by Miki Yoshihito through Creative Commons license on Flickr
I used to teach piano lessons in my house. Every day after school, I had five to six kids coming in and out. These kids were great—thoughtful, well-behaved, if not the most diligent at practicing the piano.
In the month of December, we always did a Christmas recital. After all, the majority of my students came from my LDS network, and once my oldest started a Church of Christ preschool, I thought it was still a safe bet that everyone was Christian.
In November, we began picking our music, and I gave two sisters who were also relatively new students their songs. We found and agreed to go with “O Christmas Tree” and “Silent Night.” They returned next week having not practiced their songs…at all.
I recently had a conversation about conversations. I wondered aloud if there was a (safe) place in a church-sponsored environment where members could have open, honest conversations about hard Mormon topics – such as homosexuality, women’s priesthood, birth control, chastity for older singles, excommunication, temple marriages, etc.
I maintained that it could happen, but the 5 other people in my group said, “no way”.
I’m a little ambivalent about the movie, Meet the Mormons, and I’m afraid I don’t quite keep up on the latest pop stars like David Archuleta. But, someone put this song on their Facebook feed months ago, and I love it. This chorus sung by these children gets me every time:
It’s like a symphony just keep listening
And pretty soon you’ll start to figure out your part
Everyone plays a piece in their own melodies
In each one of us, oh, it’s glorious
The Beech Tree by Gustave Le Gray (photographer) [French, 1820 - 1884] from the J. Paul Getty Museum
2014 was a tough year for many Mormon feminists. While there were some great positive changes in the Church, for me, they did not outweigh the hard truths I’ve witnessed. I’ve found comfort in looking to Mormon women of older generations as spiritual role models than I have lately. Women who have weathered storms like the ERA and the 1990′s excommunications of feminists and intellectuals, women who have created their own spiritual paths in and out of the Church.
I’ve loved this poem by Carol Lynn Pearson in particular lately. This past year, I’ve felt so thirsty as I ponder my place in the Church and my own spiritual path.
by Carol Lynn Pearson
At the church next door to me
Turned up its roots and died.
They had tried
To brace its leaning
But it lowered
And then there it lay–
Leaves in grass
And matter roots in air,
Like a loafer on a summer day.
In my life away from Exponent and Mormon Feminism, where I make the money to pay the bills, I am an organizer. I organized largely for business professionals: their desks, their calendars, their files, and their kitchens, closets, and basements. I love my work.
In my own life, I also organize. My dresses are hung on matching hangers – in color order. My socks are all folded the same way – in thickness order. My calendar is color coded with times and addresses listed – and agendas outlined in notes.
I had one goal on January 1, 2014: Never Be Behind – on Anything. This means that inboxes are always clean in my 5 email accounts, my birthday cards are out the door on time, I send follow up notes immediately after the meeting, and I’m up on all blog readings and current events. I chased this goal down all year and did a pretty good job …. but, of course, it eluded me.
For 2015, my friends tell me I should change my goal to: Be Realistic. And I respond: Boring.
So, I will try again to “Never Be Behind”. I know it’s out of reach, but I love the challenge. One area that is hard for me: keeping up on news – Mormon and otherwise. So, in 2015, I’m going to try more podcasts. I’d like to listen rather than trying to read it all.
And here’s where I need your help, dear reader: choosing the best podcasts.
What are your favorite podcasts – in the Mormon World and in the World World?
Click on the picture to the left to go to hear a playlist of our permabloggers’ favorite Christmas carols. Merry Christmas!
In no particular order…
All the Emilys: “Jesus Christ the Apple Tree” Two out of three Emilys say, “I like the verse, ‘This fruit doth make my soul to thrive it keeps my dying faith alive.’ Because Christ is the center of my reason for staying.”
Melody: Patty Griffith’s “Mary” Because Mary is the closest thing we have to divine feminine. And in my mind her humanity somehow provides a link between heaven and earth. She lived, she wept, she “stayed behind and started cleaning up the place” like so many of us do-out of love and reverence and necessity. And she knew God.
JessR: Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song” My favorite is Nat King Cole’s version of The Christmas Song. It reminds me of my grandfather. It was his favorite. It also talks about all my favorite parts of Christmas: being home around family and the excitement of kids around this time of year.