Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Stray Thoughts

Everyone's a consequentialist; no one's a consequentialist.
At the level of ordinary talk as well as, I accept, profound good instinct, everyone's a consequentialist and no one's a consequentialist. Significance, even the strongest self-broadcasted deontologist quite often accepts that her ethical code, in any event if universalized, will prompt better results. On the other hand, I have never met even a solid self-announced consequentialist who does not have deontology, who does not trust in no less than one rule that must be complied with whatever the outcomes. This, to me, is the boss motivation behind why examining consequentialism quite often winds up being exhausting.

The evident protests to consequentialism are genuine.
There's no eleven approaches to go about it: to assert consequentialism is to insist that whatever it takes to get the job done, so be it. Yes, there are courses, some of them valiant, some of them actually persuading, to round out of it, however they all end up–this is a tautology–subordinating consequentialism to some other restricting standard. Consequentialism Lite may or may not be genuine, however it is no more consequentialism, since some rule other than outcomes winds up being the expert guideline. Alternate clear issue of consequentialism is the issue of relapse: alright, activities must be judged by the results, yet with a specific end goal to judge those outcomes, there must even now be some total standard of the Good that must be conjured sooner or later, if certainly, and if there is some supreme standard of the Good that must be said to exist and interest adherence, then that must be the standard, not results qua-results. Embed here a study of how Modern morals dependably wind up pinballing between either an implicit crypto-Platonism and a powerful skepticism.

Don't three-card-monte the issue of learning.
Saying that an activity must be judged by its outcomes presupposes that these results areknowable, which is to a great degree, amazingly doubtful, and seldom tended to. This is specifically a deadly issue for that types of consequentialism, utilitarianism, being focused around "utility", which remains eventually undefinable and positively unmeasurable. Possibly there are approaches to address this however surely most medicines simply totally avoid the inquiry.

Consequentialism has a subsidiary part in Christian morals.
After in this way over and over kicking poor consequentialism in the teeth, can anything be said's to support it? Incomprehensibly maybe, the best thing that might be said in regards to consequentialism is that it could be consolidated in a subsidiary part in Christian morals. All things considered, as I composed above, consequentialism has a profound root arriving at into human good instincts, and the law of God is composed on men's souls. From a Thomistic viewpoint, it can surely be contended that on the grounds that characteristic law reflects divine law and the request of God's great creation is one of liberality, results could be utilized as an unpleasant and-prepared measuring stick. From an all the more straightforwardly Biblical viewpoint, confide in God's great Providence, and the intermittent topic of God's endowments presented on the honest, unquestionably would appear to point in the same bearing. An idea which has helped me here is the way to go of God winking at us. God imparts to us through symbols, and through signs; while outcomes ought to never be the explanation behind our activity, God does "wink" at us by adjusting results to the right activity. To see this as a wink, a glint of Providence and not an iron declaration, helps us to relativize outcomes and place them in their legitimate spot while even now considering them. It is the support of the Father as the youngster makes her initial speculative strides.

The motivation behind why we ought not have servitude is not consequentialist, yet the way that a general public without subjugation will wind up tremendously more prosperous and that canceling bondage will have great outcomes an unfathomable number, could be seen as an indication of God, yes, a wink, something genuine and "from God" and glad and lovely however at last short lived and not vital in itself. This obviously ought not need to be said, yet it must be: even this completely trained consequentialism should dependably be oppressed to the pungently, rebelliously, carelessly hostile to consequentialist Gospel of supererogatory love and reparation. The winks are there, yet at last, results matter not, they are short of what straw. At last, closes never advocate the methods.  

Tuesday, 26 February 2013


Stray is a novel by A. N. Wilson. It is a follow-up to his picture book The Tabitha Stories, as it follows the life of Tabitha's father. The book was published in Great Britain in 1987 by Walker Books and was re-published in the United States by Orchard Books in 1989. Stray is dedicated to "A.L.R," who "reserved his kindest comments for a cat." A cat named "Pufftail" tells his life story to his daughter Tabitha and his grandson. He tells of his life on the streets, in a pet shop, at a convent, with a kind grandmother, and with the cruel "June and Jim," among others and says that he has three tragic parts in his life.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

When God doesn’t deliver - Stray Thoughts

In the wake of the horrible tragedy that occurred recently when a gunman entered a movie theater and opened fire, some remarkable testimonies of God’s providential deliverance have emerged. So you STILL think God is a merciful God? tells how the author and her children escaped the theater unharmed. A Miracle Inside the Aurora Shooting: One Victim’s Story relates how a bullet entered one victim’s brain through a previously undiscovered birth defect, causing the bullet to miss the brain itself.

Of course, some will attribute the circumstances to happenstance or luck. But others wonder, why does God deliver some but not others?

