Poetry and Politics, again

October-November 2006 223

Mark Strand recently read his poetry on campus at BYU. In the question and answer session, he made a stunning remark that is worth consideration. He wondered out loud what kind of a different world we would have if heads of state gave some time to poetry in their lives. This is a topic that has garnered the attention of some of Western civilization’s greatest thinkers, of course, and is a debate as old as that between Plato and Aristotle. I won’t pretend to rehash all of that here. What … [Read more...]

Civility and the Possibility of Community

At the risk of repeating what I have already said about community and about politics, in this season of political bickering I wish to reiterate a few principles. I do this because I am centrally interested in the meaning of community, and I have always believed that community is not possible without the foundational practice of forbearance and charity. I have also been inspired recently by two speeches, one by Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles who spoke last week at a … [Read more...]

“And now I know that man is nothing”

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I confess to feeling my utter insignificance. Even when I imagine my life as having realized its maximum impact on the world, it doesn’t take much imagination or realism to acknowledge that one’s life becomes insignificant in the long term with only a turn or two of the years. And what does it matter anyway? Why feel the need to leave a mark, to be remembered? What could possibly motivate this other than some kind of romance about immortality, about mattering in the hearts and minds of those … [Read more...]

Family Relationships and the Outdoors

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Recently I was asked to be on the Mike Townsend show at KBYU Radio. Mike is a specialist in family relationships, and he wanted to talk about the value of getting our kids outside. I don't consider myself an expert in child psychology nor do I think I have managed to get my kids outdoors with exceptional frequency. But I have strong feelings about the importance of experiences in nature that shape us from an early age. … [Read more...]

Environmental Stewardship and Mormon Belief

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I will be speaking next week at a fireside in a neighboring stake. The topic is “Environmental Stewardship and Mormon Belief.” I have written and spoken about this topic for 14 years. I don’t suppose I can talk about it enough. I believe that the gospel of Christ contains all truth, that all topics are relevant and important to consider. There is almost no topic I am not interested in reading and talking about with others, especially when it concerns the fundamental principles of … [Read more...]


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