2017-05-24

Regarding Our Mother
(2017 sacrament-meeting svithe)

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Like the previous svithe, one purposed of this post is to keep track of historical information. In this case, Mother's Day sacrament meetings I've organized.

In my intro I used a poem from an upcoming book.

The first talk was on why Jesus compared himself to a mother hen.

His wife spoke on how the Earth is shown as our mother in scripture.

The final speaker spoke on the topic: "I have a Heavenly Mother. So what?" She was the third terrific talk in a row---all three were thoughtful and carefully researched.

In between the final two talks, this hymn was sung. A clear tenor sung the lines, followed in echo by two men and women in harmony. It was a simple variation on the hymn as published, which made it easier to hear and understand the words. I didn't know when I requested the number if the music was any good, but it was beautiful as performed. If you want more info, this is the fellow who made it happen.

Between the first two talks, Primary stepped up to sing as well.

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Here are a couple highlights I wrote down during the meeting. (There were many more than this, but I was paying too close attention to write much down.)

TALK ONE:
He drew on his experience studying story as a filmmaker to talk about some latin term I apparently forgot to write down and yonic symbols ad such. I should ask him for a copy of his talk. Having taken so long to write this up, I've lost the thread, alas.

"If we are striving to be like Christ, we must all strive to be like mother hens."

Like Jesus, we owe our mother's an unpayable debt.

This song (which made the fellow who did the special musical number nod in enthusiasm):


TALK TWO:
She began by talking about this article and her own mother when she was younger. Then on to how often, including in scriptures, women are so generally defined in terms of their relationships to other people. hcich prevents us from seeing them as themselves.

Mother Earth too experiences spirit, joy, pain.

Plus a quotation from Alexander Morrison, but I can't find it for you.

TALK THREE:
A song about Emma Smith (I'll add the link here when I find out what it was: link)

And... that seems to be all I wrote down about this one except for "potential" and "unconditional love." Which is a shame. It was some talk.


previous svithe

2017-05-21

Kid Svithe 3

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We're now making our for-kids sacrament meetings an every-six-months thing. (Previous two.) I haven't a whole lot to say about this one, but I'm writing it up anyway because I want to keep track of how I introduce them and these svithes are as good a way as any.

First, I talked about how hot it was yesterday. (Seventy-seven degrees! In Berkeley!) And being at the ballgame with the sun and the dust. Which is like another hot and dusty place, Palestine 2000 years ago.

After a hot and dusty of day of teaching and healing and changing the world, a buncha kids showed up. Other people told them to go away, but Jesus said no, they can stay.

Now, I counted about 20 kids during the sacrament. Say there are 30 minutes of talks in sacrament meeting, that's 600 kid-minutes spent listening to talks. Then say we multiply that by 52 weeks in a year and you have over 31,000 minutes of sacrament meeting talks.

Back to that story about Jesus, he didn't say the little children should suffer.

So here's a sacrament meeting for you.

Etc etc.







previous svithe

2017-05-11

The world is only as big as we are willing to read

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063) Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, finished May 10

I took a class on Critical Race Theory in 2008 and it was not an easy thing to wrap my mind around. It was a challenge. And, in the end, it completely changed the way I understand my world---because it changed my understanding of how OTHERS see this world.

I get the sense that Coates's book has done this for many more people.

If you've missed it, it's a book-length letter to his son about being black in America. Which is a gross simplification but true enough for an itty-bitty review.

The intimacy with which he addresses his son and shares his life with his son allows us to step inside his perspective and view the world from that angle.

Coates is a great writer (I've bumped into him before). If you're looking to understand why you haven't understood, this is a pretty good place to start.

(Note: although his points are certainly true of African Americans, they are applicable to all of us no matter our [minority] identity if you redirection their facets to reflect upon you.)
at most two weeks



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062) Cover by Peter Mendelsund, finished May 10

Like his other book, this one threw some vocabulary at me I wasn't ready for. This just doesn't happen anymore, so I appreciate the humility.

I checked out this book primarily though to fill the ol' cistern in terms of beautiful book covers. I guess it did that, though I found it less instructive than Chip Kidd's books.

