freedom and control

by Andrea Elizabeth

He shouldn’t have, but George gave me an Apple Watch for Mother’s Day. Like with all these new-fangled gadgets, one doesn’t think one needs one, and then one finds them useful. Now I don’t have to ask Alexa, a gift from George’s brother, to time things for me. You have to be in the same room to use her, but she was easier than walking to the oven timer. I have to time everything from pool maintenance to laundry or I’ll forget and disasters will happen.

It also measures heart rate. Having that continual reminder has made me more mathematically minded about losing weight. Its feedback to my response to activity and non-activity keeps me more mindful of effective moving. The calories-burned counter though is very inaccurately overestimated, but it did make me want to keep track of that too. So I reactivated my Lose It app to count my calorie intake. Lose It asked me questions and gave me a daily limit and a projected goal date. Counting or weighing food changes everything. It’s like when you think you have realistic ideas about what you need and you have trouble affording it. I now have the luxury of not having to count pennies as I shop at Walmart. I’m like a naturally skinny person that way in that I don’t want more than I can afford. But I’m not a naturally skinny person. I want more food than I need and more than my body burns. So I have to keep a weight checkbook* balanced and at hand, sadly.

But so do more than half of Americans. Going into debt, though often done, is looked on as more of a character flaw than eating too much. Being moderately or slightly overweight is looked upon more aesthetically displeasing than morally bankrupt, as it were. Food and eating are seen more aesthetically too as a work of art or an entertaining, pleasurable experience, rather than balanced, healthy sustenance. “Eating healthy” is more of a lifestyle option for paranoid control freaks. Something you trade a really good, carefree time, alone or with friends, for feeling slightly better when you move, or looking a little better, maybe a lot better, for other people.

And there are the words control and freedom. We want to be free to eat what we want, when we want, and in the quantities we want. Back in the day this was balanced by manual labor without the ease of modern technology, and growing your own food which made you plan and conserve food much more carefully. So since we’ve swapped this natural life for a technological one, technology has also provided the means of regulation. Fitbits and other wrist devices are really taking off. So a wrist machine now tells us when to move because the other computer machine says stay still all day.

Progressive car insurance came out with a monitor to put on your car to check your driving habits and reward you financially for good behavior. I know there are already discounts provided by some health insurance companies if you answer a questionaire with healthy answers. I suppose the next step is insurance companies monitoring your heart rate and caloric intake/expenditure to give you discounts. I wonder how skinny millennials will be if they get paid by the step.

Here’s some interesting statistics:

Obesity is one of the biggest drivers of preventable chronic diseases and healthcare costs in the United States. Currently, estimates for these costs range from $147 billion to nearly $210 billion per year.1 In addition, obesity is associated with job absenteeism, costing approximately $4.3 billion annually2 and with lower productivity while at work, costing employers $506 per obese worker per year.3

Healthcare Costs of Obesity

As a person’s BMI increases, so do the number of sick days, medical claims and healthcare costs.4 For instance:

  • Obese adults spend 42 percent more on direct healthcare costs than adults who are a healthy weight.5

  • Per capita healthcare costs for severely or morbidly obese adults (BMI >40) are 81 percent higher than for healthy weight adults.6 In 2000, around $11 billion was spent on medical expenditures for morbidly obese U.S. adults.

  • Moderately obese (BMI between 30 and 35) individuals are more than twice as likely as healthy weight individuals to be prescribed prescription pharmaceuticals to manage medical conditions.7

  • Costs for patients presenting at emergency rooms with chest pains are 41 percent higher for severely obese patients, 28 percent higher for obese patients and 22 percent higher for overweight patients than for healthy- weight patients.8

Not only this, but I’d like sjw’s who decry fat-shaming to think about the impact to the environment, cleared wild spaces and associated animals, and farm, actually factory, animals who give their lives to provide entertainment and emotional and physical highs to fat people. To me it’s a bigger sin than a Wall Street capitalist buying the nicest Tesla. Or the military buying the biggest bomb, if correctly used or not used.

