Stay In Your Lane
Noted (some would say notorious) apologist Dr. James White put this statement out on Facebook;
“I am seriously reading about Costcos running out of bottled water and toilet paper because people are getting ready to be locked in their homes forever because of COVID-19. I must admit, not even Ebola caused this level of panic. SARS, norovirus, bird flu, you name it, every few years it’s the next thing, but now with social media, the panic becomes easier and easier to get rolling. So during election coverage tonight they had a brief report on the virus, and a doctor mentioned six deaths in a single location. But then he mentioned…it was an old age care facility and everyone already had numerous other medical issues. Except people are not hearing that part, or, they don’t want to. I do not know which.
Folks, this is a flu bug. It is not even a particularly nasty one. It seems to spread quickly and easily, but if you are not already compromised, it’s just the flu. If you are not really old, you don’t have cancer, etc., there is at least a 98% survival rate: pretty much the same realm as…the flu, which has killed tens of thousands in the US alone over the past four months or so. If you want to panic, panic over that. But good grief, if you find yourself sitting amongst piles of bottled water and toilet paper come May when this is just a fading memory*, don’t blame the rest of us!
*Every new strain has the possibility of mutating and getting really nasty. Though we did not have the same record keeping abilities a hundred years ago, it seems that the “Spanish flu” (misnomer) that killed many millions (yes, with an ‘m’ millions) in 1918 started with an initial wave that was not overly bad, and then a few weeks later came back and ravaged everyone. But that is true of any new strain.”
This is the first time I became aware that a theological degree also equipped one with expertise in epidemiology and infectious disease.
I should have known this as pastors have readily assumed expertise in counseling, psychology, psychiatry, and political science that they are somehow qualified for in their narcissistic minds.
My friends, my training and study has been in theology and pastoral ministry.
My hobby (some would say obsession) is immigration and border issues.
I can offer you an informed opinion on these matters, but my primary place in both areas is to lead you to resources to inform yourself.
I have no medical training at all, neither does White.
Most of the issues we are dealing with socially and culturally are complex and require time to study and reliance on people who have devoted their lives to a particular science.
My gift to my congregation is to stay in my lane and perhaps help people find qualified resources to make good decisions for themselves.
I become a curse to them when I make dogmatic statements that could affect their health and well being.
I’m listening to the medical professionals and doing prudent things to care for myself and my cats.
I have no interest in the opinion of a theologian on a possible pandemic.
I’m staying in my lane.
Go and do like wise…
Good advice and wise perspective, Michael.
A cloud without water.
This James Whire person, is just blathering out of ignorance. The West African outbreak resulted in widespread suffering. We just never heard of it because it was not relatable to lifestyle Americana.
Should we use the recent Ebola outbreaks he mentions as our template, it will be the closures and restrictions of movement that slows the broader economy, just as it did in West Africa.
I expect the Church to be devastated by this virus due to demographics and economics. We are an aging population with a high rate of health issues. It is obnoxious of White to dismiss all our brethren in poor health who go about their day with chronic pre-existing conditions, or age related decline.
Taken as a simple reading of the comment, White is describing the Life Center residents as having no value. They where after all, old.
No one should be cavalier about this virus… My daughter forwarded me a CDC letter – they say that they’ve identified a “novel” corona virus, a more dangerous one… Don’t know if i should share that, but take it for what it’s worth
Be careful out there… 😘
I am in full agreement with Michael, regarding a theologian’s qualifications to make medical or healthcare statements. I am neither a pastor nor a healthcare professional.
However, I understand simple math. The the statistics are in flux, but the mortality rate of the virus is far greater than what Mr. White wrote. Moreover, the percentage of people who become infected and require hospitalization (I read a number 20%) is far greater than the hospital resources of America, if the virus spreads as it is expected to by health care statisticians (40-70% of the population). This would overwhelm the healthcare system and everyone else who requires care for every other medical issue that one can think of.
