Breaking Even

One of the best little victories I’ve always had in life is the ability to break even. I was having a conversation with a high school friend this weekend and we recalled this episode of Seinfeld. It describes my life to the T! Especially watching Jerry’s relationship end. I tend to say very little about relationships in general because 1- only bad can come of it and 2- I really don’t think my social life is NEARLY as exciting as my family and friends do. But if you ever want to watch what me being broken up with looks like, this clip NAILS it.

Lunch with a friend

Well, I have a a new title to the page. Now I’m just going to focus on the little victories that make life sweet.

Today I got to eat lunch with an old friend of mine I hadn’t seen in a couple of years. It was very invigorating and reminded me of just how lucky I am. I seem to be surrounded by the most brilliant, smart and funny people in the world. Especially the funny part. The vast majority of my jokes came from conversations and ideas that came from my friends or family.

Lent update and some thoughts on Christ in Mormonism

Hey kiddos!

Thus far I’m doing really good on avoiding the lent “thou shalt nots” (surfing the web) but I have yet to start the “thou shalts.” So, I just got a book on meditation, so hopefully I will begin this Saturdayish. Actually! Wait no, I will be skiing with Jared this weekend. Okay, so I will begin Sunday!

During lent season I have turned to both Catholic and Mormon sources to prepare my mind and spirit for Easter. One day, I hit the jack pot with this post from a Catholic theologian’s take on Christ in Mormonism. The whole article is well worth reading, but here are some interesting tid bits from the blog post:

After all, what gives Christianity its identity is its commitment to the divinity of Jesus Christ. And on that ground Mormons are more Christian than many mainstream Christians who do not take seriously the astounding claim that Jesus is the Son of God.

Mormonism is obsessed with Christ, and everything that it teaches is meant to awaken, encourage, and expand faith in him. It adds to the plural but coherent portrait of Jesus that emerges from the four gospels in a way, I am convinced, that does not significantly damage or deface that portrait.

I came to this conclusion when I read through the Book of Mormon for the first time…When I actually read this book, however, I was utterly surprised. I was not moved, mind you. The Book of Mormon has to be one of the most lackluster of all the great works of literature that have inspired enduring religious movements. Yet it is dull precisely because it is all about Jesus. There are many characters in this book, but they change as little as the plot. Nobody stands out but him. “And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins” (2 Nephi 25:26). And not just Jesus: A whole gospel in all of its theological details—right down to debates about baptism, the relationship of law to grace, and the problem of divine foreknowledge—is taught to the people of the New World centuries before Jesus was even born.

Christians have long interpreted the Old Testament in terms of the New—reading Christ between the lines, so to speak—but Smith went one big step further. He replaced the figurative with the figure himself. The truth of Jesus is eternal, Smith thought, so it should not be surprising to learn that Christ was made known in times and places beyond our imagination.

Long before his birth in Bethlehem, Jesus was eager to reveal the most specific details of his future life and ministry.

He also uses this very helpful example to illustrate the relationship between Mormons and other Christians:

Every page of the book prepares the way for its stunning climax, which is a literal appearance of Jesus to the ancient peoples of America. For Joseph Smith, the ascension of Christ after the resurrection makes possible his descent into the Americas.Non-Mormons, of course, do not believe that Jesus visited the Americas, but why should they be troubled if Mormons tell stories about Jesus that seem far-fetched? Imagine the following scenario. Your family gathers at the funeral of your dearly beloved grandfather, a world traveler. Your relatives begin telling the familiar stories about his great adventures. Soon, however, you notice another group of mourners at the other end of the room. As you eavesdrop on them, you realize they are talking about your grandfather as if they knew him well, yet you have never heard some of the stories they are telling. These new stories are not insulting to his memory, though some ring more true than others. Indeed, this group seems to have as high an opinion of your grandfather as you do. What do you do?

Do you invite them over to meet your family? That is a tough call. Many of your relatives will dispute the credibility of these stories, and some might make a scene. Others who think the stories are true will feel left out—why didn’t Grandfather tell us? The funny thing is, though, that this other group knows all of the stories your family likes to tell about the deceased, and the stories they add to the mix sound more like mythic embellishments of his character than outright lies. Clearly, the two groups have a lot to talk about!

