Summary of Ranciere


The whole idea behind being an “ignorant schoolmaster” is that you are a master not by virtue of having more intelligence, but simply by a structured situation. The structure almost has to be artificial, or arbitrary, to really work. The master has to see her or himself as equal to the student. When both the student and master see themselves as equal, then the call of the master to “pay attention” to the assignment or whatever is their “thing in common” has more effect. If the student constantly assumes they are inferior to the master, then there is the temptation to just wait until the master explains it to them. (Emancipation is when the student comes to realize they don’t have to wait to be explained to, and that there is always something they can think or say about the thing in common. Of course, that requires that the master actually gives them a thing in common, and asks questions that don’t have a specific, definite answer that only the master can validate.)

Anyway, the point is, when both individuals recognize the equality of intelligence, then they both see the hierarchical structure for what it is. It allows a master to impose their will on the will of another, rather than their intelligence on the intelligence of another.

Ranciere points out that when a hierarchy of intelligence is created (rather than an artificial hierarchy) it has to be based on a justification of superiority and inferiority — I am the master because I know more or have greater intelligence and you are the student because you know less or have inferior intelligence. Power must be justified to keep the hierarchy in place. But, if a student realizes that the master does not in fact have greater knowledge or greater intelligence, then hierarchical structure begins to crumble and the master loses his or her power. The student no longer has someone imposing intelligence or will upon him or her, and learning ceases.

This can get us into trouble in the Church, if we think that so-in-so has a particular calling because that person is inherentlymore spiritual than me. If that person makes what appears to us to be a mistake or something immoral, then we can began to question their spiritual superiority. Then we begin to question that person’s position within the hierarchy, and we no longer accept the imposition of will or decisions that come from that calling.

Of course, to really work appropriately, the person in the callingalso needs to recognize the spiritual equality (or intellectual equality, I don’t know that those are so separate in the end) of those serving “under” her or him within the hierarchy. I think when this is done right then spiritual growth occurs, in parallel to the learning that occurs within Ranciere’s model.

Hope that’s a helpful start. :)


Administering the gospel vs. Preaching the gospel?


Thoughts on “administering the gospel vs. preaching the gospel –” that I need to work out before posting a comment as Dews From Heaven…

I think Kim is right that we ought to spend a great deal of time on Joseph’s 4-part list of events. I’m going to copy them here for easy reference:

“Firstly he receiving the testimony from on high”
“Secondly the ministering of angels”
“Thirdly the reception of the holy Priesthood by the ministering of Angels to administer the letter of the Gospel—the Law and commandments as they were given unto him—and the ordinances”
“Fourthly a confirmation and reception of the high Priesthood after the holy order of the son of the living God [and] power and ordinance from on high to preach the gospel in the administration and demonstration of the spirit.”

The way he uses “the” (as in “the testimony,” and “the ministering of angels,” etc.) implies that this list is a pattern for how God calls prophets. So first, he receives a testimony or witness from on high; he knows for himself that God is real. Then, angels come ministering. The phrase “ministering of angels” is often given in lists of gifts of the spirit so it’s not surprising to see him say “the” ministering of angels. I did a quick search for “ministering of angels” in the scriptures and I think I could write a whole post thinking through those! How many times is the ministering of angels mentioned after Satan came tempting, or after someone repented of sins, and so forth? Why are the words developed into a phrase? It seems early in the Book of Mormon it isn’t a phrase but the word “minister” is still used in connection with angels. And in 3 Nephi angels minister and then Christ also comes ministering. D&C 7 says that a person will be made as a ministering angel. All sorts of things to work on! :)

But anyway, second, he receives angels, or further light and knowledge. A testimony was the important first step, and now we add to that.

Third, we find out another thing that the angels bring to him: the priesthood, which allows him, a mortal, to administer the gospel it was given to him. (Does it follow that the gospel laws, commandments, and ordinances were given to him by the ministering of angels?)

I do like the idea of “administering” the gospel as “giving out” or “distributing” the law, commandments, and ordinances of the gospel. I also like the idea that one administers what one has already received. Also, it makes sense that receiving the priesthood is what allows one to administer what one has received. I don’t know what about that feels so clear, but I like it.

Forth, he receives a confirmation and reception of more priesthood. Why a confirmation? Of what, exactly? We’ll see that word used in D&C 84 but I don’t really understand what we are confirming yet. Confirmation that he is doing the right thing? A confirmation of salvation? And why is it now “a” confirmation and reception instead of “the”? Is it that the first three steps have happened enough in history that his audience would be familiar with them, but the fourth one goes beyond that?