The Church says that overcoming/controlling the passions gives you freedom over them. It’s of course counter-intuitive because we want to be free to exercise our passions. It’s depressing to count the costs. Controlling ourselves is not as fun as controlling all the food. To a fat person the idea of giving food that you want away is soul-killing. But death is the gateway to life, they say. Which life do you want?

*Is the checkbook or weight loss app or heart monitor machine controlling the healthy person? I suppose not if it’s done voluntarily. It’s like hiring a servant to keep watch over something for you. The car insurance monitor is voluntary. If the government demanded that everyone be monitored that would be Big Brother. This is one reason we shouldn’t go single payer. If the government gets serious about mandated affordable healthcare and a balanced budget, I don’t see any other way to do it because health care costs are out of control. If a private insurance company mandates it, then you have the option to switch companies.

Now our Methodist friend is getting powerful

by Andrea Elizabeth

Later in the Justification chapter of Inhabiting the Cruciform God by Michael Gorman,

If that is the case, then we need once again to reexamine the relationship between faith and baptism in Paul. Galatians 2 is about faith, Romans 6 about baptism. But this is a superfluous difference. It does not and cannot mean that baptism is some kind of supplement (or alternative) to faith that somehow has the same kind of effect or structure as faith -or vice versa. Rather, it shows that for Paul faith and baptism are theologically coterminous, nous, and faith is the essence of baptism even as baptism is the public expression pression of faith. Thus what Paul predicates of faith he can also predicate of baptism, and vice versa,103 because together they effect, at least from the perspective spective of the human response, transfer into Christ and thus participatory justification in him. 

This clearly does not mean that faith and therefore justification are human man achievements. To be sure, the response of faith and its expression in baptism are required, not optional. The faith of Christ still requires the human man response of faith, as every pistis Christou passage demonstrates. 104 We must once again stress, however, that God is the initiator and primary actor in all this, as seen in the many passive participles and main verbs Paul uses to describe the salvation event. This important grammatical phenomenon suggests gests a salvific source outside the self, even an “alien” righteousness: justified (i Cor 6m), baptized (Rom 6:3; Gal 3:27;1 Cor 1a3; 12a3), washed (i Cor 6m), crucified (Rom 6:3; Gal 2a9; 6:14), buried (Rom 6:4), and liberated (Rom 6:18). People respond in faith to the gospel, but it is God who justifies, washes (through human agents of baptism), crucifies, raises, and liberates.

I didn’t expect him to be so strong on baptism.

Translation differences

by Andrea Elizabeth

I am listening to Dostoevsky’s The Idiot on Audible, translated by Blackstone. I wanted to post about Dostoevsky’s adverb, “incautiously” to describe how someone said something. The free Ebook was translated by Martin and does not use that word in the following:

“When I said just now that we, you and I, were the lion and the ass of Kryloff’s fable, of course it is understood that I take the role of the ass. Your excellency is the lion of which the fable remarks:

‘A mighty lion, terror of the woods,
Was shorn of his great prowess by old age.’

And I, your excellency, am the ass.”

“I am of your opinion on that last point,” said Ivan Fedorovitch, with ill-concealed irritation.”

Blackstone’s “Incautiously” is a much more interesting description. I believe he uses it again further down.

Oh this is similar but happened earlier in ch 8. The first is Martin’s free translation:

“Gania’s voice was full of the most uncontrolled and uncontrollable irritation.”

Then Blackstone

“I am sick of you! [to his sister] What? You have made up your mind to leave us at last, Prince, have you?” he cried to Mishkin, seeing him get up from his place. Gania’s voice betrayed that pitch of irritation when a man almost revels in his own irritability, gives himself up to it without restraint and almost with growing enjoyment, regardless of consequences.”

