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Five minutes until we leave for the Turkey Bowl! A bunch of couples in the area are going to brave the snow and dust off our football skills while the kids stay at grandpa’s house. Wish us luck!

I’ve been thinking about this all week and before the action all starts I wanted to get it out. So here’s the 2010 list of what I’m thankful for:

A beautiful wife both inside and out, healthy and beautiful daughter, my own health, Jesus, the Atonement, prayer, America, scriptures, all kinds of food, a nice house, good neighbors, Seahawks when they have a winning season, clothes, education, good parents, all my brothers and sisters, awesome in-laws, being an uncle, playing with kids, reading books to my daughter, kisses from my daughter (and wife), past experiences that have led me to where I am today including: a mission to Germany, living and working in Switzerland, formal education, work training, my jobs, growing up on a farm.

Looks like time’s up. I’m also grateful for all of you who have stopped by this blog throughout the years and shared your insights and testimonies of how God has blessed you in your lives. We haven’t all agreed on everything, but we have all learned and grown together.

God bless all of you this Thanksgiving!

Update: We just got back from the game and our team won!  My wife caught the game-changing TD pass in double coverage in the end-zone.  It was awesome!

Some things I thought about while I was gone I’m thankful for in addition to what I wrote above are the LDS Church and all the good friends I’ve made throughout the years of being a member of the church all over the world.  It is truly a blessing and amazing to see how the gospel of Jesus touches the lives of so a many people all over the world and you have an instant connection almost anywhere you go. 

I’m also thankful for my extended family.  Cousins, uncles, aunts and especially grandparents.  They have shaped who I am today and I have so many good examples of righteous family members who try their best to have a solid relationship with the Lord.

Once again, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.  May the Lord bless you abundantly and may you be a blessing in the lives of others.

I’ve shared for nearly 3 years now, the purpose of this blog is to share my experiences in life as I grow “grace for grace” in the Lord.  This past year, I have felt moved to become politically active.  As I feel that my political views are a part of my development, I shared my views.  However, after reading some of my readers’ comments and also an article in BYU magazine, I thought I would apologize not for my views, but for the attitude in which I wrote my article on being a Christian and Democrat.

Ross Spencer, Physics Chair at BYU, wrote an article included in last summer’s BYU magazine entitled “Learning in the Light of Faith.”  Last night, after I had written a pretty controvosial post on being a Christian and Democrat, I was led to this article after saying my prayers.  After reading the article, I was humbled by what the author said and thought I would share this with readers of this blog.

Spencer writes:

Part of balancing scholarship and faith is learning when to use critical thinking and when to be still and listen.  I’ve been involved in logic and criticism for a long time now, and it is often an ugly and unfriendly business.  Unlike the title of the popular book “I’m OK- You’re OK”, critical analysis often feels more like “I’m OK-you’re an idiot!”

He then goes on to quote Jesus in the Bible (Matt 7:3-5) where Jesus asks “why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”

Finally, he quotes the beautiful LDS hymn “In Humility our Savior” and highlights the words “teach us tolerance and love”. 

Combining religion and politics is a risky thing and I chose to do that last night along with my political views.  I think it is fine that I shared the views and I do not regret how I feel or sharing them, but I do regret if it came off as me saying “I’m OK-you’re an Idiot”, or being intolerant and unloving.  I was pretty fired up after my candidate lost, so it probably came out in an arrogant way, for which I apologize.

Some readers who commented reacted similarly to the way I felt, but on the other end of the spectrum by calling me names and cursing us “ignorant” conservatives.  Those of you who reacted like that, I encourage you to read this article and see if it helps in future dialogues with people that disagree with your views.  I fall in the same category with you, and after reading this article will try my best from here on out to be more objective and try to see others’ perspective.

Other readers, who clearly did not agree with my views chose to react in a more humble manor by being objective and sharing their views in a respectful way.  For that I thank you for your good example.

This experience has been a good learning experience for me and I thank those of you who stopped by and shared your views with me after writing the post.  I thank those of you who stood up for me and “had my back” so to speak.  I thank those of you who opposed me and responded in a curtious, objective way.  I also thank those of you who opposed me and called me names and responded rudely.  I ask for forgiveness if you felt I was calling you an idiot.  I hope this article can help us all grow a little in the way we respond to others in person, or online.

I was very excited overall for the elections this year.  It was a breath of fresh air to see people get elected who have a passion for freedom and less government intrusion in our lives.  It was great to see the electorate as a whole speak up with their votes.

I felt the same way as many others throughout the country this year.  Since Obama has stepped in, it has been appauling to see how much intrusion the government has in our lives.  As such, I spent a lot of time volunteering time and money into our state senator’s race (Dino Rossi, WA) and a couple of the representatives in our state as well.  I was very frustrated to see Rossi lose by just a couple points.  I found it ironic that our state voted the incumbent Democrat back into office, yet we voted by an overwhelming majority to not impose an income tax on us, which the Democrats support.

I was also very dissapointed to see that Harry Reid was re-elected.  His re-election got me thinking about some things.  As Mormons, we believe in free agency.  In fact, free agency was the key debate in the pre-existance between Satan and Jesus.  How can a Mormon vote Democrat (such as Harry Reid) who supports programs that limit our freedoms such as the healthcare reform?  I thought further about our nation, which has about 85% of the population that claims to be Christian.  I know that the abortion issue is a huge one for Christians and Democrats are pretty liberal on that issue.  With the nation claiming to be Christian, and with Mormons big on free-agency how could someone who claims to be Christian or Mormon vote Democrat?

I realize there are many other issues on a platform than just the two that I mentioned above.  However, these two issues hit the heart of most Christians.  This Christian author writes a good argument about how he is Christian and Democrat in the article entitled Could a Christian vote Democrat?

After reading his article, I can see how someone could be a Christian and vote Democrat.  However, I personally have fundamental issues with the Democrat (and most recent Bush-era Republican) tendencies to have the government control so much.  This violates individual freedoms that the LDS believe in.

If you are a Democrat and Christian, I would like to hear why?  If not, feel free to share your views as well.

Author’s note: for a follow-up on this post please view the post entitled Democrat and Chrisitan: I”m ok and you’re ok.

I came across a website that shared many predictions of the future of the LDS church.   Many of the people predicted the LDS church would decline and be obsolete within this century.  This was due to changing of doctrine, a decline in membership in certain areas of the world, and other factors.  I came across another blog that discussed a huge decline in membership and congregations closing, particularly in Russia.  I know that when I went to Germany about 15 years ago on a mission, there were 7 missions and now I believe there are only 4 or 5.

Although parts of the world are very unreceptive to the LDS church, I do not agree that the church as a whole is declining.  In fact, many parts of the world such as Africa, South America, the Caribbean, and US are growing significantly (for details visit this website).  Also, some studies show the church has increased in membership by 800 members per day for the past 15 years.

While the people predicting a decline and extinction of Mormonism may be correct in some parts of the world, I do not believe the LDS church will be dying out anytime soon.

Cleanse your Soul with Grace for Grace “Spiritual SOAP”

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