And what is it about preaching that requires such a grand and holy calling? In most churches, preaching is a lesser calling than administering ordinances. But what about separating preaching as in missionary work from teaching in Church settings? In Church settings, the majority of the audience has already received ordinances, whereas when someone is preaching the audience has not received ordinances. Is the role of a preacher to prepare the way for ordinances, and somehow that requires a higher priesthood?? D&C 42:11 is very clear that “it shall not be given to any one to go forth to preach my gospel, or to build up my church, except he be ordained by some one who has authority, and it is known to the church that he has authority and has been regularly ordained by the heads of the church.” I think this is meant to be separate from teaching, since the verse next few verses go on to talk about how elders, priests, and teachers should teach in the Church. But, they also must teach “as they shall be directed by the Spirit” and can’t teach without it, so my whole idea of the Melchizedek priesthood needing the Spirit more doesn’t really hold up in the end. :)

I suppose there might be still something to the idea that administering is more straightforward where as teaching and preaching need the Spirit…


Anyone Can Teach / Anyone Can Cook


I’m noticing lately a similarity between how we talk about teaching and how the movie Ratatoullie talks about cooking. I want, someday soon, to write up a post about teaching reworking some of these quotations (I only had time this morning to gather them, hopefully I can begin to work soon):

Gusteau: [on the TV] You must be imaginative, strong-hearted. You must try things that may not work, and you must not let anyone define your limits because of where you come from. Your only limit is your soul. What I say is true – anyone can cook… but only the fearless can be great.

Anton Ego: In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the *new*. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new needs friends. Last night, I experienced something new: an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions about fine cooking is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau’s famous motto, “Anyone can cook.” But I realize, only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist; but a great artist *can* come from *anywhere*. It is difficult to imagine more humble origins than those of the genius now cooking at Gusteau’s, who is, in this critic’s opinion, nothing less than the finest chef in France. I will be returning to Gusteau’s soon, hungry for more.

Emile: W-w-wait. You… read?  Remy: Well, not… excessively. Emile: Oh, man. Does dad know? Remy: You could fill a book – a lot of books – with things Dad doesn’t know. And they have. Which is why I read. Which is also our secret.

Gusteau: [on the TV] How can I describe it? Good food is like music you can taste, color you can smell. There is excellence all around you. You need only to be aware to stop and savor it. [Remy tastes food accompanied by synesthetic visions of color and musicRemy: Oh, Gusteau was right. Oh, mmm, yeah. Each flavor was totally unique. But, combine one flavor with another, and something new was created!

Gusteau: What do I always say? Anyone can cook! Remy: Well, yeah, anyone *can*, that doesn’t mean that anyone *should*.

Colette: I know the Gusteau style cold. In every dish, Chef Gusteau always has something unexpected. I will show you. I memorize all his recipe. Linguini: [writing in notebook] Always do something unexpected. Colette: No. Follow the recipe. Linguini: But you just said that… Colette: [interrupts] No-no-no-no. It was *his* job to be unexpected. It is *our* job to… ColetteLinguini: [together, as Linguini rewrites the advice] … follow the recipe.

Gusteau: Ah, you are a clever rat. Now, who is that? Remy: Oh, him? He’s nobody. Gusteau: Not nobody, he is part of the kitchen. Remy: He’s a plongeur or something. He washes dishes or takes out the garbage. He doesn’t cook. Gusteau: But, he could. Remy: Uh, no. Gusteau: How do you know? What do I always say? “Anyone can cook!”

Skinner: [seeing a ladle in Linguini's hand] You are COOKING? How DARE you cook in MY kitchen! Where do get the gall to attempt something so monumentally idiotic? I should have you drawn and quartered! I’ll do it! I think the law is on my side! Larousse, draw and quarter this man! *After* you put him in the duck press to squeeze the fat out of his head!

Colette: [to Linguini] How do you tell how good bread is without tasting it? Not the smell, not the look, but the *sound* of the crust. Listen….


Inheriting all the Father hath = becoming His family?


34 They become the sons of Moses and of Aaron and the seed of Abraham, and the church and kingdom, and the elect of God.

35 And also all they who receive this priesthood receive me, saith the Lord;

36 For he that receiveth my servants receiveth me;

37 And he that receiveth me receiveth my Father;

38 And he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father’s kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him.

39 And this is according to the oath and covenant which belongeth to the priesthood.

Maybe I should hear verse 39 as saying that there is a covenant which makes you part of a family, one who inherits something, or joins in with something. Those that receive the Father are those who are adopted into the family line. So this stretch from v 34 to 39 might be read as listing new families you belong to, or could possibly belong to (if you magnify what you’ve been given).


