Thursday, December 31, 2009

My Last Post

This will be my very last post. Of the year 2009, anyway. (I've got a deadline of two hours before 2010 rolls around). In reality, however, and independent of Urban Meyer, I actually have considered taking a "leave of absence" from blogging. Life has been a bit cluttered lately. Blogging time has been reduced. But I'm not quite ready to start printing the "How's it going to end?" buttons.

I've now been blogging here for two years--though to me it seems much longer than that. Notwithstanding, it has been a very rewarding two years. My motto remains "Whatever I am...trying to be a good one". But that's probably the only thing that hasn't changed in two years. I still can't say for certain what it is I'm becoming or all the ways I've changed.

Perhaps one of the ways I've changed the most is that I'm much less certain in general. The more I learn the more I realize how little I actually "know" for certain. My personal faith has certainly evolved. I've become more and more philosophic and less and less dogmatic.

More and more I find myself relating to the sentiments expressed by Benjamin Franklin at the close of the Constitutional Convention: "I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information, or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise. It is therefore that the older I grow, the more apt I am to doubt my own judgment, and to pay more respect to the judgment of others."

Thus, the end of 2009 finds me not quite jumping at the opportunity to write an Oprah-like "What I know for sure" type of post. As it stands now, I'm still questioning what it is I know for sure.

Maybe I'll feel more up to it next year.


Matt W. said...

What you need to do is give me a call so the girls can hang out and we can see that new boy.

Mark Brown said...

I appreciate your contributions.

DMI Dave said...

Clean Cut, you are a beacon in a sea of bloggish ignorance. Enjoy your break, but come back someday. I'm just going to ignore the sombre undertones in the post. You know more than you think you do.

aquinas said...

Clean Cut, I've enjoyed our communications and your friendship. I wish you the best in the next year.

Papa D said...

I've enjoyed your blog - and hope you continue to read mine.

God bless you in all you do!

Stephanie said...

I hope you don't give up blogging altogether. I always appreciate your comments and I think your manner is really respectful and honest. You are consistently reasonable in your approach to matters of faith.

I hope you have time to keep blogging! :-)

mondo cool said...

"I'm still questioning what it is I know for sure."
Been there. Done that. You may find that what you know is sure, but why you know it is the questionable feature.

Brian said...

Clean Cut, Your blog is on a very short list of the LDS ones I follow. I find myself well aligned with your way of thinking, and often inspired and encouraged in my ongoing quest for truth and testimony. If you can fit it into your life, please keep it up, if not, I respect your choice and wish you the very best of luck.

Brian said...

I must say, the prospect of you no longer blogging is disappointing. I can understand no blogging. I don't blog. But the why is disheartening. I hope it's not because you are losing your faith. One need not be dogmatic to know some things are true. And one must not know some things are true to still believe in them and use them as a guide to life. At the end of the day, there may be no proof; all we may have right now is the credence we give to certain witnesses.

I'm tempted to find Franklin's quote moving until I looked at the internal logic. It is good to question one's own judgment, but if one's own judgment isn't perfect, how does it follow that one would put more faith in the judgment of others which -- presumably -- is just as imperfect, and possibly more, than one's own? Isn't the answer to improve one's judgment, not to increasingly defer to others'? Considering other perspectives is certainly part of improving one's own, but if one is on the right path to God, it seems that one's ability to discern truth would increase over time.

I would also add that doubt is actually, in a way, an evidence for the gospel, in that it points to the reality of agency, that our mortality is a test where there is no obvious answer, no evidence that is so compelling, either by force or by reason, that man will all fall in line. I treasure doubt because it means I may still make choices. It sharpens my saw and keeps me humble. Maybe it's not judgment you lack but humility. If there is one aspect that the blogosphere sorely lacks, it's a healthy dose of humility.

Best of luck on your journey and thanks for your contributions.

Clean Cut said...

Matt W.--I really enjoyed our phone conversation. I'm looking forward to seeing more of you guys in the future.

Mark Brown--Thank you.

DMI Dave--Thanks for looking past the "somberness" and for the encouragement. It's very much appreciated.


Papa D--ditto to you as well!

Stephanie--Thanks. I'm glad you see me that way. I hope I can continue to be that, albeit on a reduced time commitment.

mondo cool--I sincerely appreciate your comment. I'll tell you, I've been pondering it a lot lately and I really like the insight.

Brian--I appreciate the concern and also the support. For the record though, I'm not planning on discontinuing blogging. It was simply the last post for 2009. I really enjoy it and I hope to continue it for a long time.

It has actually been frustrating to me in the past few months as I've felt that there are many things I'd like to discuss but simply haven't had the time to write it all out sufficiently into anything that's worthy of posting. Life has recently relegated blogging down on the list of things I have time to do and do well. That can be frustrating sometimes, because I want to blog. For example, grad school this semester was very time consuming and in order to do well in my courses, it demanded a lot of time. (I got all A's though!)

This post was a bit more reflective, and also a tad more melancholy, however. I have an increasing recognition of how much more complex issues of faith seem to me now. I'm not turning into an agnostic and loosing all faith here. I'm just realizing that matters of faith are sometimes frustratingly complex. As I discussed with Matt W., sometimes I get tired of feeling that every little thought and thing being discussed could (and maybe even should) have a bundle of footnotes attached to it. And that there are so many more questions than answers. I'd say that that is humbling. Maybe I just don't like being humbled so much. :)

All in all, I recognize that I do "know" a lot, even if sometimes that knowledge feels like its about an inch deep and a lot more complicated that I care for it to be. And of course knowing things doesn't necessarily translate into feeling that all things are fine and dandy. But I ultimately I choose to go with what I do know, and I try not to forget what I've felt and experienced so that I don't throw the baby out with the bath water, so to speak.

I wouldn't say that I'm deferring to others as much as I am gaining more perspective and information from a dizzying amount of sources. Perhaps I should change what I said in the post about feeling less and less "certain" and instead simply state that I'm just feeling more and more cautious about my own thoughts and feelings.

Clean Cut said...

...or rather, more cautious about the limits of my understanding.

Clean Cut said...

I came across this quote in the Readers Digest, and I think it captures well what I'm trying to say here, and how I've changed in terms of my certainty:

“Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.”

That's all.

Tomchik said...

Hey, CC,

We had this awesome lesson in EQ at the end of 2009 where we discussed how Joseph Smith was never satisfied with his current level of knowledge, and how we should similarly never be satisfied.

One of the reasons I think God wants us to continue learning is that we remain humble as we realize how much we really don't know. So I don't think it's a bad thing that we become less certain about things as we discuss gospel topics with others.

One of Pres. Hinkcley's talks was about what he absolutely knew to be true. The list was surprisingly short. So you're in good company.

Best wishes for the new year!


Clean Cut said...

Hi Tom--it's good to "see" you again! I appreciate the thoughts. Thank you! And of course, best wishes right back at you.