August 12, 2020

Lenten Brunch Lite 6: April 4, 2020 — Lentiest Lent Edition

Lenten Brunch Lite 6: April 4, 2020
Lentiest Lent Edition

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A bitter wind blows through the country
A hard rain falls on the sea
If terror comes without a warning
There must be something we don’t see
What fire begets this fire?
Like torches thrown into the straw
If no one asks, then no one answers
That’s how every empire falls.

Comments

  1. Robert F says

    the refrigerator
    hums its lonely dirge
    in the black morning

    • the refrigerator
      hums its lonely dirge
      to the black coffee

      • I like number two

        • Rick Ro. says

          I was gonna go with #1, with maybe a revision to line three: “to the black morning”

          • David Greene says

            I’m thinking you could write a bunch of these and cascade them together in a longer poem that fills out the whole day.

      • Robert F Your refrigerator is better than mine. Yours hums, mine makes a lot of bad , loud noise. I take everything literally . You do great in a very hard style for westerners to master.

        Roses are red
        Violets are blue
        You got a nose
        Like a B 52

        My skill level on display. Like your poems you insert into the conversation. Keep up good work

        • Brianthegrandad says

          Roses are red
          Violets are purple
          Sugar is sweet
          And so’s maple surple.

          Seems like I heard that in an old country song lyric years ago. My kids hate it when I recite it.

          • –> “My kids hate it when I recite it.”

            You sound like my dad… and now me. I’ve recently heard, “Dad, you’re starting to sound like Gramps.”

  2. Christiane says

    Yesterday a Navy Captain was fired for trying to protect his crew from the ‘virus’. Apparently, he is accused of having not been ‘secretive’ enough and somehow the letter he wrote on their behalf got leaked.

    He has an interesting last name: ‘Crozier’, which in its original meaning refers to the crook of a shepherd, used to protect his flock.
    These are strange times.
    Some of us are brought to the place of speaking out at ‘risk’ so that we have to ‘think twice’ about the cost of our words; but for some people, the cost is worth it. It is VERY likely that the Captain knew it would be the end of his career. But he weighed the cost and wrote his letter in defense of the ones he had been assigned to care for.

    That Captain and the crew who cheered him when he left the ship give me hope for the soul of this country. So I also have hope.

    Kudos for Captain Crozier and for the crew of the air craft carrier who cheered for him. He wanted them to live. And they realized this. Sometimes, people ‘put down’ the very ones they need to honor; and that is when you realize we have entered into an unknown continent.

    Did Captain Crozier have a ‘Bonhoeffer moment’?
    I don’t know.
    But if he walked into a room where I was seated, I would stand up, yes.

    “We live in an age which is so possessed by demons, that soon we shall only be able to do goodness and justice in the deepest secrecy, as if it were a crime.”
    Franz Kafka

    • Robert F says

      If I had been one of the sailor’s on that ship, or one of their family members, he would be my hero. Actually, he’s my hero even though I’m neither. To be “put down” for such an action IS to be honored. He laid down his career for his charges, and there’s no reason to believe he wouldn’t have laid down his life for them as well, if it had been necessary. Three cheers for Captian Crozier.

      • thatotherjean says

        Absolutely. How strange to live in a country where a Naval Captain can be dismissed from command for an accident in which sailors died–two such captains in the last few years–and a Captain can also be dismissed from command for trying to save his sailors’ lives.

    • Like Israel under Samuel, we demanded leaders just like all the other nations… Well, God has answered our prayers. God help us.

      • At the risk of upsetting the intended narrative of the initial post, let me add some information that may provide some clarity. My SIL is a Senior Chief, 17 years active duty and just completed a six year sea billet on board the USS Normandy. We’ve had several discussions about this incident and the bottom line is the Captain violated various COC protocol. He exposed to the world that his ship, one of only 3 carriers in the world with certain capabilities, was non mission capable. And by doing so, he also placed every sailor serving on the various ships attached to the Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group in harm’s way. When deployed, Operational Security (OPSEC) is priority one and the Captain circumvented that. That is an egregious malfeasance.

        While Captain Crozier may have had his sailors best interest at heart, he purposely went outside the COC to convey his concerns. He and his ship were equipped with all technology necessary to transmit an Operational Immediate message through secure channels and thereby only to personnel who had clearance to evaluate such info. Instead, he chose an alternative route and it became public for the entire world to see, including our enemies. In short, he chose poorly.

