November 30, 2020

Lenten Brunch Lite 3: March 14, 2020 – Special Pandemic Edition

Lenten Brunch Lite 3: March 14, 2020
Special Pandemic Edition

During the Lenten season, we will offer a “lite” version of our Saturday Brunch. Each week, I will set forth one question (or set of questions) related to keeping Lent and ask us to focus our discussion on it.

Today we hear wise counsel from Dr. Martin Luther, who helped deal with an epidemic of Black Death in Wittenberg in 1527. Out of pastoral concern he wrote a pamphlet called “Whether one may flee from a deadly plague.” He covers a lot of things in that pamphlet, but I found the following to be especially reflective of the situation we find ourselves in today with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Let’s focus our discussion today on answering the question, “What does a faithful Christian response to the current crisis look like?” I think you will find Luther’s counsel helpful. Perhaps you will have more to add form your particular setting and perspective. Also, there may be insight to be gained from considering that this is occurring in the Lenten season.

A “Plague Doctor” in the 1600s

Use medicine; take potions which can help you; fumigate house, yard, and street; shun persons and places wherever your neighbor does not need your presence or has recovered, and act like a man who wants to help put out the burning city. What else is the epidemic but a fire which instead of consuming wood and straw devours life and body?

You ought to think this way: “Very well, by God’s decree the enemy has sent us poison and deadly offal. Therefore I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine, and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance infect and pollute others, and so cause their death as a result of my negligence.

If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others.

If my neighbor needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely…. See, this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.

Comments

  1. David Greene says

    Other than medicine which we do not yet have for Corona virus the advice is good and the same as we are being advised now; basically social distancing, fumigation which in the present situation would be keeping hands clean with warm water and soap for 20 seconds, and avoid touching the face. If a neighbor is in need they can certainly be helped while still following the current advice: clean hands before and after, then keep 6 feet distance (in most cases easy to do).

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Don’t know if I should post this, but it seems important.

      Recent announcement from the French Minister of Health, as relayed by the “Dr John Campbell” channel on YouTube:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EuWo5lmWuZI

      Summary: Anti-inflammatory drugs – NSAID’s (such as Aspirin, Ibuprofin, Advil) or Steroids – apparently increase the risk of complications. As in could make the coronavirus infection worse. Do not use these for COVID-19 fever. If on prescription steroids or NSAIDs, consult with your doctor as to what to do.

  2. Martin Luther put his money (health) where his mouth was. The Black Plague had a profound effect on Europe as it thinned the herd and people became more valuable. Martin Luther had his faith in God and in individuals not the government or organized church doing the right thing to stop the black death. I believe this Wuhan virus is manmade and not subject to the usual virus protocols, whether intentional or unintentional ground zero is the Chinses Army bio warfare facility in Wuhan. Why the USA decided to deal with Communist China and make them the powerhouse that they are today is beyond me. It would be like giving Germany most favored trade status in 1933 or Japan. Shame on the establishment for being so greedy/stupid that they put us in this position. This is a time for the top 1 to 2% in this country to step forward and take a financial hit for the good of the nation that made their wealth. From the multi millionaire CEO to the multi billionaire trust fund babies time to give back as the financial impact to the working class is going to be severe. The reluctance of the Washington D.C. establishment both parties to go with a payroll tax holiday shows “they” want to control the money. Either we let the Malthusian catastrophe theory play out and solve the problem or we as a nation step and fix it. No politics, no agendas just do what is best to get the nation though a time where the economic underclass is at great risk. If we let politics, greed, social/religious agenda etc. get into surviving we will take a big step back. Are Americans up to the task of sacrifice, educating themselves, be rational and have empathy for those who need help or will we get the usual political platitudes and gamesmanship. Martin Luther stepped forward in faith and action.

    • ” Why the USA decided to deal with Communist China and make them the powerhouse that they are today is beyond me. It would be like giving Germany most favored trade status in 1933 or Japan.”

      Exactly. And, it was done immediately after Tienanmen Square. And, it was pushed by a ?epublican president, And, that was the last time, until 2008, that I voted for any of the two main party presidential candidates.

      A payroll tax holiday will be a narrow and fairly non-productive step that will benefit higher earners. And, it wouldn’t benefit me at all as a self-employed person who does not make quarterly estimated payments.

