Monday, August 29, 2011

The Other Side of Missionary Life

I just discovered a new blog called Both Sides Now, published by Beatrice and Galdralag. (Beatrice and Galdralag are frequent commenters at Zelophehad's Daughters, so I'm excited to see their blog.) They're off to a great start.

Beatrice wrote an excellent post about emotional abuse in missionary companionships. This is a topic that is shrouded in silence, and I'm grateful that she is shedding some light on the issue. As I have alluded to before, my trainer was emotionally abusive. What follows is an expanded version of my already lengthy comment on Beatrice's post explaining my experience.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Blessed Are the Pure in Heart

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Matthew 5:8
Jesus began the Sermon on the Mount with the beatitudes - a list of nine types of people who are blessed, and what they're blessed with. While they're all great, my favorite is "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."

I looked pure up in the dictionary, and there was one definition that stuck out to me. "Free from inappropriate elements." We all sin, so our hearts become impure. However, through the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ, we can be purified. So, even though we are not pure on our own, we can become pure in heart and we can see God.

While it's certainly possible that some people will have actual visions of deity, I think a more common fulfillment of this scripture is that those who have a pure heart will see divinity all around them.

God's fingerprints are all over creation. The tiny dandelion poking up through the cracks in the driveway, the majestic eagle flying overhead, the stars in the heavens. In addition, the Holy Spirit can be our constant companion. We can literally walk with God throughout our day.

Go see God today!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Writer's Block

I have a bit of writer's block. I've started about 7 blog posts on various topics, but I can't seem to finish them. I also have a half-finished law review article awaiting my attention. I have no energy to write, or even to think about writing.

For those of you who have experienced writer's block, how did you get through it? I don't have the adrenaline inducing deadlines I had in law school, though if I want to get hired on the academic market I do need to publish. It's just that the deadlines are so nebulous.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Bar of Judgment

The scriptures often refer to judgment as the "bar of God" or talk about the "judgment bar". Well, I took the bar exam last week, and the metaphor makes so much more sense. The merits of my education were being judged and my worthiness to be an attorney was being weighed. Had I learned properly to "think like a lawyer"? Do I know enough?

There is one big difference between California's bar exam and God's bar exam, though. Grace. California's bar examiners don't care what I had to go through to get to where I am, and they're disinclined to cut anyone any slack. God, on the other hand, is merciful and loving. He bore our griefs and carried our sorrows and has power to save us. And all we have to do is come to Him.

Moroni gives a great description of this in his final chapter.
Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.
And now I bid unto all, farewell. I soon go to rest in the paradise of God, until my spirit and body shall again reunite, and I am brought forth triumphant through the air, to meet you before the pleasing bar of the great Jehovah, the Eternal Judge of both quick and dead. Amen.
Moroni 10:32, 34
The judgment day is described as a good thing. Standing before God is the "pleasing bar". It's not pleasing because of our own efforts. It's pleasing because of God's grace. And God is willing to cut us a lot more slack than some anonymous bar examiner.