        • If he did go outside protocols, I would like to think he had a damn good reason to do so…

        • Christiane says

          No problem, Chris A.

          some of what you have written is a part of the narrative, so it is important to know WHY there is a ‘reason’ for the demise of this man’s career;

          but I don’t think we know the WHOLE story yet and if the Captain is as honorable as I think he is, he won’t be out there defending himself, no.

          BTW, a US Navy captain of the line who has charge of a commissioned aircraft carrier is like well-versed in ‘the rules’, the traditions of the Navy, protocol (including international affairs, usually picked up at Georgetown University where most of the officers who reach that level attend for International affairs, and are also very cognizant of what can lead to ‘dismissal’ from duty.

          I think the Captain knew what he was doing, but while those who have the microphone have no problem criticizing him, if he is an honorable man, don’t look for him to ‘defend’ what he did . . . that would go against the purpose of his action. I suggest that there is more to the story. And someday, in time, it may come out. He’s nobody’s fool. And most certainly in my own mind, I can see him attempting to reach the proper authorities through proper channels long before he sat down and wrote that letter. We won’t be told about that, likely. Of course not. What is the way of our military . . . no excuses . . . did he feel that his sacrifice might pay off with attention being drawn to the plight of his men? I also think this possible.

          Thanks for your comment. Hold on for more info to come in some day. (My brother in law passed away at 99 years old and was at one time captain of the old bird farm the Bennington. Long time ago.)

          I just wish the people in charge of the Navy were more than just ‘acting’ status. That might have made a difference. (?)

          • anonymous says

            lions for lambs

          • https://www.stripes.com/news/us/captain-of-uss-roosevelt-relieved-of-command-after-letter-about-coronavirus-outbreak-was-leaked-1.624691

            Chris A . Hit the key issue on the head. Read the above link. Also his immediate superior was right down the hall from him. The letter was sent to 30 people most without decision making capability and with no need to know. Chris A point out the dangers of letting it be known when combat capability is impaired and the operational issues should not be public.. That the crew cheered him is understandable but even they would admit leadership in military is not a popularity vote. Again , why this is an issue off the original topic shows why some here have an agenda more than Lent.

            • Lamenting the state of the world is well within Lent. If you don’t like what we’re lamenting, take a hard look in the mirror.

              • Christiane says

                ‘He’ doesn’t know what Lent is, sounds like. Most evangelicals don’t either.
                That may be changing some, but these are strange times

                • Will I do not think Lent or this site is about trying to bring Trump, politics and current flash points into every discussion but I am not Catholic so I could be wrong.

                  • Clay Crouch says

                    Lent is not only observed by Catholics. Well more than half of Christendom observe this season in the church year.

                    • Probably more than half, once you factor all the outside-North America churches into account.

                  • Christiane says

                    Update for ‘Dan’

                    https://thehill.com/policy/defense/491059-lawmakers-call-for-investigation-into-aircraft-carrier-captains-firing

                    Catholics are held accountable if they do NOT act when they are called morally to do the right thing especially when others are in jeopardy and they can do something to stop the danger. Such a failure to act is called a ‘sin of omission’ so you are right,
                    Catholics are different from the way you are viewing this as a ‘lenten’ matter.

                    Nor do I think you comprehend what a ‘Bonhoeffer moment’ means.

                    I can offer this for you:
                    investigate the difference between ‘ultimate’ and ‘penultimate’. There is a higher law that calls us to selfless service to others for whom we have responsibility for their health and safety. I think the Captain knew this and sacrificed his career for the welfare of his crew, and now, the Congress will take a look into how the crew is being treated in their present danger. Read the link I just gave you, and it will explain this.

                    ‘we are not at war’ the Captain said, so he felt that his crew did not ‘have to die’ needlessly. . . .

                    Yes, I’m Catholic. I don’t know the religion of the Captain or if he even is a believer, but I think there are a LOT of Christians who ‘get’ what he did and that it fits right into Lent big time.

                    I don’t know what your beliefs are, other than you didn’t see any proper connection.
                    I hope I haven’t misunderstood you. If I have, please share where I went wrong and thank you for commenting.