      • Besides her part time church job, my wife’s other work is self-employment, and she’d receive no benefit from payroll tax holiday in relation to that work. As for the benefit I would receive, it would be far far short of what my wife and I are going to need to get through this crisis in one piece, or even alive. It’s really almost a sick joke to promote payroll tax holiday as a significant emergency relief and help to us and many people in this country like us — only the elite, and those who view the world through elitist lenses, would think otherwise.

    • I don’t need a payroll tax cut to get me through this crisis. I need to be able to take off the time from work necessary to distance myself from others, and not lose my home and insurance as a result of having no income. I especially need this as an older adult with chronic health issues, but who, under the current socioeconomic arrangement in this country, has to work to remain financially solvent. And I need the support to get me, and my wife, through this crisis alive NOW. Otherwise I have to go back to work on Monday, and likely eventually get exposed, and given my profile as someone belonging to several high risk groups, end up needing hospitalization/intensive care and dead.

    • What evidence is there that this is manmade rather than just a natural mutation?

      • There is no evidence of that. It’s just speculation, presented as legitimate belief without any support. The only evidence is the feeling on the part of those who hold the belief that it must be true. Unfortunately, many Americans are promoting this completely evidence-free idea.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        None. None whatsoever. Any such talk is reprehensible gossip.

        • Really guys

          https://www.theweek.in/theweek/cover/2020/01/31/genie-from-a-war-lab.html

          You guys really see no way that is it is odd that the Chinese Army Lab is located in Wuhan the center of all this? Military virus research looks for an agent that will make people ill that contract it but weakens as time goes on so territory can be occupied. So in all the world the virus started by chance in the area where the Chinese Army has the lab. Such talk is reprehensible gossip. I guess the Chinese influence in our news reporting is more effective than I thought. And the Chinese control our source of drugs to combat the virus because of our stupidity. Nothing to see here folks. Chinese Communist have killed more people than any other regime in history, mostly their own people. Why not trust them?

          • You have a theory, but no evidence. I could say that maybe the disease was created by a coterie of evil millennial scientists to get rid of the Baby Boomer generation (of which I’m a member) that has used up so many resources and is sucking up the Social Security fund, and it would be as plausible and lacking in any evidence as yours. The case you present is completely circumstantial.

            • Robert F. Many people are justly convicted on circumstantial evidence. Why so willing to give the terrible Communist China government such trust. Of all the world the epicenter of the virus is Wuhan? Nothing to see here folks. You are correct I like Einstein have a theory, I will compare myself to Einstein as no one else will.

              • And if I decide to subscribe to your low-evidence theory, what good does it do me? Will it help me handle the present crisis, the threat to my wife and my little household? Will it make me any kinder to my frightened and at-risk neighbors? Will it help me to be willing to take risks or make painful sacrifices to help others in their time of need? Or will it make me angry, cynical, and bitter about people on the other side of the globe, people that I will never meet, blaming them for things they likely had nothing to do with, at least nothing intentional? Thanks, but no thanks.

          • “Myth: The virus was probably made in a lab
            No evidence suggests that the virus is man-made. SARS-CoV-2 closely resembles two other coronaviruses that have triggered outbreaks in recent decades, SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, and all three viruses seem to have originated in bats. In short, the characteristics of SARS-CoV-2 fall in line with what we know about other naturally occurring coronaviruses that made the jump from animals to people.”

            https://www.livescience.com/coronavirus-myths.html

          • anonymous says

            why are you targeting the Chinese?

            are THEY responsible for trumpism rejecting the offer of test kits from WHO?

            what’s your angle? to deflect responsibility from the truth?

            • Well guys, at least I know who was on the OJ Simpson jury. Again, the Chinese have really gotten control of a lot of our media and infrastructure.

              • https://www.cnbc.com/2020/02/15/heres-why-the-white-house-doesnt-trust-chinas-coronavirus-numbers.html

                So a deadly virus starts in a city where the Chinese Army has a bio lab. The virus can disrupt the economy of the world and weakened national security. Most of the medical equipment and medicine needed tp combat the virus come from China. Nothing to see here according to NBA and Nike followed by the main line press. Not even worth consideration that perhaps we should change our policies. It this cuts back on our reliance on Chinese goods , it may at least have some value. I personally believe it was an accident not a plan it got out. The Chinese are masters of disinformation .Note date of CNBC story before the Chinese really went into defense mode.

