I appreciate Lewis' thorough, detailed, logical way of approaching subjects, and this book is no exception. He draws on tangible examples to explain i...moreI appreciate Lewis' thorough, detailed, logical way of approaching subjects, and this book is no exception. He draws on tangible examples to explain intangible ideas, which helps me to understand his ideas better. For example, I liked his analogy of salt as compared to Christ's influence in a person's life. When you add a pinch of salt to a dish of broccoli or fish or oatmeal, the salt doesn't force out the food's own taste; rather, it enhances it and makes it even more like itself. He was trying to illustrate that giving your self over to Christ actually makes you more like your true self, the self that isn't influenced by your upbringing or culture or the propaganda you've seen and heard. He acknowledges that too much salt ruins the food, so the analogy has his limits but, "I'm doing the best I can!" That sentence made me laugh.
His discussions about Christian virtues really made me think and inwardly examine myself. I have much to learn from this thoughtful person who has helped me once again to think deeply about Christ's teachings.
His philosophical acrobatics surrounding the idea of the Trinity rather baffled me. I've never understood the concept and I can't say that I'm further along now; perhaps it was un-understandable back at Nicaea as well.(less)
I finished reading Revelations on Saturday morning, the day the world was supposed to end. Somehow, the chaos of Revelations didn't look anything like...moreI finished reading Revelations on Saturday morning, the day the world was supposed to end. Somehow, the chaos of Revelations didn't look anything like the beautiful spring day outside. Of course, if I'd been in Kansas or Missouri that day, I may have felt like it really was the end.
The New Testament is rich. I'm glad scripture is so poetic.(less)
Extraordinary! Although I took a long break from this book after the first hundred pages or so, I haven't been able to put it down this week. I've bee...moreExtraordinary! Although I took a long break from this book after the first hundred pages or so, I haven't been able to put it down this week. I've been carrying it everywhere in case I get a few minutes to open it up and read (and that's saying something because it's 700 heavy pages).
Bushman's writing is beautiful and dense, and he portrays his subjects with compassion. Those one-dimensional mobbers I've heard about my whole life now seem like real people with real fears. I really felt for Oliver Cowdery having to choose between following everything Joseph said and trying to provide for his family's future. I don't blame Emma Smith one bit for not following the Saints to Utah. A lesser woman would have thrown in the towel years before that. And then there's Joseph Smith himself.
While I read the last 50 pages, I kept thinking of the campfire we had last weekend. The wood was so dry that it burned with fury, so hot and fast. We all stood back in awe watching that fire burn because the flames whipped up too tall and bright. Joseph Smith burned like that. Toward the end of his short life I wondered how the world could contain him--it barely did. He followed each outrageous project or idea with something even bigger and wilder than the last, and nobody, not even he (it seemed at times), realized how these pieces would fit together into something so beautiful and harmonious.
Joseph was no staid 85-year-old church president, the kind of prophet I'm accustomed to. He threw a bugle at a member of Zion's camp during a spat. He ordered his militia to destroy a press that slandered him. He had major, major disagreements with his wife. And yet, I really believe that a man in Joseph Smith's position would have to have plenty of fire. No shrinking violet would do. Of course, he had a gentle side. He loved being around people so much that his days in hiding were absolute torture to him. He couldn't stand being alone. It was so much fun to get to know the personalities of these people I've heard about all my life in a sanitized, formal way. It makes me think that the mere mortals around me are capable of things I would never dream possible.
Just yesterday, a forest fire broke out in the area we camped at last week. Over 3,500 acres have burned, and the fire is still not under control. Thinking about that one tree we burned in the firepit makes me think that Joseph, the original fire in our time, has lit fires all over the world. People in many lands still look to his fire as inspiration for their own flames. (No, this is not a confession that I started the forest fire. I didn't do it.) (less)