It is a blooming, bursting faith (poetry)

It is a blooming, bursting faith —

Reliant on rain

like a plant in desert soil,

it wilts without water,

but nothing is more beautiful

than its buds and petals that erupt

in the lee shadow of a storm.

I wrote that poem in April of 2016, and it still stands as an illustration of the crazy trip I’ve been on since then. The following is a selection of the poetry that I have written over the past years that illustrate my “blooming, bursting faith,” and the many forms that faith has taken as I’ve struggled to get to the bottom of some of the age-old questions of being human. Continue reading “It is a blooming, bursting faith (poetry)”

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Visual music art

Just for fun, I recently wrote a simple computer program to visualize repetivity in a sample of text. I’ve been kind of entranced by the patterns my program generated when I plugged song lyrics into it. Hopefully you find a sort of artistic quality in them, too:

How it works

Each pixel in the image represents a single word. The lyrics of the song run diagonally from the top left corner to the bottom right corner, and whenever a word appears at multiple points along the diagonal — let’s say at (a,a) and (b,b), using a grid system with the origin in the top left corner — it will generate two pixels at (a,b) and (b,a). Here’s a simple example:

example.png Continue reading “Visual music art”

Christ as the ideal Humankind

These are just some scattered thoughts about Christian theology that have been fermenting inside me recently, for whatever they’re worth:

There has been a rising godly call within me that I want to take some time to address. This has been the call of Christ.

I was in the past accustomed to thinking of Jesus Christ as a man who lived long ago, taught eternal truths, established a true church upon the earth, and gave himself up as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice of God. Christ can certainly be all of these things, but as my faith and understanding have changed with time, my perspective of what Christ can be in a modern age has assumed a new shape: to me, the venerable traits of the Christian Savior that have risen to the forefront are perfect empathy and beautiful grace. It is my conviction that Christ can be more than a perfect man — he can be a perfect mankind. Continue reading “Christ as the ideal Humankind”

When God Plays Hide and Seek, part 9

This is the last of a series of posts about my evolving faith. If you want some more context, you can read the other parts of the series. Here are the links for parts one, two, three, four, fivesixseven, and eight to make that easier for you.

Faith remains

I find a fat, happy man inside me

When I had first dived into the study of different faith traditions shortly after arriving home from the mission, I was very impressed by the philosophies of Hinduism and Buddhism. I was interested by Hindu ideas such as the many incarnations of the god Vishnu in the Vaishnava tradition (which seemed to allow space for christlike saviors to appear among all people, manifesting aspects of divine nature and providing different paths to the same celestial end) and the concept of maya (the illusory nature of reality), which reinforced and solidified many of the conclusions I was coming to personally. Later, I was impressed by the pragmatism of Buddhist thinking and its potential for application even in a secular sense. I wasn’t looking to convert to a different religion and start worshiping blue deities with four arms; I was simply searching for traces of the divine from different perspectives, and I was encouraged by what I was able to find. Continue reading “When God Plays Hide and Seek, part 9”

When God Plays Hide and Seek, part 8

This is part eight in a series of posts about my personal adventures in the land of faith. If you want some context, you can go back and read parts one, two, three, four, fivesix, and seven.

I hold down the power button for a few seconds to reboot the whole system

If you ask a difficult question about Mormon history or doctrine, you may find yourself advised to just put that question on a “shelf” and wait for it to be resolved when the Lord sees fit. After all, with the fulness of the gospel, we have everything we really need, and everything else will be worked out in the Lord’s own time, right? Because of this metaphor, a lot of Mormons experienced in faith crisis will refer to the onset of their crisis as the moment that their shelves broke. Continue reading “When God Plays Hide and Seek, part 8”

When God Plays Hide and Seek, part 7

Warning! This post is part seven — yes, seven — in a series of posts about my personal adventures with faith. If you continue reading without checking out parts one, two, three, four, five, and six, you risk upsetting the fragile balance of the universe. Proceed at your own risk.

Trying to rebuild

I do not regret going on a mission. It certainly did deprive me of a lot of sleep, cause a lot of stress, and put me in a lot of situations I would have preferred to avoid, but in the end I went through an enormous amount of personal growth and self-discovery. I’m honestly a little bit repulsed by how much I got sucked in by the pharisaical and often business-y mission culture, but I also had many opportunities to act lovingly and authentically and form strong, meaningful relationships with a good number of people. If the celestial kingdom is not in its essence a network of people who love each other, I don’t know what it is, so I suppose you could say that the mission helped make my celestial kingdom a lot bigger.

That said, I was in a very fragile state when I returned from my mission. Continue reading “When God Plays Hide and Seek, part 7”

When God Plays Hide and Seek, part 6

This is part six in a series of posts about my personal spiritual journey. That means that you’re missing a whole lot if you start here instead of with the first part. If you really want to, though, you can go ahead and read this first. Or you could read parts two, three, four, and/or five. Your choice. But my recommendation is to start from the beginning.

The last hurrah

My companion ended up getting sent home just a few days after he talked with the mission president, so I spent the next two weeks with a couple of other missionaries in a different area. It was overall enjoyable, although those weeks did have their rough parts, seeing as I was still struggling with some depression and wrestling to reformulate my beliefs. Continue reading “When God Plays Hide and Seek, part 6”