Thursday, November 22, 2012

Giving thanks

So in the spirit of the day,* a link to my favorite Thanksgiving song in the hymnal, even though it isn’t listed in the topical index as a song about giving thanks (and i may, in fact, be the only person who thinks that that’s what it’s about): Praise to the Lord, the Almighty.

(If you have a favorite song about giving thanks, whether from the hymnal or not, please feel free to mention it in the comments.)

* Today’s Thanksgiving Day in the United States.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

I’m not really good at this

So what’s up with Mormons and this compulsive need we have to apologize for our speaking abilities when we get up and deliver a sacrament meeting address?

This suddenly became quite a bit more real (and not just annoying) to me since my oldest was asked to speak in sacrament meeting tomorrow. She practiced her speech in front of Jeanne and me this evening, and it was good and we told her so, except that we asked her to eliminate the sentence she opened with where she said she was nervous and downplayed expectations for the whole thing.

She objected to our request, saying—seriously!—that one has to start a sacrament meeting address that way.

I mean, kudos to her for such astute cultural observation skills, but is it really a good thing to tell people at the outset that you’re no good at what you’re doing? After all, such a claim is either wasted time since we’re all about to become painfully aware of it whether you say it or not, or it’s false modesty. Either way, not good.

(And it’s not just girls, or even just girls and women—men and boys do it too. Do similar things happen in other faith traditions where congregants regularly speak in services?)

p.s. She finally conceded our point after a couple minutes of back and forth on the issue. Score one for basic rhetorical competence.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Well, this was unexpected

In hopefully the last of my thoughts about the recent United States presidential election, a surprising result: Mitt Romney’s 2012 bid for president pulled in a smaller (only slightly smaller, but still smaller) percentage of the Mormon vote than George W. Bush’s 2004 bid.

Maybe affinity voting isn’t quite as much of a thing as i’d feared, after all.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Pulling rank

So now that Mitt Romney has lost the election for president of the United States, Senate Majority Leader (and Democrat!) Harry Reid continues to be the most highly-placed Mormon in the United States government.

I plan to find excuses to work that fact into conversations i have with other Mormons over the next week or two, just to see what sort of facial muscle twitches i can induce.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

You or someone like you

As i write this, i have no idea who’s going to win the race for president of the United States.* I know a lot of people who are going to be voting one way or another, and i know some people are going to be voting for or against Mitt Romney because he’s a Mormon, and some who will be doing so in spite of that fact.

I would like to state, very bluntly and directly, that i find voting for or against someone based on their religious choices silly. It’s what we do, though, so whatever.

With that as background, though, the rest of this is written with the Mormons who are voting for Romney because he’s a Mormon in mind.

Many of the people i know who are voting for Romney are planning on voting for him at least in large part because he’s a Mormon. This makes sense, because a lot of the people in my social circles are Mormon, and affinity voting is a real thing.

Have they really thought this through, though? I still remember someone telling me during the presidential primary season back in 2008 that he was planning on voting for Romney, even though he (my friend) differed with him (Romney) on a lot of issues, “because Romney has the priesthood, and you’ve got to trust the priesthood.” Really?!? I mean, when did someone receiving the priesthood immediately make him trustworthy enough to be offered one of the two or three most powerful jobs on the planet based on that qualification alone?

Seriously, i don’t get it. I mean, i’ve known some priesthood holders who were jerks, and i’ve known some folks who don’t hold the priesthood who are role models at a level i merely hope to one day get somewhere close to.

So what’s with the Mormon affinity thing? Just because he’s one of ours, we suddenly get less critical? Not healthy, folks, not healthy at all.

* I tend to believe that statistically valid samples work, and so i have expectations, but that’s a whole different discussion right there.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Bless those hands!

Why do we so often pray before meals and ask God to “bless this food, that it will nourish and strengthen our bodies”?* I mean, we’re supposed to be thankful for our food, but instead we ask for it to be blessed.** So: Why?

* I’m deliberately ignoring the folks who pray for God to “bless the hands that prepared it”, ’cause it always leaves me wondering what’s wrong with my hands that they need such a targeted blessing.

** This is especially fun when it’s something that one might not ought even call food, like the pound cake and red Kool-Aid that was once served after a baptism i attended.