      • But I thank God every day for the unelected leadership of Dr. Fauci. I have no doubt that on more than one occasion in the last weeks he alone prevented decisions that would’ve led to even worse calamity for this nation than we are already seeing. God bless and keep Dr. Fauci and his family.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Until Dr Fauci finds himself appearing on The Apprentice.
          “YOU’RE FIRED!”

          • Over 1000 dead from coronavirus in the US in one twenty four hour period. Dr. Fauci warned us of this a few days ago — he said that it could continue over a period of days. We’ve now hit that terrible milestone.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Dr Fauci has been assigned a bodyguard detail because of receiving online threats from online conspiracy theorists and their fanboys. A detail from HHS; DOJ refused. Many of the threats have a political angle.
          https://www.staradvertiser.com/2020/04/02/breaking-news/dr-anthony-fauci-to-receive-enhanced-security-after-threats-inspired-by-conspiracists/

          • https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2020/04/03/virus_experts_early_statements_belie_prescient_portrayal_142845.html

            Here is a recap of Dr. Fauci early record on virus. Dr. Fauci is a good person and a great Dr. but like all he is human and a science guy. I believe he is a first rate person but like any human can get it wrong at the beginning. However part of wisdom is following the facts and changing your opinion. Right now there is too much Monday morning quarterbacking , thank God we have Fauci and Dr. Birx giving us updates and leading the effort, not that they are perfect but the best at what they do. The bad actor in this whole affair is Communist China, from beginning to now. Again how this ties into Lent is beyond me but I do take the bait.

            • Robert F says

              >The bad actor in this whole affair is Communist China, from beginning to now.

              China is sending New York 1000 ventilators, responding faster than our own federal government. Is that bad too?

              • Rick Ro. says

                I think most everyone agrees the Chinese government has been culpable in many of the current worldwide woes. Sure, 1000 ventilators is a nice gesture. But…

                • Christiane says

                  sounds like China is doing better for our medical front-liners and our sick than the ones who are SUPPOSED to be helping.

                  It’s Russia you should be worried about ‘Dan’.

                  • According to who ? Russia is not the threat to the world that China is , but I could be wrong I am not Catholic.

                    • Tell that to the Ukrainians.

                    • Burro (Mule) says

                      Depends on which Ukrainians.

                    • Christiane says

                      We are currently under attack from Russia who are trying to meddle in our elections.
                      Read part two of the Mueller report.

                      We also have allies in the West and in Nato currently under cyber attack by Russian security forces who are using social media to stir division.

                      Time to investigate what HAS already been learned. The Mueller Report is a shocker.
                      Take a look. For yourself. It is well documented.

                • Robert F says

                  I have no illusions about totalitarian China. I do have a question for our own government, though: Why is there not enough PPE for our doctors, nurses, medical technicians, medical support staff, essential business workers in this the richest country in the world, but there is enough in China for the Chinese people? Let me answer: Because American healthcare, which most definitely does overlap bigly with this and every other public health crisis, is a for-profit racket, where the bottom line is the almighty dollar, not the well being of the individual patient or the society as a whole. There are a lot of bad actors to go around in all of that.

                  • The reason why China had enough masks for everyone is because, in the far East (I’ve lived there), if you get a cold or sniffle or allergy, you wear a mask to keep your germs to yourself. That’s just the thing to do, it’s part of their culture. You have disposable masks at home, like band-aids, and every store carries them like Kleenex. China manufactures them for themselves and all of its neighbors, so there are plenty there. To make any sort of correlation of “China cares more for its citizens than the US because MASKS!” is, frankly, ignorant.

                    • Robert F says

                      Is that also why China has more hospital beds per capita than the US? Or is it because the medical “system” in the US is run like commercial airlines, with flights having as few unoccupied seats as possible, and overbooking par for the course to make it as profitable as possible?

                    • Robert F says

                      PPE includes more than masks. In fact, I didn’t even mention masks in my comment. What’s that about ignorance?

                  • anonymous says

                    any country that has a care for preserving Pandas can’t be all bad

                  • American health-care-for-profit operates its supply line just as auto manufacturing does; “just in time” delivery. Health company corporate doesn’t want to hold a significant inventory of anything–looks bad on the monthly financials.