                • Remember… Conspiracies are nowhere near as easy to pull off in real life as they are in the movies. Just ask G Gordon Liddy and Harvey Weinstein…

                  • Headless Unicorn Guy says

                    It is literally impossible to debunk a Conspiracy Theory.
                    Any evidence against the Conspiracy is Disinformation planted by The Conspiracy.
                    Lack of evidence is Proof The Conspiracy can silence anyone & everyone.
                    Anyone who speaks against The Conspiracy is a Conspiracy plant.
                    Anyone who doubts The Conspiracy has proven themselves to be Part of The Conspiracy. (Up to everyone on Earth except the Conspiracy Theorist.)

                    Completely airtight TRVTH.
                    The Dwarfs are for The Dwarfs, and Won’t Be Taken In.

              • Headless Unicorn Guy says

                Well guys, at least I know who was on the OJ Simpson jury.

                As in Non-Whites?

                (I lived through the OJ verdict.. The verdict and its aftermath caused a spike in “Self-Defense White Supremacy” for a while afterwards.)

          • Clay Crouch says

            Geez, come on dan, knock off the conspiracy theory b.s. It doesn’t help anyone and is a distraction. There will be plenty of time after this crisis is over for you to enlighten us.

        • thatotherjean says

          There is no evidence whatever. Would the Chinese, who are as heavily dependent on their manufacturing economy as we are on our consumer economy, disrupt the world, and wreck their own economy as a result? To what purpose? As a conspiracy theory, it makes no sense.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            To which the Conspiracist smugly replies:
            “You Stupid, Stupid Sheeple. That’s what THEY Want You To Think!”
            The Dwarfs are for The Dwarfs, and Won’t Be Taken In.

            Problem with Conspiracy Thinking is it can pinch you off from any reality check. Until you’re answering the door with a pistol like Nesfa Williams because of The Illuminati. As Oliver Stone described it after researching and wrapping JFK, “Did World War II really happen? Do I even exist? Or is that what THEY want me to think?”

            And Christians seem to be especially prone to Conspiracy Theories.

    • Michael Z says

      I don’t think there’s any point in giving tax breaks to billionaires right now. The most important thing is 1) to support people who are living paycheck to paycheck and who don’t get paid if they don’t go in to work, and 2) to keep small businesses from going under.

      Trump’s proposed tax holiday, on the other hand, would give much of the money saved to large corporations and people who are already rich enough to weather this storm. Similarly with other proposals – for example, a mortgage payment break would only help those rich enough to own homes, and would help landlords rather than tenants.

      • Dana Ames says

        Not only that, but the payroll tax is what funds Social Security and Medicare. If there is a payroll tax holiday, in some short amount of time certain people will start saying “Uh-oh, there’s not enough money for pay for Social Security and Medicare – better cut them back, or get rid of them…”

        Dana

        • Yep. It’s another excuse to do what they have wanted to do for a long time–strip away the social safety net. Fortunately, it’s DOA on Congress, since Republicans would like to be re-elected.

    • Dan you are wrong about Luther and the government and the organized church. I’ve only quoted a small portion of the pamphlet. The main question it addresses involves the responsibility of public leaders to remain in a time of epidemic in order to serve the public. Luther was a strong believer in public service on the part of both civic and church leaders and institutions. He had little concept of democracy and individual rights as we know it.

      • CM you are correct. I assumed that Luther was appealing to leaders and government to do the right actions based on their Christian beliefs that they held individually. Luther lived in a feudal world so you are right. I do thank you for the article as it is so relevant and insightful. Not something I usually associate with Luther.

    • Clay Crouch says

      dan, good to see you finally coming around! Perhaps now you can begin to understand why so many of us have such a deep distrust in our president and his staff. When someone tells lies (big and little ones) EVERYDAY, it becomes close to impossible to put our trust in him or those around him that condone and enable his behavior. For me, the only thing worse than Trump being president is the possibility of Pence in the Oval Office.

