Friday, August 17, 2018

Enlarging our moral compass. . .

The word compass can mean several things.  On the one hand it is an instrument with a magnetized pointer that always tells us true magnetic north and therefore helps you get your bearings (where you are) and directs you to where you want to go.  On the other, it is an instrument for drawing arcs or circles or measuring distances between two points.  Who can forget the joy of getting your compass as part of your school equipment!  In the verb sense, to compass can mean to go around something in a circular course or to contrive to accomplish something.

While listening to some commentary a while back on NPR, the transgender Democratic candidate for Governor of Vermont saw the primary win as part of the overall goal of transgenders, at least this one anyway, to enlarge the moral compass.  The Vermont win might not be a firm indicator of national mood with regard to the acceptance of transgender but it is certainly a signal.  Yet, what exactly does it mean to enlarge our moral compass?  I guess it means what this candidate wants it to mean since that is what happens to words today but I cannot forget about it.

Does this mean changing the direction of morality?  Does this mean compass in the sense of knowing where we have been and deciding on a new course to take -- one that will not only accept but welcome transgender people and the claims that gender is a fluid choice and not a binary set by anatomy?  It is a thoroughly modern idea and one that is currently popular but not science.  Gender is not a concept but a category and one defined by anatomy -- at least until now.  Confusion over or the refusal to accept this anatomical designation has, at least until recently, been a disorder -- gender dysphoria.

Does this mean somehow widening the circle of morality to include more and more things that were once, well, outside the circle?  Does this mean the broadening of what is good and acceptable in terms of desire as well as behavior?  This is a thoroughly modern idea as well and we have not yet even begun to see where this will head and what will be the result.  Once the definition of who may marry changes, can anyone predict the future of that evolution?  Desires once thought disordered and behaviors once seen as deviant at best or perverted at worse will become more mainstream.  Perhaps there will be no more stigma attached to adult/child sexual relationships, those with animals, or a host of choices I cannot even imagine.  Once you begin widening the circle, there is no way to rein in the process.  Will we ever get to a point where we think we have gone too far or does time always move us toward fewer and fewer prohibitions?

Does this mean going around the age-old standards of morality and simply ignoring them instead of formally changing them?  Is the goal to render the old sense of right and wrong a museum piece that may be recalled as quaint or embarrassing but not anything that has to do with the here and now?  It seems that some want to do just that.  Marriage is not becoming more inclusive but marriage is becoming something different than it once was -- something hardly recognizable to a previous age or time.  Can we simply ignore our past and the the common understanding of what was right and wrong without suffering for it?

Does this mean contriving to accomplish something -- that is, working with a hidden or covert agenda to remake society, the norms that govern our behavior, and the truths that under gird our culture and its institutions?  Some from the right love to claim vast conspiracy -- is this one of them?  Are there people who are working clandestinely to direct our future toward their own progressive goals?  Who they are and how they work may be of interest to us, to be sure, but even more concerning is the idea that our minds, our moral sense of right and wrong, and our views are actually pawns in the hands of a people who have the means and the resources to manipulate us.  Now that IS a conspiracy theory.

So what does this transgender candidate from Vermont mean?  I fear that Christine Hallquist means all of them.  And so do those who champion not only her election but the signal that election means for Vermont and the rest of our country.


Ted Badje said...

Proverbs 14:12, Romans 7:24

Carl Vehse said...

"While listening to some commentary a while back on NPR"

Listening to commentary on NPR is like looking at unflushed toilets in public restrooms.

Anonymous said...

Off topic but regarding Pastor Peters' ALPB post, I don't think those Lutherans who oppose lay readers do so because the congregation confuses the reader with the pastor. They do so because they think the reader is teaching and that women should be silent in the church. Whereas the LCMS and Vatican II practice allows for lay readers, since it is reading, not teaching, and not exclusive to the office of pastor. The LCMS interprets "being silent" as meaning women not holding the office of pastor. This also allows LCMS women to vote, hold congregational office, lead bible classes and Sunday school, usher, assist with communion, etc. If you oppose lay readers, it seems you then must oppose the others as well, as the WELS does.

Sean said...

It just means that Paul was dead on:

18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,g in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
24Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
26For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
28And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.