            • Once the virus slipped China’s borders, the onus of taking action fell on the rest of the world. Most governments, especially ours, dropped the ball. China can only be blamed for so much…

              • We cancelled all flights from China… not sure how we dropped the ball. I guess the rest of the world did the same being that it is everywhere. Let’s try something new. Instead of blaming we should all make our own decision and help those around us. We should all quit looking at the flaws in each other and instead so one nice thing during this crisis (and during Lent for that matter).

                And we should stop talking politics. That is a choice we can make for ourselves. It is not a choice we can fling on others.

                My suggestion….

            • ‘Blame the Chinese’ is not a very honorable way to avoid responsibility. But then there isn’t an honorable way to avoid responsibility is there?

              • anonymous says

                DT says he doesn’t take responsibility for anything

                • So you guys trust the Chinese Communist Party government that has killed more people than anyone other government in history over the American government? Part of our press has abandoned their investigative reporting and does opinion pieces and gives China cover for their actions. The Chinese are still covering up and their numbers are not be trusted. The Presidents from 1972 due to bad establishment policy have made China a strong economic and political force in the world due to their greed. The states and the federal government were not ready for any serious problem due to the neglect well before Trump. The USA has handled this crisis very well and will lead the world out of this crisis as usual. Do you really believe the average Chinese has access to better health care than the average American? You guys really need to wait and vote Trump out and not let him live in your head.

                  • “The USA has handled this crisis very well”

                    Bull manure. The President downplayed the danger for months, ignored intelligence warnings, and hardly any state/municipal/corporate actions were taken to prepare for this. The Senate dithered for almost two weeks to pass a totally inadequate relief package, and we have the worst case growth and death growth of any country. Stop drinking the Kool Aid.

                    • Robert F says

                      In the US, it’s each state for itself, devil take the hindmost. The states are waging this war against coronavirus, not the feds. When was the last time the states were in charge of waging war?

                    • https://www.cliffsnotes.com/study-guides/american-government/federalism/concepts-of-federalism

                      It is how our great country works. If Trump did what many want he would be labeled a dictator and trying to seize power., Trump cannot win with media or Dems. Up to states as it should be. states have power, closer to people. New York not Idaho.

                    • Is it dictatorial to listen to experts, work with Congress to free up funds to relieve laid off workers, or to stop picking trade fights?

                      I’ll tell you what IS dictatorial – using the news focus on the pandemic to ram through regulatory cuts in environmental oversight, and firing whistleblowers.

                    • Burro (Mule) says

                      I wouldn’t have been able to handle the constant images of Our Resolute Leader, Protectress of Children and the Downtrodden. Any more than I was able to stomach the images of the Vigilant Republic, complete with Screaming Eagle, on Fox News for two years after 9-11.

                      The current President came to Washington less prepared even than his predecessor, which is saying a lot. He didn’t know whose ass to kiss, where the skeletons were buried, and, after having pissed off the power brokers of both parties, his recruitment bench for key positions was as shallow as a kiddie pool.

                      He handled this crisis like a businessman, which I expected him to do. He didn’t fill me with much confidence during the early weeks. ‘This guy is gonna kill us all to keep his hotels open’, I thought. Fortunately, he seems to follow the lead of Dr Faudi who seems to have no small experience handling political martinets of whatever stripe.

                      ‘Dithering’ is another name for representative democracy. If you can’t afford ‘dithering’, I’d be willing to rule by ukase any time.

                      I thought so.

                    • And he cannot win with the media and Democrats because he is a liar and an incompetent.

                    • “his recruitment bench for key positions was as shallow as a kiddie pool”

                      That’s what happens when your primary criteria for hiring is stroking your ego.

                    • Robert F says

                      @dan, I’ll repeat my question: When was the last time the states were in charge of waging war against a national enemy?

                    • Christiane says

                      prpblem of leaving fighting the covid-19 state-by-state is that the virus doesn’t respect state lines

                      we need national leadership that SUPPORTS our doctors, nurses, first-responders, hospitals, emt’s, hospital janitors, you name it

                      but what IS happening? listen to a couple of those rants by T on the daily briefing and hear all those complaints from HIM about not going ‘back to work’ and ‘not playing sports yet’

                      priorities . . . we need leadership, not fake leadership

                  • All countries are slow about acknowledging the extent of covid-19, if not outright covering it up. The USA foremostly, because we should have been more prepared. Even now, the federal government (and its son-in-law) is at odds with science and with the states. No way to run a crisis.

