Choice

Art:

I DID A SERIES of Michigan lighthouses in Ink with Pen & Brush a few years ago.  This is from my photo reference of the lighthouse at the entrance to the small harbor on Mackinac Island, Michigan. 

I chose it for our today’s Thought—‘Choice’. Every time a Captain or Skipper of a watercraft is confronted with a lighthouse (especially before electronic guidance systems) he or she was faced with a ‘Choice’, do I or do I not follow protocol? 

Thought:

Made any ‘Choices’?

MADE ANY ‘CHOICES’ today?  You got out of bed… You had breakfast… You may have done neither of these.  But you did.  Why? We constantly make ‘Choices, often without conscious thought.  Now another word enters the conversation—consequence. No matter the ‘Choice’ made, there will be a resulting consequence: getting to work on time, vs being late; not feeling hungry vs ‘starving’.  Some are more extreme than others: selecting a career,.. a marriage partner,.. live in the city or country,.. get a Covid shot. 

‘Choice’ Defined & Illustrated

‘CHOICE’ OFTEN  DEFINED as:  an act of selecting or making a decision when faced with two or more possibilities. 

This is the transcript of a radio conversation of a US naval ship with Canadian authorities off the coast of Newfoundland in October 1995. Radio conversation released by the Chief of Naval Operations 10-10-95.

Americans: Please divert your course 15 degrees to the North to avoid a collision.

Canadians: Recommend you divert YOUR course 15 degrees to the South to avoid a collision.

Americans: This is the Captain of a US Navy ship. I say again, divert YOUR course.

Canadians: No. I say again, you divert YOUR course.

Americans: This is the aircraft carrier USS Lincoln , the second largest ship in the United States’ Atlantic fleet. We are accompanied by three destroyers, three cruisers and numerous support vessels. I demand that YOU change your course 15 degrees north, that’s a one-five degrees north, or countermeasures will be undertaken to ensure the safety of this ship.

Canadians: This is a lighthouse. Your call.

Did this take place?  Don’t know.  Some say it’s one version of an urban legend. It illustrates how important information is before the final ‘Choice’. Right?

Motivative Choices

IT SEEMS TO ME ‘Choices’ are motivated either by: (1.) seemingly rational scientific facts: an outcome is equal to, lesser than, or greater than two or more alternatives. (2.) or a new relationship where alternatives are on a par. It may matter very much which you choose, but one is not better than the other.

When choices we make are on a par, the reason given to us (the ones that determine whether we are making a mistake) are silent as what to actually do.  It’s here, in these hard choices, we exercise our normative power—the power to make reasons for yourself, to make yourself into the kind of person where one of the choices is preferable to the others: a career, a marriage partner, life in the country the city, a Covid shot. 

When we do something where the choices for the follower of Jesus are rather on a par, we do something that is rather remarkable.  We can put our very selves behind an option—here is where I stand. Here is who I am.  This response in hard choices is a rational response. But it is not by reasons given to us. Rather it is created by reasons influenced by our relationship to our Heavenly Father. When we create reasons for ourselves like this, we become this kind of person rather than that. We wholeheartedly become the people that we are. We could say, we become the authors of our own lives for His glory.

People who don’t use their normative powers in hard choices are drifters. Drifters allow the world to write the story of their lives. They let mechanisms of reward and punishment dictate their lives. The key to making hard choices? Reflect on what you can put your agency behind, on what you can be for, and through hard choices, become that person. [1] 

THAT’S WHY HARD choices are not a curse but a Godsend!  God is the Lighthouse to guide my ‘Choices’ for a best result for time and eternity!

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will [choose to]serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will [choose to] serve the Lord.”

Joshua 24:15


[1] I found helpful the TED Talk by Ruth Chang, faculty of Philosophy and Chair and Professor of Jurisprudence at the University of Oxford and a Professorial Fellow at University College, Oxford.

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