    • Klasie Kraalogies says

      Dan, Dan. Do you really think that if the virus was man-made, they will release it next door?

      This level of conspiracy-minded stupidity should just be squished, right there.

      • Klasie K. no , it was not released on purpose. This does not change where we are at far as the crisis but it does show why we should be very careful of who we deal with. I guess it just a coincidence that the city where the lab is Wuhan and now the Chinese have convinced our media not to call it the Wuhan virus. I guess the Spanish will ask for a re do of 1918 racist reporting. We have to survive this real problem and then look for the why.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Martin Luther put his money (health) where his mouth was.

      As opposed to, say, Calvin, who when the plague hit Geneva considered himself Too Important to The Reformation to be risked.

  3. –> “What does a faithful Christian response to the current crisis look like?”

    I said it the other day: We have to be light and hope to the world.

    I pray He helps me act Christ-like through this.

    • anonymous says

      “If my neighbor needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely…. See, this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.”

      serving selflessly seems the best response if our neighbor needs our help, yes

      take food over, go to the store for an older person, go to pick up a medication at pharmacy for them, listen to them when they are fearful and pray

      the trumpist ‘head-in-the-sand’ is not anything related to Christianity as its only goal was to promote trump and protect his ratings – who is this man who destroys our American ways for his own power? There’s a hoax alright and its cheerleaders are here on this blog and spouting trumpism to their own discredit, but we know this by now

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        who is this man ?

        To four out of five Evangelicals in 2016, he was The REAL Second Coming of Christ.
        And their Amen Chorus continues to this day.

    • Burro (Mule) says

      Please, what have S. Korea and Japan done to contain the virus? They were infected shortly after China yet they seem to have a handle on it that Europe is still looking for.

      The Chicoms will gun you down in the street and harvest your organs if you don’t stay inside, but they’ll also feed you and shelter you after a degree.

      I’m sure the Italians and the French have done everything ‘right’, yet they’re really under the gun. They have more robust health care delivery systems than we do, and they look like they’ve been hit by a tsunami.

      Also, I’m heartily sick of ‘bad ol’ Trump bogeyman’ actively willing our demise for his own self-aggrandizement. My opinion of him is that he is a deeply flawed man caught in circumstances in which he is way out of his depth. He has my sympathy and my prayers, but not my unwavering support. He lies too much. That is not comforting in these trying times.

      There are no good choices left that will not interrupt the party.

      • I”m not sure it’s under control in Japan. They have done very little exploratory population testing until recently, just like us, so cases haven’t been tested and recognized until symptomatic. But I think it’s starting to go bad for them now. And they have a very aged and vulnerable population.

  4. An interesting roundup of Christian responses to the 1918 pandemic…

    https://www.patheos.com/blogs/anxiousbench/2020/03/influenza-pandemic-1918-churches/

  5. Well, one thing I need to do as a Christian in time of pandemic, and have tried to do, is simultaneously make provision for my small family by building a stock of necessary staples for life under quarantine/isolation, but not steal from my needy neighbors and their families, near and far, by hoarding as much as I can for myself. It is a difficult balancing act.

  6. Andrew Zook says

    You can’t make this up, but yesterday, Fri 13, the day our schools sent my small children home for 2 wks, is the same day I/we found out I have lung cancer… what kind, if its anywhere else, etc still to be determined…
    My tendency in the past and now is depression… I’m gutted, reeling. I wonder what I might have done to bring this on (I’m not,nor ever have been a smoker – I work in an office, although I did work in a woodshop 10+yrs ago) I hate hospitals… I get faint just being in one… Life before this, on the barely-making-it financially/lower middle class rat-race was getting me down and I was considering therapy… now this.

    So the covid-19 seems distant but could also be terrible as I’m suddenly in the high risk group, despite being early middle aged. Now I’m off to a kid/church event (maybe less than 250? that’s why it’s still on?) to try to be normal and not shake hands and wash my hands… and smile and be friendly.

    • Andrew, I hardly know what to say. Reading your comment brought me to tears, but my tears are useless and impotent to help you. I don’t know what else to say….

      Lord, have mercy.

    • Ditto to Robert F ^^. Lord have mercy.

    • May the Lord be close to you and comfort you in His arms. May he hold you like a shepherd does a lamb.