Big difference in meaning and complexity of psychology. I’m pretty sure there was another “said incautiously” but I don’t know where to look. To my current thinking, bearing in mind that it has been a few years since I read Brothers Karamazov or Crime and Punishment, that this book tells more of a relatable psychological story. BK was a bit exaggerated, but it was telling of more universal truths. C&P seemed a nice-hearted attempt to be sympathetic to a premeditated murderer, but to me cold-blooded murderers don’t really have psychological preludes, and are thus unrelatable to those who don’t cross the line of purposefully and directly taking someone’s life. I don’t really trust murderers own descriptions of why they did it either, as to me they are too manipulative to be believed. I believe there to be something really deviant in their minds that is really rare.

Anyway, no wonder the Blackstone iBook translation is $17.95.

And the timing of this memo after Comey was fired

by Andrea Elizabeth

sounds more like the fallout from Trump not taking Obama’s and Bush’s wink wink advice about retribution if you mess with the intelligence community. Good for Trump for not being intimidated.


by Andrea Elizabeth

the conversation which Comey memoed about didn’t happen that way at all. He said, he said. Not everyone thinks Comey is the more credible, despite what the liberal outlets claim.

come on

by Andrea Elizabeth

How about this scenario, The democrats are using up all the oxygen talking about Russian collusion when there is no evidence for it. Trump’s message is suffocating without any air time, so he asks Comey to divert the oxygen away from the false charges. This is the most plausible explanation. If there were collusion, it would have been leaked by now. duh.

you’ve got to do better than that, dbh

by Andrea Elizabeth

David Bentley Hart may know some stuff about secularism, philosophy and have some awareness of morality, but the problem with this article is that he equates his take on it with Christianity. Why all of the sudden are liberal democrats sounding like hell fire and brimstone preachers? If you don’t change your politics, you’re going to burn! And if God doesn’t burn you, I will!

Maybe capitalism does favor investors too much. Maybe there should be more regulations on monopolies. But blaming free will and stupid, hypocritical Christians who can’t see how bad their economic politics are wont cut it. Yes Jesus taught against selfish acquisition of money, goods and services. But he didn’t tell people to scream about it on street corners like those annoying preachers. He didn’t tell people to prove their superior morality by flipping a lever once every four years and reposting liberal street screamers on facebook. He said curb your own appetites. It’s hard for me to listen to an overweight person preach to me about the evils of overindulgence who claims only anti-capitalists are redeemed. He also places a lot of emphasis on how culture is to blame. He must not remember the passages about the narrow way that only a few (within culture) will dare to walk. You have to be a salmon to be a Christian, not a cultural river tuber.

Furthermore, I’d also like to hear them talk not only about what percentage of wealth the very few have, but what percentage of the taxes they pay. First google hit says the top 1% pay 50% of income tax. So remove their ability to accumulate wealth, and you’ll also severely decrease government revenue. Smart.

the persistence of bodies

by Andrea Elizabeth

I am currently listening to Dostoevsky’s Idiot on Audible, and the Prince just described the author’s semi autobiographical near execution. People like to watch executions probably because it is a foreknown, prepared for, timed, observable death. What amazes me is how the person’s physiognomy is relatively unchanged in the face of, and Dostoevsky even says the word, “destruction”. We believe death is destruction, but yet the body persists, and Christians believe the soul does as well. Their separation isn’t even complete as relics attest.

I remember the 24 hours after I was told my 7 month old gestation baby was dead, before he was born. My impression was that a dead baby is a formless blob. I unconsciously expected him to be indistinguishable as a person when he was born. My shock at his perfection was profound.

Even guillotine beheaded heads have a certain peaceful, human repose about them. The human body is very persistent. Ask any murderer who tries to hide a body. Bodies keep asserting themselves. In Captain Fantastic, they plan to burn a body in a funeral pyre with the idea of flushing the finely ground ashes down the toilet. That would not work. It takes way more heat to disintegrate a body than occurs in an open pyre. Even cremated bodies have bone fragments in them. The amount of energy it takes to obliterate a body is on a Hiroshima, 9/11 scale.

