Monday, October 29, 2012

Why I hate Halloween

I know, I know. Call me Scrooge if you like. But don’t expect me to have my head turned by visits from the Ghosts of Halloween past and future. I just don’t like Halloween.

As a kid, I did enjoy the trick or treating. And we lived in a large neighborhood with gazillions of kids, so there was lots of candy to be collected (and eaten – though somehow my older sister always still had Halloween candy at Christmas…).

And as a dad, I’ve taken my kids trick or treating. In fact this may be the first year in about 25 that I don’t actually walk the neighborhood with one my kids. When we lived overseas, we’ve gone to great lengths for the kids to have some kind of trick or treating experience. In Japan, we pre-arranged with other expat families, so expat kids went to expat apartments trick or treating. In Taiwan, we had a great Halloween party at church complete with trunk or treating. And in Venezuela, the school sponsored an awesome Halloween party with trick or treating from classroom to classroom.

Maybe I’m just getting old (and tired), but it’s all so much work for a bag of candy! The choosing of a costume. The making of costumes (which falls to my lovely and creative wife). The schlepping through the subdivision on a night that is somehow colder than all the others before and after.

And if it were only costumes, that wouldn’t be so bad. But the haunted houses creep me out – always have. The fake blood and skeletons and dead bodies. Ick. I don’t know anything about the biology of resurrection, but I’m pretty sure zombies aren’t involved. At least I hope not.

I admit it – I’m a chicken of the highest order. On my mission in Germany, I spent some time in a US Serviceman’s branch, and they had a Halloween party at some farm. They’d set up a bit of a spook alley in a root cellar (descend the skinny creaky stairs into darkness…). It was a mock-up of an auto accident. I kept trying to see things for what they really were – those “eyes” were just peeled grapes. Those “brains” were just cold spaghetti. That corpse on the bench was just the branch president. Until he reached out and grabbed my knee. And I screamed. Like a girl.

That wasn’t my first Halloween trauma associated with a church event. The first was before I was member. My friend in third grade invited me to the Primary Halloween party at church. He also told me the rule: no masks. I was a troll that year for Halloween, in a store-bought costume that pretty much depended on the mask to make any sense. But, in accordance with the rules, I showed up on his back porch sans mask (and looking like a total dork).

He, in the meantime, was being made up by his mom to be an awesome pirate with a bandana, make-up spotted beard, and so on. When he went into the house to get something, I did what any self-respecting third grade dork would do: I ran home. (Fortunately my friend didn’t give up on me; he invited me to subsequent Primary activities, and our family eventually heard missionary lessons and joined the church.)

So I don’t know if my distaste for Halloween stems from my own trauma, or my intolerance for the “ick” factor, or the fact that in my mid-50’s I’m just getting too tired for all of this. But whatever the reason, it’s still true: I hate Halloween. I’ll be glad for November 1, when I can throw the blasted pumpkins in the trash and be done with it.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Ardis on Sharing Christ -- please read it!

Please head on over to Keepapitchinin and read Ardis' post "Sharing Christ" in which she disusses LDS view of the Savior. An outstanding post.

You'll find it here.

You may now resume your normal blogging activities...

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A remarkable conference-based sacrament meeting

Our ward is similar to many: speakers are typically given a general conference talk to frame their topic for their talks. And the results are similar to other wards’, too. We have some speakers who say, “I was asked to talk about President Monson’s talk from….” And other speakers who did what ours did on Sunday.

This sacrament meeting was particularly delightful in several ways. First, all the speakers (including the youth speaker) were women. That happens once in a while in our ward, just as it happens once in a while that all the speakers are men. Our bishopric doesn’t seem to worry too much about making sure each meeting is gender-balanced, and that’s great from my point of view. (I should point out our youth speaker was awesome, but I’m going to write today about our adult speakers.)

Second, the two adult speakers were former Relief Society presidents from our ward. And I was bishop when they both were called. So you can imagine I was pretty excited to hear from them both in sacrament meeting.

Third, both the adult speakers had been given the same talk as a starting point for their remarks, Elder Holland’s “Laborers in the Vineyard” from last April’s conference. I love Elder Holland, and I particularly loved that talk. If you can’t instantly remember it, go back and have a look; you’ll be glad you did.