    • That is so hard Andrew. Shocked.

    • Oh my. No words. Prayers for you and your family, Andrew.

    • Christiane says

      Andrew . . . see an oncologist about ‘Cyber-knife’ radiation theragy . . . it saved my eighty-plus year old husband from a lung tumor

      take heart, there is a lot of help out there and if you have two young children, the Universe might come through for you in ways unforeseen

      God bless

      • Peace, Andrew.

      • Andrew Zook says

        Christiane, I actually have 3 young children and wife; and I feel the worst for them that they have to go through this too. Thank you for your hope and prayers.

        • Christiane says

          Andrew, you are very welcomed and I will pray for you and your family. My nephew just married a lovely young woman who is an oncologist (he is a radiologist). I do know from Lauren that there is much that can be done for you so get some sound advice from the proper medical people and don’t despair. God Bless you.

          • Christiane says

            Andrew, I did mean that a lot can be done for people with lung cancer and I was premature in speaking about your situation directly, so I apologize for that, but please check out the possibility of Cyber-knife radiation on lung tumors if it applies to your situation.

    • Burro (Mule) says

      My prayers will be with you as well.

    • thatotherjean says

      Oh, Andrew, I’m sorry! Best wishes to you for wise doctors, effective treatment, and a positive outcome. Stay safe from COVID-19, so your doctor(s) can work on your cancer. Courage to you and your family. I’m not much for praying, being agnostic at the best of times, but you will be in my thoughts.

    • I’m so sorry, Andrew.

  7. senecagriggs says

    Dan said;
    “This is a time for the top 1 to 2% in this country to step forward and take a financial hit for the good of the nation that made their wealth. From the multi millionaire CEO to the multi billionaire trust fund babies time to give back as the financial impact to the working class is going to be severe. ”

    Please don’t read this as critical because it just got me thinking –

    BUT, I wonder how it could be done?

    • Some are doing it voluntarily. Apple is shuttering all it’s retail stores outside of China, and sending their employees home – with full pay.

    • senecagriggs, the Gates, Bloombergs, Zuckenberg, Waltons, Buffett all the super wealthy who do give to their favorite feel good causes could step up. Each company they have financial influence and control of could take care of their employees. It would be ripple effect but it could be done. Control the current bleeding of income loss by the working poor who will be really hurt by this. Stop the ballet funding for example until we get over this crisis. Can it be done yes if we (they) wanted to . How many Americans can go more than two weeks with no income or reduced income? What ever it takes get the economy underclass in this country a chance to make it until they can return to work. Call it a loan of honor to repay or whatever but we can work it out.

      • David Greene says

        For years Bill Gates has been giving big for health issues around the world. He should be respected for that, not belittled.

        • Yep. Anyone who would slam Bill and Melinda Gates for their giving knows not what they talk about.

          • Not slamming Bill or Melinda they do good work and are generous. All I suggested that the world wide super rich redirect some of their giving or increase it to keep working poor around the world afloat til the economic crisis is over. The super rich got rich off the first world economy that fueled their super wealth. Why not keep the engine that got you transported to super wealth alive. You need a consumer base or worse case we could have a revolution of those want to eat cake. I see the effects where I live and it is only going to get worse. However , it is their money and if they want to spend it on anything , their choice. They are like the other 1 percent bullet proof. Just a case of taking care of the economy who brought you to the dance. The majority of Americans are 3 paychecks from being homeless, I am sure same in Europe etc. We are a consumer driven economy and if no consumers no economy. Richest man in the world gives very little as of yet and he is the biggest benefactor of the global first word infrastructure that supports his jungle of an empire.

            I am sure the Tsar and King Louie wished they were more aware of the condition of their subjects.

        • anonymous says

          Dan belittled Bill Gates because of his wealth ?
          while Dan goes all out for trump?

          conflicted? just a little bit

        • Mike Bloomberg, besides his usual philanthropy, has formed a network of mayors, open to all US mayors, to help cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. Mayors can discuss what works and what doesn’t, and how to implement what works. It is supposed to supplement information coming from the Federal government, which isn’t much. Bloomberg explains: “It will help provide guidance on managing medical facilities, handling quarantines, supporting people who are ill who have to stay home because their workplaces or schools are closed.”

