Art: HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
I PAINTED THIS Oil in the summer of 2019 from a captivating photo reference. Moonlight shadows falling across deep snow, crowned with innumerable brilliant stars was irresistible. That season will soon be upon Minnesotans! A season of nature’s quietness.
I chose this as the Art piece for this week’s Thought—Ethics—for a couple reasons: First, to me Ethics, like this country road, is a way in the process of choosing a reliable path toward the end or destination you may have in mind. It’s pretty clear in this painting. There are no off-ramps to distract or confuse the path toward your desired destination. Secondly, after 100+ weeks of blogs and accompanying art, I’m running low on my art I’ve photographed!
ETHICAL OR UNETHICAL, which is it? What should I do? That’s a dilemma everyone faces daily in more decisions than most realize. What exactly is implied in the question itself? This pleads for a definition. However, defining ‘ethics’ may not be as easy as checking an English dictionary or Google search. You may discover various, and seemingly complicated, efforts at a definition. As I see it, defining the word brings bewilderment over whether ‘ethics’ is an end in itself, or the means to an end: i.e., “good” over “bad” or “right” vs “wrong”.
“ALTHOUGH ETHICS has always been viewed as a branch of philosophy, its all-embracing practical nature links it with many other areas of study, including anthropology, biology, economics, history, politics, sociology, and theology. Yet, ethics remains distinct from such disciplines because it is not a matter of factual knowledge in the way that the sciences and other branches of inquiry are. Rather, it has to do with determining the nature of normative theories and applying these sets of principles to practical moral problems.” — Britannica
I SEE ‘ETHICS’, not as an end in and of itself, but rather as a means to that end. To use an artistic metaphor, ‘ethics’ is not synonymous with the artist’s finished painting. I see ‘ethics’ as a word to describe the process an artist follows in combining the best mental image of what the final painting should be, with use of objective tools (paints, brushes, canvas etc.) in combination with the application of the artist’s learned skills. One might declare the painting “ethical” or “unethical” based on how well the artist has been able to combine: the mental image, objective tools and learned skills to create the original best mental image. It is declared “good” or “bad” relative to how well the artist (or art critic) judges, based on the outcome and this process.
HOW DOES THIS look in a work environment? You have been hired to a position with a ’Job Description’ including certain expected performance results. You have been trained. You have been provided the necessary tools and protocol for obtaining the required results in your position. Combining these toward producing the required result is what I see as ‘ethics’. How well you utilize these elements: Job Description, training, tools and protocol will, more often than not, be categorized as ‘ethical’ or ‘unethical’ depending on how the process was followed and the result is evaluated—’good job’ or ‘less than good job’. There are consequences based on results following every ‘ethical’ process.
FOLLOWERS OF JESUS have an extra ingredient as simultaneously ‘ethical’ citizens of two ‘kingdoms’. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters… [Colossians 3:23]. Follow the process required in every job or task unless it requires you to disobey what God has given you. Accept consequences by faith. God is your master. The words all your heart is further clarified by Jesus in Mark 12:30,31 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”—Mark 12:30, 31
“Embracing a love ethic means that we utilize all the dimensions of love—“care, commitment, trust, responsibility, respect, and knowledge”—in our everyday lives. We can successfully do this only by cultivating awareness. Being aware enables us to critically examine our actions to see what is needed so that we can give care, be responsible, show respect, and indicate a willingness to learn. . . .”– Richard Rohr blog September 11, 2020
Ethical “Bottom Line”
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20 Include love in your ethical means!