems to be clearly conflicting messages of “love thy brother”?

As I thought about it, I would think that this is a scenario that has played out in many, many families.

Continue reading Could it really be okay to come back?

Is there ever a state of normalcy with mental illness?

Ann and I are getting ready to make the trek to Salt Lake next week to check in with our psychiatrist.

For quite a while now I have felt frustrated that we are continuously tweaking and changing and figuring it out. I just want to have life go back to being normal and constant and predictable.

Is that too much to ask?

So, once again we are getting ready for the changes that are sure to come.

I think the phrase “getting ready” is appropriate in this case. Some people may be able to just get up, gas up the car, and head for Salt Lake.

But not me.calendar

My usual preparation involves tracking every day how things have gone: calm, screamer, numb, manic, angry, laughing.

You get the idea.

Then I type a paper with the percentages of each, and compare them to the last visit’s statistics. I also type up a few paragraphs of things I would like to share with the doctor. I have found that this system is very efficient and practical. The doctor can be up to speed in less than two minutes rather than stumbling through my ramblings.

Just to make sure, I’ll read and retype and reread and retype. No mistakes. No miscommunications. Perfection.

From my perspective, this is extremely logical and rational.

Normal.

normal

Apparently, though, I am in the minority on that one.

Continue reading Is there ever a state of normalcy with mental illness?