Tag Archives: Disagreeing with respect

There needs to be continuing dialogue on religion and homosexuality. But can we agree on what the conversation is about?

What is love?

There may be as many definitions or interpretations as there are people on the planet. Some seem to think that it means giving those you love anything they want. Some seem to think that unconditional love is telling family members that we support and approve of whatever they do. Today, more than ever before, many people seem to think that love must be accompanied by intense sexual desire and satisfaction. If we start to feel admiration or attraction to be with someone, then there must be a sexual component that has to be acted on.

And we call that love.

I don’t really agree with any of those definitions. You might. If you do, I respect your position and feelings. Because to me, that would be part of loving you.

But I still don’t agree with those positions or feelings. Both loving and disagreeing can exist at the same time.

Is love easy?   Continue reading There needs to be continuing dialogue on religion and homosexuality. But can we agree on what the conversation is about?

What’s the line between personal expression and being respectful?

When I was in high school and college, I was certainly one who had an eye out for fashion. I’m not sure how often I hit the mark, but I thought I was pretty styling (perhaps even the use of that phrase shows just how far off I was!).

For my senior year of high school, I had wanted a pair of pointed-toe, flat-heeled, black leather boots to wear with jeans.

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I had seen the whole look in a poster and couldn’t forget how cool I thought the guy looked. His haircut, his shirt, everything said what I wanted to say about myself. Even the incredibly daring small gold hoop earring that he wore in his left ear.

My best friend Bryan and I went on a quest to Salt Lake to shop for clothes. My favorite shoe shop in the mall was The Wild Pair. I’m pretty sure the name says it all; at any rate, the sign above the door was very appropriate.

I found them.

We’ve all had a favorite pair of shoes at one time or another. These were mine. Continue reading What’s the line between personal expression and being respectful?

How come we search for a heavenly society while excluding heaven?

While working in the yards today I had my IPod going in my ears, as usual. Work is always a little better with songs that make your heart sing a bit, or your toe tap a bit, or put a bit of a spring in your step.

music

You know what I mean.

At any rate, I noticed a theme in the songs. By the third one in a row with the same message, I stopped to actually listen and let the words soak in.

Each singer was wistfully searching for a society where we were all kind to each other, where we didn’t harm each other, where everyone was being taken care of by everyone else. But the tone of the music and the melancholy voices made it all seem like a pipe dream – something we all wish for, but know it just can never be.

I stopped right there in the middle of the backyard and asked “Why not?”

Why do we harm each other?

Why aren’t we kind to everyone?

Why don’t we look out for the needs of those around us? Continue reading How come we search for a heavenly society while excluding heaven?

I can’t choose for you; you can’t choose for me. So who makes the choice?

Compared to world history, in the short 238 years that the United States has been the United States, we have changed dramatically. Other nations seemed to go on for centuries with relatively little differences. Of course, the industrial age and the unfathomable rate of technological discoveries have affected everyone in unanticipated ways.

I wonder what our founding fathers would tell us if they were able. Maybe the more important question is, would we even listen?

Probably not.

We have become in large part a society where we each belong to a subgroup that feels that we know exactly what is best, where the right line is to draw in the moral sand, and what should be seen as unacceptable.

And we know that it should be that way for everyone.

Those who don’t see things from our point of view or embrace our solutions are just too stupid to know anyway, so let’s go ahead and make the decisions for them. After all, we really do know what is best.

Our founding fathers may be surprised to read through all the laws that are on the books. It may be a good thing they are dead, as it would probably take more than a natural lifetime to even get to them all.

Close your eyes and imagine them sitting around a table.

“Why do they need all these laws?”

“Most of these things are just common sense; you just do them because it is the right thing to do.”

“It seems like they have lost the ability to think for themselves.”

“Or it seems that the government has decided that it is a better thinker than the common man.”

“Generally it is the voice of the majority that keeps the logical common sense, not the few who are in power.”

“What kind of a mess have they gotten themselves into?”

“Is this what we worked so hard for?”

Of course, I could be wrong. They may be watching and doing a jig and saying that this is exactly what they had in mind when they drafted the constitution.

But I don’t think it is very likely.

I’ve thought a lot about it and it seems to boil down to some simple but disastrous pitfalls.

One would be that we’ve reversed the accountability direction on the responsibility to choose.

It seems that I want to choose for you. I know what is best and you just need to agree with me. I just don’t want to have to make a definite decision and choose for myself. No matter what, I want a way out if I don’t like how things go.

That sounds like a pretty tempting plan at first glance. I don’t have to really choose for myself because I can blame anything that doesn’t go my way on you and then make you pay for it through a lawsuit. Who knew that pain and suffering was really worth millions and millions of dollars? The best part is that I get to stand up and tell you how all of us must do things my way, and if you don’t see how this is the best way, then you really are stupid.

Sounds like a first grader’s dream.

Unfortunately, we don’t get to stay in first grade past the age of six. We are expected to learn and progress and grow and become an adult.

How are we doing? It seems that there are an awful lot of playground skirmishes and bullying going on among those who are 30, 40, 50, and so on.

The truth is that we have to understand just how important it is to choose. To choose for ourselves.

I am responsible for the choices I make. You are responsible for the choices you make.

Now, how do we somehow manage to live together, knowing that we have made different choices?

It is interesting to read and listen to debates and arguments over exactly this question. Each side has their “talking points” that seem to come up in each conversation; you can almost say out loud what they are going to say before they say it. It seems to be the same argument each time. I guess the way you tell if someone won was if they were the last to repeat their slogans or spoke more loudly over the other person.

