Monday, January 12, 2009

My 95th Post- And Saved!

So today marks my 95th post. There have been some days where I have wanted to post twice because I have so much on my mind and I view this as a kind of Rameumpton for me. Although, it might be an anti-rameumpton, as I am a fan of helping the poor, I deny the concept of election (although I do have Puritan envy, even though I would make an awful Puritan- too much laughing and irreverence for their tastes). But I am grateful for my blog, nonetheless, it has encouraged a rich dialogue and sometimes I am surprised by who comes out of the woodwork to hear me rant on some random topic. I plan to do a series on controversial Mormon issues and my opinions- from Adam-God to Zelph (though I doubt I will touch on Zelph, he's not really that interesting, it was merely meant to indicated everything from A to Z)

So lately I have been wanting to see the movie Saved! so badly that I actually went and used a Border's gift card that I got five years ago to buy it. I like the opening that talks about accepting Jesus at such a young age. In my odd way, as I am realizing how complex and multifaceted I really am, I have realized that I have a kind of Evangelical Envy for things like this. Not in the sense of damning people to hell, but rather in their Biblical knowledge, their reliance on grace, and most importantly, the concept of spiritual rebirth through Jesus Christ. Accepting Christ. For years, I claimed to have done this, during my Evangelical Christianity stint, but now when I look back, did I really accept Christ? Was I Saved? What does this mean? What is this salvation they speak of?

Only lately have I come to realize what it really means to accept Christ in my life. While our leaders often teach that being "reborn" is a gradual process, but I ponder the theology of it all. It seems to me that spiritual rebirth is ultimately a matter of perspective. From my fragile, FARMS and FAIR based testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that I finally came to accept my Senior Year, to a feeling of purity that I hadn't felt in my life in the longest time after a period of deep repentance, I realized that perhaps rebirth takes place in one instant and then the rest of our lives are just us trying to remember that rebirth that we have experienced. I think my rebirth can be pinpointed to that point, that testimony meeting in July 2007, where I realized that I must truly accept Christ in my countenance. And I did. I became an infant in Jesus Christ. My evangelical envy seemed somewhat satisfied. I felt Saved!

And now I feel that I am undergoing a new birth, or a new remembrance. After several months of experimenting with FARMS and FAIR, I came to realize how much they whitewash and change history to fit a sanitized view that is comfortable for Church members. And if I were to base my testimony on apologetic, I would end up running in circles trying to defend an imperfect institution. I think now I am realizing how much my testimony is based upon a child-like faith, not a child-like understanding. I gather information for myself and evaluate it carefully. And sometimes the Church doesn't come out in a positive light. But I ultimately accept it. And why is that? Because it's the best thing we have right now. Until we reach Zion, we can't expect the Church to be Zion. And I think that's possibly the most important part of building Zion- accepting our imperfections and coming to rely on God to help us remove the beams in our own eyes and see that the mote in our brother's eye, in Eliza R. Snow's words, is merely a bubble.

When I came to BYU, I saw this attitude of Utah being Zion and Utah being the antithesis of Zion. I tend to this it is somewhere in between, like everyplace else. And now I finally have a few words to say to those who both mock Utah Mormons or envy them for living around so many "good members of the Church". Although it may seem like I have a beam in my eye for criticizing their views, I do it in the purest love. Or at least that's my intent.

Think not, when you gather to Zion,
Your troubles and trials are through--
That nothing but comfort and pleasure
Are waiting in Zion for you.
No, no; 'tis design'd as a furnace;
All substance, all textures to try --
To consume all the "wood, hay and stubble,"
And the gold from the dross purify.
Think not, when you gather to Zion
That all will be holy and pure --
That deception, and falsehood are banish'd;
And confidence wholly secure.
No, no; for the Lord our Redeemer
Has said that the tares with the wheat
Must grow; until the great day of burning
Shall render the harvest complete.
Think not, when you gather to Zion,
The Saints here have nothing to do
But attend to your personal welfare,
And always be comforting you.
No, the Saints who are faithful are doing
What their hands find to do, with their might;
To accomplish the gath'ring of Israel
They are toiling by day and by night.
Think not, when you gather to Zion,
The prize and the victory won --
Think not that the warfare is ended,
Or the work of salvation is done.
No, no; for the great Prince of Darkness
A tenfold exertion will make'
When he sees you approaching the fountain
Where the truth you may freely partake.


Catherine Agnes said...

Beams and motes are interesting. Each time we accuse others of pulling at motes in others when their own eyes have beams, we're pulling at our accused's motes. The irony! Additionally--part of perfecting ourselves is perfecting others. We must support, help, counsel--and occasionally point out motes. =)

You are a very interesting person.

Madd Town said...

Aww...thanks for saying that about my blog. I love to read yours too! Sometimes it is the spiritual uplight for an otherwise dreary day. Did you go see Monson last night? It's hard to get used to...but I'm finally starting to feel that sort of warm, unconditional love one has for a prophet of God.
Miss you tons!

Janessa said...

We need to watch Saved! in the near future. Maybe we will when I come visit Provo? Let's hope.

I am so grateful for your blog -- its a nice release from daily life into something a bit more enlightening that I can really carry with myself as I go through all these walks of life.

Thank you for that.