                    I’m worried for the poorer, more densely populated countries, such as India, Bangladesh, or in Africa, where the disease may already be exploding, but the problem is undercounted and they have no means of coping anyway, even if it were identified correctly.

                  • Headless Unicorn Guy says

                    You’re starting to sound like a Bircher, Dan.
                    All you need is to always put COMMUNIST in all-caps.

                    • Headless, What opinions of mine lead you to believe I am a Bircher? What facts have I presented that prompted you to make that decision? Just want to know for my general information on how people form their belief system , Thanks

                    • anonymous says

                      its embarassing how much these trump supporters sound more and more like
                      LORD HAW HAW

                    • “LORD HAW HAW”…Lord Hallifax of Chamberlain’s regime?

                  • Christiane says

                    the ‘Dan’s’ who are trying to preserve the honor of Russia are ill-informed to say the least

                    I hope those who praise Russia know who they are praising:
                    Putin, and ex KGB officer/commander
                    and a bunch of bully oligarchs with connections into the Russian mafia

                    time to wise up

                    defending the enemy of our Western democratic way of life seems a bit ‘off’ under the present circumstances

                    this is ‘social media’ in a way, this blog

                    what is the purpose of anyone coming here to support ‘Russia’ ????

                    I love the culture and the people who are very oppressed in ways, my god-mother’s people came from Ukraine when it was a part of the USSR, the music, the ballet, the drama, the literature . . . all speak to us of a great and deep spirit among the Russian people;

                    but praising what is going on now with the cyber-invasion of our social media by Russian security forces is also praising
                    a vicious dictator and his cronies who have stolen power and treasure from the Russian people and left them impoverished by comparison

                  • Christiane says

                    problem with the wait is that people are dying because of the act

                    you know the act, don’t you? ‘this virus thing is a HOAX designed to get Trump out of office’

                    so the word went out to NOT take the offer of test kits from WHO, and instead the few kits we had here were skimpy and time-consuming and while the virus spread, we did nothing

                    ‘HOAX’ politics won the day and we did next to nothing

                    we can still here the echoes of ‘it’s not so bad’, ‘don’t talk about it’, ‘no big deal’,
                    but we don’t have enough body bags ready in the country so we are going to have to get them from other countries

                    so much for ‘a miracle will happen’

                    the politics in this virus business was front-loaded;
                    the result is massive infection and death

                    • Robert F says

                      Biggest mistake, biggest sin of omission, not to take the WHO test kits. It’s resulted in the deaths of many, deaths which could’ve been prevented. The CDC test takes 7-10 days for results; it puts the data set nearly two weeks behind the disease spread. Not good for taking preventative measures.

                      To those who say there is too much Monday morning quarterbacking going on, I say that the game hasn’t even reached half-time yet.

                    • Christiane says

                      one idea:
                      the ‘slow’ testing kept the numbers lower for the politicians and the economists

                      what they didn’t know was that the blow-back from stalling would destroy a whole lot more than they anticipated should we have tested fully early and sheltered in place for a time

                    • –> “To those who say there is too much Monday morning quarterbacking going on, I say that the game hasn’t even reached half-time yet.”

                      Exactly. And while yes, there are some things “too late to fix” which makes it sound like Monday morning QB-ing, there’s plenty of game left to go and a lot of stuff done wrong that can be corrected IF ACTION IS TAKEN NOW. (It’s like my complaints while watching Seahawks games: “Why do we always wait until the fourth quarter to start playing well???”)

                      But we need leadership more interested in the good of the team and the outcome of the game, rather than worried about looking good on the sideline or thinking there’s not actually a game in the balance. (That there are still some governors out there with their head in the sand… discouraging on many levels.)

                  • Dan,

                    According to recent New York Times reporting, it was our president who trusted the Chinese (their president) over the word of the US intelligence community, who has been telling him since January the Chinese were lying. As usual, he trusts foreign dictators more than US intelligence. And now here we are.

      • “we demanded leaders just like all the other nations… Well, God has answered our prayers.”
        I am sure most of the world leaders, except for the Mobutus, Mugabes and maybe a few of their ilk, would take great offense to this!

        • I’m sure they would.

