I am an over-analyzer. As a musician I listen to music in a different way than a lot of folks. I pick apart each instrument and criticize the cleverness of lyrics (or lack thereof). I was briefly interested in screenwriting and read some books about it, and now I pick apart the plotlines of movies. Things that many people enjoy in a simple way become an exercise in academic frustration for me. This is the blessing and curse of humanity. We think.
Recently I heard Robert Kirby say, “Humans are the only species than can actually think themselves stupider.” Oh brother, you nailed me.
A friend of mine recently shared the following analogy:
Some people are perfectly content to sit down in front of the TV, turn it on, change the channels, and turn it off and the end of the day and not know how the TV really works. The TV works that so that is all that matters. Then there is a small minority of people that are driven to take the TV apart and figure out how it works and see what it looks like inside. We are absolutely driven to do this, we can’t stand now knowing how the TV works, the TV will be in pieces for weeks, maybe months, as we work through all the pieces. The gospel is like the TV, some people, the large majority of people are handed the gospel, it works for them, and they don’t have to take it apart to be happy. Then a certain number of people, just because of the way their brain works, they have to take the gospel apart, to look at it from all angles, in order to be happy.
I think its clear where I fall in that story. But This story is not about over-analyzing or thinking too much or deconstructing TVs. It is about the balance of complimentary personalities.
My wife is on the other side. She does not need to take the TV apart. I’m actually not much of a complainer, really, I’m not. Yet, occasionally I will get to talking about something and I’ll reveal a little about how I am perceiving things in a critical way. In some of these cases my wife has heard me and has disagreed with me. She is perfectly capable of acknowledging and even criticizing flaws or issues, so its not that she’s being apologetic or ignorant. She will just tell me I’m making a bigger deal out of it than it really is. When this has happened, I am always somewhat surprised at how I end up truly defeated. She is usually right in these cases (even though I’m right most of the rest of the time :-P).
This is the incredible beauty of relationships, and especially spanning masculinity and femininity. Chinese culture describes this beauty with the symbol of the Yin Yang. Two incomplete and oblong shapes that come together to make the symbol of perfection: a circle. In the LDS church we hear a lot about how women are more spiritual than men, yet ironically we suggest that spiritually inferior men should lead the home. Heck, not just the home, the whole church. Women are only given authority over other women, in which cases you still end up with only one part of the Yin Yang.
Just think of what kind of trouble a room full of men, without the temperance of a feminine perspective, could rile up. If I were without the influence of my wife, I can only imagine the damage I might do. In the LDS church the affairs must be guided by the priesthood, and of course women do not hold the priesthood. Perhaps we don’t really appreciate what we are missing out on. Now, perhaps, we can.
I was present for a powerful talk by Susan Skoor, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the Community of Christ. This was my first encounter both with a woman who held the restored priesthood and one who was involved in church leadership at its highest level. I listened out of curiosity. Sort of a “What does that look like?” kind of thing. I walked away moved beyond description, and then other things just clicked. It changed the way I look at my wife, and the way I will see other women as well. It is really an experience in the value of diversity, and not just the expendable kind of value we find in a good day or a random act of kindness, but an essential value that you wonder how you survived without.
Since this is a Sunstone recording (2008 SLC Symposium), I can’t publish the entire talk, but it was great and I would recommend checking it out once they have it available on the website. (It was part of the perennially fantastic “Pillars of My Faith” session.) I selected a short highlight, with permission, that I hope will illustrate what I’m talking about. This clip is of Susan talking about the experience of being called as an Apostle. I should note that in her entire talk she spoke without any notes at all. Completely freestyle.
After listening, perhaps we could discuss the merits of having the balance of women in leadership, completely separate from the hurdle of doctrine or policy that exists currently. What are your feelings about the concept itself?
UPDATE: You can now purchase the full recording here.