However you decide to handle the situation, there is no need for you to change your love for your grandfather. There is also no need for you to react to this other group’s love for your grandfather as if they are intentionally threatening or dishonest. Whether or not you decide to expand your family to include this group, you can still welcome them as promoters of your grandfather’s memory. And the more you love your grandfather, the more you will be drawn to discover for yourself whether these new stories make any sense.

UPDATE: Just to add a small clarification, I do not agree with Stephen Webb’s view of the Book of Mormon. As a member of the faith, my experience with the book is hardly lack luster. That said, Webb is hardly the only commentator who has observed that the Book of Mormon is boring or lackluster. This has been a common complaint from Mark Twain to modern readers.

Reasonable minds can differ on this point. The fact that Mr. Webb finds the book lackluster is totally fine to me, I see it different. People don’t always have to agree with me for me to find what they say interesting or important, and I think that overall Mr. Webb is very generous in his comments on Mormonism.

Happy Ash Wednesday…I mean err… Sunday

Yes, I am observing lent again this year! It was a fantastic experience last year, and what I really loved was how much more ready I felt for Easter.

I actually spent the year studying Christian history/tradition off and on, since I did not know as much as I’d like. Next year I might try to observe lent the Eastern Orthodox way. Well assuming I can wrap my brain around it.

So here are my lent goals.

Bad habit to give up: Internet surfing

I’m a news junkie, and I spend too many “oh, just five minutes” keeping up on daily events. Although having a general knowledge of what is going on in the world is good, I’m finding it more effective to just read the news paper since we really can only learn so much so fast.

So, for the next 40 days I will only use the internet to blog and use westlaw (a legal website that I will need to write papers) and inspirational websites/videos.

Good habit to learn: meditation

I want to meditate for 15 minutes a day. But like, real meditation. I’ve got a friend who took a class in Buddhism who has a meditation book I’m going to borrow. If any of you guys have any suggestions feel free to throw them my way.

Family history: I’m going to try to squeeze in two good habits this lent season. I always have wanted to get started on my family history, I don’t know what you guys have or have not discovered yet, so I figured now is as good as anytime as ever to get to know my ancestors, and to remember that God is not a god of the dead but of the living, and that because of Christ’s resurrection I will meet them someday.

Of course increased temple attendance is apart of the goals as well. I’m so excited for Easter already! See! This is why I love lent!

PS- There is actually another ‘bad habit’ I’m giving up this month. Instead of listening to my rockus music on the way to and from school I listen to Conference talks. I figured why not start out with Elder Neal A. Maxwell.

What can the President do during war time? A list on US Supreme Court cases you should know

There has been a lot of hub-bub about the recently leaked White Memo (and rightfully so in my view, but more on that later.)

The White Memo runs the gambit from very uncontroversial statements, such as if a US citizen joins an opposing force during a conventional war, that citizen could be shot. (I think nearly everyone would agree that would be okay.) To much, much more controversial claims such as the government does not need proof that the individual they are wacking are going to attack in the near future. (Only uncontroversial to Dick Cheney.)

I’ll have more commentary on the White Memo later, today I was going back and reviewing the legal foundation for Executive Privilege during war times and thought you guys might be interested in the list I was compiling. If you ever read a Supreme Court case questioning what the President can or cannot do during war time each one of these cases will most likely come up in some way shape or form. If I forgot any I will post them later. After I reread them I will probably post summaries, but if this is an issue you care about read these cases. Really, that’s all legal ‘experts’ do anyway. One thing you’ll find is this area of law is very, very murky. But more on that later, here is the list:

Hamdan

Hambdi

Youngstown

Quirin

Milligan

I know there is more, I will continue to update this list and will continue to update you all kiddos!

ME!!! Yes, I know I posted this a couple of months back but I might need it!

Hey kiddos,

Last night was open mic night again! It was awesome! More of you should have come! BYU has some incredibly talented up and coming comedians. If you don’t believe me you guys should go to a humor U open mic and then go to an open mic at a regular comedy club and you will come away with a MUCH greater appreciation for the quality of comedy at BYU’s open mic.

PLUS: It’s free. Most open mics charge you two bucks or so!

Anyway, I WASTED about an hour searching for this video because I heard that Comedy Sportz also has a stand up night and I inquired as to what it would take to get on and they wanted to see some of my stuff. Since I only have one video I searched quite diligently. Since it isn’t officially listed it made it much more difficult to find, so I now have it posted here for safe keeping.

