Blog Archives

A Middle Path Toward Theology?

March 20, 2010 | 38 comments
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This discursive approach to church leadership certainly had its problems (most dramatically in the story being re-told by Daymon and Brad at BCC). It is more chaotic, less predictable, more likely to offend long-time members when long-held doctrines change. However, it is, perhaps, more responsive to the changing needs of church membership. Read more »

Mirth in Marriage

March 17, 2010 | 16 comments
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The other night as we were getting ready for bed, my wife said, “You know Dane, I really miss laughing. I don’t mean like little *he he he* laughs, I mean deep, cleansing laughter.” And she’s right. Between children, school, and the pressures of responsible adult life, laughter kind of got lost somewhere. I don’t really have any special insights on this one, but I’d love to hear the collective wisdom of the moms and dads out there: where do you and your spouse find carefree fun in your family? Read more »

Soul Work

March 16, 2010 | 13 comments
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Soul Work

Norbert at BCC recently shared this reminiscence about his wilder days at BYU. What struck me most was the conversation in the comments between Norbert and his friends and acquaintances from those days. I caught glimpses of magical people from a mystical (or mythical?) time. Read more »

A Thing to Grasp

March 14, 2010 | 15 comments
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A Thing to Grasp

Havelock Ellis said, "It is only the great men who are truly obscene. If they had not dared to be obscene, they could never have dared to be great." I think the word "obscene" here denotes not mere prurience or crudeness, but more generally the will to defy social expectations. It is in this sense that the title character in Cool Hand Luke is obscene, with his Nietzschean will to power. Read more »

The Test

March 12, 2010 | 20 comments
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The Test

When asked why life is hard, the Sunday school teachers of my youth replied, “Life is a test. It’s supposed to be hard.” The scriptures support the life-as-test perspective — a “probationary state” where we “prove” ourselves. Of course, if life is a test, then that means it’s designed to prepare us for what comes next. We test medical students on anatomy (as opposed to, say, Russian grammar) because knowing anatomy will help them after they’ve graduated. So if I can be justified in taking the life-as-test perspective seriously, perhaps I can draw some inferences about the next life... Read more »

Organizational Management in the Church

March 9, 2010 | 84 comments
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Organizational Management in the Church

I’m sitting in my organizational management class right now. That (combined with having just finally finished Lengthen Your Stride, which opened my eyes to the challenge of managing a global organization) has got me thinking about why the church is structured the way it is. Many attributes of the church that we like to complain about here in the bloggernacle serve very useful purposes in maintaining cohesion across dozens of nations and millions of people. Here are some ponderings, none of which are grounded in anything other than my teacher’s lecturing and my own mental meanderings, so take them... Read more »

Answering Nate

February 28, 2010 | 14 comments
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"Once upon a time, numberless spirits inhabited the vast chaos of space and unorganized matter. They exercised their minuscule powers to organize little creations, but these quickly vanished in the swirling chaos, like sand castles against the tide. Having spent an eternity without achieving any lasting accomplishments, these spirits mostly just despaired and drifted. One of these spirits, however, discovered the skill (perhaps through ingenuity, or perhaps just through persistence and luck) to build works that could endure the chaos. So, with much effort and with limited power, he began to build a habitation from the unorganized matter around him.... Read more »

My God

February 24, 2010 | 22 comments
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I love my God. He loves me. Sometimes I suffer, and sometimes there is nothing He can do about it, and I love that. I love my God because He is limited, like me. He prepares my way to eternal joy, but He does not put me there. Why not? Is it because He chooses not to? How disgusting would that be? An almighty God who could obviate suffering by obviating the need for suffering, but who chooses not to? An almighty God who could save all His children, but allows some to burn in hell? What a horrible... Read more »

Suckers and Monsters

February 21, 2010 | 25 comments
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We human beings don’t handle technological progress very gracefully. Those of us who have spent years doing things “the hard way” can feel cheated when suddenly someone invents an easy way. Take, for example, the ballpoint pen. This little invention (and its immediate predecessors) essentially obsoleted centuries of tradition in penmanship, calligraphy, and pen care. And it’s not just pens. The same thing happened with the advent of painkillers. Or television. Or typewriters. This sort of change leads to all kinds of post hoc justifications for why the old way is better. We don’t like to feel like suckers.... Read more »

Friendship is Unnatural

February 15, 2010 | 18 comments
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Friendship is Unnatural

I love the interactive nature of blogging. I had planned to close this series with a post neatly tying everything together, but all of your contributions have challenged my premises and preconceptions to the point that I can't do it. I started this series with some really good ideas, as well as some very naive ones. In a year or so, as I've been able to sort between the two, perhaps I'll come back with a follow-up series. In the meantime, let me close this series by touching on friendship. Read more »

Community Considerations – or – Nine Reasons “40 Acres and My Friends” Is a Bad Idea

February 10, 2010 | 11 comments
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Community Considerations – or – Nine Reasons “40 Acres and My Friends” Is a Bad Idea

This isn't to discourage anyone from trying the "forty acres and my friends" approach. However, the beautiful vision of "let's get all my friends together, buy some land, and live happily together forever" has a tendency to gloss over some of the very real issues that communities have to deal with. Here are a few: Read more »

Building Your Own Green Hill

February 5, 2010 | 12 comments
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Building Your Own Green Hill

If you're feeling moved upon to bring together a community of your own, here are some approaches you might consider. I've divided them into two sections: organic and venture. Organic approaches to community building grow fairly naturally out of everyday living. They may sound mundane -- you're probably already doing some of them -- but that doesn't mean the resulting relationships are any less rewarding. In contrast, venture approaches to community building take significant planning, time, and money. Read more »

Program

January 28, 2010 | 15 comments
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Program

Programs and lifestyle are the main repositories of culture in a community. Programs are optional. Lifestyles are not. The person who declines to participate in a program still gets to sit in the audience at the awards ceremony. The person who declines to participate in a lifestyle is excluded from the flow of community life. Read more »

Space (How It Looks)

January 26, 2010 | 34 comments
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Space (How It Looks)

Could we make zion building into a hobby? Like scrapbooking, except that it requires a little more money. And instead of gathering memories in a binder, you would gather loved ones in a community. Anyway, here are some visual examples of intentional communities that exist here in the United States and Canada. Read more »

Lifestyle

January 22, 2010 | 8 comments
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Lifestyle

Lifestyle is about the flow of daily living. It is not about the grand mission and purpose of the community (that's the program), but rather, it is the community's values, norms, and expectations. A good demonstration of lifestyle (as opposed to program) can be seen in the cohousing movement. Read more »

About-ness and Communities That Last

January 21, 2010 | 10 comments
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About-ness and Communities That Last

My initial interest in building a green hill was just to live near my friends and family -- something as simple as purchasing land, building houses, and inviting my loved ones to come on over. But, while that would be wonderful, I realized that my dream was about more than just building a "friends of Dane club". I don't want to be the linchpin that holds everyone together. Read more »

The Dream of the Green Hill

January 20, 2010 | 19 comments
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The Dream of the Green Hill

Green Hill Communities | Next About fifteen years ago, I had a dream. In my dream I saw a green hill with several people silhouetted against a cloudy sky. These figures were engaged together in various activities, some speaking, some playing or dancing, and some resting. The clouds in the sky moved quickly by, like in a fast-motion movie, which I understood to signify the passage of time. Then I woke up. Although the dream was brief, its images — the people, the hill, and the sky — have stayed with me. The attitude shared by the figures on... Read more »