Nosy Neighbours

The City of Lethbridge phoned us yesterday to report that a neighbour, who wished to be anonymous, complained our dog , Apollo, barks constantly during the day.

Yes, the neighbour complained of noise in the middle of the afternoon.

Apparently, he has been keeping a tally of when Apollo barks. He gave dates and time periods, yet did not give a specific frequency of barking during those times, just that he barked constantly.

Apollo hardly barks. For example, yesterday his first bark wasn’t until 13:45 in the afternoon. When he does bark, it’s single barks every 30 seconds or so, over 2-4 minutes. Our children make more noise than he does.

Several things irritate me about this situation.

First, this neighbour is extrapolating him numbers, and he gets the benefit of the doubt.

Second, it’s somewhat unnerving that someone is spying into our backyard.

Third, this neighbour hides behind anonymity to avoid confrontation. It’s likely the same person who claimed in an anonymous letter in our mailbox recently that Apollo kept him up all night with his barking, another exaggeration.

Finally, two of our immediate neighbours have not complained, and they claimed they rarely hear Apollo barking.

Sigh.

He brought upon himself his misery

Several weeks ago, a Mormon friend and I were discussing politics, and the conversation turned to the unemployed. He said something to the effect of persons unemployed in today’s climate are such because of their own doing; anyone can get a job in Canada today.

I was reminded of this discussion yesterday during family scripture study, when we read Mosiah 4:17.

Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just

Even though King Benjamin is talking about the poverty-stricken, I think his words apply in the situation described above.

For charity to be truly the pure love of Christ, it needs to be unconditional. Placing a condition on our giving to the poor ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äù he brought it on himself, for example ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äù means we aren’t truly giving.

Is teaching self sufficiency to the poor a preferred alternative to simply giving handouts? Sure, but to use that as an excuse not to give spare change to the drunk beggar is insufficient if we actually do nothing to encourage self sufficiency.

Too many people say, ?¢‚Ǩ?ìI?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢m not giving him even a penny because he?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢ll just spend it on drugs.?¢‚Ǩ¬ù Yet they contribute nothing to programmes to get them off drugs or make them employable.

If we want to be charitable, then we should be charitable. It’s not up to us to be judgemental.

Apple, Google, Opposing Prop. 8

In a move uncommon with the two companies, Apple and Google are openly opposing California’s Proposition 8, which aims to end same-sex marriage in California by amending the constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman.

Apple has donated $100,000 to fight Proposition 8, joining Google which came out publicly against Proposition 8 last month and donated $140,000 of their own.

Since the church is significantly supporting Proposition 8, both financially and politically, how will the average Latter-Day Saint react to this news?

Any chance that you will stop using your Apple Products or Google for your computer needs? Will you feel like a same-sex supporter knowing that you are patronizing these companies?

Knowing God’s qualities for exaltation

In family scripture study this morning, I read something I found interesting in Mosiah 4:6.

At this point of his address, King Benjamin is addressing a people who had just declared their humility to them. He acknowledges their humility, and he goes on to outline requirements for salvation, which I assume us individual salvation, or exaltation.

Unsurprisingly, he lists faith and obedience to the commandments as requirements.

What I found interesting, however, were God’s characteristics of which we needed to gain a knowledge: his goodness, his matchless power, his wisdom, his patience, and his long suffering.

Not only do I find the qualities themselves interesting, I found interesting the fact we need to gain a knowledge of them.

It seems to me that coming to know these things implies we are familiar with them; we have seen them manifested in our lives. This of course requires effort on our part.

Sure God may exhibit patience or wisdom toward us without our doing anything, but his exhibiting them is not the same thing as our experiencing them.

Blessings

As I was walking from the bus to the gym this morning, I walked past the spot where several university students recently spent five days living outside to raise money for the homeless.

It was chilly this morning, and as I walked past the spot and then walked inside, I couldn’t help bit think how fortunate I am to have a warm place to live.

Sure homeless persons have shelters to go through, but they are often crowded during cold weather and many shelters have a nightime- only policy.

Likewise, I was grateful to have been able to shower this morning using instant, clean, hot water and soap.

And now as I walk to my office, I am grateful to have a job, which allows me to support my family financially.

Even when things seem barely sufficient, it is somewhat humbling to recognize I have so much more than others do.