Fourth, although they were both assigned the same talk, each of their talks was strikingly different from the other. Both messages were remarkably complementary without overlap. (I know sometimes things don’t work that way. Sometimes the talks overlap quite a bit. But this was not one of those times.) Each of their talks referenced Elder Holland’s address and the parable that formed the core of his talk, but each one also included personal experiences and testimony to reinforce the message of the day.

And that’s why it was so delightful. Each of these sisters prepared remarks that spoke to her experience in life and in the gospel. Those personal experiences were as important as the words of the apostle they each quoted, because those experiences served as additional witnesses of the truth. For me, that’s a way that sacrament meeting talks can be relevant and revelatory: as I hear the thoughts and life experience of the speaker, I can also find parallels in my own life with which I can connect myself to the message. As I do that, the Spirit helps me connect even more deeply, and I come away edified.

I’m no longer in a position to plan sacrament meetings, but if I were, I think I would rely less on general conference talks. (I did it because a bishop I served with did it, and at the time it was a valuable practice for me, and for the ward where we served.) Of course there’s nothing wrong with focusing on the conference talks; we do it in lots of settings, and it’s good to be reminded of what we’ve been taught in conference. But I think I’d encourage speakers to search the conference talks along with scriptures and other appropriate sources around a specific theme or topic, rather than assigning a talk. (Of course I don’t know what I’d actually do: hopefully I’d listen to the Spirit and do what I was prompted to do.)

But in this week’s meeting, even with just one talk between them, our adult speakers both hit home runs. I was fortunate to be there and to learn from them.

By the way:

1. Don't forget to check out the last finalists in the Four Centuries of Mormon Stories contest here.

2. And my latest post at Real Intent, "Venus & Mars and the Empty Bucket " is here.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Four Centuries of Mormon Stories -- "Oaxaca" is here today!

I happy to be hosting today’s discussion of one of the 12 finalists in the Four Centuries of Mormon Stories contest from Everyday Mormon Writer. You can find the text of today’s story “Oaxaca,” by Anneke Garcia, here. Please click on the link, read the story, and the come back to discuss! (If you’d like to check out the other stories posted so far, click here.)

As I think about "Oaxaca," I’m influenced by my own experience as an expat attending non-English speaking units of the church, certainly as a missionary, but also with my family in Latin American and in Asia. I find myself wondering how the Relief Society president would think of me and my family.

As you read the story, think about what resonates with you and tell us about it in your comments.

How does “Oaxaca” present universal themes despite (or because of) its remote setting?

How would the story change in a different setting (for instance if this were a story of a North American Relief Society president with immigrants in her U.S. ward)?

What issues of an increasingly international church does the story reveal?

How do themes of isolation and unity reveal themselves?

BTW, you can find my latest post at Real Intent, “Venus & Mars and the Empty Bucket,” here.

Friday, October 19, 2012

How we tell the story

I live in Metro Detroit, and most of us are pretty excited that our Tigers beat the Yankees in four straight games in the American League Championship Series and are bound to the World Series. Great news for any home team, right?

This morning’s USA Today on my Kindle Fire, however, led with this story from Bob Nightengale on their “top stories” list: Nightengale: Ugly end will lead to changes for Yanks. It’s not about how Detroit won, but how the Yankees lost.

I get that story – the Yankees' sad performance in the ALCS series is noteworthy. And I don’t want you to think I’m so much of a sports fan that I can do more than three paragraphs on a baseball story, so I’m going to get to my point:

There’s always another side of the story. In the case of the ALCS, one side is the Tigers’ winning four straight, and the other is the Yankees’ losing four straight.

When I was in a position to counsel couples, I quickly learned there is always another side of the story when one spouse came to complain about the other.

The same is true for the narrative I have in my head and my heart about the gospel, the restoration and the church today. Sometimes we define things by what they are, and sometimes we define things by what they are not. And how we tell the story may determine how we feel about it.

For instance:

For some, a literal reading of the creation story pits the biblical account against scientific evidence for an “old earth.” For others, a more figurative reading of the creation story allows room for a discussion of scientific theory with less discomfort.

