Posts Tagged ‘ Social and Personal ’

“He is a dreamer; let us leave him”: Observing the Ides

March 15, 2005 | 34 comments
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“Who is it in the press that calls on me? I hear a tongue, shriller than all the music.” (Julius Caesar, I.ii) The imagined exchanges between Julius Caesar and the soothsayer about March 15, 44 B.C. have made me think about superstition, the irrational, and the place of portents, genuine or spurious. Read more »

Am I a Productive Adult?

March 11, 2005 | 54 comments
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Actually, I know I’m not. I eat too much sugar, I don’t rise at the crack of dawn, I own no Tupperware, I take three hours to leave the house in the mornings, I’ve never bought a car, I earn about $12,000 a year, I have a library book overdue, I had zero taxable income in FY 2003, I don’t have dental insurance, I’m several thousand dollars in debt to whomever Sallie Mae sold my student loan, I’ve never had a full-time job longer than nine months, and my father pays my cell phone bill Read more »

For JV on January 17

January 17, 2005 | 7 comments
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JV is the kind of person one notices right away in an LDS chapel, the kind of person one remembers. I’d seen her at various stake activities after I moved with my new husband into our micro-studio apartment in a transient-urban ward; when we moved into student housing in the neighboring transient-student ward the next year, hers was one of the few familiar faces that greeted us that first Sunday. It was impossible not to like her instantly: JV is outgoing, exuberant, affectionate, interested, and an intent listener. She also happens to be African-American. Read more »

Say No to Santa

December 20, 2004 | 31 comments
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It’s time to get rid of the old fat guy in the red suit. I have five good reasons why Santa has to go. One: Santa is a big fat lie. Let’s face it. Read more »

Family Businesses: In the World but not of It

November 10, 2004 | 19 comments
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What is the well-dressed office worker reading on the evening train this season? The Economist. The Economist? Yes. An article on family businesses. Read more »

Can a Good Mormon be a Meritocrat?

November 4, 2004 | 41 comments
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I’m not a big fan of much of David Brooks’s writings, as he is often too Manichean to be useful (here’s a good parody). But in the opening pages of Bobos in Paradise, Brooks does a nice job of describing the shift in American culture from a class structure based on lineage or money to one based on education and achievement. Read more »

Billboards against P()rn

September 8, 2004 | 8 comments
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Driving back from Provo to Portland let us see the occasional p()rn billboards that are now standard on American highways. They aren’t the Golden Arches, but there’s more every year. We also saw an anti-p()rn billboard. It said something like “No Adult Stores in Our Town!” Next to it was a windowless cement-block structure with “Adult Store” in big, aged letters. The wife and I were reminded of South Bend. The more squalid section of South Bend has a few dirty strip bars, with anti-p()rn billboards alongside, stuff like “Sleazy shops ruin this neighborhood.” Read more »

Racist by Association

September 2, 2004 | 21 comments
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More than once in my career, I have been told by colleagues that they had me wrong. They had assumed, because of my religion, that I had unkind feelings toward racial minorities. After observing me in various settings, however, they had concluded that their initial assumption was unfair. These moments are always bittersweet. On the one hand, I am pleased to have gained some measure of approval, even if I have not consciously sought it. On the other hand, I wonder how many other people never get past the initial assumption. When I was an undergraduate, a marketing professor... Read more »

A Light gone out in the City on a Hill

June 11, 2004 | 3 comments
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Our nation pays its respects today to Ronald Reagan, President from 1980 to 1988. He was the first President I remembered. As far as I can tell he was also the first President our people embraced. I was five years old on the Mormon frontier in Arizona when Jim Brady took a bullet and President Reagan got shot. I remember the universal grief. I was with my mother on a church visit (visiting teaching I think) when we heard. We stopped in at a little ranch house. The radio was playing. The sister answered the door and she was... Read more »

Modesty and Shame

May 25, 2004 | 87 comments
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We’ve had a few teasingly warm days in the last few weeks, and so my children are starting to want to be as scantily clad as possible. I’ve been horrified as I’ve shopped for summer clothes for my 5-year-old daughter–everything is spandex and mini and halter-topped and sex-kitten sandals *in size 5!* It’s awful. On the other hand, I scandalized my visiting teacher last year, when she was kind enough to visit teach me at the beach (because it’s the only place my children can play by themselves for 15 or 20 minutes and not end up bleeding), by... Read more »

Except Die

May 23, 2004 | 7 comments
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Every night (whenever I can) I tell bedtime stories to the kids. They’re largely improvised, from a blend of mythology, literature, movies, and whatever else I’ve thought about lately. They’re usually serialized (“And tomorrow we’ll find out how they fought that giant. . .”). In any given night, our intrepid adventurers are likely to come across giants, dragons, witches, balrogs, castles, jedis, hydras, medusa (a favorite), robots, spaceships, invisibility, magic potions, magic wands, lightsabers, and lasers. I enjoy telling the stories, and the kids enjoy hearing them. This leads to some fun conversations with Sullivan, our oldest (almost seven),... Read more »

