Who and What is the Happy Warrior

The Happy Warrior is the title of a poem... and yes, I love this poem. I do not wish to be mischaracterized, for the most part poetry is not my bag. I am not an afficionado of literature nor am I a metro-sexual (I despise that term) but a dear friend introduced me to this masterpiece of prose several years ago... it has provided no end of inspiration. The Happy Warrior by William Wordsworth outlines the qualities of a magnificent soul. I aspire to possess even one or two characteristics that "every man in arms should wish to be."

This blog is a representation, in conversational form, of my voyage to wrap my arms around the world in which Mr. Worsdworth's warrior finds happiness.

(Standing disclaimer: Luckily tests of spelling accuracy ended in 4th grade otherwise I would still be in Elementary School. Be forewarned, spelling errors ahead. I subscribe to the wisdom of a great man who said, "I have utmost disdain for a man who can only spell a word one way." -Benjamin Franklin)

Friday, June 24, 2011

The blessing of The Book of Mormon Musical

Many of my fellow Mormon's are up in arms about the recent Broadway phenomenon, The Book of Mormon Musical.  To be honest, I'm not sure what the percentage of my blog readership is... perhaps 50% Mormon, 50% otherly inclined.  This posting is really directed to my fellow Latter-day Saints.  Before we become to incensed at the popular movement de jure, I want to suggest that the current production is a tremendous blessing to our faith and to our cause.  Let me explain:
1.  Consider the exposure Mormonism is receiving.  This musical may not rival the brightness of the Olympic spotlight a few winter's ago but it is certainly spreading the Mormon name far and wide into circles of society we might not otherwise have reached.  Granted there are many half-truths, misconceptions and mischaracterizations spread by the production but when have we (speaking of "we" as a collective faith going back to 1820) not had to confront half-truths, misconceptions and mischaracterizations?  It provides an excellent opportunity for us to be on the top of our game when questions arise and conversations develop.  Is there a better opportunity to "stand as witnesses of God at all times, and in all things and in all places."  True we need to be appropriate in our efforts to address and correct these misconceptions but what a tremendous opportunity to really engage in dialog with people who have had a first brush with Mormonism!
2.  Related to my first point, the story certainly pokes fun at the naivete of Mormon missionaries and paints some of our beliefs in a cartoonish manner.  Yes, it is high browed mockery and suggests that Mormons, especially missionaries, are simpletons.  The truth of the matter is that this accusation should serve to raise the bar on our spiritual and theological sophistication.  For far too long we have rested on the "easy responses" and surface explanations.  We need to be, what I call, "proactive Christians" (versus assuming defensive or reactive conversations) .  Let me give an example:  Instead of the defensive explanation for our refusal to drink alcohol, "I don't drink because it is against my religion" we need to give a more personal, a more substantial, a more proactive (and bold) response: "I choose not to drink because of the horrible social, physical and spiritual toll alcohol has on individuals, families and societies.  Take a look around and tell me that God was not right in warning us against drinking...  Besides, a milkshake, aside from tasting much better, won't make me throw up in two hours or give me a headache tomorrow."  
Similarly, on questions of theology (polygamy, expansion of the priesthood, potential to become as God, Kolob, etc.) we need to be much more sophisticated and knowledgeable in our responses than we have been.  If we were "feasting on the word" of God as we should be it would not be too difficult a task.  The indictiment against us for our naivete is, unfortunately, frequently deserved.
3.  This last reason for considering the Book of Mormon Musical as a blessing may be the most important.  We need to take the perverbial "chill pill".  In the background of the real persecution experienced by the Saints of this dispensation and others, a Broadway musical does not even find a place on the same scale.  There are real attacks on our faith (and the faith of Christians of all denominations) at work in the world today.  Secularism, materialism and narcisism are serious threats to Christian's.  With respect to these cancers or The Book of Mormon Musical, we should take comfort and counsel in the truth that this church (as an organizational whole or as individual adherants) will never fail from external attacks.  The true danger has been, is now and always will be from within.  The Book of Mormon musical, if it is a threat at all, is an external force and can have no effect on us.  I think, on the contrary, it will actually bring about more good both within us and among those within whom we share our neighborhoods, offices and schools. 

What a great blessing that this popular musical can remind us of these things and inspire us to be better Mormon's so that when people ask us "is that really true" we can engage in a  promising discussion.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Some catching up to do...

It has been so long since I've authored a new entry to this blog that I almost forgot my password...  I am in the midst of a chapter of my life that is far too thick in details, twists, unexpected turns and laborious character development.  If my life is Moby Dick then I am somewhere around page 523... just hang in there with me, something has to give and easier reading (or smoother sailing -pick your illustration) is somewhere in the chapters ahead.

I've made mental notes of a myriad of topics I would love to weigh in on (Weiner's weiner exposure, the tornado devastation, Bin Laden's encounter with an American soldier, even Oprah's final episodes) but I am resigned to side with Mr. Frost... "knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back".  And so I shall not try to revisit worthy lessons from the recent past but I shall move forward to abundant topics of the present.

As with all efforts of improvement, it is best to put your home in order first.  So my first blog shall be of a personal nature.  My family has experienced many firsts during my absence from the blogesphere.  Here are some images and brief summaries that capture the essences of just two of our firsts. 
Our Angel #1 (my pet name for our oldest) finished her first year of little league softball.  It was a painful year both for her and for the charming Mrs. Wicke.  I try to deal in the truth and so I cannot say anything other than Angel #1 was the most remedial player on her team.  Aside from being at the younger side of the level, many of the girls had four solid years of playing experience under their belt.  Angel #1 had one season of tee ball several years ago.  This being said, I could not be more proud of my little Rudy Rudiger.  She was the most enthusiastic player on the team.  She was always happy, ever enthusiastic and contagiously in love with the game.  She had no idea of her weaknesses and athletic inadequacies.  Mrs. Wicke, however, was not so blind to the painful truth.  Angel #1 went through the entire year with only one hit -if you could really call a three foot dribble toward the pitcher's mound a "hit".  Her team, however, won the league title and advanced to the Tournament of Champions to face the victors of the neighboring leagues.  Long story short:  in her last two games of this tournament (the semi-finals and the finals), our Angel #1 got three solid hits against some very good pitchers.  It was a fairtale ending to a magical year.  As a father it was envigorating to see her athletic development but by far the thing I was most proud of was her undying effort and boundless thrill for a new endeavor.  She gave it her all every moment of the year.  She proved that the spirit of the happy warrior is still alive in the hearts of mankind!

(watch for video soon to come)

The second event requires much less description.  I can sum it up in four words, a numeral and a symbol:
Angel #3 versus coffee table