Sunday, October 16, 2011

Tragic Comedy

At the end of the day, we're all just people.  No matter how valiantly or sheepishly we fight for the causes we believe in, no matter what side of the argument we are on, we are all encased in mortal sacks of flesh, and we all have our own families, and loves, and desires.  We are all human.

That's why it is truly a tragedy to hear about a the death of young woman named Kortney Blythe Gordon.  I didn't know her, but the people who did say that she was a gentle and giving person.

Kortney was in a car crash which took her life about a week ago.  She was pregnant at the time, and the baby could not be saved.  Another passenger in her car is in critical condition, and a passenger in the other car is dead as well.  Recently married, she had a joyous outlook ahead, but now only wreckage remains behind.

Kortney was a Pro-Life advocate, and well known in that circle despite her youth, and had held many different roles in her abbreviated career as an advocate.  In fact, if you Google her name, you'll find connection with tons of Pro-Life organizations.

It is a tragedy for such a young, motivated leader to have her life cut short, but I can't help but notice the irony of her death.  Specifically, she had been making a life out of fighting to keep unborn children alive, only to lose her own unborn child along with her own life.  Sure, accidents happen, but the Biblical standpoint is that God controls everything, including when everyone dies.  Ultimately, this death falls in God's hands.  Even if God didn't orchestrate the accident, having omniscience and omnipotence at His disposal, He could have easily kept Kortney alive despite all circumstances which should have proven naturally impossible for life to continue.  I think that they call those types of events "miracles," or something like that.

But God didn't perform a miracle.  He either planned the death of Pro-Life Kortney and her unborn baby, or He just let it happen anyway.  It's like God is into black comedy.  It is impossible to understand from a loving God.  As we are all too often reminded in times like this, His ways are not our ways.  Yeah, in our silly, human ways, we tend to look out for and try to protect people who are fighting for us in any way that we can.  Quite frankly, I think we have better ways.

I hope that this causes some deep reflection about God among those who fought the good fight along side Kortney.  But that can wait.  Right now, my heart just goes out to the husband and family left behind.  I wish no one had to endure such tragedy.


  1. Been awhile...

    I have in fact been thinking about this recently. The problem of pain and the rationality or believing in a loving God. The thing is I'm stuck at "better ways". All the "better ways" make a god out of someone (or their perspective).

    It comes down to having a reason to care. If it is just a big machine, evolution, chance and law then as much as I may emotionally feel compassion, or passion for that matter, I don't see the point. Since I cannot live that way I am forced to "believe" that it matters that I care.

    Once I make that "leap" to purpose I can begin to critique how the universe is managed and I get stuck. I have so much trouble trying to order my own little piece of reality I'm at a loss to explain how it should be done at a grand scale.

    Then I remember that we have all known right along that the only way it works is if we love one another.

    Great! Now I have purpose and the mechanism but I need the means. How in the world am I going to love my neighbor as myself when more often than not loving my neighbor comes at the expense of myself.

    Then I remember there was a prelude to loving my neighbor as myself, loving God. More importantly being loved by Him, because after all if He isn't loving me how can I love Him? If God does not embody the love I need to give my neighbor how could I possibly love Him first?

    So armed with purpose, mechanism and means I can make my way in this world. It is ordered, organized and in capable hands. All I need is a little faith, because without that it all falls apart.

    I wonder if there is a reason it is so hard to prove a negative?

    Still caring,


  2. @dsholland
    It has been a while, David. I hope you and your family are well.

    It's kind of funny, but, to me, when it's not supposed to make sense, it all makes sense. There is no problem to resolve imperfections with absolute perfections, because there are no absolute perfections. ;-)

    I can understand your point about whether or not you are qualified to critique the running of the universe. It is a valid point, but perhaps may not be complete perspective.

    For example, I know pretty much nothing about running an oil company, and I'm guessing the same could be said of you. In the 1960's through the 1980's, Texaco ran some refinery operations in Ecuador. In the process, they created waste, waste which was not properly contained. The indigenous people who lived down steam, and continue to do so, have suffered wrenching stomach and head pains, blistering skins, and widespread cancer which is associated with the ingestion of petroleum-associated products. Nobody had warned these people of the pollution from the refinery. A lawsuit was raised against Texaco 16 years ago on behalf of the indigenous people to provide a settlement for their health issues and dead children. Texaco fought for 16 years against the lawsuit.

    OK, so I think that Texaco is in the wrong here. Coincidentally, judges have started ruling that way too. I trust that these judgements are correct, as I have seen some of the disturbing evidence myself. However, these judges know very little about running an oil company. But what about you? Would you say that your lack of knowledge of how to run an oil company makes you ineligible to pronounce such a judgement?

    It is in this vein, and maybe in vain, I believe that there are certain topics and certain actions which can be discerned as being either right or wrong without having to know how the entire universe works. Correct me if I am wrong, but I would assume you can agree. If you are hesitant to do so, ask yourself how you feel about pedophilia. You probably have negative feelings about the topic, even those it is a way to love your neighbor and the fact that there is not a single Bible verse against it. Somehow, you are just able to discern that it is wrong all by yourself. But, again, I am merely assuming this about you. Please, correct me if I overreach here.

    By the way, I did like they way you structured your argument, even if I wasn't sold on it.

    Take care. :-)

  3. We are well, thanks for asking.

    I agree there is good and evil, and that I can often discern the difference. In the case of Texaco who made the decisions and who carried them out? Clearly the corporate officers are culpable, regardless of the information made available to them. Getting very far beyond that is kinda murky and not independent of the thoughts and intents of the hearts involved.

    For example the lawyer who does his best to keep Texaco from paying out on the suit.

