Friday, July 15, 2016

Jesus Showed All Lives Matter by Focusing His Ministry on Specific Lives

This post is not a defense of Black Lives Matter. Seriously, it isn't, so please don't make it about that. It is a broad statement about the stupid meme that is going around Facebook saying Jesus made the definitive statement about all lives mattering when he died on the cross for everyone. 
Yes, he died for everyone. That is a fundamental tenet of Chrisitanity, and, ironically, Mormon theology affirms it even kore than most Protestant theologies. However, he did that by explicitly focusing his mortal ministry on the marginalized and rejected in his society. In other words, he showed that all lives matter specifically by highlighting and working to change the inequities of his culture that made some lives NOT matter - or, at least, not matter nearly as much. He made all lives matter eternally when they didn't matter equally within their politic and socio-economic system - but he also worked tirelessly to convince the religious and political authorities (and the citizenship, by extension) to change the views and practices that disproportionately disadvantaged and harmed specific people. He beleived it so strongly that he died for it.
That is indisputable in the Gospels, and it boggles my mind how some people don't understand it. BLM being a good or bad organization doesn't change Jesus' ministry at all. He showed all lives matter by valuing publicans' lives - and lepers' lives - and sinners' lives - and adulterers' lives - and, importantly, Samaritans' lives. 
Truly beleiving all lives matter, as a Chrisitan, means doing everything possible to make all lives as equally valuable and sacred and protected and honored and loved and served in every way as possible.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Sacrament: Honoring the Literal or Metaphor through Symbol

In a Gospel Principles lesson recently, I mentioned the Catholic idea of trans-substantiation, wherein the people literally ingest the body and blood of Christ. I said I know we view the sacrament symbolically but that the idea of "partaking of Christ" in a way that changes us is powerful and beautiful.

In that light, I love the idea of the sacrament table as Jesus' self-sacrificial altar (and as his final step in the process of perfection - "It is finished.") and the congregation as partakers in that sacrifice and similar pathwaybtonperfection - even though that image is grossly archaic and barbaric to our modern society. It's okay for me, specifically because I view the Garden and Golgatha suffering as representatively symbolic to begin with, so extending the former literal or metaphorical to a current simile doesn't bother me.

I can honor the literal view while not adopting it myself.