Now, there is a possibility that someone will discover a treatment and/or vaccine that is effective, and that it will be affordable, and that Americans will take it, verses the anti-vac culture that some folks inhabit that think everything is a conspiracy or a charade.
In the mean time, Christians face our day of reckoning. It is the day of our witness. Many people pray for revival. Well, could this epidemic be a catalyst to revival. Can Christians, in the midst of this epidemic, draw the eyes of the world to the hope that we have in Christ? Are we afraid or do we walk by faith.
Notice, I do not trouble your conscience. I do not tell anyone what their faith walk looks like. I only ask that everyone take stock, research, pray and live faithfully before God and their neighbor in these times. The world is watching.
“Taken as a simple reading of the comment, White is describing the Life Center residents as having no value. They where after all, old.”
Nathan, I read it the same way…
Keep sharing…I pass it on to the nurse in the family…
I think that’s a good word…
I was wondering when the CV topic would hit PP. The World Wide Web is now complete.
Seriously now these things happen all the time and the question people who say they love Jesus should ask themselves is, what should I do to help others?
Sickness, disease and death are nothing new to humanity and panic only spreads selfishness, anger and hate amongst God’s creation. So how should the response be?
1. I think spreading rumors, panic and false information is a kin to the instructions about gossip.
2. While Jesus healed and brought comfort the sick, maybe the best healing we can do is to care enough for others to bring comfort via our words to those around us.
Jean calls this an opportunity to show His love to others. Good words, but I need more, as in a practical how we can demonstrate this. Some may want to preach the apocalypse and ultimate destruction, so how about we bring comfort and the message of restoration.
God brings order and peace to chaos, I think we should do the same.
Blessed are the peacemakers…
The low estimate for the 1918 Influenza is 50 million dead. Some estimates are as high as 150 million. The virulence is an order of magnitude more than “common” flu. The issue is transmissibility. When the 1918 virus was “resurrected,” samples were obtained from bodies buried in the permafrost in an Alaskan Inuit village. 72 of the village’s 80 inhabitants died of the virus.
I haven’t seen any panic, just preparation.
I think prudence is a Christian virtue…
I’m convinced the virus will result in innovation in remotely connecting individuals as companies attempt working from home.
Does anyone here think that home smoke detectors and fire extinguishers are a bad idea because home fires are rare?
Like the Y2K I know and have observed way too many, personally and via the internet, who are in a panic. What I mean by panic is they are spouting irrational ideas and “preparing” in ways they would not normally do.
Good examples are the masks. Read about them or ask any health professional and you will get the same answers, if worn by those with CV will help reduce the spread of the flu virus. However, worn by those who do not have it will unlikely do anything extra to help those to not get it. Normal flu precautions are the same, wash hands, avoid those with signs, don’t rub eyes…
Not the same and your statement is basically hyperbole.
We have smoke detectors and fire alarms to alert us should a fire break out to move to safety. Fir extinguishers are only effective on small local fires and in the hands of an untrained person may be basically a waste of time. But they do make us feel good about having them near.
BTW, yes I have been well trained on the use and fighting of fires, including the various classes.
Of course we should have them available in our kitchens and garages and have the correct model for the potential type of fire in each location. But like masks just having one won’t help unless one is informed, which most are not.
Jean have you gone to your local fire department and received professional instruction on which and how extinguisher you need and use?
FWIW – again
taking precautions without going into panic city – maybe Jean’s smoke detector example..?. 2 family members in the medical field are recommending daily doses of Vitamin D+ (not any old Vit D) as it increases the body’s ability to fight viruses … didn’t know that …
Going into a panic is a sign of weak faith. There are Christians with strong faith as well as Christians with weak faith. The strong do well to bear with the weak, as they set a good example and witness to the hope that lives within them, both to the weak as well as the pagan neighbor.