For some, changes in church practice signal that we have an open canon and continuing revelation. For others, it signals that earlier leaders were wrong and gives credence to the notion that today’s leaders could also be wrong about certain things.

You get the idea.

I recognize a tension in myself. I am that natural man that King Benjamin describes as an enemy to God. I am not submissive by nature, and must actively work to learn to submit myself to the will of my Father in Heaven. That is, according to King Benjamin, the way to overcome the natural man. For me, understanding how to submit comes from my own personal study, from what I hear across the pulpit, and from what I feel in my heart in the quiet moments when I can seek out the promptings of the spirit.

In the end, my own goal is to sort out not what my narrative should be, but what God’s narrative is. And my life experience has taught me that I’m likely to find clues in the places someone reading this blog might expect: the scriptures, the temple, modern prophets and personal revelation.

Of course, I’m still learning. If you were to take a cross section of my understanding of the divine narrative today, I hope it’s better formed than it was ten years ago. And I hope that ten years from now, it will even better than today. I can share my view of that divine narrative, and you might disagree with me on one point or another (or ten or twenty points…). That’s probably ok, because you and I are likely in different places in our journey. I have things I could learn from you and from your experience. And maybe you could learn something from me, too.

What’s key is that I am seeking to discover the Lord’s narrative, rather than write my own.

Oh, and by the way -- my latest post at Real Intent, "Living Imperfectly" (published earlier this week), is here.

And don't forget to check out the short story contest finalists at Everyday Mormon Writer, here.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Four Centuries Of Mormon Stories coming to A Latter-day Voice!

Well, one story at least.

Over at Everyday Mormon Writer, there’s a contest going on! And A Latter-day Voice and Real Intent are going to be a part of it (woo hoo!!).

Everyday Mormon Writer has invited authors to submit short stories of Mormon life in the 19th, 20th, 21st and 22nd centuries. Beginning today, they’ll post one of the winning stories each day, and invite discussion of those stories at different blogs around the ‘nacle. Tomorrow’s story, “Ruby’s Gift” by Emily Debenham, will be discussed at Real Intent. Here's a link to the schedule of stories and where they'll be discussed. The stories will appear at Everyday Mormon Writer each day with a link to that day's discussion.

And (this is the BIG news) on October 23 (that’s next week!), the story will be Anneke Garcia’s “Oaxaca” and the discussion will be hosted HERE!

Thanks to Nicole and James Goldberg for organizing the event, and for inviting me to host the discussion for “Oaxaca.” (I’ve already read the story, and I can’t wait!)

Check out Everyday Mormon Writer’s blog for the complete schedule of stories and where the discussions will be hosted. And while you’re there, have a look around the site and see what else they’re up to! If you’re like me (and why wouldn't you be?), you love great Mormon fiction. And if you love great Mormon fiction, you’ll be glad you stopped by Everyday Mormon Writer.

The first story is up! Check it out at Everyday Mormon Writer, and follow the link to the discussion...

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Count me out!

I'm writing this post on Wedesday, though it won't post until Thursday.

My local paper reports that Terry Jones is back in Dearborn, Michigan today. Jones is the Gainesville, Florida, Quran-burning pastor who last year tried to demonstrate outside the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn and was forbidden to do so because of public safety concerns. Of course he sued the city, and today he’s back protesting outside a local high school. (Coincidentally, the high school in question happens to share a property line with the LDS chapel in Dearborn.)

To their credit, Dearborn officials are doing all they can to allow Jones to speak and to protect the peace while he does so. They cite his constitutional right to free speech. And they’re right.

And he’s wrong. Everything I've read about him (and by him) fans the flames of anger and hostility against Muslims.

According to the linked article, Dearborn, Michigan, has the highest concentration of Arab Americans in the United States. As a result, there have been multiple incidents like Jones’ flame-fanning.

Christian missionaries tried to convert Muslims at the annual Arab International Festival last June.

The Christian group Bible Believers brought a pig’s head and anti-Islam signs to the same festival.

Local reaction has included rallies against the notorious film “Innocence of Muslims,” where some have called for limits to free speech, suggesting that hate speech should not be protected.