        • Burro (Mule) says

          The President of Peru has a lot of respect from me. He is unelected, having succeeded to the Presidency after his predecessor was arrested for taking money from a Brazilian engineering company eight months into his term. President Vizcaya doesn’t want the job, threatens to quit every other week, and will not be seeking re-election. This gives him a lot of leverage.

          He once went on record saying that ignoring your critics is much superior to silencing them.

          He issued an executive order saying that women can go out on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and men on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. It immediately cut into the sexual assault rate.

          • I remember reading decades ago…

            Robert Heinlein ALWAYS made his political philosophy front and center in all of his novels. I recall in Starship Trooper his express perspective that no one should be elected to political office who wants the office and that no one should have the vote unless they have served the country in such a way that would involve putting their life at risk for the greater good. Oh, and he suggested that those elected to office should be the ones who pay for programs they enact into law…at one time all of that appealed to me. The rugged Individualist. The “Heinlein Man.”

  3. I belong to a cyber autoharp group. It was posted in the group in the last few days that John Prine had covid 19, was on a vent, but has recovered and is home again. Good news.

  4. That’s how every empire falls

    “Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.” Rev 18:10

  5. What a profoundly personal yet truly universal song. About failing people, failing relationships, and failing societies and civilizations at the same time. If that ain’t art, I don’t know what is.

  6. Does forced Lent count as Lent?

  7. As I contemplate the increased possibility of what I heretofore would have thought of as an early demise, due to the coronavirus crisis, I realize that no matter when it happened I would not be adequately prepared for my death, or that of my wife. I had deferred to the future, maybe over ten or twenty more years of life, the changes and transformations in myself and my relationships that would make me ready — but I was deluding myself. What matters is how I conduct my life now, not later, and one can only begin to prepare to encounter death and suffering in and through the present moment.

    The same is true of empires as of individuals. Empires are bound to suffer and die, but they have the present moment in which to start preparing themselves for the eventuality. They fall because they fail to grasp the present moment, and instead defer it endlessly to a future that is not here, and can never arrive. I think that’s what this John Prine song is about: not the loss of living forever, for either empire or individual, but the loss of living well by living in the illusion of a future that can never arrive.

    • Robert,

      I wanted to wait until the dust settled here somewhat before I responded to this post. Although I only know you through your writings on IMonk, nonetheless it’s probably fair to say that you and I are diametrically opposed on most issues. However, this particular post resonates with me for reasons I need to explain and unpack.

      Your post is a genuine lament and indicative (I think) of your spiritual journey. I find it admirable that you are brutally honest with your feelings; something I wish I could accomplish more often. You have an eloquence, intelligence, wisdom, and imagination borne out in your writing that I find to be both breathtaking and heart wrenching at times. As well, there have been some of your posts over the years have just flat irritated the hell out of me. Moving on……

      Voicing your reticence to go about your job in the face of this pandemic and yet go anyway is commendable. Your distress over being exposed to this virus because of your employment is certainly understandable. Still, you have chosen to go. Folks on this blog and elsewhere throw out the name Bonhoeffer as a comparison to certain actions of others with regularity. Simply put, that dog won’t hunt. There ain’t many people whose words and deeds can stand up the scrutiny to be even remotely compared to Bonhoeffer. All of that to say, this leads me to the real point of my reply.

      Earlier this morning I read an article that attributes hero status to “truckers running the long haul on deserted highways, doctors and nurses working double shifts in scavenged PPE, grocery store and gas station employees keeping services and food available. Utility, telecom and warehouse workers keeping strained systems and necessary supply chains functioning, grad students and other researchers poring over data and running countless tests in hopes of giving us an advantage, and ordinary people trying to follow often-contradictory guidance and do the right thing while facing a locked-down economy.”

      Robert, quite frankly, I would add you to this list of heroes. And while I would hesitate to classify it as a “Bonhoeffer moment” it is, at its essence, a most vivid example of self-sacrifice. Certainly as vivid an example as I have seen anyone on this blog put forth. It is an action undertaken that provides little personal gain and a potential for great personal loss. Honesty compels me to say that I am unsure I could follow your lead. Nor do I ever simply dole out meaningless compliments and platitudes. Hopefully, you receive this encouragement with the sincerity in which it is given. And I truly mean that.

