Personal Online Journal

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Things as They Really Are

Our bishop has chosen "Things as They Really Are" by Elder David A. Bednar at the May 2009 CES fireside for our fifth Sunday lesson. He gives a powerful warning and brought to my attention some things I had not considered.
... a simulation or model can lead to spiritual impairment and danger if the fidelity is high and the purposes are bad—such as experimenting with actions contrary to God’s commandments or enticing us to think or do things we would not otherwise think or do “because it is only a game.”
Today I raise an apostolic voice of warning about the potentially stifling, suffocating, suppressing, and constraining impact of some kinds of cyberspace interactions and experiences upon our souls. The concerns I raise are not new; they apply equally to other types of media, such as television, movies, and music. But in a cyber world, these challenges are more pervasive and intense. I plead with you to beware of the sense-dulling and spiritually destructive influence of cyberspace technologies that are used to produce high fidelity and that promote degrading and evil purposes.
If the adversary cannot entice us to misuse our physical bodies, then one of his most potent tactics is to beguile you and me as embodied spirits to disconnect gradually and physically from things as they really are. In essence, he encourages us to think and act as if we were in our premortal, unembodied state. And, if we let him, he can cunningly employ some aspects of modern technology to accomplish his purposes. Please be careful of becoming so immersed and engrossed in pixels, texting, ear buds, twittering, online social networking, and potentially addictive uses of media and the Internet that you fail to recognize the importance of your physical body and miss the richness of person-to-person communication. Beware of digital displays and data in many forms of computer-mediated interaction that can displace the full range of physical capacity and experience.
Contrast that with this.
To feel the warmth of a tender hug from an eternal companion or to see the sincerity in the eyes of another person as testimony is shared—all of these things experienced as they really are through the instrument of our physical body—could be sacrificed for a high fidelity fantasy that has no lasting value. If you and I are not vigilant, we can become “past feeling” (1 Nephi 17:45), as did Laman and Lemuel long ago.
I had not considered that misusing technology could minimize the importance of my body.

He makes it clear that technology can also be used for good.
Brothers and sisters, please understand. I am not suggesting all technology is inherently bad; it is not. Nor am I saying we should not use its many capabilities in appropriate ways to learn, to communicate, to lift and brighten lives, and to build and strengthen the Church; of course we should. But I am raising a warning voice that we should not squander and damage authentic relationships by obsessing over contrived ones.
He gives us two questions to help us evaluate our use of technology:
For your happiness and protection, I invite you to study more diligently the doctrine of the plan of salvation—and to prayerfully ponder the truths we have reviewed. I offer two questions for consideration in your personal pondering and prayerful studying:
1. Does the use of various technologies and media invite or impede the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost in your life?
2. Does the time you spend using various technologies and media enlarge or restrict your capacity to live, to love, and to serve in meaningful ways?
I recommend the whole talk. You can get audio or video of the talk here.

Update 2014-08-18
Here is a short video excerpting this talk in preparation for a talk tomorrow.

Friday, August 14, 2009

"Thank you, thank you for my life"

I love, love Joe Vs the Volcano. I watched it with a bunch of friends that were in "South Pacific" with me my senior year in high school.

"Dear God, whose name I do not know. Thank you for my life. I forgot how BIG. Thank you, thank you for my life."

Another quote I like is, "My father says that almost the whole world is asleep. Everybody you know. Everybody you see. Everybody you talk to. He says that only a few people are awake and they live in a state of constant total amazement." Patricia Graynamore

Friday, August 07, 2009

“I Love the Lord”

At Be Not Weary, I found this video of the last song of the 2007 Priesthood session of General Conference. I love the tune from "Be Still My Soul"

“I Love the Lord”
I love the Lord. In him my soul delights.
Upon his word, I ponder day and night.
He’s heard my cry, brought visions to my sleep,
And kept me safe o’er deserts and the deep.
He’s filled my heart with his consuming love,
And borne me high on wings of his great dove.
Yet oft I groan,”O wretched man am I!”
My flesh is weak and I’m encompassed by
A world of sin, which holds me in its thrall,
If I give in and to temptations fall.
Then strength grows slack, I waste in sorrow’s vale.
My peace destroyed, my enemies prevail.
Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin.
Rejoice, my heart! And let me praise again
The Lord my God, who is my rock and stay
To keep me strict upon his straight, plain way.
O let me shake at the first sight of sin
And thus escape my foes without and in.

Breaking the unhealthy dance

My sister in law sent me a link to Those Aren’t Fighting Words, Dear. It reminded me of my Arbinger Institute training I did many years ago. If I am not careful, I can contribute to unhealthy attitudes in my relationships. I can dance with them so that they feel justified in bad behavior. Their behavior fits into my deception so I can also behave badly.

This story reminded me of the way to break that cycle. She didn't dance that unhealthy dance. She got out of the way of the issues her husband was having. She was patient and loving and independent. I like how she summed it up at the end,

My husband tried to strike a deal. Blame me for his pain. Unload his feelings of personal disgrace onto me.

But I ducked. And I waited. And it worked.
I also like this bit.
it’s not a spouse or land or a job or money that brings us happiness. Those achievements, those relationships, can enhance our happiness, yes, but happiness has to start from within. Relying on any other equation can be lethal.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Softly and Tenderly

I love Randy Travis. Because of, I found out that he is a gospel singer too. I love "Softly and Tenderly" from his Worship & Faith album. It reminds my of "Bring back my Bonnie to me" that my mom used to sing to me. Here are the lyrics.

Softly and tenderly
Jesus is calling
Calling for you and for me
See on the portals
He's waiting and watching
Watching for you and for me.

Come home, come home
Ye who are weary, come home
Earnestly, tenderly Jesus is calling
Calling, Oh sinners come home.

Why should we tarry
When Jesus is pleading
Pleading for you and for me
Why should we linger
And heed not his mercies
Mercies for you and for me.

Come home, come home
Ye who are weary, come home
Earnestly, tenderly Jesus is calling
Calling, Oh sinners come home.

Come home, come home
Ye who are weary, come home
Earnestly, tenderly Jesus is calling
Calling, Oh sinners come home.

Calling, Oh sinners come home...