For its part the ACLU has weighed in: Arab-American Muslim Rana Elmir is the spokeswoman for the ACLU’s Michigan branch. She understands the concerns Muslims feel about attacks on their faith, but, she says, “As reprehensible as Rev. Jones and the Christian activists’ speech may be, the government cannot silence them…even if there have been violent reactions in the past or in other places. We cannot uphold the rights of one group and ignore the rights of others.”

Right she is.

But I think about the actions of these so-called Christian activists against the Christlike qualities Elder Hales discussed last weekend in his conference talk:

Christian love -- “kind and compassionate to all…”

Christian faith – “faithful and obedient to commandments…”

Christian sacrifice – “time, energy, and…Himself…”

Christian caring – “rescue, love, nurture…regardless of their culture, creed, or circumstances”

Christian service – “serving others – lifting up the weary and strengthening the weak”

Christian patience – “…waited upon His Father…waits upon us…”

Christian peace – “urged understanding and promoted peace”

Christian forgiveness – “bless those that curse us”

Christian conversion – “Jesus Christ is the ‘the light and the Redeemer of the world’”

Christian endurance to the end – “continued in righteousness, goodness, mercy, and truth”

Against that standard, please count me among the Christians Elder Hales describes, not the ones Pastor Jones and Bible Believers represent.

A note on comments -- normally I don't monitor comments, but I will for this post, just because I don't know who might chime in and how. I hope your comments will lean toward the attributes Elder Hales describes. If they don't (and I get to be judge; it's my blog, after all) I reserve the right not to post them.
Also this: Check out my latest post at Real Intent, "Celebrating Repentance," here.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Now what do I do?

What a terrific conference. I know the net is all abuzz about changes in ages for missionary service. Great stuff. And Elder Uchtdorf’s ties. Great stuff there, too.

I did not blog about conference before conference, but I DO love it. It’s a feast for me, plus I get to attend church from my La-Z-Boy in the family room. Awesome.

So, now that it’s over, what will I do? I’ll reflect on what I’ve heard. I’ll re-read my notes (those that I can read – my penmanship is really, really bad). And I’ll talk with my lovely wife about themes that we find important for our family and for ourselves. And I’ll think about which talks to study first when they are available (in a few days online and in next month’s Ensign). I’ve already put asterisks by some of the talks as I took notes.

I will do what Elder Osguthorpe suggested in his talk Sunday afternoon – I will ponder the conference messages and ask the Lord for understanding.

There are certain themes that lept out at me from the conference as I listened. I was impressed by how often the principle of repentance came up – and not in a “repent you sinners!” sort of way, but rather that repentance is part of our regular process as members. (My lovely wife described it as learning that it’s ok to be wrong; we can repent and move on.) I can, thanks to the atonement, leave the past behind.

I learned that if I feel a pavilion between the Lord and me, I probably built it. God knows where I am.

I learned our aging apostles, particularly Elders Packer and Hales, are teaching pretty basic and clear doctrine as they have for several conferences now (and, in the case of Elder Hales, for even longer), and it makes sense for me to ponder why the apostles, who can talk about whatever they want, choose (or are moved) to speak about basic gospel principles.

I learned about the value of temple standards – for the building and for me.

I learned that God can be my source of comfort when I need it the most (assuming I’ve torn down that pavilion).

I learned I can be one of many hands doing my small part to build the kingdom, and that’s ok.

I learned that my faith may lead me to more trials which can lead to greater faith. As I live my faith, I can grow in my conversion and have strength to continue in the gospel. This is an idea I’m anxious to explore more.

I will continue to ponder these and other learnings and consider how to incorporate them into our family gospel study and our family home evenings, and into my own life.

What will you do?

By the way -- check out my latest post at Real Intent, "The Driving Force of Parenting" here.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Saving Marriage -- Part IV

This is Part IV. Part 1 is here, Part II here, and Part III here. In Part III, I talked about how we can’t change a spouse, but I promised to talk about how we can share needs in a way that might lead to change. Here’s that discussion:

In a workshop on family communication I learned this: Everyone has a right to express his needs; he does not have a right to have his needs met.

In that workshop, we learned about assertive communication (as opposed to passive/aggressive or just aggressive communication).

