Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Large and Spacious Bloggernacle

There is an interesting little catfight going on as a result of an article about how LDS blogs were started. It really got me thinking about the whys and wherefores of blogging. Hearing the "authorities" of LDS blogs—those who have been around for some time, (and ironically often show dissatisfaction with the way LDS priesthood is run) bicker with the rather younger, more vital (and arguably more mainstream) "Mormon Mommy Blogs" over who played in the playground first has been illustrative.

Why blog? It seems that there are a few reasons. First, some blog because they think they have something important to share. They believe their perspective is important, and others should hear it. This tends towards "scholarly" sort of blogging. Or, maybe they just want to share their testimony with any who care to read it. Second, networking. Many blog because they want to stay in touch with friends and family. Blogging is a great way to go about it. Mommy blogs are largely of this sort. As another type of networking, some may have business networking blogs. I have one of this sort, which I've not yet used. Third, chronicling. Some may merely want to record events in their lives, whether good or bad. I have one public, but little-publicized journal-blog of that nature, and one private one. Fourth, a blogger may want to get his or her ideas out there so they can be discussed and mulled over. Maybe a person thinks better by typing, or maybe they want feedback on what they are thinking. Fifth, some blog for support. They are seeking for a community they can't find offline. This is a sort of offshoot of networking, but backwards. Rather than keeping track of those they already know offline, they are seeking others of like mind, often to get to know later.

I think I fall somewhere in the discussion and testimony-sharing categories for this blog. I don't get a ton of readers, but that doesn't particularly bother me. The ones I have are quite high-quality (in my opinion!) and willing to discuss gospel topics which are on my mind. I know some people read this who disagree with me, and I welcome those other perspectives (so long as they respect mine.)

The biggest pothole in the road of blogging is pride. It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that because you have your own little realm of control on the web, you are somehow better or worthy of notice. Take the catfight which spawned my thoughts lately. It has gotten to a contest of who has been here longest, or who has the most readers. Realistically, it doesn't matter in the least how long you have blogged or who reads your words. If you have something of value to blog about, that is independent of recognition.

So, why the emotions and controversy? I guess deep down, we are all still just little children wanting to be loved and accepted. Me included. But, in the end, does it really matter in which wing of the Large and Spacious Bloggernacle we have decided to set up camp?

"And the large and spacious building . . . is vain imaginations and the pride of the children of men. And a great and a terrible gulf divideth them; yea, even the word of the justice of the Eternal God, and the Messiah who is the Lamb of God. . . ."
1 Nephi 12:18

Monday, February 23, 2009

Seminary Answers

I don't have any great scriptural or spiritual insights this time. I've tried to post numerous times, but lack the current clarity to formulate what I feel while preserving the privacy of others in my life. (My own privacy is not as important to me when it comes to sharing what I have learned in the gospel, but I can't make that choice for others. I've learned something of discretion.)

To be as blunt as possible, I have little control over events in my life for now, and I am very frightened. I have tried to do the best I know how, tried to consult the Spirit, but my confidence in my ability to hear well is weak. I have received a blessing that told me I had no need to be afraid, and that angels surrounded me in protection. Knowing I am not worthy of this protection, I have nonetheless used this assurance many times in the last several days to battle my fear as it wells up and threatens to destroy my peace. It is a very real and bloody battle I have fought to have faith in my Savior. It has left my spirit somewhat tattered, and I have yet to enter the real fight.

I would like to share a few things that have kept me from drowning in my fear.

I stand at risk to hear many accusations and attacks on my character. Although my faults are many, and I am not gaining progress against them as quickly as I would like, these particular accusations are false. They come from someone who is very hurt and angry, and probably no less afraid than I am. I fear that, despite the my best efforts at impartiality, truth and concern for all parties involved, I will not be believed. I have come to cling to the Spirit's reminders that I am not the first to be falsely accused. The scriptures have assured me that I stand in good company. Job was accused of evil by his friends, Joseph Smith was surrounded by former friends and enemies thirsty for revenge. Even, and most importantly, the Son of Man himself was silent before those who accused Him wrongly. Although I am far from equal to any of these men, I am comforted to know they landed safely in the arms of their Maker.

