Friday, February 6, 2015

The Friday Four, Part 104, Or TWO WHOLE YEARS!!

It's been two whole years of weekly Friday Fours!  Wow...  I probably should have planned something profound for this milestone, but as usual, these are just links and such that caught my eye recently.


It is absolutely remarkable to me (in a good way!) that an article like this was published in BYU's student newspaper.  Proof that hearts and minds are changing.

"Helping LGBTQ/SSA churchgoers feel welcome in an LDS environment" suggests that heterosexual members of the Church imagine what it might be like to be LGBTQ, points out that BYU is ranked as the 4th most LGBT-unfriendly university, and shares some heart-breaking statistics:
Seventy-four percent of LGBT BYU students have suicidal ideation, and 24 percent attempt suicide, according to a survey of 100 LGBT students conducted by the Understanding Same Gender Attraction group (USGA).
And then it gets to the heart of the matter:
Forget about your stance on LGBTQ/SSA issues. Whether you are a supporter or non-supporter of specific LGBTQ/SSA topics, how can you treat other people with kindness?
Drawing from the experiences of LGBT BYU students themselves, the article makes five specific suggestions.  I especially appreciate "Assess your perspective" and "Choose your words carefully." I hope to see more articles like this coming out of BYU.


I'd never read this Benedictine blessing until I ran across it in this beautiful post about what we can learn from other faiths written a few years back.  There are a couple of different versions floating around, but the general message is the same:

A Fourfold Benedictine Blessing

May God bless you with discomfort
At easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships,
So that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger
At injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people,
So that you may work for justice, freedom, and peace.

May God bless you with tears
To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger, and war,
So that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain to joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness
To believe that you can make a difference in the world,
So that you can do what others claim cannot be done,
To bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor.
– Sister Ruth Fox, OSB
I love how she reframes discomfort, anger, tears and foolishness - things we don't usually pray for - as blessings to both us and others if we use them as God intends.


The history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is fascinating to me.  The past few years have brought much more to the forefront, with the publication of the Joseph Smith Papers, more focus on women's history, black history, and uncovering and disseminating a more thorough and less simplistic view of complex historical events.

I stumbled upon this article about the history of black Saints - some slaves and some free - in the earlier years of the Church.  Names like Jane Manning James, Green Flake, and Elijah Abel should be as familiar to us other early Saints.

Jane Manning James & Elijah Abel, two stalwart early Saints

I am not a fan of Matt Walsh.  This blogger put it into words a year ago better than I could have.
See, the thing is, I’m starting to realize you’re just a polemicist. A talented and witty polemicist, sure. Maybe even an insightful one, occasionally. But even the best polemicist in the world is good for only one thing: making his readers really mad — either really mad at him, or really mad at people who disagree with him. And mad-all-the-time just isn’t something I want to be...
It’s not healthy for me to think that my position is the only reasonable one, and that everybody who disagrees with me is an idiot. And it’s not healthy to think that if someone disagrees with me, the only possible explanation is that she’s not thinking as hard as I am...
See, this might be naïve of me, but I’d like to think humanity can do a little better than calling each other stupid on the Internet. I’d like to think we can have intelligent discussions, find common ground, and move forward on important issues.
And I don’t think reading your blog is helping with that.
Amen and amen.

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