Started by Charles Austin, March 26, 2020, 12:19:47 PM
Quote from: Norman Teigen on March 31, 2020, 07:19:08 AMI spent time last night on You Tube. I viewed a number of presentations of the hymn 'Abide With Me.' Was surprised to learn the hymn is sung in English soccer stadiums at championship games. NFL, please take note.
Quote from: NCLutheran2 on April 01, 2020, 09:37:37 PMI wrote and posted the following reflection on Facebook a few days ago. There were the usual negative comments from people attacking my doubts, but I was quite surprised be the number of people who said I managed to express feelings they themselves were also having, but couldn't articulate. It's a rather pessimistic observation, but I can't help but feel times are rather pessimistic.A ReflectionTo say the last two weeks have been difficult is a massive understatement. In that short span of time, I have lost so much dear to me. The restaurants and cafés where I socialized are now closed. My job, to which I was just beginning to acclimate after 6 months of sheer misery, has been replaced virtually by the incessant clanging of Microsoft Teams. Wedding plans I have worked on for years have been cancelled, vanished. All because of a virus, too small to see without a microscope, that condemns its victims to drown in their own lungs, borne into this world by a single individual insane enough to eat a bat. The sense of loss I have is visible, palpable, and very, very frightening.I have cried until there are no more tears to cry. I have thought until there are no more thoughts within. I have vomited in despair, lain awake until passed out from exhaustion, and denied, bargained, fought, and pleaded with God. I have scoured my mind and applied all the sheer force of reason and analysis the Gerald G. Fox Master of Public Administration program has imbued me to all the information, news, and data I could possibly consume to find an answer to the loss. There has been none.COVID-19 is coming, and the sheer enormity of this pandemic condemns me to suffer. My own poor choices place me into a high-risk category, meaning that when - not if - I contract this disease along with 80% of humanity, I will likely be among the worst-off and most desperate of patients. The reality of our slapshod, slovenly healthcare systems means that I will most likely be refused testing and treatment and sent home to die in isolation, clutching a handful of cash made worthless by the legal theft of quantitative easing. I pray - desperately - that the post-nasal drip and occasional chest tightness I've been dealing with for five days is seasonal allergies and not the slow-burning harbinger of coronavirus' inexorable creep towards me.So, for the first time in my almost thirty years, I have had to seriously confront my own mortality. While we all know prima facie that we will die, and that random chance makes this a possibility each day, it is quite different to actually see your own guillotine. I have always considered it impossible for a living being to truly imagine and understand death. Most religions promise an afterlife in some form, and most forms of Christianity would guarantee that I will make it to heaven. But there is little to no evidence of an afterlife in which to place some hope, a situation which is worsened by my general inability to exhibit faith in any meaningful way.However, having now plumbed the depths of what exactly non-existence may entail, I have come to peace with my own mortality. I will die, probably sooner than later, essentially almost instantly on any historical or natural time scale. The sadness of potentially missing out on so much of life is tempered by the realization that I am almost certainly guaranteed never to realize I am missing it. Death is, cruelly, the burden of the living.In this knowledge, though, there is some consolation. Other living people will be able to experience the same things I experience - and much more. The seasons will continue their rhythmic change. Animals and nature and weather will continue their lives and processes and patterns unaffected. The sun and moon will continue to rise and set for probably several million more years. I have come to find all this very comforting. That comfort has made me unafraid. And that confidence is power.This is no way, shape, or form means that I am laying back and waiting to die. I am far too prideful and selfish in my desire to do the things I want to do today, tomorrow, and fifty years from now to give up yet. Coronavirus will come and make me suffer but I have far too much toughness and willpower baked into my genes that I will make it suffer, too. Tomorrow morning, after I wake up and regret and delete this post, I will again throw myself into the endless turpitude of Microsoft Teams. I will continue to work towards my own goals while grieving for all that has and is and will be lost, including, eventually, my own life. There is simply nothing else left to do.
Quote from: Charles Austin on April 02, 2020, 09:57:18 AMAgreed that we cannot be consumed by fear of the virus. But that could lead to a casual attitude towards mitigation of the disease or protection for others.And in my not-so-humble-opinion, "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself" was a phrase that seemed to have caught on and did some good, given its time and source. Today? Not so sure.
Quote from: Charles Austin on April 02, 2020, 12:31:23 PMIt may be that another very real and very dangerous and destructive illness in our society shows itself in the need for Dr. Fausi to have bodyguards these days, because there are credible threats against him from people who believe that his word and his work is an effort to undermine the president. These threats come after certain elements of the Twitterverse abound with conspiracy theories about people out to get the President.
Quote from: Pr. Don Kirchner on April 02, 2020, 10:28:07 AMQuote from: Charles Austin on April 02, 2020, 09:57:18 AMAgreed that we cannot be consumed by fear of the virus. But that could lead to a casual attitude towards mitigation of the disease or protection for others.And in my not-so-humble-opinion, "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself" was a phrase that seemed to have caught on and did some good, given its time and source. Today? Not so sure.That makes absolutely no sense. There is a world of difference between fear and acting prudent and in love for one's neighbor.But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob,And He who formed you, O Israel:"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;I have called you by your name;You are Mine.When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,Nor shall the flame scorch you.For I am the Lord your God,The Holy One of Israel, your Savior ..." (Isaiah 43:1-3a)
Quote from: Richard Johnson on April 05, 2020, 07:15:37 PMFiguring out how to do "virtual worship" is a real challenge, as we're all discovering. What's the balance between "keeping it familiar" and "not just trying to do a regular service with no worshipers, but adapt to the new situation"? My daughter (who has the benefit of a parishioner with video editing experience) put this Palm Sunday procession together, which I think is really quite remarkable:https://www.stpaulspittsford.org/hp_wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/PalmSundayProcession.mp4?fbclid=IwAR2rjU4Ea19cnFLUhIxaQXCIQWnraREBSxGjv5HC9InM6e8VQAZa5Nuc5kMWe sort of copied the idea at our church, but with much less expertise, so we just used still photos rather than video. It wasn't nearly as engaging, but still quite moving to see the faces of people we are missing.