Tuesday, June 2, 2015


While God will judge us not only by our actions, but also by the intents of our hearts, there is a lot of truth to the claim that I value what I spend my time and money on. Maybe it's time to reexamine what I value so I can see if my actions truly support the things I want to grow. Here's my second attempt. I've tried to be more practical that philosophically coherent. If you have encouragement or helpful suggestions, feel free to pass them on.
  • I want as large a percentage of my money as I can arrange to go directly to the people who produce things I value as possible, and as little as possible to go to middle men, and even less to money managers and administrators. To do this I buy local and direct from source as much as possible, particularly with food, even though it probably costs us to do so. I don't worry as much about it with things that are mass produced primarily by machines. I do worry about it with things that are "mass produced" through intensive human labor.
  • I want to waste and pollute as little as possible. To do this I support recycling efforts with my actions and my votes. I choose hobbies that are minimally consumptive of money and non-renewable resources. I support energy efficiency at home, at work, and in government. I support a local food economy as much as possible. I eat less meat, although I'd like to improve a lot on this one.
  • I want to be creative and productive. To do this I have chosen a career in teaching with a side of research. I do many creative hobbies. I learn to build and repair as much as is practical.
  • I want life to have meaning and be filled with hope and beauty. To do this I learn, I share, I create, and I enjoy the creations of thousands of others.
  • I want to live in the Mormon ideal of Zion. To do this I examine Mormonism really intensely. I try to live as God directs me. I try to use learning and reason to help me and others reach the goals that religion has inspired in me. I try to live and comprehend what I'm told are the ineffable experiences of connection to the divine. I don't get it, but my reason admits the reality of such connection, even if I fail to understand or explain it fully.
  • I want to value community. I've lived much of my life giving service to my neighbors and my community. Church was the dominant organizing factor in this. I cared for neighbor children. I cleaned up neighbors' yards. I moved dozens of people in and out. I did service projects through church sponsored scouting and other church sponsored activities--feeding the poor, beautifying neighborhoods and improving public spaces, preparing aid for disaster victims, and looking after both physical and emotional needs of neighbors. I branched out into environmental restoration on my own for a few years, and I've often given free tutoring over the years. Now I'm struggling to find the community I once had since I'm not the person I once was, nor living the life I once did.
  • I want to be mentally healthy. I write. I connect with people the best I can. I try to be physically healthy. I try to accept that I'm likely to struggle with this at least until the demands on my time and energy from work and young children lessen--and I can't count on the demands lessening, even though it is likely. I try to get help when I can find it and accept it.
  • I value family. I want to live in a society that values childhood and parenthood. I want children to have space to grow without fear or want. I want mothers to not have to choose between motherhood and care-giving and avoiding the threat of poverty or subjugation of self. I want fathers to be able to choose time with their young children without fear of economic failure. I value allowing everyone who desires the responsibilities and joys of family to be able to choose it. I value women having not only full responsibility for the choice to have a child, but also full control over that choice. I value policies, practices, and beliefs that sustain women in this life-giving choice, and that recognize their full agency as human beings and children of God.
  • I value equality of opportunity to do good and live safely. I recognize economic inequality as a great barrier to equality of opportunity. I don't know how to do much about this, but I hope that some of my other values and actions support this.
  • I want to value people simply because they are people. I want to live in a society where we value contributions based on what is actually contributed, and not on how well the economic or social system is manipulated for personal gain, but I also want to live in a society where people are valued and cared for simply because they are people. Simply because they are here.
  • I want to take care of my home and yard so that it is beautiful, in good repair, produces yummy vegetables, and contributes to maintaining local biodiversity--including native plants--as much as possible. I am a long way from this ideal.

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