          It strikes me as good, practical help at a time when that is in short supply.

  8. Michael Z says

    I think our biggest concern as Christians needs to be how we are each responsible for other people’s lives. As a healthy young person I’m not afraid of this virus – what I’m afraid of, in fact, is that I could get sick and have *such* a mild case that I would go about my usual life not even realizing I was infecting people around me. If there’s even a tiny chance that precautions I take now could lop a whole branch off the tree of infections and save dozens of lives, it’s worth taking those precautions.

    We live in an interdependent society and we are all bound together – that’s the crux of Luther’s words. And, unfortunately, the US is a society where a form of extreme individualism and selfishness is rampant that denies our common bonds of humanity and teaches us to only care about people like us, in a very narrow circle of concern. We as Christians need to be the shining light reminding people to think of the common good, instead.

    On a practical level, again as Luther notes, that means being aware that many of the things we might do that feel like we’re helping are not actually helping. Physically distancing ourselves from others may feel like we’re being antisocial or unsupportive, but in most cases it’s the most compassionate thing we can do.

    • “the US is a society where a form of extreme individualism and selfishness is rampant that denies our common bonds of humanity and teaches us to only care about people like us, in a very narrow circle of concern. We as Christians need to be the shining light reminding people to think of the common good, instead.”

      If the Atlantic can see it, so we should all the more…

      https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/03/we-need-isolate-ourselves-during-coronavirus-outbreak/607840/

    • anonymous says

      “and who is my neighbor?”

      the man injured by the side of the road who needs our help

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      the US is a society where a form of extreme individualism and selfishness is rampant that denies our common bonds of humanity and teaches us to only care about people like us, in a very narrow circle of concern.

      And American Christians have gone with that program. A Gospel of Personal Salvation and Only Personal Salvation not only goes with the program, but REINFORCES it. Simple business transaction: Say the Right Words and get your Fire Insurance (always individual, never group).

  9. senecagriggs says

    Bill Gates worth; thought to be 100 billion.

    We know, if he goes to his ATM there is not 100 billion cash on hand in his bank/banks.

    His worth is from his ownership of Microsoft stocks. which is all about SOFTWARE.

    If there was a huge failure of the USA electrical system – What would a fresh, brand new copy of MICROSOFT OFFICE be worth?

    Is software worth anything without computers? No
    _________

    Jeff Bezos – current worth 106 billion. Primary source of wealth – Amazon stock.

    If there’s no electricity – you can’t order anything from Amazon — Jeff Bezo’s real wealth drops to whatever he’s got in his house that he can sell..

    The modern economic system is truly A HOUSE OF CARD totally dependent upon the electric Grid.

    In times of the total failure of the electric grid; if you have T.P., you might be richer than Bezos.

    • “The modern economic system is truly A HOUSE OF CARD totally dependent upon the electric Grid.”

      As Mrs. Tweedy said, “FINALLY. Something we agree on.” 😉

    • Electricity is our culture’s Key Dependency.

      • senecagriggs says

        That’s absolutely true.
        __________

        If the power grid fails

        NOBODY CARES WHO IS POTUS.

        • It’s getting to the point that nobody cares who POTUS is right now, since he’s not actually leading, others are doing it and he’s just reacting and hosting their platform. At the National Emergency address yesterday, it was the health experts and business leaders who were leading, not him; he merely introduced them with fake game-show host banter and hand-shaking (which he should stop).

      • thatotherjean says

        I was going to say, there are plenty of substitutes for toilet paper, Seneca, but there aren’t many for electricity. A fire can provide light and heat, but it can’t make your refrigerator run. Ice can keep your food from spoiling for a bit, but it won’t turn on your computer. Batteries can make your flashlight work for a while, but they won’t make your phone ring (or tweet, or chirp, or play music. Whatever). It’s electricity that makes the modern world work.

    • The pandemic hasn’t led to the collapse of the electric grid in any of the countries that have been hardest hit. We’re not dealing with the total collapse of modern society – just with a pandemic that will put a strain on our health system and our economy. The actions we take now will make the difference between thousands of people dying versus possibly millions if cases spike too quickly and hospitals have to start turning people away. But it’s that loss of life we should be worried about, not far-out doomsday scenarios.

