Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Extreme Decisions, Ending Thread.

Robert E. Lee is a keen example of "good" decision-making that has catastrophic consequences.

We all know the power of decision-making, and its pitfalls. Life is about risks, weighing out probable and possible consequences and taking action based on deliberations. Or, the appearing antithetical of living life spontaneously.

Extreme decisions, take on the weight of being evil, as well. Mass, random killers come to mind. Well-armed, delusional beings who without mercy act to kill. What better evidence that a rebellion against God exists?

I contend that decisions are best made actively in the Spirit of God.

This day is all I have. I cannot make having money next summer or even the spiritual condition of my children the issue that gets my heart and drives my decisions. Today is about being obedient to the spirit of Christ within.

In Him, I find a compassion for others. I find a willingness to look beyond another person’s obvious problems and short-comings which are clearly of the corrupted flesh and its concurrent issues of a selfish heart. The human condition is never escaped. Many manage it by focusing on something outside of the person, the “larger” mission bigger than self. This is a one of those situations where the "good" keeps one from the "best". Living for others to benefit the self does have the positive effect of stabilizing the soul and providing meaning to keep going. However, subduing the flesh for some greater purpose is not freedom from the flesh.

I seek connection with the Eternal Creator. By faith in His grace, I can assert that such is my reality. Fulfillment of the desire must begin in such faith. Thus, I proceed through the day actively choosing an altered state of being and perception, a state of being in spirit and not in my natural man. Such allows me to see others more compassionately, and in so doing I perceive needs and am open to hear how God is moving to touch others. My decision-making is altered, and I have no worry over unforeseen circumstances. It is all in His hands.

This is the wonder of the in-dwelling Christ. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Extreme Decisions, Part 2

Robert E. Lee images entered my thoughts the other day as I pondered people making “extreme” decisions. 

When reading diary entries and letters from the Civil War, habitants of the ante-bellum era in the US, both northern and southern, write with repeated contextual references to “honor” and “noble causes”. Coupled with historic recounting of Lee, it is repeated of him that his love of Virginia and duty to serve there was the basis for his resignation from the US army to take command of Confederate forces. As Postmodern Redneck pointed out in his comments to the previous post, Lee undoubtedly altered the course of the war from short to protracted—five spring seasons in four years saw brother killing brother and friend killing friend—and he did so based on this strong sense of devotion to his home state.

We tend to think of ourselves today as members of one great nation, and we happen to live in one of its states. From what I gather in reading, during the first nine decades of US history, most folks saw themselves as citizens of their state first, then a US citizen. The first US constitution, the Articles of Confederation, outlined the way these sovereign states would work together without giving the federal government any real power over the states. Regional loyalties defined by state boundaries were common and strong. The developing divide of the early Nineteenth Century between North and South regions is rooted in these state loyalties.

So a noble and duty-bound man makes a momentous decision for himself that impacts the young nation profoundly. It is arguable his decision had the potential to rend the nation in two, throwing his military skills as happened to the Confederate Army. That was, afterall, the goal of the southern military and political establishment. Lee most likely didn’t calculate that his decision equated with the greatest loss of life in war the US would ever experience.

Never quite see the full consequences of our decisions, eh?