There have been friends calling when I need them most. The outpouring of support has left me feeling rather foolish for feeling alone. Home and Visiting Teaching has gained greater meaning to me. I do not refer to officially called Teachers, for I have seen little of them, but I refer to the spirit of Teaching, which is charity in its purest form. Many of those with no reason otherwise, have buoyed me up and shaken me out of the hands of the Adversary.

My lifeline has been prayer. I know that no matter what others think of me, my God knows my heart. He knows that I have sought nothing but what is right, though I have made a mess of it. I have always wanted more meaning in my prayers, but now that I must sometimes stand largely alone against the power of the destroyer, I have reached new depths of humility and pleading. Praying for His Spirit to be my constant companion has become the only thing to save me at times.

Prayer, Home and Visiting Teaching, the Holy Spirit, and the scriptures.

I hope I have learned never to use the term "seminary answers" again.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

In the Quiet Heart

My heart has been anything but quiet, of late. Recent experiences in my life have broken most of my understanding of the world and my place in it. I have lived things I never thought I would live.

Through it all has come such an amazing outpouring of support and love, even from places I did not expect. I feel so very humbled and blessed that in my time of greatest vulnerability, loved ones have covered me with a cloak of safety. I will never be able to repay the sacrifices others have made on my behalf. Although one might add a price to these sacrifices, to me they are infinitely priceless.

I hope with all my heart that my experiences will lead me to greater sensitivity to others who may be suffering. There is so much pain in the world. I never knew how much hugs and time could alleviate some of that pain. My thoughts are scattered, my feelings full of confusion and fear, but I have found vast reason to be thankful.

Lobe den Herren, den mächtigen König der Ehren!
Meine geliebte Seele, das ist mein Begehren.
Kommet zu Hauf! Psalter und Harfe, wacht auf!
Lasset den Lobgesang hören!

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise Him, for He is thy health and salvation!
All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near;
Praise Him in glad adoration.

Lobe den Herren, der alles so herrlich regieret,
Der dich auf Flügeln des Adelers sicher geführet,
Der dich erhält, wie es dir selber gefällt.
Hast du nicht dieses verspüret?

Praise to the Lord, who over all things so wondrously reigneth,
Shelters thee under His wings, yea, so gently sustaineth!
Hast thou not seen how thy desires ever have been
Granted in what He ordaineth?

Lobe den Herren, der künstlich und fein dich bereitet,
Der dir Gesundheit verliehen, dich freundlich geleitet.
In wieviel Not hat dich der gnädige Gott
Über dir Flügel gebreitet.

Praise to the Lord, who hath fearfully, wondrously, made thee;
Health hath vouchsafed and, when heedlessly falling, hath stayed thee.
What need or grief ever hath failed of relief?
Wings of His mercy did shade thee.

Lobe den Herren, der deinen Stand sichtbar gesegnet,
Der aus dem Himmel mit Strömen der Liebe geregnet.
Denke daran, was der Allmächtige kann,
Der dir mit Liebe begegnet.

Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee;
Surely His goodness and mercy here daily attend thee.
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do,
If with His love He befriend thee.

Lobe den Herren; was in mir ist, lobe den Namen.
Alles was Odem hat, lobe mit Abrahams Samen.
Er ist dein Licht; Seele, vergiß es ja nicht;
Lob ihn und schließe mit Amen!

Praise to the Lord, O let all that is in me adore Him!
All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before Him.
Let the Amen sound from His people again,
Gladly for aye we adore Him.

Jo­ach­im Ne­an­der, original German, English comprised of corresponding verses, not translations

How grateful I am for the mercies of God, who sends His angels to bear us up in times of unbearable tribulation! How I would worship Him forever, for the sacrifice of His Son, which can heal even the most frightening wounds, and bridge the darkest chasms.

Popular Posts