In Rosalind Goforth’s book How I Know God Answers Prayer, one chapter details the miraculous bur harrowing account of her family’s deliverance during the horrors of the Boxer rebellion in China in the 1900s. She says:

Many times we were asked in the homeland to tell the story of our escape during the Boxer uprising, and often the question was put, “If it was really God’s power that saved you and others on that journey, then why did He not save those of His children who were so cruelly put to death?” For a time this question troubled me. Why indeed? One day when seeking for light on the matter I was directed to Acts 12. There I found the only answer that can be given. We are told in verse 2 that James was put to death by the sword; then the rest of the chapter is given to the detailed record of Peter’s wonderful deliverance in answer to prayer (vv. 5, 12).

She goes on to say that a great many people were praying for them and that undoubtedly had a lot to do with their deliverance.

But some pray and are prayed for, yet still die or suffer. What then?

Hebrews 11, that great “Hall of Faith” passage tells of many marvelous things God wrought through the faith of His people. But then verses 36-38 take a turn from all that deliverance and provision and answered prayer:

And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

Why were these not delivered? The text doesn’t say, but they are commended just the same as the others: “And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect” (vv.39-40).

In the New Testament, John the Baptist was beheaded. Stephen was stoned. James was killed. Layton Talbert asserts:

But martyrdom is no less providential than deliverance, and the martyrdom of these men was as providentially superintended by God as was the martyrdom of His own Son. Such deaths are neither a failure on God’s part nor a victory on Satan’s. They are a part of the outworking of God’s all-wise and always good purposes. (Not By Chance: Learning to Trust a Sovereign God, page 198).

He goes on to relate:

You have probably heard that “the safest place to be is in the center of God’s will.” A veteran missionary to Colombia, South America, once explained how experience and personal Bible study led him to modify that saying. “The most fulfilling, joyful, and peaceful place to be is in the center of God’s will,” he concluded. “But it is not necessarily the safest.” This is not heresy — unless we measure orthodoxy by conformity to cliche rather than to Biblical realism. (p. 198).

The quote is taken from the article “Peace, if not safety,” and the missionary, Timothy A. McKeown, goes on to make these statements, also quoted in Not By Chance:

It seems to me that the Bible is full of examples of God’s people often-not occasionally-being placed in unsafe, uncomfortable, and dangerous situations.

Most prayers in Scripture focus not on the personal safety and benefit of believers but on the power, majesty, testimony, and victory of God over his-and, of course, our-enemies.

The Lord calls us to obedience in spite of the “costs”-not to personal comfort and safety!

Dr. Talbert continues:

Our death is as much a matter of providence as our life. It may seem tragic or ignominious or accidental. But God’s providence rules over the tragedy, the ignominy, and yes, even accidents. Moreover, we must labor to think God’s thoughts, to maintain God’s perspective (p. 199).

He goes on to point out that the deaths of John the Baptist, Stephen, and James were not the end of them, in two senses. 1) They go on to life in heaven with God, our true and ultimate home, and 2) their influence and testimony continue on. This is true in our times as well, as illustrated by Jim Elliot and the other four missionaries who were killed by the tribe they were trying to reach, Gracia Burnham’s husband, and any saint of God.

In On Asking God Why by Elisabeth Elliot, she included a chapter called “On Brazen Heavens” written by her brother, Thomas Howard. After describing times when God has not answered prayer, at least not as the person praying wanted, he says:

Turning again to the disclosure of God in Scripture, we seem to see that, in his economy, there is no slippage. Nothing simply disappears. No sparrow falls without his knowing (and, one might think, caring) about it. No hair on anybody’s head is without its number. Oh, you say, that’s only a metaphor; it’s not literal. A metaphor of what, then, we might ask. Is the implication there that God doesn’t keep tabs on things?

And so we begin to think about all our prayers and vigils and fastings and abstinences, and the offices and sacraments of the Church, that have gone up to the throne in behalf of the sufferer. They have vanished, as no sparrow, no hair, has ever done. Hey, what about that?

And we know that this is false. It is nonsense. All right then–we prayed, with much faith or with little; we searched ourselves; we fasted; we anointed and laid on hands; we kept vigil. And nothing happened.

Did it not? What angle of vision are we speaking from? Is it not true that again and again in the biblical picture of things, the story has to be allowed to finish?

Was it not the case with Lazarus’ household at Bethany, and with the two en route to Emmaus? And is it not the case with the Whole Story, actually–that it must be allowed to finish, and that this is precisely what the faithful have been watching for since the beginning of time? In the face of suffering and endurance and loss and waiting and death, what is it that has kept the spirits of the faithful from flagging utterly down through the millennia? Is it not the hope of Redemption? Is it not the great Finish to the Story–and to all their little stories of wandering about in sheepskins and goatskins as well as to the One Big Story of the whole creation, which is itself groaning and waiting? And is not that Finish called glorious? Does it not entail what amounts to a redoing of all that has gone wrong, and a remaking of all that is ruined, and a finding of all that has been lost in the shuffle, and an unfolding of it all in a blaze of joy and splendor?

