Saturday, September 17, 2011

Gratitude for Counsel from a Scribe to a Pharisee

Scribes had no authority.  Pharisees acted like they did.

Dear friendly, faithful, righteous Pharisee Nicodemus (not his real title or real name)

Just a note to thank you for your gentle suggestions over the years of our ongoing friendship.  I especially am grateful for the time you take reviewing writing like this very post.

  Kate Lehrer and  her husband Jim exchange their writing all the time, supporting each other and helping to polish the other's work, however, she told Diane (and the audience) that she gets upset when Jim spends some time reading a chapter or an article she has written and says, "That was good, hon."  Jim Lehrer, the anchor of the PBS News Hour, formerly the McNeil Lehrer report appeared on one of the best radio shows I know of: The Diane Rehm Show, between 9 and 11 AM Monday-Friday on NPR.  His wife of 51 years, Kate, a novelist tagged along.  Jim has written 28 books and just published his latest book on his marathon record moderating 11 presidential debates--he says it's like walking on the edge of a very large, very sharp knife.

"I want to hear some real feed back!  What he liked, what I could do better!  Otherwise we're both wasting our time."

I write you that to write you this:  One of the reasons I have come to treasure our friendship, Pharisee, is that you care enough to give me that kind of uplifting feedback on a regular basis.

The first time you did it happened when you came up on stage after our first night of Missionary Boxer and suggested we build an intermission into the second night for the benefit of folks who had a hard time sitting through 90 straight minutes of show.

I was overwhelmed with every detail as writer, producer and head cheerleader for the production.  I didn't take your counsel then--and we probably could have--but --well, I could make lots of arguments in favor of  "plot flow", extending the show length by 20 minutes etc.  

I have never told you, but I appreciated your counsel then and have never forgotten it.  The next time I write and produce a show, the "Pharisee 'Sit Tight'  Break" will likely be included. (Of course playwrights know there's quite a difference between writing a one act play and a two or three act production!

President Packer tells the story about a Stake Patriarch in Brigham City who mentored him as you mentor me.  How wonderful to know someone with more experience who is willing to gently coach and give good counsel!

When President Harold B. Lee clarified the Savior's words in Luke that the Kingdom of God is within you--he indicated that what the Savior meant that the King James translators missed was the idea that the Kingdom of God is AMONG you!

WIth the increasing ability to sense and pay attention to the nudgings of the Holy Ghost, every member of the kingdom has the potential blessing of good counsel from "above" and good counsel from priesthood leaders and  wise senior folks who care about them-- the many emminese grises* (good grey heads) who unselfishly  are informing the rising generation.

(Noun, 1. eminence grise - (French) a person who exercises power or influence in certain areas without holding an official position)

Joseph Fielding McConkie, a wonderful professor of religion at BYU made the point that one of the many reasons the Lord commands us to attend Sacrament Meeting is that in such a community of counselors and counselees, each brings slightly different gifts of the spirit to the community.  As we gather, if we're gentle and observing we get a chance to enjoy most of the gifts of the spirit.   What an uplifting thought.

Therefore, thanks for sharing your good counsel with me on a regular basis.  You may not think it's much-- a word or two here and there, a little mid course correction, pulling back a little much enthusiasm while still encouraging more and better ideas suited to the situation and the process or just a suggestion.  I treasure every one.

Gratefully, thanks to you I am your better informed Scribe,

Jon Robert Howe

PS - In the computer world, a Wizard is some one or in Microsoft programs, some thing that knows a bit more than the user and is willing to share.  As I teach computer classes or the odd church class, I always try to follow your good example and be a good Scribe, a better Wizard and like you, a believing Pharisee who helps and guides whereever he (or she) gently can.


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