THAT SAID, I find Mendelsund a delightful guide. He's wonderful to listen to and he's filled with ideas I hadn't considered on my own. It's a stimulating book.
week plus



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061) Sacred Heart by Liz Suburbia, finished May 8

This stark black and white comic has a punk feel in its lack of grays and ragged edges. And it reads like a cross between Black Hole and Peanuts. Teens out on their own doing rebellious teen things---yet no sense of adults at all. I was unclear whether the adults were actually gone or if we just weren't seeing them. Except for a brief interlude in the dog's point of view, no adults are seen during the entire book.

Meanwhile, bands are breaking up, lusters are hooking up, and bodies are piling up. What the hell is going on?

But because our protags are teens, they're focused on their next thrill and their torrenting emotions---they can't spend too much time worrying about missing adults and dead peers or they'll crack up.

The solution to the mystery doesn't come into focus until the end, but---twist or not---it's not some gotcha. The set up is natural and sensible and the reasons we the reader don't know what's going on likewise. So when the reveals fall upon us at the end we can only shake our head and say, oh. Yeah. That makes sense. Damn. Those poor kids.

a few weeks



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060) Age of Reptiles Omnibus, Vol. 1 by Ricardo Delgado, finished May 4

This began the same year Jurassic Park was released, but it never entered my consciousness. I suppose I must have seen them, but I have no memory thereof. This collected the stories from then until 2011---three in all---each terrific.

The dinosaurs are slightly anthropomorphized, but only in slight ways---enough movement in the eyes and mouth and shoulders to convey emotion---but essentially they are just realistic dinosaurs engaged in normal (slash-awesome) dinosaur activity.

It's beautifully rendered (shoutout to the colorists who caught the nuances of Delgado's art). I passed it off to my kids,
and the first got through it turning pages crazy quickly. Me, my reading was much slower. There may be no words, but there is much to read. I can't imagine just glancing and turning past the baby brachiosaur floating under the moonlight. That's intense stuff.

two or three days






Previously in 2017

2017-05-03

Two are funny. The funnies rather ain't.

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059) Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple, finished May 1

This is an epistolaryesque novel. It's filled with precocious youngsters and rich geniuses. It's an incredibly fast read.

These are all things I am suspicious of.

But I loved this book. I even laughed out loud a couple times, and that's not something I do. I'm too interested in the technique of humor---too busy looking under the hood, as it were, to laugh.

I could make a longer list of games Semple plays that I would have recommended against, had she asked me, but that she pulls off with aplomb. So I stand preemptively corrected.

Anyway. Everyone was right when the bought this book and made it a bestseller a few years back. It's not too late to jump on this bandwagon! Join me in Antartica.
say ten days



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058) Little Tommy Lost: Book One by Cole Closser, finished April 28

Guess what! I followed through on something!

I read the beginning on this comic in BAC and thought I should read more. I bought it last August with some birthday money and finally read it. The entire volume holds up to the promise of the excerpt.

I don't know how Closser does it, but the book appears to be made from scans of old comics clippings from decades-old newspapers. My guess is he has some ancient newsprint he prints his comics on, but I really don't know.

Anyway, it looks and reads like something from the Nemo or Annie era, but, simultaneously, it makes better sense to a modern sensibility than those aged works.

I picked those two references intentionally. Tommy, like Annie, has no pupils and may or may not be an orphan and gets into wild adventures locked into an urban realism. And the Sunday strips are often Nemo-esque dreamscapes. Here's a favorite:


Tommy's separated from his parents and locked in a workhouse where he makes friends and enemies.

The volume tells one complete story, but Tommy does not get home and I for one am escited for Book Two.
four or five days



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057) Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett, finished April 24

As a novel, this is not one of Pratchett's masterpieces.

However.

Certain lines are genius. Certain concepts reveal genius. And his understanding of the world in 1996 reveals a greater understanding of 2017 than 90% of the jokesters now working.

He's Terry Pratchett.
fewer than twenty days







Previously in 2017