    The point is that the discussion is only relevant if you believe in good and evil. Without the arbiter, the ultimate Judge my opinion has no more weight than yours.

    I find it strangely comforting that the global consciousness of humanity agrees on the principal if not the implementation of what the yardstick is, and that my faith is in agreement with that standard.

    The thing I had been thinking about specifically was the step from a God of creation to a God of love. While I believed it, I had no rationalization for it, for me it just "was".

    I now believe the human condition and our "universal" awareness of what is often called "the Royal law of Love" provides a rational argument for my blind (well not really) faith that the God of creation is and must be the God of love.

    Does that answer all the questions of the tragic death of a life of promise or the gross malfeasance of an international entity? Not really, but as long as it is not irrational it seems like a better place to start the discussion from. A place of Hope.

    Thanks, you take care too.


  4. @dsholland
    I think I know what your are saying when you speak about "what the yardstick is," but I'm not sure. Would you mind elaborating on that point a little?


  5. Sure, the yardstick is how we are to behave toward one another, how we are to relate to the world. On this point it seems to me that there is agreement at least in principle. I believe it is how we differentiate between the good and the evil.

  6. @dsholland
    Thanks for the clarification

    You made the earlier comment:
    The point is that the discussion is only relevant if you believe in good and evil. Without the arbiter, the ultimate Judge my opinion has no more weight than yours.

    I think that this may be an overreaching assumption. If you and I lived in the world alone, you would be correct in saying that our opinions are of equal weight. However, because we live in a society, that is not the case. Society can be an arbiter. Good and bad (or evil if you prefer) can be measured by how a given action would affect the well-being of the society if that action was carried out across the entire collective. In that sense, your opinion may indeed carry more weight than mine if yours is more beneficial to society. Furthermore, we know what love is. We know how people act in society when they love others.

    From that platform, we have a relevant discussion. From that platform, we can measure any ultimate Arbiter, be it God, Allah, Shiva, Zeus, etc. To me, that is why this “yardstick” is in “our 'universal' awareness.”

    So that's my perspective of the observations you make, the other side of the coin. It does not appear to require divinity, and can actually be used to judge the notions which people put forth as divine.

    I too have hope. I hope to help keep prodding humanity along to actually use their available arbiter, which is too often ignored for selfish reasons. :-)


  7. Good point. I tend to forget the social standards because of their flux. Nevertheless your point is valid and even supported by scripture. Society is an arbiter.

    So if I understand, this can be thought of as another interpretation of God in Man's image vs Man in God's. What I say is "divine" truth you can just as easily say drives our collective concept of the divine (in fact I think you did :-).

    I had this argument with myself awhile ago but don't remember how it went. It may have rested on creation, but I can't say. Sigh!

    However I do agree we ignore the Good we know for selfish reasons, and I think that goes back to the original comment regarding means and the need for the "Higher Power" a'la AA.

    But maybe that's just me, I have a hard time conceiving of a personality strong enough to step into and sustain that position, to be their own "Higher Power". Then, I suppose a case could have been made for my participation in that organization (AA) way back.

    So you've given me more to chew on.

    Always a pleasure.


  8. @dsholland
    It would be foolish of me to deny that faith based programs, such as AA, have helped many people cope with the difficulties that they face in life. Yet I believe that it is equally obvious that faith in an external Higher Power does not necessarily keep people on the narrow path.

    I think you are right that few, if any, people can be their own (implicitly, perfectly moral) Higher Power, and I would never advocate such a position, and I certainly would not elevate myself to that level. I am imperfect. I certainly wouldn't be the one to throw the first stone of condemnation. ;-)

    However, I think people can go a long way on their own if they are willing to take the time to reflect on their own actions, learn, and change as necessary. They can go further still by studying daily interactions, books, movies, etc. for the most equitable behavior. They can go further still by fostering their spirit of empathy, and extending grace as appropriate for suitable transgressions.

    Finally, and very importantly, they can approach a perfection by sharing their lives and thoughts with good friends who are willing to hold them accountable (somewhat like AA sponsors). Having someone on the outside looking in can help us recognize better paths and realize when our own selfishness is creeping into our decisions. So, in principle, I agree with you completely that an external arbiter can be invaluable in helping us be our personal best.

  9. Yes I agree that people can be well behaved and that some very, very bad behavior is carried out in a Higher Power's name.

    What I think this touches on is the need for physical relationships in addition to that more spiritual one and how we need to apply wisdom to the selection of those relationships. Again, this is scriptural and I love how this stuff all works together.

    However your discussion leads me back to purpose, why we are here? Is it just to get along, to maybe make another life better and our own in the process? Little bits of oil in the great cosmic machine?

    I'm just not that well behaved.

    BTW - I found that argument with myself. I generally consider it poor form to put links to my content in someone else's stuff so I will just mention the title (Fractals and Faith). The argument satisfied my "who created whom" question.


  10. @dsholland
    Hi David. I hope you don't mind, but I am going to link to your referenced post, Fractals and Faith. You're a skillful writer, and geeky, so I dig it. :-)

    Besides, the point of my blogging is not to wage war, but to open discussions, so I have no problem sharing your link, and please feel free to do the same anytime here. You can't be a peacemaker without discussion. ;-) However, just let me know if you would rather me not do so, and I will retract it ASAP.

    Maybe there is a purpose to it all. It doesn't seem like it to me, but that does not discourage me in the least. There is no "purpose" to the brilliant colors of a particularly radiant sunset, but that doesn't stop it from being beautiful, awe inspiring, and worth every minute of observation.

    But that's me. Not everyone has that perspective, and I can certainly see the difficulties many people can have without there being a belief of a Master Plan to everything under the sun. Perhaps I am just unusual, or happily deluded.