Anyway, my rest of the year resolution it to do a post a week. We’ll see how that goes. Well now I really must be getting to studying.

I’m back, and raising awareness…

Hello kiddos, it’s been waaaaaaaaaaay too long and one of these days I do hope to give you all a quick summary of the last 5 months of my life. (Although frankly, I’m back in Utah! Do you guys even need this blog anymore?) But for those interested souls… I am raising awareness… for Vegetarians Awareness Month.

Yes, you four die hard fans will remember that I discovered this day one year ago next month.
Uh, Jason, Vegetarian Awareness Month is next month…

I know. That’s why I intend to raise awareness for vegetarians awareness month now so that when October comes you will be aware of Vegetarians Awareness Month, so that during that month you can be more aware of vegetarians.

So to raise awareness for vegetarians awareness month, I’m going Vegan for the next 27 days…
Okay, actually, I’m just going through what we hippies call a cleanse.
For my non-hippie friends, is a sacred ritual we hippies do once or twice a year where we abstain from anything that remotely tastes good, grind up obscene amounts of  spinach and drink it, and other weird concoctions, and basically torture ourselves in every way imaginable.

We say we do this because we need to cleanse our bodies of the toxins which were planted there by processed foods. But really, it’s hippie hazing. Plain and simple. Once or twice a year we have to prove that deep down inside we are still willing to cause great senseless pain to ourselves because we are one with nature, and the rest of you aren’t.

Okay, on a serious note, this year’s cleanse is actually fantastic. I feel great! I’ve been doing P90X and I played soccer for two hours last night and still feel as good or better as I’ve ever felt. It really defies all logic, I’m not taking in more than 800-ish calories a day and I’m not only able to perform the days functions I’m able to do them as good or better than I normally do intaking between 1,600 and 2,000 calories. I have been drinking obscene amounts of water to compensate, which is good because that is part of the idea of the cleanse. I only use sarcasm because I haven’t done the actual research to explain how it works. I just know it makes me feel better…and I’m a hippie, I have to, it’s a rite of passage.

Well kiddos, this is all I have time for, for today. But hopefully you’ll be hearing from me more.

I think I can, I think I can…

Well, it is the last day of studying. As it turns out they decided to save the most beastly exam for last: contracts!

So, we’ll see how much longer I’ll be able to push on.

In other exciting news, just bought a contract today and I’m looking into gym passes. My goal is to post my goals for the summer before I head off Saturday morning.

And yet, even other exciting news I really like this clip of Jon Stewart. Thanks a ton Jon for standing up for the Mormons!

PS- Once I’m back in Utah I will finally write all those book reviews I’ve promised you guys. I know, I’m sure you were all terrified I’d forget.

And to think I came to law school because I didn’t think I’d have to do math!

Kiddos, listen to your elementary school teachers. You just can’t escape math! It’s part of living in a fallen world. Adam and Eve chose to go for the fruit of the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and one of the byproducts of knowledge…is math!

No my elementary school teacher didn’t tell me that! My college math class did! It’s all mathematics they tell me. And then tell me that theoretically 2+2 might not always equal 4! Are they suggesting that Mrs. Davis LIED to me!

Lucky for me I’ve always secretly liked math. I guess, staying with the elementary school analogy, math and I have this little childish romance going on. I have to scream and moan about how much I hate her, but when I have to stand next her in the red rover line I’m also not complaining….

But I digress…

My tort final starts in T-27 minutes and 37 seconds, and there will be substantial amounts of math as  try to find the best way to allocate damages between multiple tortfeasors. Ahh. Life is good.

I just went up to check in. It’s funny. In the beginning of the week they left a box full of paper and pencils next to the sign up sheet. Now, they don’t bring in the paper until after the test has started and they are handing out the pencils one at a time. Apparently they didn’t realize that leaving free paper and pencils before starving first year law students is like leaving your fridge open to your local Mormon young mens group. (A very kind gesture, but supplies run out fast!)

Well kiddos, got to get back to the test. Wish me luck! I will be back in Utah soon…this Saturday as a matter of fact.

I would mention the time of arrival but I’m really trying to avoid the paparazzi.)

I don’t know if my blog will be as exciting in the summer when I’m not in as cool of a place as Omaha Nebraska! But I’ll do my best.