      As I stated earlier, our personalities are such that we have little common ground. Having said that, I’d be happy to sit down and share a beer or Pepsi with you should the opportunity ever present itself. Not sure what we could discuss without it devolving into a heated argument, but I digress. Perhaps we could just sit as two of Job’s friends and merely allow the silence to permeate and dictate the conversation. However, in the interim, I do pray for your safety, strength, and comfort during this time. In any event, the aforementioned offer stands in perpetuity.

      Peace be with you Robert…..

      • Chris A, very nice, well expressed and sincere letter you have penned to Robert F. I do respect the honesty and sincere expressions that Robert F. brings to the site. No false bravado or look at me egoism but honest lamenting .I believe that Robert F. is representative of many of those keeping the wheels turning in our interdependent society. As they say talk is cheap, action requires action, or in Texas they would say Robert F. and many like him are not all “hat”, I think I mangled the Texas thing but phonies are all hat. My hope and pray that those who are still out shoulder to the wheel are protected, respected and remembered when this is over. Nice thoughts , well expressed and you speak for many . I can only add Amen.

      • Chris A, Thank you for your generous words, and the generous spirit in which they were offered. I wish I could be worthy of them, but I’m afraid I’m not. I go to my job each weekday not out of noble, self-sacrificing concern for my neighbor, but because we — my wife and I — need the income to keep a roof over our heads, and because we desperately need the health insurance provided through my employer. The distribution center I work in is full of literally hundreds of people who are working now because, like me, they have no choice but to do so. We are not heroes, we are people caught in the clutches of grim economic necessity. That is the story of many thousands and millions of people still at their jobs at the present time. It is true that without us none of the rest of you could shelter at home, but we would gladly trade places with you in minute. We are compelled to do what we are doing; that is the plain and unvarnished truth. I wish I were worthy of your generous words, but I’m not.

        If your offer still holds, despite my non-hero status, I would gladly take it given the opportunity. And I welcome and am grateful for your prayers. Peace to you, my brother in Christ.

        • (This was a nice exchange to witness. The best of iMonk right here.)

        • Robert F. Extremely modest , gracious and honest reply. You are compelled like most by your decision and willing to keep up your end of the social contract. Many would love to be able to work and carry on. Again kudos to Chris A for good thoughts and you for your honesty and actions. To us in the fortune position to shelter all we can do is pray, praise and recognize those like you who are legion though out the world. So a wonderful, honest exchange.

          • Robert F says

            You who are sheltering can also make the risk of those of us out on the front or supply lines more meaningful and effective by staying home, not venturing out unless you absolutely have to, and observing careful social distancing if you must go out. That is your job in all this, and it’s a crucial one.

          • Robert F says

            This isn’t an extended vacation, although some seem to view it that way. This isn’t God giving you time off so you can lead a more meditative and reflective life, so you can slow the pace of your busy lives, though it might be good if you did those things. This is life and death; this is war.

  8. Many churches, including mine, have cancelled in-person worship services for Holy Week and Easter. I have a feeling this “Lentiest Lent” will continue well into what would ordinarily be a festive season in the church.

    • Rick Ro. says

      –> “I have a feeling this ‘Lentiest Lent’ will continue well into what would ordinarily be a festive season in the church.”

      And it’s not just the church, so no one goes all “we’re being persecuted” on us. I have a senior in high school. This impacts senior prom, Grad day, senior trip to Disneyland, her grad party. Seniors in college must feel similarly about their celebrations being impacted. I know several women who are pregnant or who just gave birth; they can’t even be with the parents or grandparents. And we are entering Wedding Season… all the wedding celebrations are taking a serious hit.

      I guess Jubilee will be delayed a few years…

  9. Rick Ro. says

    “This is the Lentiest Lent I’ve ever Lented” (and pretty much, that’s all CM posted) now has more comments (by a wide margin) than Mike Bell’s fine post from yesterday. Go figure.

  10. Robert F says

    More than 1300 deaths on Saturday, 1000 the day before. Over 8000 altogether at this time. At this rate the US will surpass Italy in a few days. Good Lord deliver us.

    • “It’s gonna be no worse than the flu!”

      Idiots. Experts and data staring them in the face, yet… “It’s gonna be no worse than the flu.”

    • Norma Cenva says

      Robert, I believe in the supernatural, and if I could, I’d paint your door with lamb’s blood so that the angel of death will pass over you and all your house.