If we understand that faith is a work of God, then we can’t and shouldn’t boast in our faith (nor tempt God by being negligent with respect to prudent precautions), but boast solely in Christ and pray that we may be strengthened in faith towards Him and in love towards our neighbors.
My doctors have told me that should an outbreak happen here that I must self quarantine.
I take it that they know of what they speak.
I’m doing my best to be able to stock necessities for me and my cats.
This is basically the same preparedness that we have been advised to keep in case of natural disaster anyways.
There are long lines at times here…no panic, just prudence.
The misinformation I’ve seen keeps telling people this is no big deal…when those facts are not known at this time.
I think that the misinformation you are referring to, which is also what is being said about mercury in the air for burning coal (which the EPA now says is no bigee) is partly ignorant stupidity and partly the desire to not harm the economy. What that latter sentiment means is that our leaders prioritize a high stock market over human health.
When people don’t have access to affordable healthcare nor paid time off nor job security in the even of an illness, they are basically forced to go to work whens they’re sick. This further aggravates the difficulty of containing an epidemic. Decisions have consequences.
I hear you.
All I know is that the health professionals are taking this seriously and I will too.
I have a hard time trusting the media these days. I think fear and dread make for good ratings. So the verdict is still out on CV for me. I just hope there’s some TP left at the store on Saturday.
It’s good to be prepared. And keep an eye on the most vulnerable folks in your circle.
Most of the places here were getting restocked today.
I don’t watch news…but I’m following a number of epidemiologists and public health experts on Twitter…so far they’ve been balanced and helpful.
We are not the first (nor shall we be the last) to face such situations.
Constance and Her Companions
In 1878 the American city of Memphis on the Mississippi River was struck by an epidemic of yellow fever, which so depopulated the area that the city lost its charter and was not reorganized for fourteen years. Almost everyone who could afford to do so left the city and fled to higher ground away from the river. (It was not yet known that the disease was mosquito-borne, but it was observed that high and dry areas were safe.) There were in the city several communities of nuns, Anglican or Roman Catholic, who had the opportunity of leaving, but chose to stay and nurse the sick. Most of them, thirty-eight in all, were themselves killed by the fever. One of the first to die (on 9 September 1878) was Constance, head of the (Anglican) Community of St Mary.
We give thee thanks and praise, O God of compassion, for the heroic witness of the Martyrs of Memphis, who, in a time of plague and pestilence, were steadfast in their care for the sick and dying, and loved not their own lives, even unto death; Inspire in us a like love and commitment to those in need, following the example of our Savior Jesus Christ; who with thee and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
I wouldn’t be so harsh on a theologian talking about how this year might look with the virus. All of us non-experts are thinking out loud. The whole topic runs over medicine, international issues, the current political/social/media environment, economics/commerce, the practical ways people live, etc. Many of us learnt history and hope to apply that knowledge. Many of us are (or think we are) skilled in putting ideas together from different disciplines. As long as we recognise that someone is not an expert on the relevant topic, it’s ok for them to discuss it. We’re doing it here. The present situation is a game of chance with unknown quantities, so no one outcome is guaranteed.
One Sunday in 1998 I visited a church and they were having a meeting later to discuss what might happen with Y2K. I stayed for that meeting. Many of those were along the “doomsday prepper” line, considering in what ways the world might go to pieces and what things they would need to stock up. I was dismayed that this group of Christians weren’t reflexively thinking about how they would love their neighbours or what gospel opportunities might arise from a crisis. I, the visitor at their church, was able to point this out (and they agreed). I was a computer science student then, so arguably I was more highly qualified to talk Y2K as they were, although the possible crisis extended well beyond the technical into the practical (this is true to some degree here, but it’s also true that medical spokespeople are often also experts in practical issues relating to medicine). As it happened, the practitioners of my field took the time to make sure Y2K was a non-event and life went on.
It is interesting who jumps on the doomsday/end-times bandwagon and who dismisses worry on various issues. It is encouraging that many Christians are talking about how to love their neighbours in a crisis. But how to be neighbourly in an atmosphere of infectious disease is much harder.
