A Thread For Talks and Lessons

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Re: A Thread For Talks and Lessons

Post by Bear » 06 Feb 2020, 13:33

Thank you so much:)
Keep the ideas coming everyone!:)

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Re: A Thread For Talks and Lessons

Post by Bear » 18 Feb 2020, 11:50

About a week ago, I asked everyone here for some input for a talk I was asked to give. The subject was "Faith".
Thanks a lot everyone:) The talk didnt turn out as great as I wanted, but it was still ok. I'll post it here so you can read if you want. It's been through google translate from Danish to English though. I don't feel like translate everything by hand right now;)

Hey. I have been tasked with talking about faith today.
And I want to start out strangely to get your attention:
About a year ago, I walked in a tunnel down at Roskilde (the town where I live) station.
There was, as usual, incomprehensible graffiti around.
I went through the tunnel, and when, almost like a parable, I came out of the darkness and went out into the light at the end of the tunnel, there was someone who had been silly and written in big graffiti letters "BEWARE! JESUS ​​COMES AFTER YOU!".

I couldn't help but laugh.

It got me thinking about how much our faith in God (or Jesus) can change what and who we are.
Mostly when I had to write this speech of course, because I don't think of such a deep something normal.

Which God do we believe in?

What qualities do we believe God has right now that are not actually true?

A scripture we have all heard of before is
2 Nephi 2:25

"Adam fell for mankind to come into being, and mankind to enjoy it."

Enjoying REAL joy is probably one of the hardest things to do, I think. Really living this scripture requires a great deal of us.
It requires, for example, that we peel off layers of ourselves that we don't need.
The layers we use to hide behind good and evil.
Layers that can prevent us from enjoying pleasure.
It requires that we have a loving self-image and it requires that we have a picture of a God who lets us be happy and not a picture of a God who demands the impossible and is always after us.

I believe that all of us today, right now, are creating God in our own image and not vice versa as we should. For none of us has a perfect understanding of God.

We each have our "idol" / version of who God is, often depending on what parents we have had, whether they have taken care of us in the first years of development.

Have we learned to survive because of distrust and only feel good when we give? Have we learned that we are good no matter what we do?

These things shape us so that we each have a unique image of who God is.


Adam fell for mankind to come into being, and mankind to enjoy it.

Can we enjoy joy in our lives if God is evil to us? A busman? Or one that demands things that are unattainable to us?

In the church, there is sometimes a culture of always being good and unfortunately it can sometimes result in being painted with thick bold graffiti:
"watch out! Jesus is coming after you!". Because, of course, we're not always good. We're just people trying to be good.

What can you do about it?

The opposite of belief, we tend to call into question.
But the opposite of faith is also to be absolutely safe.
For example, we can be absolutely sure of things that are not actually true.

Because every time we do not want to talk about things that we believe can cause us to falter in our faith, or our current understanding of who God is, there is a possibility that we will miss eternal truths that can help us move on in life. :
When in doubt, we have a mechanism that allows us to be humble enough to learn more.

There is a beautiful turn that, if I translate it into Danish, reads something like this:
There's a cut in everything, that's how the light comes in.

Wrong understandings of God may be that "God is always good, therefore I should always be good and never speak out about my negative feelings but just let them accumulate".

Another could be: "God always believes in the best in me. That's why I ALWAYS believe in the best in all people." It can result in us remaining childish and naive and eventually exploited by others if we are not careful.

Every good thing has a shadow page that we need to bring.

Jesus knew that too.

Matthew 21:12
Then Jesus went into the temple square, and he drove out all those who sold and bought there, and he overturned the exchangers 'tables and the pigeon-traders' benches, and said to them, "It is written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer.' You make it a bullet.

We cannot be good without also having boundaries.
If we don't have boundaries, we can't actually be good.

In Matthew 5:48 we can read:
Then be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect!

It does not say that we should always be good and good, as God is always good and good. It says that we must be perfect, as God is perfect.
Being perfect is not the same as always being good and good, but being able to make the right choice, between all the emotions you have and to express the ones that are best in a given situation.

Just as the Savior did it in the temple.

It is better to be whole than to be good.

If we can love ourselves, even our "bad sides," we can more easily and completely accept others with all their "imperfect" sides.
It is simply to love one's neighbor as oneself. Completely and fully.

There is a theory called "Fowler's stages of faith". It explains how / why we believe differently and that it is quite common development. This theory has helped me in my own journey of faith.

James Fowler is a professor of theology and human development, and pastor of a Methodist church.

In 1981 he published a book, which became one of his best-known books, entitled "Stages of faith", in which he tries to find systems in the spiritual development of man.
There are various stages from 0-6 and this can be read more about even if you are interested in development in psychology and spirituality.
Various studies have been made of human general development from child to adult in psychology, but this applies to spirituality instead.

On the church's website there is an excerpt from a presentation given by “Scott R Braithwaite” who is a psychology professor at BYU.
He says of the "fowler's faith stages":

"These stages of faith, I think, are a great help to us because they help us to realize that there is not just one way to believe."
Most people, according to Braithwaite, remain in Fowler's Stage 3 all their lives, which is a conventional belief characterized by conformity to an authority that is a strong cultural element of religious life. An "us" against "them" worldview, and at the same time ignoring all conflicts in the person's own beliefs, due to a fear of the discrepancies in that belief.
"Stage 3, is where I think we are most vulnerable to end up in a crisis of faith because some expectations are set that are impossible to fulfill," says Braithwaite.

I think they live in a world that is binary, it is black and white, where the church is only good and impossible to do anything bad, and the opposite where the world is evil and decaying.
"The perfectionist idea can be dangerous because most faiths have different human elements in them." says Braithwaite. "

Here he explains only about 1 stage out of 7.

I think we all sometimes have a very black and white and subjective view of who God is and how we should be made worthy of his love.

I hope that we all "can live to enjoy joy" by letting light and humility enter through the small crevices and cracks there in our faith and align with our understanding of who God and ourselves are and live the happy life that God has created us to live.

I hope when we walk through our own metaphorical Roskilde station tunnel towards the light (that is, when life is over - yes, I know it is a strange parable), that we have not spent our lives believing that "Jesus is coming after us. but that we have had a belief that we have the right to be loved and enjoy.

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Re: A Thread For Talks and Lessons

Post by Roy » 18 Feb 2020, 13:45

I like it. Thanks for sharing!
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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Re: A Thread For Talks and Lessons

Post by Bear » 18 Feb 2020, 14:01

Didn't really turn out the way i thought it would, but it ended up ok. Thanks a lot for all the input.

Curt Sunshine
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Re: A Thread For Talks and Lessons

Post by Curt Sunshine » 18 Feb 2020, 21:41

Thanks for the update. I love reading the final results.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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