A finding of all that is lost? All sparrows, and all petitions and tears and vigils and fastings? Yes, all petitions and tears and vigils and fastings.

“But where are they? The thing is over and done with. He is dead. They had no effect.”

Hadn’t they? How do you know what is piling up in the great treasury kept by the Divine Love to be opened in that Day? How do you know that this death and your prayers and tears and fasts will not together be suddenly and breathtakingly displayed, before all the faithful, and before angels and archangels, and before kings and widows and prophets, as gems in that display? Oh no, don’t speak of things being lost. Say rather that they are hidden–received and accepted and taken up into the secrets of the divine mysteries, to be transformed and multiplied, like everything else we offer to him–loaves and fishes, or mites, or bread and wine–and given back to you and to the one for whom you kept vigil, in the presence of the whole host of men and angels in a hilarity of glory as unimaginable to you in your vigil as golden wings are to the worm in the chrysalis.

There may be any number of reasons why someone faces death without actually dying. Many who have done so have testified it gave them a new sense of purpose. But as to the question, why does God deliver some people from death and not others, we can’t really know the answers. Even those who were delivered will have to face death another time. All we can do is trust that God has His purposes in what He allows.

But God never promises that all His people will comfortably live the American Dream for 80+years. One of the lessons in such tragedies as the one in Aurora is that truly we never know what a day may bring forth and we’re not promised another breath. We need to be ready to face our Maker. “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” (I John 5:11-12). (More on how to receive the Son of God is here.)

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

good place, bad place

Today is one of those days when being transgendered is one of the last things i'm thinking about. I find myself in a day in which really good things are happening and at the same time really bad things are happening.

On the good side: last night the three member team i'm a part of was interviewed regarding a proposal we've made. We were with about 30 people and we were a hit!! It went so well. I think we've got it done. We are going to be invited to do the job and that is exciting. It's exciting because it will mean doing something new and because it paves the way for my return to the profession i occupied when i was in guy mode, a profession i really loved.

On the bad side: a friend of mine did some really bad things to another friend and so had to move out. He is staying with me in my tiny apartment (sleeping on the floor). Today i find out that there were more things he did and didn't tell her about. Plus it turns out that the problem may be much older than i thought at first. And it seems to me that he has not acknolwledged the serverity of the problem at all. This seem to be a classic case of denial of addictive behavior.

That's the good and the bad and i hope it doesn't get ugly.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

a day at the doctor

Today it was a trip to the doctor for a physical. And this was entertaining.

First there was the form that they handed me at Group Health as I came in. It was the medical update for women. It had questions that I had to answer as "n/a." Then there was the fun with the nurse. She asked me the date of mylast pap smear. I replied that I've never had one. She looked at me in disbelief. Then she looked at the chart. Then she grimaced in embarrassment and apologized. She said that she remembered that I'm transgendered and that she had reviewed the chart the day before butshe said that she just goes on auto-pilot when the exam starts. She then looked across the exam room and moved a tray of item covered with a cloth saying, "I don't think we'll need this either." It was a tray of items for a pelvic exam.

After the vitals, a sight test, a hearing test done by the nurse, the doctor came in. My doctor is young and not experienced at all with trannys. So i am constantly teaching her. She looked at the form I need completed and began to go down the list. We review health history and family history and meds and such.

Then she asked about surgeries. I told her that I haven't had SRS yet (I had to explain the procedure). She asked if I'd had any other kinds of surgery. I said no and she said, "No breast implants?"I said no. She looked surprised and I said, "This is all me." She was surprised that hormones alone worked so well for me.

My doctor noted that my blood pressure in back in the normal range.She was pleased with that. My weight has gone up a pound or two. Sheis not pleased with that. The cholesterol is back to within normal limits (I checked it online) and she will be happy with that.

Then it was time to strip down to nothing, put on the flimsy robe that doesn't cover your back and wait in the cold room. EENT, heart, lungs, back, abdomen, neck shoulders, arms and hands, legs and feet. She checked all my pulses and my reflexes. Then she had to put her finger in four interesting places: oral cavity exam, breast exam and testicular exam and rectal exam.

Then it was time to get dressed and get the line-up of things she had to order: PPD, UA, CBC, Complete metabolic panel, Potassium, Creatinine, Cholesterol, Fasting glucose, PSA, Tdap and my routine estrodial inj. I had four holes poked in me. The three injects were all significantly different and since they were training someone in the injection room they asked if she could observe. I was perfectly fine with that.

I just checked my lab results and they are all normal except for the PSA which is not back yet. This is odd. It could be that the lab saw the order saw the name and the gender and concluded that this was an error and didn't test for it. In addition she sent me home with a stool occult blood collection card. I'll bring it back when I come in on Saturday to have my PPD read.

And last but not least she told me to make an appointment for a mammogram. I picked up some of my med (the rest I'll get Saturday). By then it was past noon and I was hungry. I decided on breakfast at the Salmon Café and then headed for work. All in all an interested morning