Yet I am still shocked that a person involuntarily facing death still looks sort of normal. I expect the scariest, profoundest thing, next to a birth, where one’s life will cease would have more of an effect than trembling. How is it that these people can walk up a gallows or even kneel before ISIS at all? Why don’t they faint or involuntarily contort their faces grotesquely? Their fear removes expression so that they look almost resigned. To submit to such a fate probably does include a feeling of utter powerlessness. Still, I expect one to have to be dragged kicking and screaming as I did before my 5 year old shots.

It’s not like all people facing execution believe they’re going to heaven. For all they know they will either cease to exist, even though their body potentially wont ever, or go to hell if they are guilty of some mortal sin. Kicking and screaming should be the order. What are they going to do to you if you do kick and scream, kill you?

“Do not go gentle into that good night.”

But kicking and screaming is an indication that destruction is imminent. And that’s why it still surprises me that someone contorted with all their might and held down still looks like a normal human after succumbing, though silenced and stilled.


by Andrea Elizabeth

According to the Wiki article on Plantinga stating:

“In 2000, the third volume, Warranted Christian Belief, was published. In this volume, Plantinga’s warrant theory is the basis for his theological end: providing a philosophical basis for Christian belief, an argument for why Christian theistic belief can enjoy warrant. In the book, he develops two models for such beliefs, the “A/C” (Aquinas/Calvin) model, and the “Extended A/C” model. The former attempts to show that a belief in God can be justified, warranted and rational, while the Extended model tries to show that specifically Christian theological beliefs including the Trinity, the Incarnation, the resurrection of Christ, the atonement, salvation etc. Under this model, Christians are justified in their beliefs because of the work of the Holy Spirit in bringing those beliefs about in the believer.”

I don’t see how this fits in with Molinism if he thinks the person freely chooses God. The last sentence seems like belief is externally imposed. What if people respond to God with love or hatred. He reveals Himself incrementally to those who love Him, and he doesn’t bother with those who don’t, except to allow them to be a negative motivation for those who do. So belief in the details about Him comes as a person chooses him over error as they repent of their sins. If they continually refuse to repent, their eyes become more and more darkened, revealing that they didn’t love him enough.

molinism 2

by Andrea Elizabeth

from the Wikipedia article sited above:

Difference from Calvinism and from Arminianism[edit]

Molinism differs from Calvinism by affirming that God grants salvation, but humanity has the choice to freely accept it or reject it (but God knows that if the person were put in a particular situation he or she would not reject it). This differs from Calvinistic predestination, which states that a person’s salvation is already determined by God such that he or she cannot choose otherwise or resist God’s grace.

It also differs from Arminianism because it claims that God definitively knows how a person would react to the Gospel message if they were put in a particular situation. Molinists have internal disagreements about the extent to which they agree with Calvinism, some holding to unconditional election, others holding to conditional election and others still holding to an election that is partly both. Alfred Freddoso explains: “Some Molinists, including Bellarmine and Suárez, agree with the Bañezians that God antecedently elects certain people to eternal glory and only then consults his middle knowledge to discover which graces will guarantee their salvation. Thus, in Peter’s case, God would have chosen different graces if those he actually chose had been foreknown to be merely sufficient and not efficacious for Peter’s salvation. Other Molinists, including Molina himself, vigorously reject any such antecedent absolute election of Peter to salvation. They insist instead that God simply chooses to create a world in which he infallibly foresees Peter’s good use of the supernatural graces afforded him, and only then does he accept Peter among the elect in light of his free consent to those graces.” [8] Other Molinists avoid the issue altogether by holding to the highly controversial view of trans-world damnation, the idea that the unsaved in this world would have rejected Christ in any world.” (italics mine)

The last would be my working theory. He orders things for those who seek Him. Those who don’t will blame him for not so ordering things for them.