Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Commitment and Rebellion

Two words have been running through my mind today, commitment and rebellion. I find it incongruous that people so often rebel against the very beliefs they profess they are committed to uphold. I see it in politics and I’m sure you do too, such as those who claim loyalty to one party or the other, but dismiss that party’s platform. Or they support a particular candidate in spite of that candidates support for actions considered immoral or offensive by the so-called supporter. I know the arguments—that’s politics; we aren’t going to find a party or candidate we see eye-to-eye with on every point. But I wonder do we support parties and candidates in spite of what they stand for or because of what they stand for? Are we committed to party affiliation or are we committed to ideals and standards? Change is the big buzzword this election season, but I wonder how many see “change” as merely rebellion and if it is rebellion, are we looking for a change that brings us closer to our ideals and commitments or will any change do, even one that moves us farther from our commitments to God and country?

Working in the temple the past few months, I’ve noticed some silly little rebellions that leave me wondering “what’s the point?” We’ve been asked to wear our “Sunday Best” when we attend the temple; women should be attired in skirts or dresses. Still women appear in slacks. No one is going to embarrass these women by demanding they go home and change and some handicapped women have little choice, but most women who are active enough in the Church to have a recommend know the directive and are simply being rebellious by wearing slacks anyway. You can argue that you have pants that are just as dressy as a dress and that may be true, but in our culture wearing a skirt with hose and appropriate shoes is considered a statement of respect. There’s nothing doctrinal behind this request, but it seems to me that if we’re committed to temple attendance, we should make every effort to be as respectful as possible in our dress and demeanor.

Commitment and rebellion are among the first lessons a child learns in life. There’s a bonding between parent and child that is one of the firmest commitments we ever make in most family relationships. And most of us are well aware of how quickly a toddler learns to say “no” and begins his search for independence that often continues and may even accelerate through his teen years. Here’s where these two words get tricky. We need to understand and help our children understand that commitment isn’t to be given lightly, but once given, it carries certain obligations. Likewise we need to understand that independence and rebellion don’t mean the same thing. Rebellion simply to dispute authority, to be different, or to destroy what matters to others is a selfish power trip. Rebellion against that which is evil, detrimental to society, or contrary to those things we hold sacred is part of our commitment to God.

Lack of commitment is often cited as one of our time period’s greatest faults. Am I the only one who sees this as part of Satan’s rebellion against God’s plan? Imagine a world where no one is committed to serve God, honor their country, keep marriage vows, or nurture their children. No wonder Church leaders ask us to make wise commitments and to be careful concerning rebellion.

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The Ruby is currently in the process of being both printed and recorded. I’m going to be out of town for a few days. When I get back I’ll post the first chapter on my web page.

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