Priesthood does not equal leadership!


I was thinking about how when I study priesthood in scripture, I find all sorts of grand and surprising facts about the work done by the priesthood power and the promises given to those who do that. But when I see conversations about priesthood, most of those conversations revolve around the day-to-day visible work those with priesthood do nowadays.

I don’t think that priesthood power is meant to be equated with “right to rule in Church positions.” I think it’s something like the Nephites appointing those with the spirit of prophecy to be their war generals. It was just smart. I don’t think that every position that now requires a priesthood holder necessarily would need to, but it made sense to. It was sort of a “why not?” question. Why not have the ward mission leader be a person with the priesthood? (And ideally, everyone with the priesthood understands what that means and seeks the Spirit and so forth.) And same with coorelation. Why not have all the auxillaries work under the direction of the priesthood, especially the highest presidency of the Church?

But remember that in ancient days, the Aaronic priesthood took care of daily sacrifice and so on, and the Melchizedek priesthood usually showed up as a prophet outside of the Church institution. I don’t think that we should ever equate priesthood with leadership.

When we say that the priesthood is the “power and authority” of God, let us not hear “authority” as only a right to have a position in an institutional hierarchy. That is such a reduction of what the priesthood is. Those with the priesthood might also take on callings in the Church, but let us never assume that exhausts the role of the priesthood!


The promise I want to give Women In the Church


I’m still a bit overwhelmed at the lack of vision in Women At Church. Writing helps me, though. Whenever I read a review of it, I’m reminded of why I was looking forward to reading it. It is a peacemaking effort to combine the desires of women to add their work to the work of God with the current opportunities in our Church structure. Great! Perfect! But she spends so much time in the book affirming society’s models or the felt needs of women. Really, those are desires, not needs, and she leaves that unexamined. My need, or my desire, if I have one that stands out, is to know that what we are doing at Church is according to the Spirit and the eternal nature of the work of God. That is my need, my desire. I felt like, coming out of reading that book, that my need would be one of a thousand, a drop in a pond of many other drops. Are all needs and desires really equal? We are all equal individuals, but does that mean every desire is equal? I think that is one thing that our current culture does actually believe. And I think she believes it and presents is as self-evident. But don’t believe it. I think we are placed here on earth to be, like Joseph Smith called himself, a “rough stone rolling.” We are going to have our desires changed and chipped a way. We are going to sacrifice and be challenged. We are going to be weak, and put in weak positions. All of this is to force us to realize we rely on Christ, and that is isn’t about our work but about God’s work. That sounds negative but it’s actually a huge relief. Whenever I sense that this is God’s work and not mine, I finally relax. I’m not anxious or upset. Sometimes I can see the great thrill it is that God is in charge and actually wants me to come along for the ride. That sense of being His servant is incredible! I don’t know how to describe it beyond the fact that is relieves all stress yet gets me fully to work. It’s a joy to be involved in that kind of work.

And so I think her book is missing something grand. Something I cherish that I found only through prayer, scripture study, grace, consecration, and so forth. Looking at my desires and needs made me miserable, but seeing God’s work unfold before me in clearer ways all the time made me relieved and happy. That this is possible is the promise I want to give Women In the Church.


Relief Society magazine: Mothers In Israel


All the time, I realize there are resources out there for increasing my knowledge of the scriptures and the gospel. This morning I found out that the old Relief Society magazine published an article called “Mothers in Israel.” I would love to understand that phrase better! (It appears that maybe there is a whole series dedicated just to that? I’m still figuring that out.) While searching for it online I also found an old Relief Society manual lesson that quotes a lot from that magazine article. That lesson is what I’ve read so far this morning. It talks a lot about Heavenly Mother. I really appreciate things said by Sis. Holland about how Eve had the title of mother before she ever bore children. That the point of the Abrahamic Covenant is that we can become like Abraham and Sarah, which means the promise of being a father eternally and a mother eternally. Those promises come ahead of the realization of bearing children, just like Eve’s promise did. Anyway, there are some good things to think about in here:

https://www.lds.org/bc/content/shared/content/english/pdf/callings/relief-society/RS-SG1-MothersInIsrael-eng.pdf?lang=eng

——————-

Update:

Ah ha! Found this database through BYU’s library, where I just read Joseph Fielding Smith’s article called Mothers in Israel:

http://lib.byu.edu/collections/relief-society-magazine-index/


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