  10. senecagriggs says

    Paul Allen and Steve Jobs; to name two billionaires; didn’t have enough money to buy another second of life when they died relatively young.

    That will be true of ALL billionaires. None will, at the end, have enough money to buy one more second of life.

    And then they will all face judgment and find their bank accounts are worthless before the eye of The Judge who actually owns everything.

    The uber wealthy are poorer than we think.

    • Student; “Rabi, why are our Russian rulers so rich and we are so poor?”

      Rabbi; “Because God has cursed them with wealth and blessed us with poverty.”

      Tevi; “Oh to be so cursed!”

      • senecagriggs says

        Lol – yeah I remember

        • Andrew, at times words fail and this is one of those times. I agree with the gentlemen above and certainly said a quick prayer for you. I appreciate your honest emotions. At times due to circumstances people need their national family to step forward and help them.. This is one of those times for you and many more .. God Bless .

    • thatotherjean says

      I think that my god–on the days that I almost believe in him/her/it/them-must be more merciful than yours. At least, I hope so.

  11. “What does a faithful Christian response to the current crisis look like?”

    Well we can start by making sure all the elderly folks of our acquaintance have adequate groceries and see that their other needs are met so they don’t have to be out and about. Seems to me what saves most of us are not grand gestures but simple acts of human kindness.

  12. The hospital in my large suburban town in Central PA has a not-too large white tent set up beside the Emergency Room entrance. I saw it for the first time today — I had to go the bank to make a deposit, and went by the hospital. I assume it was erected in response to the National Emergency declaration yesterday, for the sake of preparedness, although there have been no reported cases of coranavirus in my county — Lancaster PA — yet. I assume it is a testing station outside the hospital proper, to avoid exposure to the virus by staff and other patients in hospital. I hope neither I nor my wife ever have need of it, though I fear we will. I expect to see more and bigger white tents go up around the hospital in the not-too distant future.

  13. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    Doctor on the West End of London who’s been doing coverage on his YouTube channel “Midlife Crisis”:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_Vau7NDjQw
    (Note – this doc has a medical man’s sense of humor

    Other helpful YouTube channels which are “MedCram” (instructional/educational medical videos) and “Dr John Campbell” (doctor in Chelsea, England who’s been giving daily updates). Many of these are referenced in “Chubbyemu” channel’s COVID-19 playlist:
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL26HeTCO57qcOqYV6-5ZB9xleo_PaHxi4

  14. Just saw this on an evangelical Patheos blog…

    “If the persecuted church didn’t stop gathering, how is (the coronavirus) any worse?

    #headdesk

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      I fully expect Megas to be Ground Zeros for outbreak clusters, just like that one in Korea with the superspreader.

      A lot of them are continuing as an Act of Faith (and The Tithe$ Mu$t Flow). I’ve even heard storied of Head Pastor Superapostles intimidating their flocks to keep attending. Some as an Act of Faith, some because coronavirus is All Fake News, some (like Liberty U) because of the Superapostle’s Political Loyalty and/or Conspiracy Theory.

      Here’s what I commented on Eagle’s blog (with link to egrerious example on JFea’s blog):

      During the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918, one dicoese in central Spain responded by calling a novena to a patron saint against pestilence. (In defiance of the SECULAR health authorities.) For nine days the churches were packed with prayers and devotions, including kissing the relics of said saint.

      That town had the highest per-capita death rate of any in Spain.

      Flash forward 100 years, to the big Baptist churches in Conway, Arkansas:
      https://thewayofimprovement.com/2020/03/15/one-pastor-said-half-of-his-church-is-ready-to-lick-the-floor-to-prove-theres-no-actual-virus/

  15. Klasie Kraalogies says

    I must say, despite not an insignificant amount of ideological differences, as well as differences in belief/unbelief, I am impressed and encouraged by the calm and rational spirit displayed here. No chicken-little’ism.

