Ordinary: Duane W.H. Arnold, PhD

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21 Responses

  1. Jean says:

    “That many churches were complicit in this program of disinformation and denial will, I believe, be remembered and that memory will redound to their shame.“

    Like the Michigan pastor who, last month, encouraged his flock to contract COVID.

  2. Duane Arnold says:


    There are examples all over the country… but we can be thankful for those who have acted responsibly.

  3. filbertz says:

    Ordinarily, I struggle with a seasonally related depression. Fortunately, my students have always been a source of energy & enthusiasm, a tonic for my malaise. Ordinarily. This year they are grey boxes with names and nicknames & rarely interact vocally. My eldest son, who took his life nearly five years ago (where has the time slipped?) was born December 8th, 1984 and we will gather, his family, and mark his birthday again tomorrow evening. Even reading through the first part of your essay today took a measure of willpower because of the C-19 content–though I am sympathetic to your mother, your circumstances, and pray for strength and wisdom–it was all I could do to keep going. Our cafe is shuttered and catering has but a dim pulse. I am growing in empathy for those facing unemployment, loss of businesses, eviction, depression, and hunger. I suppose empathy is always a positive. I have grown in my level of disdain for pat, simplistic answers–throwaway factoids or quotes of scripture intended to encourage but which often illicit shame instead–but your holding up the simplicity and beauty of incarnation is the balm of Gilead for me today.

  4. Michael says:

    I have Covid fatigue and political fatigue and have no strength to fight either or my own seasonal depression.
    My heart isn’t working well metaphorically or literally.
    I was going to tell fil that I’m praying for him…but not in the way we usually say that.
    My prayer is that fil find the strength to remain the person I know…when everything around us is conspiring to make us all less than we desire to be.
    Well said, Duane…thank you as always.

  5. Duane Arnold says:


    Many thanks… It does feel like a dark time, but the manger in Bethlehem still gives us hope despite the darkness.

  6. Duane Arnold says:


    Stay strong… metaphorically and literally…

  7. Xenia says:

    The double-minded Xenia is unstable in all her ways.

    I have changed my mind about COVID so many times since March. At first, when I saw Wuhan citizens being welded into their apartments, I thought it was The Plague. Now I know at least a dozen people, including family members, who contracted it and claim it was no big deal. Yet now I read it’s the leading cause of death in the US. People say it’s only deadly if you are elderly. I am *almost* elderly, and I don’t want to catch it. As Gibbs once said on NCIS when someone asked “Who wants to live to be 90” he replied “Someone who is 89.” The fact lost on may people is that older people cherish their lives just as much as they do.

    Anyway, the conservative people in Ortholandia are rather strident that COVID is no big whoop and is part of an insidious plot for the Dems to take over the world. The liberals in Ortholandia are making changes to Ortho-Tradition and practices that are disturbing. Our county is having a COVID surge so we’ve decided to stay home from church for the time-being, after having attended for a month or so. We’re doing Reader Services at home rather than watching the Liturgy on computer. We find this much preferable to watching the Liturgy.

    So no Christmas services for us. One daughter is coming up from Los Angeles and we’ll open presents and it will be just like Christmas mornings before we became Orthodox.

    I did most of my Christmas shopping by Amazon, which was efficient but not especially satisfying. I don’t feel like putting up most of our Christmas decorations, but just the few that seem to be the most humble and childlike. We pick up our groceries from Walmart and take the pup for walks. I practice my dead language skills and read fat books. I should probably get to work on preparing the garden for winter… It’s odd. When you have all the time in the world you don’t seem very motivated to use it to get stuff done. At least, that’s me.

    I really, REALLY wish Trump would just shut up and go away. I have reached the point where I am GLAD Biden won.

    The fall semester ended well and we students have formed a study group so we can continue translating Old Norse poetry. Next semester is Gothic I (the language, not the fashion trend) and after that it is thesis time. I missed the Medieval Congress gathering in Kalamazoo last May but they are having it online this year and I am tickled pink about it.

    So that’s my ordinary life these days, which is pretty much a yawner. But I have my husband and my wonderful, attentive family so I have no complaints. (And a houseful of smallish animals.)

  8. Xenia says:

    May the Lord have mercy on Filbert and his family.

  9. Duane Arnold says:


    “To live is to change, and to change often is to become more perfect.”
    John Henry Cardinal Newman

  10. josh hamrick says:

    Fil is suffering, and I’m struggling because I don’t want to give him a standard saying that he will find even more hurtful right now.
    Fil, I care. That’s all I know to say right now, but I do care, as do many others.

    My life is pretty crazy, but nothing too extreme. Had a bit of a family crisis this summer, but it seems we’ve survived and will move on. My biggest complaint right now is that I am always uncomfortable. I don’t have a time or place where I am refilled, then go back out into the hectic world. Everything is just constant edge.

    That being said, to this point this season has been just that for me – uncomfortable, but not tragic. I still have a job, a ministry, a family, and my health. Most of the people around me can’t say that. My heart goes out to them.

  11. DavidM says:

    Duane, thank you for the article. Both my wife and I have been inspired by your words, and, reminded of just how precious is the ordinary.

  12. bob1 says:


    Your mom sounds like an amazing person. Just to do all her routines every day, right now.

    I’m a lot younger and I don’t do what she does every day!

  13. Duane Arnold says:


    Many thanks… Yes, what we once took for granted has become very precious…

  14. Duane Arnold says:


    I’ve been astounded at my mother’s resilience. When you take the dislocation and then add to it that she has lost friends as well, I’m not sure how she manages to do so well. Some lessons for us all…

  15. Angel says:

    Duane what I find most interesting is that in 2019 some 2.8 million Americans died yet so far in 2020 even with Covid we are only at

  16. Duane Arnold says:


    That, of course, is false. Here are the figures of excess deaths.

  17. Jean says:


    Don’t you just love the subtleties of the gotcha scholars?

  18. Duane Arnold says:


    The factual basis of any of these false claims is easy to ascertain. I have concluded, however, that people such as this really do not want facts… they prefer the lie. (2Thess. 2:11)

  19. MM says:


    I think you owe Angel an apology!

    For a guy who writes and champions literacy you seem to not be able to read the very link(s) you posted.

    From your link:

    2018 CDC Death Stats:
    Total 2,839,205
    Death rate 867.8 per 100,000
    Life Expectancy 78.7

    As of December 11, 2020 from the CDC (your links)
    Total deaths (all including COVID) 2,728,104
    Death Rate 824.2 per 100,000.
    COVID blamed deaths 266,548 (included in the 2.7 mill)

    Stats are easy to misinterpret and apply in the manner desired to make the point.

  20. Duane Arnold says:

    “Overall, an estimated 299,028 excess deaths occurred from late January through October 3, 2020, with 198,081 (66%) excess deaths attributed to COVID-19.”

    MM, I await for you to prove yourself either civil or literate… I’m not hopeful.

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