How we communicate in a marriage makes a great deal of difference about how we feel about ourselves and our partner, and it may also be driven by how we feel about ourselves and our partner.
Let me start in the middle:

Assertive communication is a way for me to share my thoughts, feelings and needs in a way that is complete and honest, but does not threaten my partner. It allows me to be clear about what I want, but it does not make undue demands. And it does not hide my real intentions.

Passive/aggressive communication, on the other hand, masks controlling behavior in compliant communication. I seek to get what I want without actually saying what I want. Think stereotypical martyr-mother: Oh, that’s fine; don’t worry about me!

Aggressive communication, on the third hand (how many hands do I have??) is just that – it makes demands without regard for the other person’s feelings or point of view. Think drill sergeant or domineering spouse.

How we communicate says a lot about how we feel about our self and our partner. A wife who fears her husband is less likely to choose assertive communication. She may discount her own opinion because she has little confidence in it, or she fears his response to it. So she may passively accept whatever he has to offer.

By the same token, a person who leads but lacks confidence may be overly aggressive in his communication to compensate for his feelings of inadequacy.

Emotional health fosters – and is fostered by – assertive communication in which each partner can speak honestly about his or her feelings without the false expectation that he or she will get everything he or she wants.

Let’s look at an example:

He: (Thinking he’s being polite) I’m glad we’re going out to dinner tonight. Where would you like to go?

She: (Thinking: He always does this! Why does he make me choose? Why can’t he take responsibility for the date?) Oh, I don’t care. Wherever you want to go is fine with me.

He: Ok. I really feel like a burger. How about the Tavern Grill?

She: Really? Oh. Ok, I guess.

That’s classic passive/aggressive communication. It may be true that Dear Husband blew it by not planning the date better, but Lovely Wife ended up disappointed because her needs were not met. And why were they not met? Because Dear Hubby had no idea what they were.

How could it be better? Let’s look:

He: (Thinking he’s being polite) I’m glad we’re going to dinner tonight. Where would you like to go?

She: Honey, thanks for asking my opinion, but it seems every time we go out, you ask me where I want to go.

He: Oh. I just wanted to see if you had anywhere special you wanted to go.

She: That’s sweet of you, but sometimes it feels like maybe you haven’t made any plans.

He: I guess I can see how you might think that. Would you rather I choose a place?

She: I do like it when you make plans for us. It makes me feel like we’re on a real date. But I also like having input. I just don’t like feeling like I have to make the decision every time.

He: Sounds like you feel like I’m inviting you to dinner, then making you make the plans. I guess that’s not much fun for you.

She: Well, yeah, I think you’re right. But I do appreciate your taking me to dinner, really!

He: How about if I suggest a place, and if you’d rather not go there, you can tell me, and then we can choose something else. That way I’ll have given it some thought, and you won’t have to feel like you’re planning it. But you’ll also get a vote in where we go.

Ok, I know it all sounds pretty corny, doesn’t it? Would it surprise you to know my lovely wife and I had almost that exact conversation a few years ago (right after we took that communication class)? The impact of that simple exchange has been remarkable.

Here’s why:

1. My lovely wife had some unmet needs. First, she had a need for me actually to plan our date. And second, she had a need to be able to tell me how she felt.

2. Although I thought I was being polite by seeking her point of view, I was not meeting her need to have me plan the date. And I wasn’t making it very easy for her to share her point of view, either. (She was afraid she’d hurt my feelings.)

3. Because we had been practicing assertive communication, in which we each shared our needs with one another, she was more comfortable telling me what she really thought. Because she cared about me, she did it in a way that was kind, but also clear. Because I cared about her, I listened to what she said instead of becoming defensive. Her need to share became more important to me than my need to defend my position.

4. Once she shared her need, I mirrored back what she said to be sure I understood. When she saw I was getting the message (instead of being defensive), she was more willing to keep sharing.

I’ve used a very simple example, but the principle works in all sorts of issues in a marriage. I really believe (as you know from my other “Saving Marriage” posts) that we can’t control another person’s behavior. But we can influence one another. Assertive communication is a key tool for developing an honest and open dialogue with our spouse. And that honest and open communication is key to sharing – and ultimately meeting – one another’s needs.

President Kimball taught the following about marriage:

The formula is simple; the ingredients are few, though there are many amplifications of each.

