Guess what? The world didn’t end!!
So I guess it’s time to celebrate and reflect upon the old year that’s passed! To assess relationships and work and happiness. And now we’re ringing in the new with great resolutions as well as new blogging directions and new books and new jobs. Angela Felsted is launching a new copyediting business — which reminds me that I need to put some effort into getting Mormon Alumni Association Books off the ground, to try to attract talented people from our community to participate in this project with me. (Yes,I know the site is really ugly at the moment — what’s up there right now is just a place-holder that I threw together in about 20 minutes to be slightly better than the “testing” page I had up last week…)
And while I’m at it, I owe a little explanation to all of you and an apology to Robin Johnson who just posted a series here on his experiences as a twice-excommunicated gay man. I’m always happy to see new people contribute posts here at Main Street Plaza — but I should have given Robin more direction, and in particular, I should have encouraged him to spread out his posts over a few weeks (plus maybe helped out with the formatting). As it is, I think readers here were surprised and overwhelmed by the sudden un-blog-like quantity of posts, and that has kept people from reading and discussing them. So, I’m sorry for my flaky lack of oversight, and I hope this won’t discourage anyone from becoming a contributor here at Main Street Plaza. I promise to give new contributors more helpful direction in the future.
On the other hand, our awards are off to a great start!! Don’t forget to vote for X-Mormon of the Year and keep posting your nominations for the Brodies!! And read all of the comments pages to see the categories that have been added such as “Best Specialized Blog”, “Best Video”, and “Best Song or Album”. (To give you a taste of the specialized blogs, check out the latest ex-mo hymn and an infographic about my very favorite Mormon scripture, as mentioned in my novel.) For X-Mo of the Year, David Tweede is currently winning, and his latest post isn’t going to hurt his chances. It looks like the president of the CoJCoL-dS may be facing some real court time for international tax evasion!!
The UK collects income tax and payroll taxes. The following UK Tax document (http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/worksheets/sa102m-notes.pdf) outlines what can and what cannot be excluded from “ministry” taxes and income. It lists “gifts and grants”, “stipends”, “Personal expenses paid for you, living accommodation, vouchers and credit cards”, and “Vicarage or manse expenses” among many other items in its 10 pages. The latter “Vicarage or manse expenses” is listed as utilities, home (manse) costs, gardening, etc. These are the very types of things listed by the MP Handbook as being reimbursed.
Also, you may want to vote for in the other guys’ Mormon of the Year Award — and look at the recognition that Troy Williams got!!
There was quite an interesting set of posts on women in religion this past week! As a part of fMh’s “Manuary”, Scott H told an entertaining tale about how the sexist training he received growing up was actually extremely unhelpful in his career in the real world:
I came by my prejudices honestly. My formative years were spent in church and at home, where the messages were clear: women were to be praised, adored, adulated, and even sometimes listened to. But men lead, and women follow, and if breakthrough inspiration comes, it will come from the guy in pants. Having never been in a hierarchical situation where women were given authority to lead, correct or castigate men, my brain was utterly unprepared to handle a situation in which women did have that authority.
While some get complaints that this sexist training is made up or exaggerated, here’s some real data to show you a bit about how it works. And the problem, really, goes all the way to the top.
There were a couple of posts about family relationships that really stood out for me this week. First Kiley’s wise assessment:
I do love them. They do love me. Love however just does not always conquer ingrained ideas… [...] It is popular to say that giving your family time and being patient with them will yield results of them coming around. Give them time, be who you are, and they will warm up to you… I think this is something that happens for some people but in no way is it a guarantee. Relationships take mutual effort and there really is no relationship when only one party is working at it. Coming to this realization that it may be as good as it gets is actually not that bad.
And second there’s Aerin’s discussion of how frustrating it is (for those of us who have lived the reality) to see fictionally-idealized super-harmonious giant families:
So I thought – this movie must be what people think growing up in a big family is like. It’s everyone working together, singing, watching out for one another. They get through their troubles together.
But that’s not what big families are like (at least, it wasn’t for my family). Is anyone really that naive?
It’s true that the Captain had a lot of money, and that definitely helps in large families.
Being in a large family is being raised to be competitive. You have to compete and out-shine to survive.
Then there were some great discussion topics this week!! Which is funnier: Mormons vs. Christians or gun advocates vs. reality? On the positive side, wine is good as is humanism. Plus some fun Mormon history and scripture, great moments in visiting-teaching, forward-thinking economics, God’s mysterious ways, and re-reading the classics.
And let’s wrap up with some fun stuff!! Seven Miracles That Made America Great and Brother Kermit Gets A Blessing.
Happy New Year 2013!!!