Churches Have Been Ordered Not to Gather, But is this Persecution?

Some more thoughts I’m pushing out into the aether. You can find it here.

American Journalists: Stop Helping Yourselves and Start Helping America

Here’s something I penned over on Medium. Now it’s on my webpage. 

The mainstream news outlets have been the subject of severe scrutiny since the 2016 election. Are the criticisms valid? Or just another example of #FakeNews? 

 

 

People Are the Economy, The Economy Are the People

COVID-19 has rocked the world. It’s upended life as we know it and continues to be a menace upon humanity. There are plenty of reactions to be found in its wake. The Church has its own set of voices rising to make sense of it. 

Here’s something for the Church, as a whole, to consider in this trying time. 

How Times of Crisis Force People To Talk About God

In times of crisis, people reveal what they rely upon. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many of us out of hiding. Personal convictions and underlying comforts have become public. Thanks to social media, people across the world are sharing their thoughts, their memes, and ultimately, what it is (or what it is not) that gives them comfort in a time such as this.

And it’s moments just like this when God enters our conversations. Or at the very least, enters into our private thoughts. God descends upon the masses as if to say, “Remember me?”, and many ponder just what God is going to do. Will God put a stop to what’s happening? Or is God the one to blame? And even more so, is God even there? A bevy of questions arises and discussions that normally get passed off have the opportunity to become commonplace. 

Why is that? Is it because we face an invisible enemy and therefore must call upon a seemingly invisible God to fight it? 

For one, the enemy is not entirely invisible – and neither is God. Yes, one could argue how COVID-19 is invisible. We can’t see it outright. But we can identify the virus via its effects. Our inability to see it coming creates a lot of duress though. For underneath the surface of what we see is where the virus is operating. We know it’s there. We just can’t see it straightaway. 

God operates similarly. Since God embodies a supreme ethic, we recognize that God sits somewhere beneath the surface of every action. The intangible nature of God becomes tangible through godly action. When we are calling upon God, we are also calling upon something deeper. Something bigger, even. We are acknowledging that what we have before us is not something we can beat with our own fists. Or with our own machinations.  

This runs alongside a second reality: our limitations. There are barriers we face as human beings. So when an enemy appears that’s beyond our understanding, we quickly look for someone with the proper insight. Someone who might have the intuition and know-how to defeat what we are up against. Someone outside ourselves who can intervene on our behalf if we are to beat what’s in front of us.

Which reveals yet another shortcoming: our inability to exert complete control over any given situation. When resources are plentiful, people forget about what it’s like to not live in abundance. The illusion of control begins to take root. Short-sightedness and “living for the moment” becomes the norm. Then something happens, and our control – what we thought we had – is taken abruptly. Or to put it another way, our lack of control is exposed.

That brings about fear and confusion. We fear our control might never return. You might say it’s an opportunity to learn about humility. How we aren’t actually the center of the universe. But I would argue that it goes even deeper. For having some measure of control over something – be it an illusion or real – does not always equate to things being “good”. A good outcome isn’t a guarantee. As such, a call to God is more than a call for control – it’s a call for something good.

And we need to look outside ourselves for that sort of goodness, don’t we? Because when we own the reins, we don’t have a clear picture of what’s entirely good. There’s a reason why post-apocalyptic stories and fictional zombie outbreaks are so popular and attractive. It’s because deep down, we know if all of our control and tangible comforts were taken, then it’d be no-holds barred. We’d struggle to share or do what’s right. Our natural bent, despite what we’d like to believe, is not altruism. That must be learned (if it’s ever learned at all). 

Our tangible comforts aren’t bad either. But it’s clear we cannot rely on them for every situation.

We have to go somewhere that’s external, somewhere beyond ourselves, for the best possible outcome. That’s why God surfaces in a time of crisis. Only God could extend a hand to quell the enemy – invisible or not – from destroying us. So that hopefully this question of “remember me?” is not a question we have to answer.