Sunday, August 8, 2010

Bearly worth mentioning

So, apparently neither Elisha the prophet nor the priesthood are topics that lend themselves to a segue into gay marriage easily. I'm actually a little impressed, since the SS teacher was the same one who managed to complain about taxes all the way through the lesson two weeks ago on the splitting of Israel into the northern and southern kingdoms. The lack of prop-8 schtuff meant church was predictable and not quite exciting enough to keep me awake for the whole time (Sylvia's 5:30 wake-up time didn't help matters. It's fine when she goes back to sleep, but sucks when she doesn't) so I guess what I'm trying to say is, I have nothing to report.

We had a snooze-fest of a lesson on Elisha where other people discussed the organization of the priesthood and then justified Elisha's cursing the children. Sometimes I wonder why people work so hard at the mental acrobatics to justify questionable behavior in their leaders. Even if the kids in the story were more accurately described as "youths" and potentially more dangerous, how does ridiculing his baldness, or even his status as the prophet, justify cursing them in the name of the Lord?

I sat there wondering if the bears killing kids experience wasn't more the Lord showing Elisha that he would do as Elisha asked, even if it meant killing a bunch of annoying kids. The Lord gave Elisha the sealing powers with the expectation he would use those powers righteously, but Elisha retained his agency as well. That leaves open the possibility for Elisha to abuse his powers (much as Solomon was allowed to abuse his powers earlier. Really, much as we're allowed to abuse whatever gifts we're given today). What if the story is as much about Elisha realizing the Lord will do as he asks, even if his request isn't exactly righteous and subsequently learning he has to be judicious in their employment? What if that story is about agency rather than respect?


  1. I like your take on Elisha - I've never thougth about it that way. It's a very real possibility and a warning to others with high authority and power.

  2. Perhaps I should have spoken up :) I wasn't sure my foggy brain would produce a coherent sentence at that point, though, so I refrained. Maybe in 4 years when this comes up again (assuming I'm in Sunday school and not off in Primary or something).