Article of Faith
Today, I simply want to affirm that my approach to the gospel can summed up by the 13th Article of Faith:
We believe in being honest, true…
This touched me on multiple levels tonight, as I realized how painful honesty can be.
Sometimes, it means sacrificing my public face in favor of acknowledging a private truth, even when it makes me look bad. At other times, it means standing up for my beliefs, even when my culture or community might reject me or my interpretation. It might require that I relinquish power, authority, or control in order for another person to be free. In almost every instance, it means being willing to let God to shine a light on injustice, cruelty, violence, hatred, bigotry, and intolerance wherever it exists — but especially in my own heart — so that I may see it for what it is, and do what I must to root it out as quickly as possible.
Chastity is critically important. But it isn’t about who’s having “unauthorized” orgasms. Nor does it have anything to do with self-restraint for its own sake.
Instead, it’s about something much more important — love.
Chastity is about seeing people as more than objects of sexual desire. It’s about rejecting the impulse to manipulate and control others for personal gratification in favor of establishing mutually-uplifting, empowering, and considerate relationships founded on real respect. It’s about connection, companionship, and creation — and of course the passion that comes from all that.
…benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men.
This is ultimately the heart of the gospel: to be benevolent and do good to all men. The Master sought out those on the fringes of society — the leper, the prostitute, the cripple, the tax collector, the uneducated, the widow, the downtrodden, the mentally ill. May I have the strength do the same.
Indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul: we believe all things, we hope all things…
There is something about this section of the article that really resonated with me tonight. I don’t know that I have the capacity to put it into words. Simply, I really do believe all things and hope all things (or, more accurately, I want to — I know I have a long way to go). I no longer feel a need to be bogged down in narrow interpretations or tied to heavy dogmatism. I want to be like Paul, who was willing to become all things to all people for the gospel’s sake.
…we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things.
While I certainly haven’t endured as much as most, what I have endured has been enough for me to get a taste of suffering. I hope to be able to endure whatever I must, whether it is my own sorrow or the burdens of others that I am called to lift.
If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report, or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.
Hand in hand with the concept above of “believing and hoping all things,” I want to create a life where I am not closed off to beauty and inspiration in the world around me, but accept it all, wherever it exists. And not just “accept” it, but actively seek to find it.
Posted on March 19, 2010, in Personal, Thoughts on God and tagged acceptance, article of faith, belief, burden, chastity, compassion, endure, faith, gospel, honesty, hope, justice, love, seeking, service, truth. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.