  16. Spain has just announced and is implementing a nationwide coronavirus lock down.

  17. senecagriggs says
  18. The USA is headed for a recession as is the rest of the world. We are a consumer driven economy and the fuel of the economy is consumers spending money. The damage already is in the pipeline and the ripple effects will show up and then the ripple becomes a wave. As a nation we must forget about historic differences in the economy . It is time for bold and decisive actions and a high red alert or this will trigger an economic collapse with a decades long recovery ,if we ever do. Needs a lot of detail fleshing out but the main premise is a safety net of money and support to those most affected by the economy slow down. Basically give every person a grant , a stipend , a substance allowance , call it whatever sounds good but get money in the hands of the American consumer and the American citizen. At the very least do a base living amount that is realistic. A thousand a month per person coupled with a workable plan to save their homes, cars and items already purchased . No company bail out but personal bail outs if you want to call it that. Money to help people until the economy recovers and the economy will not have money to recover unless the people have money to spend and no fear of pending doom. Problems and pitfalls , sure alt the usual objection but this is a time for drastic action. Will free loaders get a ride, sure they will, will people take advantage , a few but most Americans are decent and honest. The recession is going to come no matter what but this will aid in the recovery. Do means testing, do voluntary I opt out if you are financial secure. This Is for the working class and the economic underclass who will bear the worst of a financial collapse. We will have to work and plan our way out of the system that is temporary until the devasting effects of the virus have passed. Let people know they are financial secure at a minimum level and that we all stand together. I can think of nothing else that will give a quick recovery. Of course if you are retired, financial secure etc. you should not expect any assistance . Details need to be worked out but let everyone know that as a nation we are all in this, from the bottom 10percent to the top 10 percent. I say this as a conservative but more as a realist who wants the best for this nation. We can do it if we do not go into sound bite mode. Get the money to the people. Give the people hope based on realism Our economy will revert to a basic substance mode if drastic action is not taken I call this common sense not an ism or a talking point. There is no prime in the pump to restart the economy without this. Do not like it but we are theee

  19. Examples

    Get virus out sick, money — salary plus no financial lost for loans etc. til economy recovery
    Laid off = same as above minimum 1k a month per person
    medical care for virus for all-
    if income not affected (like me) than no help , means testing of a sort
    financial status determined by 2019 tax return
    companies/small business who employ people given loans, grants, every tool to insure they can open back up to give people a job
    People of a certain high personal income no relief

    just some thoughts

  20. Marc DiConti says

    Where’s the Faith???
    In response to the “Coronavirus pandemic” and in an effort to slow the spread of the disease, the Roman Catholic church is indefinitely discontinuing giving “the blood of Christ” and emptying “Holy Water” fonts. I ponder, how something truly “holy” can be a conduit for a most unholy infection and sickness; I ponder the same about the holy blood of Christ.
    I won’t scoff, but instead I am embarrassed for some pastors in my own church who claim the Common Cup in HOLY Communion to be Cup of Salvation and embrace the belief that Christ’s blood given in this Sacrament is the “anecdote to death”, now refrain from using IT with the same rational as the Roman Catholic church [i.e. fearing HOLY Commuinon offered in such a way could bring illness or even death]. In a previous post on my Facebook page, I shared the quote of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther in 1527 during the Black Death… and added the link to this webpage
    with the quote. I note that this page is a 16th picture of Luther who is [ironically] publically administering Commuion to the sick with the Common Cup. Either we believe what teach and preach or we do not truly discern His Body and Blood and give lip-service to it. It is not tempting the Devil to harm by taking Jesus at His Word, receiving the Cup for the forgiveness of sin, but it is tempting God to speak of personal faith, yet not put that faith in action; such a faith without action is Dead Faith. I’m with Jesus who offered His blood for us to drink from the cup for the forgiveness of sin. Luther was with Jesus as well.

    • Where in the Bible does it promise that sacramental wine and water are guaranteed to be purified of any and all bacteria and viruses?

      God gave us the Bible, but He also gave us brains.

    • It’s not Jesus’ germs I should be wary of getting infected by, but those of the parishoners to my left and right at the altar rail drinking from the same cup. You are promoting an attitude dangerous for people to have. If you care about your neighbor, you should stop.

    • Some traditions and rituals need to go away, drinking from a shared cup being one of them. Continuing that unhealthy practice makes you no more a person of faith than one who doesn’t. Some people let themselves get bitten by snakes, too, to prove their holiness.

      • Agreed. Even aside from coronavirus, sharing a cup leads to spreading infections around, which leads to the death of some. It should not be practiced. Period.