“Life beyond Earth”

  I've just read a lavishly illustrated and very interesting article in the July 2014 issue of National Geographic: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/astrobiology/ The search for extraterrestrial life is now focused less on signals from ET than on exobiology, places where relatively primitive extremophiles might have eked out a survival niche. And there's talk about viruses or bacteria being carried from earth to Mars, or from Io to … [Read more...]

Keeping Portland weird

Portland, Oregon, at night

  Those who're committed to the cause of keeping Portland weird need have no real anxiety on that score: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnVjkE87FDY  Thanks to Carol Rawson for bringing this to my attention.    … [Read more...]

C. S. Lewis on life’s obstacles, setbacks, and difficulties

Lewis with left hand on temple

  "The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one's 'own,' or 'real' life.  The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one's real life -- the life God is sending one day by day: what one calls one's 'real life' is a phantom of one's own imagination.  This at least is what I see at moments of insight: but it's hard to remember it all the time."  The Letters of C. S. Lewis to Arthur … [Read more...]

Against shameful, ignorant anti-Islamic propaganda

shameful stupidity and ignorance

  This morning, a friend passed on to me an extremely virulent anti-Islamic email that's apparently circulating widely. It's not the first such thing I've received, and, unfortunately, it won't be the last. The email, a wildly distorted and grossly misleading presentation of "Islam in a nutshell," aims to paint all American Muslims as conniving traitors to the United States, patiently waiting and planning to kill many of us and then to enslave the … [Read more...]

True conversion to the Lord

Roots and branches

  My wife and I have just returned from attending a multi-stake conference where we heard from, among others, Elder Whitney Clayton of the Seventy and Elders Richard Scott and Russell Nelson of the Twelve. There were many important messages conveyed by the conference speakers.  Many of them challenged me to do better. I want to comment upon just one of them. Elder Clayton cited Alma 23:6: And as sure as the Lord liveth, so … [Read more...]

“Beside me there is no Saviour”

From Isaiah 41

  In this, the eighty-eighth (88th) scripture roundtable posted by The Interpreter Foundation, the focus is Lesson 38 in the 2014 Gospel Doctrine manual of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  And that lesson, in turn, is focused on Isaiah 40-49: http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/scripture-roundtable-88-old-testament-gospel-doctrine-lesson-38-beside-me-there-is-no-saviour/ The discussants for this roundtable are Shon Hopkin, Andrew … [Read more...]

1 Nephi 13

Columbus's three boats

   There is much, very much, that could be discussed in the comparatively long chapter of 1 Nephi 13.  But, mercifully constrained by the life-saving, self-imposed requirement that I be brief, I'll limit myself to passing mention of two items. 1. It's in this chapter that we meet Nephi's famous "great and abominable church." Many Latter-day Saints, at least during my formative years, thought that this phrase clearly … [Read more...]

“Thou hast done wonderful things”

Isaiah 29's marvelous work and worker

  In The Interpreter Foundation's eighty-seventh (87th) scripture roundtable, Bruce Webster, Daniel Peterson, Mike Parker, and Ben McGuire discuss Isaiah 22, 24-26, and 28-30 in connection with the 37th lesson in the 2014 Gospel Doctrine manual: http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/scripture-roundtable-87-old-testament-gospel-doctrine-lesson-37-thou-hast-done-wonderful-things/   … [Read more...]