Daily Archives: November 14, 2015

Sermon on being human

welcoming statements and ask for phones to be turned off or to vibrate.

Chalice lighting:
J.K. Rowling
“To hurt is as human as to breathe.”

Opening music ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rFW2Df5iRs )

Today I’m going to talk about what it means to be human, from several different perspectives.

The opening music selection was from an anime about people who have developed prosthetics to the point that bodies can be replaced with replacement powered units that look like human bodies but only have a human brain as their sole biologic component, and that brain can be augmented by additional electronic add-ons that can bypass damaged bits to the point that very little of the original human brain remains. The question arises then at what point does the cybernetic body and augmented brain cease to be a human being and become something else? The question is never answered in the show although it might be in the manga that I haven’t had a chance to read. I may do so at some time in the future. But anyway as an anime it is mostly an action sci-fi cyberpunk thriller, but all 3 of the versions I have seen devote significant time to the question of what it means to be human when everything biologic in you can be replaced.

Another pop culture maybe-human is the pop culture zombie (which is not really a zombie but a ghoul, but semantics…) As a formerly-dead person myself I get highly offended at the portrayal of those of us who have died but walk again. We don’t all shuffle along looking for braaaaiinnnnsss [cough] brains.

There are actually several different flavors of the “undead” with different levels of sentience from the mindless shambling corpses of the “Night of the Living Dead” to the cooperative swarms of speedy formerly-dead of “World War Z”, and the photosensitive angry night-walkers of “I Am Legend”. Somewhere along the spectrum they are still human. My call is the “I Am Legend” version who don’t actually die before changing to whatever they are, as they retain language and the ability to plan ahead and work together.

And there I think is the dividing line on that end of the spectrum, retaining the use of language and the ability to plan ahead. We have a lot of people that don’t have that any more that we still call human.

Of course there is another flavor of not-dead in popular culture we haven’t dealt with yet, the blood-drinking undead. Vampires, nosferatu and the like, who live forever as long as they drink the blood of the living. I’m not sure how they fall under the human/not-human spectrum. On the one hand, they’re sentient, use language, and plan ahead. On the other hand they kinda see not-vampire humans as a food supply more than as companions or someone to talk to on a bad day.

You might ask at this point, where is this going? Why is this important?

Among the seven principles of UUism is the inherent worth and dignity of every human being. Well what does that really mean? Where is the cut off for inherent worth and dignity? Are we going far enough down the line in worth and dignity or is our justice “just us”? When does a person cease to be a person and become a thing that no longer has inherent worth and dignity? Where, short of a corpse, does it end? Was Terri Schiavo still inherently worth dignity after her brain death or deserving of the media circus that surrounded her still breathing corpse? Is inherent worth and dignity reserved for those who can ask for it, or everyone who walks or has walked, or could walk some time in the future?

Offeratory music ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BsiepGvjjTM )

The church is not this building, but it sure is nice to have heat in the winter, AC in the summer, and a roof over our heads when it rains.


Closing music ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovHnkKvYZ74 )

Please turn on your phones so other humans can get in touch with you.


No D&D today, and the Feed

I was supposed to go to a D&D game this afternoon, but once again the logistics didn’t work out and I’m stuck at home. There is a Friday the 13th Classic Monster Movie party at church tonight, I might go to that just to get out of the house. I have been trying to teach the fur kids that my legs are not to climb on with some success (after all they are just babies). I’m also playing that mobile phone game that hands out money as hard as I can. I’m almost a third of the way to my next $10 gift card, and 2/3 of the way to my next $1 gift card (those are separate quests that are somewhat intertwined but require different things to accomplish). At this rate I shall reach my goals by Christmas.

Up first how about our Daily Ted? Morning Links: Bad news isn’t the problem, a Breeze-y day in SaMo, and bikes aren’t a priority in Beverly Hills

Aaand Daily Ted part two. BOLO ALERT: Driver of blue car fled the scene after dooring woman near Fairfax and San Vicente Thursday night

Still in CA we get Infrastructure. Safety at a crossroads The person who sent me this link pointed out the SUV using a bike lane to make an illegal left turn in the lead picture.

And more infrastructure from the same city (and newspaper). City officials grapple with who – and what – belongs on the beach bike path Here’s what I think belongs on the bike path: bicycles, tandem bicycles, e-assist bicycles, tricycles, tandem tricycles, e-assist tricycles, and velomobiles. And maybe skateboards and pedicabs. Definitely NOT Segways and hoverboards.

Over in Frisco, a bus takes out most of a block, including a cyclist. San Francisco tour bus crashes in Union Squre, multiple injuries This has to be the ultimate pinball wreck.

The legal infrastructure has been failing cyclists down in NOLA. Cyclists injured in hit-and-run accidents find minimal aid from police, state law TBH this is about what I expect from LEO in the deep south.

The AL restaurant where a cyclist bought breakfast regularly collects for her funeral. Bojangles employees raising money for funeral of customer killed while riding bicycle in Cullman

IL cyclist is killed JRA. Man Killed While Riding Bicycle in Joliet The narrative doesn’t say nor allow for deduction of the mode of the wreck. It does say there were multiple injuries that could have been the fatal injury so the plastic foam hat brigade is foiled in this one. Even if he had been wearing the perfect helmet that prevents every head injury he still would have been dead.

NYPD isn’t the only government agency blocking the bike lanes. Sleepy DOT Workers Block 2nd Ave Bike Lane To Take A Nap But you would think the guys that built the bike lanes would know better.

More infrastructure news from NYC. Plan For Amsterdam Avenue Bike Lane Met With Little Pushback From Residents Only one “I can’t stay in business without free parking in front of my store!!1!!”

Who died from motor vehicle violence in Staten Island? Heartbreaking profiles of 8 pedestrians, cyclist killed on Staten Island in 2015

Another link to the study that showed the best indicator of not getting killed is a pair of ovaries. Joint UBC, U of T study finds that women are less likely to be injured than men on their bikes No I’m not going through surgery to reduce my risk of getting hit.

Taking the lead from the insurance company lawyers the BC driver who ran into a cyclist head-on driving in the wrong lane. Driver accused in cyclist’s death denies responsibility for crash The comment section was wisely deleted from this article.

The Mounties got their man, or at least his car. Police seize vehicle in connection with Lorraine hit and run

Over in the UK they decide that a cyclist who was lighted and reflectored about 250% more than legal requirements was invisible. Cyclist, 42, died in accident on the A40 despite being warned not to ride on busy roads and Coroner: Lorry driver “would not have expected” to encounter cyclist he killed Yeah, I know.

Another cyclist hit in Enn Zed. Cyclist injured in Willis St crash Which just goes to show cyclists are more morally developed than drivers. How many times have I read comments along the line of “Given a choice of hitting a cyclist or hitting a car I’m hitting the cyclist”, and this guy picks a car over hitting a pedestrian.

And I’m out of links for the night.

Billed @€0.02, Opus the Poet