At my house we call it Schrodinger’s plague; we have no idea what’s going to be there when we look in the box.
When this thing started, for me, it was a simple question of epistimology: We don’t know what’s actually happening. We have a divided country; an era where we don’t believe experts unless they share our ideology; an equally divided press; compromised social media where, not only does every opinion apparently count, no matter how uninformed, but there are active agents of hostile powers we have become powerless to stop in our complacency and fear sowing discord in our public space. There are no answers, only opinions. I reckoned it to playing Russian Roulette. You stick a bullet in one of the chambers of a revolver, leave the others empty, spin it and point it at your head. There is only a 1 in 6 chance, roughly %16, that anything bad will happen. Do you pull the trigger? The odds are in your favor! Now, do you point the gun at random strangers> What about grandma? I mean, you could be right that the next hamber is empty, but no one is perfect. So, maybe we are overreacting, maybe there is a grand conspiracy or hoax, I’m able to wrap my head around those things. But, how certain are you, you Covid truthers? How convinced that you are right? Are you sure enough to pull that trigger?
So, me and mine, not given to quite that level of intellectual arrogance, elected to treat this as a loaded gun and not wave it around. We, my family and my church, chose to view it this way for a reason.
Here’s the thing, for reason’s I couldn’t possibly understand, I draw a large amount of people who are distrustful of authority into my circle and my church. Weird, right? So, there’s a good bit of differing sentiment about this pandemic in my groups. That being said, my church elected to be cautious, meet online, encourage our folks to stay home as much as possible and wear masks when they needed to be out. Now we consider getting out for you mental or emotional health as big a deal as shopping for groceries so no one has been hardcore about it. But why did we do it?
Well, first, it’s not fear. Oh, I am sure that some of my people are afraid of the virus. I certainly don’t want it, it’s bad, but fear based decision making goes against our doctrine. It actually goes agains the doctrine of any REAL Christ led church. However, we are supposed to behave lovingly.
People are scared. And we just don’t know who might be in danger of dying with this stuff if we aren’t careful. So we mask up. We stay in. We Zoom. We do it for the love of people and the love of God, which cannot be doctinally separated. But there is a bigger picture.
As we enter into the discussions of reopening our society there are some things we should be mindful of:
- We are social beings. Whether you believe, as I do, that we are created of stardust and spirit, or you are the strictest Darwinest to ever live, we are incapable of surviving alone or even in small family units. It is not in our nature and will begin to eat at us in ways that, statistically, could certainly cause as much suffering as the virus.
- The economy, despite our White Western viewpoint on it, is not a just a matter of our inconvenience or loss of livelihood. An economic downturn of any kind has it’s most detrimental affect on the poorest among us. On a global scale we are talking about devastation in the poorest nations that we barely understand. Historically famine is always caused by human decision and in places already plagued by food shortages and abject poverty, a global disruption of the food supply chain becomes the Pale Horse himslef bringing starvation, murder, suicide, infanticide, war….basically the whole role call of the worst human behaviors. To worry about my small chance of actually dying of a disease that we may or may not be able to find a vaccine for, (remember that common cold vaccine we have never found), at the expense of the death of millions more by deprivations of worldwide poverty makes us complicit in those deaths. As Christians, these questions must run ahead of our political beliefs and our petty attempts at righteous behavior.
- That being said, we must take it slow. We must reopen carefully, with an eye to the science. Don’t be foolish, and don’t sound like an unloving ignoramus if you are going to claim my Jesus as your Lord. These are hard questions and love is the only right answer.
I have been an advocate for the lockdown and it’s precautions from the beginning. The very fact tht we don’t know the truth means the loving thing to do is act cautiously. However, as we move forward, which must happen soon, we can’t allow ourselves to be herded by fear, false piety, or any person that would try to use this disease to advance their own agenda. Let me leave you with this:
For the follower of Jesus, it can never be about us.
2 thoughts on “A few thoughts on the pandemic”
“ These are hard questions and love is the only right answer.”
Thanks for the reminder!
Cool thoughts. I think what niggles me the most is that anyone is acting like an authority and that anyone makes fun of someone else’s fears or perspectives, the smug self-righteousness of many. For example, Trump’s disinfecting or “cleaning the body from the inside,” on the surface it sounds silly and easy to poke fun at, but it’s an interesting “think outside the box” idea, what if it were similar to chemo? Or the zapping we do to meats and other food products? The point is, the lack of intellectual humility and the assumption that a certain group is “smarter than” “wiser than” or as it often presents, “superior than” another group.
Knowledge is fluid. Science (although I believe in it and trust most authorities), is fluid to a certain point.
Anyway, keep up the good thoughts, it’s nice to hear them reflected in a thoughtful, balanced way!