On this Good Friday, I want to make a request based on a wonderful post I read over at By Common Consent by one of my favorite writers, Russell Arben Fox. It is entitled “Friday Reflections on Mormonism and the Cross” – and it can be read in its entirety at the following link:
I am going to include my own thoughts on that post – then take this post in a very different direction.
When I talk about the Atonement, I also reference the Sermon on the Mount – and I emphasize the command to be perfect. The wording in verse 48 says, “Be ye therefore perfect.” In the overall context of Chapter 5, I agree that this conclusion means that we become “perfect” by becoming the type of “blessed” person described in the previous verses. Finally, our footnotes for verse 48 define being perfect as being “complete, whole, fully developed” – and I re-word that as “finished”.
It only was at the end of his time on the cross that Jesus declared, “It is finished” – just before he “gave up the ghost”. Iow, it only was after the cross that the Atonement was complete – that Jesus fulfilled his own command to “be ye therefore perfect.”
I honor Gethsemane, but when we ignore Golgotha we worship an incomplete, paritally developed, imperfect Savior and Redeemer.
However, how does this apply to my own life – and, more specifically, my participation in a forum like Mormon Matters?
I was blessed to be raised with a mother who never once raised her voice to anyone – not in anger and not in any other way. I can say honestly that I have never heard her condemn anyone. When we did something we shouldn’t have done, she would automatically tear up because of what she feared our actions, if continued, would do to us. Those tears were worse BY FAR than anything my dad did to punish us, but it was not transmitted through a sense of guilt. It came across obviously and strongly as a deep and abiding love for us and concern for who we would become.
I have a deep and abiding desire for respectful conversation and mutual understanding explicitly because of what I saw my mother live. She was loved, truly and deeply, by everyone who met her, and I wish I was like that more fully.
Elder Wirthlin’s words about accepting all within the orchestra (not just the piccolos) resonated with me largely because of my upbringing, but my experience since beginning to blog also made his words ring clearly to me. I have seen so much contention and bickering and vitriol, even here at Mormon Matters, and it pains my soul – especially when I know what it does to people.
I don’t ask for compassion in commentary simply because of what it does to a conversation; I ask for it also because of what it can do within those who comment.
I ask for an increase in civility in our conversations today as a token of our worship, respect, admiration, reverence and/or acknowledgment of He who “finished” his work without revililng those who were the instruments of that end.
My question for everyone is simple:
How can we recognize the part we play in incivility – and how can we create a healthy, diverse, open, civility here that will be special and meaningful for ALL who participate – even those with whom we disagree strongly?