First, there must be the proper approach toward marriage, which contemplates the selection of a spouse who reaches as nearly as possible the pinnacle of perfection in all the matters which are of importance to the individuals. And then those two parties must come to the altar in the temple realizing that they must work hard toward this successful joint living.

Second, there must be a great unselfishness, forgetting self and directing all of the family life and all pertaining thereunto to the good of the family, subjugating self.

Third, there must be continued courting and expressions of affection, kindness, and consideration to keep love alive and growing.

Fourth, there must be a complete living of the commandments of the Lord as defined in the gospel of Jesus Christ (“Oneness in Marriage,” Ensign, March 1997).
It’s his second point – subjugating self for the good of the family – that gets to the heart of successful assertive communication. We do not subjugate ourselves by ignoring our needs. We do it by mutually working to meet each other’s needs. I am the first to acknowledge that in an emotionally unhealthy relationship, subjugation of self is a dangerous thing. That’s why all four parts of President Kimball’s formula are so important.

But even in less-than-perfect marriages, assertive communication -- communication in which we say what we mean, mean what we say, but don’t say it meanly – can help partners to express their needs, leading to healthy discussion. Assertive communication can reduce aggressive or passive/aggressive communication that would continue to foster the unhealthy relationship.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Blessing of Forgiveness

A counselor in our stake presidency spoke in our sacrament meeting a couple of weeks ago about forgiveness. It’s a talk he had prepared for our last stake conference, but was unable to give because of a family emergency. What a blessing that we got to hear it finally.

He spoke about the Savior’s injunction:

I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men (D&C 64:10).

He wondered why we seem to have a harder task than the Savior. We must forgive everyone, and He can choose.

Of course, he allowed that the Savior has greater insight and judgment, and that the Savior made the great and atoning sacrifice, so He is in a position to behave differently than we are.

But, our speaker said, another real reason for the Savior’s direction to us is for us. Our forgiving someone else brings us peace.

Forgiveness is the act of our no longer feeling bitter about wrongs done to us. Forgiveness is not the granting of absolution or the excusing of someone from consequences. It is our letting go of the offense and moving on.

Failure to forgive breeds resentment, and resentment distorts our worldview, tainting so much of what we see. You have heard that old saw, that resentment is like drinking poison and hoping the other person will die. (That quotation is attributed to the Buddha, Nelson Mandela, Carrie Fisher, AA, and others – someone else can sort out its origin.) Holding on to anger is decidedly unproductive at best, and can be destructive at its worst.

President Monson, when a counselor in the First Presidency, spoke about hidden wedges in a general conference address. (And he credited President Kimball's citation of the same idea as early as 1966.) Those hidden wedges, he said, were resentments or grudges that we carry over time that damage our personal relationships. The way to avoid them is to forgive freely and quickly.

In my own experience, that forgiveness is only possible as I tap into the blessings of the atonement. Alma reminds us (through what he taught the people of Gideon) that the Savior would

go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities (Alma 7:11-12).

The Savior has already carried the pain of resentment that I might feel because he has taken upon himself the pains of his people. He can bring me comfort because he understands how I feel.

It is easier for me to forgive people I do not know, perhaps because I see my loved ones more, or perhaps it is just my weakness that I am most vulnerable when the stakes are highest.

But by forgiving someone close to me – without expectation of restitution for my perceived loss – I find a sweetness that is difficult to describe. In that moment when my heart melts just a bit and I allow love to replace bitterness, I feel that pure love of Christ working on me and through me, and I capture a glimpse of what the gift of charity feels like in practice.

For me that process can be conscious or not. Subconsciously, sometimes time and distance is all I need – a walk, a few minutes on my own, a chance to count to ten (or a hundred and ten).

Other times, I benefit from a specific choice. I may decide consciously to take the other person’s point of view. I may ask myself the question that Terry Warner taught me in The Bonds That Make Us Free: could I be wrong?

It is amazing to me the power of that question when I feel hurt. It is not, as I thought initially it might be, self-condemning, but rather liberating, as it allows me to break out of a cycle of fruitless pain.

That we are to forgive all men (and women) is a great blessing because it can free us from the bitterness and resentment that is the alternative.