Spiraling Downward

April 14, 2004 | 31 comments
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Having ventured into the realm of high generalization about cultural systems, in my second entry I wish to raise my game to a still higher level. We have heard many warnings recently from Church leaders about American and world culture spiraling downwards. While this diagnosis can be debated (it is always the best of times and the worst of times), a pessimistic mood has prevailed at Church headquarters. Some relief was granted in this last conference when a few talks struck the theme of “Don’t Despair.” I believe there are grounds for adopting the pessimistic stand because morally and... Read more »

Apologies

March 31, 2004 | 38 comments
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The Chicago Sun Times has a piece on the State of Illinois’s apology to the Church for the expulsion from Nauvoo. Is there a kind of analogy between such an apology and baptism for the dead, doing for another what he cannot do for himself? Does our welcome of that apology say anything to us about how we ought to think about other, similar apologies, such as to Native Americans or slaves? Read more »

“One Flesh”

March 3, 2004 | 3 comments
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One of my New Year’s resolutions was to spend more time with my wife, and since she didn’t object, this is one resolution that I have kept. My motivation is partly short term — my wife is my best friend, and I enjoy our times together. But I also am motivated by the idea of eternal companionship. Indeed, I like all of the doctrines of unity: marriage, Zion, exaltation. These concepts inspire me. With regard to marriage, we are told that “man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be... Read more »

FHE with a future defense attorney

March 1, 2004 | 9 comments
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So, tonight our Family Home Evening was a review of our Family Laws, which were composed when the kids were 6 months, 2, and 4 years old, and which need review and minor adjustments pretty often. We thought that our 7-year-old, and maybe our 5-year-old were ready for the notion that actions can have both natural consequences and consequences imposed by an authority of some sort. We chose what seemed like a simple example–driving through a red light (natural consequence: accident, imposed consequence: ticket). The following discussion ensued: Read more »

Emma Caroline, Recently Come

February 11, 2004 | 14 comments
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Sara and I are pleased to announce the birth of a daughter. We have named her Emma Caroline. She weighs 9 pounds, 10 ounces, and is 22 and 1/4 inches long. She’s red and wrinkly. Read more »

Gratitude and Technology

February 8, 2004 | 9 comments
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This week I discovered that I had a retinal tear. Within a couple of hours I also discovered that it was relatively easy to fix. Moderately painful for a few minutes, but a few zaps of the laser and I was “as good as new.” (I’m sure that Janice, my wife, often wonders just how good “new” was that it should be the standard for what I am now.) I am grateful for the knowledge and technology that could turn what not-so-long-ago could have been a disaster into a minor, momentary irritation. Read more »

Peekaboo Jesus

January 26, 2004 | 3 comments
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We had Family Home Evening tonight. We sang our ‘Jesus wants me for a Sunbeam,’ prayed, and got to the lesson. We were going to talk briefly on ‘likening the scriptures to us,’ but we decided to do it instead of talking about it. Betsey’s two and one of her favorite games is a sort of hide-and-go-seek peekaboo. Read more »

Honoring authority

January 11, 2004 | 15 comments
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In Sunday School today, while talking about what it means to be chosen, I used an example that I thought was straightforward. I said, “The bishop has been chosen, but not because he is more righteous or smarter than everyone else in the ward.” No one disagreed with me straight out, but I was surprised how many people wanted to qualify what I said with “Yes, but . . . .” Read more »

Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men

December 24, 2003 | 4 comments
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Our mission Christmases were mostly lonely times, but God gave us a gift on the second one. We had made little scrolls that we tied in red ribbon. On the scrolls we had printed a short message that said: “Silver and Gold have we none, but that which we have we give unto you. Two thousand years ago the Savior said, ‘Peace I leave with you, Peace I give unto you.’ We give you our love, and our wish that the Savior’s peace be with you.” We went caroling to the members and the neighbors and left them with... Read more »

“Chances for learning”

December 13, 2003 | 20 comments
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Here is a scripture that concerns me: And the people began to be distinguished by ranks, according to their riches and their chances for learning, yea, some were ignorant because of their poverty, and others did receive great learning because of their riches. Some were lifted up in pride, and others were exceedingly humble; some did return railing for railing, while others would receive railing and persecution and all manner of afflictions, and would not turn and revile again, but were humble and penitent before God. And thus there became a great inequality in all the land, insomuch that... Read more »

Christmas Trees

December 6, 2003 | 4 comments
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I have sometimes heard of a couple, married for many years, who suddenly divorces, and I’ve wondered how that could happen. But each late November or early December reminds me: it was probably the Christmas tree. I confess that I think they look pretty. I like having one in the house at Christmas. But they are so difficult to set up and decorate–and doing so involves so much tension–that I have yet to understand why anyone has a Christmas tree. Read more »

A Mormon Studies Family

December 1, 2003 | 59 comments
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Both of my parents (now divorced) have been deeply involved in Mormon studies for my entire life. Thus, I grew up in a Mormon studies family. My father is a senior curator at the Museum of Church History and Art and was hired by the Church Historical Department a few months before I was born. My mother was one of the early editors of Sunstone Magazine and worked as an editor and then board member of Signature Books while I was growing up. The result is that I think of most of the big names in Mormon studies –... Read more »

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

November 27, 2003 | no comments
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