Why is there no movement in the conversation toward a solution?

Is it because we refuse to listen?

I think so.

Is it also because we are trying to use reason and logic to somehow mathematically score more points and win the fight?

Yet some of the things that we are fighting the most about don’t seem to be based in logistics and figures. They are based in feelings and beliefs.

We are trying to change each other’s minds, while we are actually talking about matters of the heart.

The court suit being fought right now over the issue of same-sex marriage is a pretty good example. I’ve read the arguments and statistics on both sides. Each proponent has done a lot of research and has made it very academic, proving how their view is correct.

But for me it is very simple: I believe that God has told us through His prophets that marriage is the most amazing and wonderful gift and is to be between a man and a woman. I know that my marriage has brought me more joy and happiness and self-esteem and friendship and security and hope and on and on and on, than anything else I have done in my life. I don’t really need to go any further than that. I know in my heart and my soul that this is right.

There really isn’t a logical argument that is ever going to change what I know deep within.

Obviously there are good people who believe that same-sex marriage is right.

So, what do we do?

Well, I don’t think that we spew anger filled venom at each other in words and actions. I don’t think we treat each other like vermin and say that I won’t hire you or work with you or let you live near me. I don’t really think protesting or parading around and shoving one lifestyle in another’s face will help.

Popular or not, my view is not going to change. Not because I am stubborn or mad or vindictive. It’s because I am at peace with it. I see it as truth. Truth is truth.

There are many truths.

I also see as truth that extra marital affairs are wrong. I see as truth that creating a child out of wedlock is wrong. I see as truth that a date does NOT consist of sexual intercourse.

There was a time that the majority also saw these as truths. Yet society now fully accepts that each of the above is not only acceptable, it is understandable and just a part of being an adult.

How did we get growing up so wrong?

Perhaps now it is a little easier to see why I am so deeply concerned that, yet again, another huge chunk is being taken out of the moral granite that made our nation the world’s leader.

I think we have to be realistic and ask ourselves, what will be next? Because past experience tells us that we won’t stop here, just like we didn’t stop with extra marital affairs but moved on to having children out of wedlock and dating being a sexual free for all.

I have to choose for me. You have to choose for you.

And we all have to live together after the choices have been made. Hopefully we will make the choices now that will allow us all to keep choosing what matters most tomorrow.

Should a religious organization be a democracy?

With work already beginning at the grassroots level for the elections this November, we each have the responsibility to step up and be informed on what is happening in the primaries. We need to understand the direction and abilities of the candidates and cast informed votes.

This is where we have the most opportunity, and again responsibility, to make the changes in our government that we feel need to be made. Of course, there will always be changes that need to be made as government is made by men and women and run by men and women. Mistakes will happen, personal greed and hunger for power will get in the way, and radical segments will seek to take away the freedoms of others.

After all, it is a democracy where everyone gets to cast their vote and express their opinion. Generally, then, it is the consensus of the masses which forms the direction of the country.

I am struck with my jaw dropping at times, though, that people think it is the same process that should happen in a religious organization.

I suppose that if we see our religious organization as one made by men and women and run by men and women, then it would be logical to think that church policies and direction should also be democratic.

Of course, I can’t imagine caring that much about my religion if I felt that it was just another group of opinions and passionate feelings. If the group had conflicting policies with my personal belief system, I would simply leave. No one is forcing me to attend or be a part of it. I can certainly hunt around for a church that seemed to fit my personality better. If one couldn’t be found, then I could always start my own.

After all, I apparently believe that religion is no more than a social gathering of people who have similar thoughts.

If this were the case, then why would I spend time and energy “protesting and making demands” of existing religious organizations? One who does obviously doesn’t agree with all that this particular church professes as doctrine.

Why would I want to change it when there are so many people who do agree with it?

I guess a better question is what has suddenly made me superior, smarter, and better equipped to decide for all?

If we really think about it, it would remind us of a battle long ago where one stood and said he would decide for everyone what was best. Gratefully, Another stood and said that He would do the will of His Father.

I’ve always loved plan B.

When we take a sincere moment to think about it, isn’t that the example for each of us?

Is our religion and our faith based in man/woman-made precepts?

Or, do we deeply and fervently believe that our religion and faith is of God? That everyone has a place and a responsibility and we are acting under divine guidance and not just by general vote or consensus?

If we do, then wouldn’t it be incredibly pretentious and brazen of us to be “protesting and making demands” of something we believe is being guided and run by God?

We know of one who did exactly that. We know what happened to him.

If we are following his example and plan, and declaring that we know what is best, then I don’t think it is that far of a jump to realize just who we are following.

I don’t want to be under his power.

Do you?

The day will come when we witness the Second and Majestic Coming and the government will at last be under the direction of Heaven. Gone will be the stalemates and power mongering and arguments about what is the right thing to do. It will be better than we can even imagine.

Until then, we have the responsibility to stand up and try to promote what we feel is in the best interest of the country. We will vote and campaign and debate and compromise.

That is as it should be.

But I am so grateful that I don’t have to attack my religious beliefs with the same dogged determination to make sure it is being run correctly.

I know it is being run correctly.

I get to focus my energies then on learning and understanding and serving and loving. I get to be with people I trust and change the things about myself that block my happiness.

And I am so deeply grateful for it.

After all, no one is forcing me to stay.

I am free to choose.