Monday, November 29, 2010

Ye Visited Me Not

The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly.
Søren Kierkegaard

This quote has been on my mind a lot lately as I've come to understand that being a follower of Christ requires a lot. He gave His all for us, and we must give our all for Him. Turning the other cheek is hard. Loving those who harm people is a huge challenge.

Lately, I've been trying to focus on the knowledge that everyone I meet is created in the image of God. One scripture that I keep in the forefront of my mind is in the book of Matthew, chapter 25. I normally focus on verses 31-40. Christ is prophesying His second coming, and He starts out by saying that when He returns, He will divide his followers from those who do not follow Him. His followers are welcomed into His presence because when they cared for the sick and the poor, they were caring for Him. However, I was stung by the rebuke contained in the verses that followed.
Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels . . . I was . . . in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee . . . in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
Matthew 25:41-45 (emphasis added)

I've never had a problem with feeding and clothing the poor or visiting the sick and lonely. But I have been negligent in the command to visit those in prison. I always considered those in prison to be somebody else's problem. Out of sight, out of mind, plus, they deserve to be there - they're criminals.

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Follow-up On My Most Recent Post

I wrote a post on LDS dating, and I received a comment from Kress that deserves its own post. He said
What was wrong with so-and-so that "nice" just wasn't enough to keep your interest? What would change your perspective from "oh gosh why would I ever spend more time with so-and-so" to "well, he's a nice chap; why don't we do something different next time and see if I find him more interesting in a different setting?"
First off, I left out several key details of why the particular men I was set up with were bad matches. I left out these details in the interest of protecting their privacy. I'm certainly not one to write somebody off just because there were no sparks flying with violins in the background on the first date. In fact, some of my most successful relationships have been with men who didn't sweep me off my feet instantly.

What makes the dates with these "nice" guys awkward is the expectation (culturally) that there's only one purpose to the encounter - a marriage interview, and that it has to happen on the accelerated LDS schedule. (You know, the stories about people meeting and then marrying within a few months.) When I express a sincere desire to be friends with these men, they assume that means that I never want to see them again. Really, what it means is that I want to be their friend. Maybe something more will happen, but maybe not. Either way, when I tell a man that I want to be friends, it's not a brush off. It means I really want to be friends.

Stephen M at Ethesis addresses much better what I was trying to get at with my fungibility comment in his post On Finding a Match.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Ethics and Dating in the LDS Context

I minored in philosophy in college, and I was captivated by the study of ethics. Bioethics, legal ethics, business ethics, it didn't matter. I found it all fascinating. In fact, while I was on hiatus from law school, I almost decided to abandon a legal career altogether to become a bioethicist.

I recently read a blog post by Hugo Schwyzer discussing whether or not the "pick-up artist" phenomenon is compatible with feminism. This led me to thinking about dating ethics in general and within the LDS context specifically.

In the church, there are some specific issues surrounding dating that are different from the community as a whole. The biggest one is the doctrine of eternal marriage. The fact that we believe that families can be together forever isn't what sets us apart. The big difference is the belief that (heterosexual) marriage is necessary for exaltation.

This belief imbues relations between men and women with a certain degree of sexual tension. Instead of seeing members of the opposite sex as colleagues, friends, or acquaintances, there is a temptation only to see them as potential mates - potential tickets to the highest degree of Celestial glory.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

No More Strangers

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God.
~Ephesians 2:19

Last week, I went to a J. Reuben Clark Society dinner. (I hate networking, but it's the only way to get a job, and since I'm the vice president of the student chapter, I kind of have to go to these sorts of things.) It was at the end of a really long day and I had a migraine, so I really really didn't want to be there. I'm so glad I went, though.

The guest of honor was Judge Thomas Griffith, a judge on the D.C. Circuit. After dinner, he gave a few remarks. I figured he would talk about what it's like to be a judge and give some friendly advice to the 50 or so law students present.