Seriously, folks? Crises, elections, tough times, controversial decisions. They all bring out the partisans, fanatics, sectarians and conspiratorialists. Not to mention wild imaginations and long-gone Facebook chains. Even the wildest of claims often spread faster than the coronavirus itself.
And, hey, we’ve only been on home lockdown for a couple of weeks! Several more to go! There is as much woulda, coulda, shoulda around today as there is didn’t, can’t, and lookie what I found!
Some thoughts about recent events…
Don’t believe everything you read or hear.
The media is having a field day with all of us as captive audiences. Their fiction paraded as fact is pervasive and it’s not only misleading, it’s dangerous. Some suggest that it’s led to widespread paranoia and hyper mania and has brought America to the brink. The brink of what? Well, you can fill in the blank, because it’s probably already been suggested.
But the fantasy, myth and fabrication haven’t been limited to the so-called mass media. It’s rampant on all of social media as people have way too much time on their hands. Everything from apocalypse to debates over churches that have stayed open despite government demands and from purported prophecies to political infighting. Indeed, the craziness has brought out the crazies and the fringe.
What’s the answer? As I wrote earlier this week, someone has to be a voice of reason. That doesn’t mean arguing and telling people when they’re wrong, but it does mean taking a pause and recognizing everything isn’t as it seems. Otherwise, you’ll be tempted to perpetuate the unsubstantiated hype and disinformation.
Whether it’s one of the above topics or another issue of interest today, you likely won’t win an argument anyway. Why? Because so much of the information du jour either can’t be substantiated or is based on various opinions that have passed through multiple sources.
Stay calm, check sources (heck, Google it) and there’s not a thing wrong with asking someone where they picked up information or to provide a link or PDF or some other backup.
Apocolypse? Probably not. End times. Absolutely.
Speaking of wild imaginations and rampant misrepresentation, there has been a sudden dramatic increase in Bible experts declaring the end of the world or the death of the U.S. or other calamity.
Yes, we are in dire times, the outcome of which is unknown. And, yes, these indeed are the end times, made evident in recent decades by the earthquakes in various places, famines and other events in the Middle East. And, when it comes to wars and rumors of wars, there are too many to mention. Yes, you live in the end times.
Now, I won’t say that Jesus’ return isn’t imminent, but we still have a ways to go if you listen to many church leaders. There are other things — particularly as it pertains to Israel — that must occur.
Still, where does COVID-19 fit into scripture and how does it factor into the timeline of the “birth pains” that signal the beginning of the end. Remember, persecution, false prophets and a great falling away are included as well. And, while we have seen many indications of that, it will grow worse.
So, apocalypse, just hang on. End times, absolutely, we’re there friends.
Open or close: The fight, the struggle, the right thing.
Virtually every state and major metropolitan area has issued stay-at-home orders and declared only essential businesses stay open. In most cases, the governors or mayors list those “essential businesses”, but there are always that “business” which considers itself “essential”, pushing the envelope and causing consternation.
Every city and community has one. Here in Colorado, Hobby Lobby pressed the issue for several days after stay-at-home orders. In Minnesota, it was Michael’s and Jo-Ann’s stores. In Bakersfield, Calfornia, it was a downtown gym. And, across America, a variety of gun shops remain open, claiming they provide essential services.
And, then there is this: Churches in Louisiana, Florida, Texas and many other states continue to thwart government shutdown orders to open their doors. Many pastors and their advocates claim they have a “right” to be open and say they are merely implementing their constitutional freedom to meet at regular services.
Fifty years ago — even 20 years ago — before the Internet and digital generations, their reasoning might have been more legitimate. But that argument is flawed today as demonstrated by the many churches which have become innovative and resourceful in keeping their flocks motivated, galvanized and inspired.
Look, I get it, it’s a tricky thing when you mix government and churches. Yes, the church has a right to meet and government should not interfere in the time, place and handling of those meetings. Unless, and until, a national or local crisis causes a threat to the greater population.
My friend Tony Perkins, who is president of the Family Research Council, may have said it best in this tweet:
To be sure, we are in uncharted waters and we may look back on many of the decisions of leaders, pastors and business owners in a few weeks, months or years and arrive at different conclusions.
But, now is not the time for major political or social statements. Now is the time for common sense to prevail, for people and parties to pull together and for Americans to be Americans first.