As I read this what comes to my mind is Father Damien.
Check out what this man did and paid in light of a very infectious, debilitating and deadly disease.
To be honest I would not hesitate to help anyone I know who came down with the CV. Probably, correction I would definitely not use a hazmat suit. I would wash, clean and use the normal preventative measures for such illness during and afterward.
Now if I come down with CV, going to work or any public place accept as absent necessary is just wrong and to put it bluntly, a sin against others.
Just my thoughts, glad you all discuss this.
This to me is inexplicable and the height of incompetence.
My question for the house is whether the theological outlook of the President’s spiritual board, as well as the whichever pastors influence Pence contribute to this, as well as the President’s public “hunch” that the mortality rate of the coronavirus is less than 1%. What kind of leadership would delay and botch its response, while concurrently lulling the population into downplaying the seriousness of this outbreak? How many will needlessly die as the virus spreads because our government, which had months to prepare, did not prepare?
Is this an “If I shot someone on 5th Avenue, my supporters wouldn’t care” moment? or will Americans hold this administration accountable?
They will look at the source, call it fake news, and move on.
All the experts are saying the lack of tests is a disgrace…
Who is a good source of information regarding CV on Twitter? Thank you in advance.
Everyone thinks the lack of tests is bad. To the extent a recent regulation or policy decision caused it, it is nothing more recent than the Obama administration (whether this is a consideration is debated). To the extent the problem is that the CDC’s lab screwed up and contaminated the tests they were making, it is either just an unfortunate mistake under pressure or general low levels of competence by civil service, non-partisan, government employees that aren’t subject to enough “perform well or find another job” pressure. https://www.axios.com/cdc-lab-coronavirus-contaminated-6dc9726d-dea3-423f-b5ad-eb7b1e44c2e2.html
But the bigger problem is that systems and thinking that is appropriate for normal times aren’t appropriate for pandemics. In normal times, our regulatory environment’s “Prove it works and is a net benefit with years of studies costing millions of dollars and by the way uncertainty means no approval” behavior is a good thing, even if it does drive up the cost of healthcare in this country. When days matter, years of testing aren’t appropriate and “not sure means no” is also not appropriate. But bureaucracies and partisanship produce “minimize the risk to ME” decision makers not “try something and if it doesn’t work try something else” decision makers.
Politically there is a four disaster scenario problem that authorities need to try thread the needle on. Scenario 1: Rate of infections (R-nought) remains greater than one. This means the number of people infected keeps growing, until almost everyone has had the disease. Call this the 1918 flu version of the disaster. Disaster 2: People get so scared that the economy shuts down. Lots of people die or suffer from various other direct causes, such as staff not showing up to work at nursing homes, no food being delivered to cities, et cetera. Disaster 3: Disease spreads so fast in any local area that HC systems collapse from overwork. This turns the whole world into Wuhan and a disease that with treatment is 99%+ survivable instead becomes almost 5% deadly. Disaster 4: Hoarding so that supplies are not available to the HC professionals so they can actually help. This includes effective masks and sanitizers (already a problem) and medicines. Medicines aren’t yet visibly a problem, but if India doesn’t allow exporting again soon they will be.
What I’m worried about for Christian ministry is the New York case where someone infected got a neighbor to drive them to the hospital – and now the neighbor has the virus. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/04/nyregion/coronavirus-nyc-yeshiva-university.html How can we practice presence without making risks worse when that is how infectious this is? It would seem harmful to engage with anyone after helping even one sick person. Is telepresence the best we can reasonably do?
still teaching daily (though chicken pox was present this week), wife flew through Portland this morning on her way to Texas, business as usual this week. Our culture is addicted to drama and outrage and our little viral friend currently has the spotlight. Anyone who regularly shops at Costco already has an enormous amount of toilet paper anyway. 🙂