Jan 26

Talking About Gender Differences

This guest post comes to us from Beatrice.

In our society, we like to talk about the differences between men and women. It is the stuff upon which great novels and films are built. It can be used as a source of bonding with our same-sex peers “Oh, my husband does that too,” or it can be used to explain our relationship struggles “I just don’t understand why women do that.” Talking about the differences between men and women adds a certain richness to our lives and resonates with the way that we think about the world. There is something so appealing about the idea that “Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus.” In church settings, there is an added layer to all of this. We like to talk about gender differences because it is an essential part of our doctrine. Women always were women and will always be women. Men always were men and will always be men. These inherent, divinely organized differences are the reason why men and women should play different roles in the church organization and in society. Continue reading

Jan 20

Political Memories

The first election I remember was in 1980.   The Weekly Reader had pictures of Reagan and Carter, and our kindergarten class held our own election.  I thought Reagan had a nicer smile and looked more friendly in his picture, so I voted for him.  Several students in my Utah class were upset, because they wanted to vote for President Kimball and he wasn’t pictured.  My teacher had to explain that “President” could refer to the President of the United States or the President of the LDS Church, and we weren’t trying to vote President Kimball out of office. Continue reading

Jan 14

To Be Healthier

Kevin had a nice post at BCC not long ago on losing weight. It is, after all the time of year for buckling down and deciding that this time, we’re going to do those hard things that we’ve been struggling with. While I’m fairly happy with my weight right now (I’m not quite where I want to be, but I’m steadily losing baby weight), it reminded me of a related goal I have this year: to be healthier. Continue reading

Jan 07

Generosity of Spirit

Last year as some of my fellow teachers and I were talking about the end-of-semester comments we have to write for all of our students, a teacher remarked that one of her favorite phrases to use (and which she reserves for special students) was “generosity of spirit.” She explained that there are often students in her classes who are not only smart and intellectually curious, but who also have a knack for stepping back and letting other students shine, who are willing to really listen to their classmates and respond to their ideas and concerns, and who approach their own work and fellow students with a certain kind of acceptance and understanding. Continue reading

Jan 07

Rearranging Zelophehad’s Daughters

If you’ve visited recently, you may have noticed that elements of our sidebars have been moving around. We recently upgraded our WordPress installation, so Lynnette has been tidying everything up in the aftermath, when of course some plugins failed and now have to be replaced.

But rather than rearranging pieces of our blog, I’m thinking more about rearranging the letters in Zelophehad’s Daughters to see what words I could come up with. If you’ve made a resolution, as I have, to waste more time in 2009 than you did in 2008, you’ll immediately see the value of such an undertaking.

So I’ve fiddled around with Zelophehad’s Daughters, as well as the names of some other blogs I read most, to see what I could come up with. I’m not nearly good enough to do complete anagrams, where all the letters are used. Most of my solutions are just partial, leaving one or more letters out. Also, since I did these all manually, I’ve probably made errors, so please feel free to point them out.

Here are a few of my favorites: Continue reading

Jan 04

Three Years of ZD, and an Invitation to Say Hello

Today marks ZD’s third anniversary.  Our third year has been perhaps a bit slower than the previous two in terms of regular posting, but we’re happy that we’ve managed to stay alive (albeit with occasional long pauses between posts).  Our approach to blogging, as you’ve doubtless observed, is random and haphazard.  No one on ZD really presides (whether as a full-fledged presider or a chicken patriarch)–depending on your point of view, this is evidence of why presiding is unnecessary, or why loosely organized anarchy is a mistake. Continue reading

Jan 01

A God of the Future

I’m pretty gloomy when it comes to questions of human nature.  I very much believe in original sin.  I don’t buy the optimistic notion that humans aren’t really all that bad, and just need a bit of education to be persuaded to do the right thing.  No, I resonate much more with Alma on this one: we’re carnal, sensual, and devilish.  It’s not just that without grace, we can’t quite make it to the finish line on our own; we’re wandering off in the wrong direction altogether.  It’s why I like Augustine, who would have no patience with the positive self-talk of 20th and 21st century pop psychology.  We’re pretty messed up, we human beings.  We hurt each other, both inadvertently and intentionally.  We hurt ourselves.  We set out to do good, but our motives are mixed, and our efforts prone to self-sabotage.  We plan to repent–but not yet. Continue reading