This blog post revolves around two very different subjects that have come up for me this month. Their connection: the name Alexander.
The first is Alexander the Great. My husband and I both enjoy history. While I tend to study more recent history, my husband’s passion is for ancient history. Recently we watched a four-part documentary about Alexander the Great. It was interesting to hear what different people thought of him. Current residents of places like Greece and Egypt have an overall positive view. Most Arabs and Persians are sure he had horns on his head.
My thoughts after watching it were first, I should learn more about his campaigns, because what I heard was interesting. What he was able to accomplish in his lifetime was extraordinary. And second, I don’t think history will ever fail me if I’m looking for writing ideas. I’m curious what my blog readers think about Alexander the Great. Do you think he was a brilliant military leader? Amazing founder of glittering cities and global trade? Megalomaniac? Devilish destroyer of the Persian Empire? All four?
The next Alexander is a much different man, from a much different time. Alexander Pope was an English poet, and over the past week one of his verses has been running through my head as I thought about the sometimes-tricky task of condemning certain sins while remaining civil and kind to all of God’s children.
Vice is a monster of so frightful mien,
As to be hated needs but to be seen;
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace.
And here’s another quote I’ve been thinking about over the past few days, by Quentin L. Cook, a leader in my church:
. . . We need to be civil in our discourse and respectful in our interactions. This is especially true when we disagree. The Savior taught us to love even our enemies. . . . Yet there are some who feel that venting their personal anger or deeply held opinions is more important than conducting themselves as Jesus Christ lived and taught. I invite each one of us individually to recognize that how we disagree is a real measure of who we are and whether we truly follow the Savior. It is appropriate to disagree, but it is not appropriate to be disagreeable. (You can watch or listen to the entire talk here. He also uses this quote in another article, here.)
I have another question for my readers: How do you balance standing up for what you believe in with making sure you’re treating others as you would want to be treated?