Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Gordon B. Hinckley on work

Gordon B. Hinckley's gave some great advice about work and put work into a doctrinal context. Reading excerpts from his talks makes me miss him and his advice a lot.
One of Hinckley's best teachings in these excerpts is that work is the process in which dreams become reality and that there is no substitute for it under heaven. To the dismay of me and everyone else of this earth, this is completely true. Sometimes we all tend to think that to make dreams reality we just need to hope for them and then sometime they'll all magically come true, but that just doesn't happen (thanks a lot, Disney movies). This quote is just so true and that's why it really hit me. It gives me more of a determination to stop simply dreaming all the time but to get to work towards those dreams now.
An effective simile Gordon B. Hinckley gives for the doctrinal aspect of work is his dad's old Model T's headlights. The headlights' brightness was directly proportional to how fast the motor was running. When the car was moving quickly, the lights were brighter. The same could be said of work- to have the light of Christ in our lives, we must be constantly working, both in spiritual and secular terms. if we're lazy, our light won't be as strong, and thus the devil can have more power over us. The phrase "and idle mind is a devil's workshop" is definitely true. Life is like walking up a down escalator- if we're not doing anything, we're actually moving backward.
Gordon B. Hinckley's wise words give me the extra determination to stop my natural tendency to be lazy and start to work towards my dreams instead of just doing nothing about them.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Nate's Many Adventures at BYU

This week, me and my roommate Stephen R. went to explore the Joseph F. Smith Building. It was pretty amazing. The building is made around a courtyard with a sweet fountain surrounded by stone arches. Offices for various colleges are in the first through fourth levels, and every office has a window because of its sweet setup. The Basement of the building was sweet- it contains tons of classrooms, some of which are beneath the courtyard. I hope I get to have a class down there sometime.
There's a big underground parking garage with its entrance on the road east of the building. Apparently it is really big. It covers all the space between the Tanner Building and the JFSB and it has 3 levels. The JFSB is connected to it on the north side and has 6 or so connections to it in the basement. I restrained myself from exploring the parking garage because I assumed it wasn't for students.
The front (east side) of the JFSB is pretty sweet. It's made of tons of windows in levels 2 and 3. Behind those windows is an amazing spiral staircase that runs from the basement to the second floor. The second level of the east side has a sweet museum about the history of BYU and church education. It's not a wimpy museum- its full- fledged and pretty big. You could easily spend hours in there if you were interested in church education. And even if you're not a huge church history buff (aka me) you can spend an hour in there learning cool stuff before getting bored. That's where me and Stephen spent the majority of our time.
On the third floor over the museum is a cool exhibition area and some good places to study. There's also a huge model of the BYU campus made out of wood on that level. On the fourth level, above the museum(actually on its roof) is a huge balcony overlooking lots of campus. It provides some really cool views of the mountains and has tons of tables so you can study there (it would be a cool place to study or just hang out.) We met some people from our ward up there.
Overall, the JFSB is probably the coolest building that i've ever been in. It's actually a lot taller than it looks; there's like 3 levels underground so it all adds up to 7 total levels. There are 158 steps from top to bottom, at least on the north staircases. Me and Stephen had a good time touring, though we did get a bit lost in the basement.

Bloch Painting Response

This post basically records my various thoughts while viewing the painting "Christ Healing the Sick at Bethesda" (mostly in question- answer format) and trying to discover what it has to do about being a disciple scholar. Here it goes.

Why is the man in the red hat the center of focus?
-Maybe because Bloch wants to teach us what the real focus of Christ's ministry was- people and their needs, not himself. His eyes and his position are vital to the painting- I think that his expression shows a sense of wonder and says, "I wonder if this man will do anything miraculous." Yet, he looks somewhat withdrawn from the situation; he doesn't turn his head enough to directly face Jesus or the other cripple ; he seems to still remember his infirmities and still is trying to focus his attention on himself.
The pool seems to be a place of self- interest; people seem to be merrily content to continue whatever they're doing, even the other cripples. Obviously, nobody does much to help anyone there. The only person (besides Christ) that seems to be contemplating the scene is the little girl, who seems to be surveying the situation and wondering why nobody's doing anything about it. She isn't looking in the direction of Christ, but stares right out of the painting. I think one of the most important topics in this painting is the irony that everyone is just waiting to be healed, focusing on themselves and continuing in their mundane lives, when they could easily try to help heal people and thus heal themselves.
The savior showing light to the cripple seems to surprise him and the cripple quickly begins to tell of his situation. The first thing Christ asks him (though not in the picture) is interesting- he asks the cripple if he thinks he'll be healed But the cripple knows he can't do it unless someone carries him first. In a way, this sort of represents all of mankind- we need God's help in everything we do to make it successful. Education is definitely a prime example of this.
Maybe the colors signify something- obviously the whiteness of Christ, but also the red of the pharisees- and its correspondence with the red cap of the cripple in the center. Maybe it signifies pride- the cripple is more humble than the pharisees, but he still is holding on to his pride.
Questions I made that I was unable to answer:
Who is the old lady behind the woman with the water jug?
What does the overall layout of the light mean? Does it characterize the people of different areas of the painting?