Monday, November 23, 2015

Ponderize: “Nearer My God to Thee”

Christ and sorrowed young women

I attended a funeral this weekend of a wonderful young employee of Highland City who passed away far too young (Jill Ballamis). The opening hymn was Nearer My God to Thee. As we sang I was struck by the lyrics

E'en though it be a cross
That raiseth me.
Still all my song shall be

Perhaps it was the nature of the event but I had never considered these words as I sang this hymn or their irony – if we want to be lifted up and nearer to God it often means we need to endure hard things such as being raised up on a cross. When teaching the 5,000 he fed with with 5 loaves and 2 fishes. Christ said:

… to them all, If any man will come after me,let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?—Luke 9:23-25

As I get older I’ve discovered that those I admire, those who are incredibly giving, kind, and humble, invariably have experienced trials that could have caused them to be bitter and withdrawn. However, they dealt with them in a way that lifted them to a higher plain and brought them nearer to God.

Below is one of my favorite renditions of Nearer My God to Thee by Vocal Point

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

City Council 20-Oct-2015: Town Center Work Session, Dry Creek Trail, Private Cemeteries


2015-10-06-Toscana_thumb6We held our 3rd meeting regarding Town Center Zoning. Our conclusion was that the simplest approach we to rezone the property for non-residential use only and that is what we asked staff to work on for discussion at a future council meeting. It is sad for me that we have had no resident input at these meeting. I imagine that the same drop in interest occurred after Toscana was approved. Yet that was the time to relook at zoning — not after a developer (e.g. Handcrafted Homes and the Blackstone project) filed for a conditional use permit.

Council Meeting

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Curious about the 2015 Election in Highland?

Your Vote CountsThere were no local burning issues and no mayoral contest but there was a county sales tax increase on the ballot. We had a 20.1% voter turnout this municipal election as opposed to 2013 when we had a 32.8% turnout. That means that each voter who turned out represented not only themselves but four other Highland voters. Historically, municipal elections with mayoral races draw a bigger turnout than city council only ones. Also,  there is a long term decline in voter turnout in Utah and across the nation. Below is a charts the shows the long term trend for congressional and presidential elections in Utah.

1962-2014 Utah Congressional Election Turnout 1960-2012 Utah Presidental Election Turnout

Monday, November 2, 2015

Selecting Candidates for Political Office

Mr Bean - Confused_thumb[5]

I occasionally feel like Mr. Bean looks when it comes to deciding who’s box to check on the ballot. Let me share some thoughts on what I believe is important based on having served nearly two years on the Highland City council.

Elections are about selecting candidates for office who have both good character and sound judgment. It is less about how a particular candidate stands on a specific issue. When I ran there were a couple of things I was concerned about:

Ponderize: “… we are the children of God”

I have been “ponderizing” the following scripture for two weeks. I believe one could write and entire book on the topics it touches.

“16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together."—
Romans 8:16-17

But for the moment let’s focus on the “simple” thought that we are all children of God. As a parent I have come to understand what it means to love without condition. I love all of my children. At times I am happier for one, more concerned about another, or proud of an accomplishment yet my love for them is not differentiated based on their worldly success. I feel compassion when they have challenges even when their actions contributed to the problem because I know them. My love is for them strengthened when I see them serving each other, their children, and performing unselfish acts for others. I would do almost anything to help them in times of need regardless of any frustration I feel.

2002 Fallbrook - cropped

Now, do I get frustrated with them? Yes. Am I perfect. Good heavens, NO. But I do believe being a parent helps give us a glimpse of how God feels about us as we consider our feelings for our children.

He loves us without condition. He is happy when we succeed. He is pleased when we serve others and cares little for our material success other than to the extent we use it to help others and it reflects our personal development.

I guess it is stating the obvious to say that we need to be more like Him in all aspects of our life.