Connecting the dots… People in America are characterizing the coronavirus pandemic as a: “…war with an invisible enemy that’s coming to get us.” So… This is a scene from the Syrian war. It could be a scene from the Afghanistan war, Iraq war, Sudanese war… But hey, that’s over there — and has been of little concern to most of us here watching Sports Center, grilling out, buying the next dress we don’t need… Oh, we’ll occasionally throw a few bucks toward Doctors Without Borders, or Habitat for Humanity, or… But overall, let’s face it, we’ve been pretty indifferent to this tremendous suffering — and the tremendous economic disparity, for that matter, between the First World and Third World in general. (The late Pope John Paul II said the world won’t know peace until there is social justice for everyone.) And now, a war-like “invisible killer” is heading our way, and look how we feel. Can you imagine how those women in the photo feel, day in and day out? We have the wherewithal to impact those overseas situations way more than we do. Is God allowing this “silent killer” to wake our empathy up for our brothers and sisters struggling mightily elsewhere? As president, my Foreign Policy would spin around downplaying that “America First” deal, while putting those in need worldwide first. Think about it, seriously. Jesus said: “The last will be first, and the first will be last.” Wouldn’t take a spiritual Henry Kissinger to figure out what God’s Foreign Policy would be, would it?
During the Great Depression, unemployment peaked at 24% — in regard to all those eligible to work. President Roosevelt, in turn, scrambled to enact the “New Deal” that allowed for a lot of “public works” projects. We stand at the tipping point of another Great Recession, if not Great Depression. And now would be the time to pause and think this through on a spiritual level. Many in society these days, almost across the board, are workaholics (we just don’t see it that ways, as most addicts don’t). We, at breakneck pace often, are consumed trying to ascend higher and higher, making more and more money, to buy more and more stuff… With commute time, most of us are at 50, 60, 70… hours of work a week now. So what gets shorted? Time with God, time with our spouse, time with the children, time doing volunteer work… So as we descend further and further into what inevitably looks like Recession/Depression this time, do we just arbitrarily create a bunch of, for the most part, superfluous jobs to, again, weather the storm? Or do we realign to create a “New Economy” and a saner society spiritually? And what would be one of those components of the New Economy? Job sharing, which, actually, England does now to a degree. That is, you simply split a job (and you could do this with many) with someone else. You come in from, say, eight to noon and they come in for the afternoon. Or you work until Wednesday at noon and the second half of the week goes to the other person. Or any number of other combinations… In essence, you’re working 20 hours a week and, in tandem, learning how to live much more simply, and creatively (maybe house sharing, just as one example). This frees up way more time for God, for family, for community… Note: At this point in our society, we have to stop trying to simply, and metaphorically, “…rearrange deck chairs on the Titanic.” But rather, we need a leader who knows how to steer the ship away from the iceberg altogether. For more of what I’ve written on job sharing, see...
I was listening to an interview with an Ohio Catholic priest last night. He said that of course the coronavirus was a “…chastisement from God.” Think about it, he continued, our society, and the world at large, has become “anti-life.” Abortion is anti-life. Gay marriage is anti-life. Contraception (which the Catholic Church condemns) is anti-life… So if we’re condoning a series of things — by participating in them or standing by silently — wouldn’t it stand to reason that God would step in, at some juncture, to send us a pretty pointed message/chastisement that what we were doing was counter to his Natural Order? He’s done that in numerous ways down through mankind’s history. This, as I mentioned in a previous post, might just be the first salvo. We can listen and change (as they did in Nineveh with Jonah’s message), or not.
Global trade. An economist on one of the news shows today said that America opted for it because it spelled faster growth in this country for industries, and it spelled cheaper products for consumers. Meanwhile, this paradigm creates Third World sweatshop conditions, gigatons of carbon dioxide release from international transporting, and looking the other way when it comes to blatant human rights abuses in countries (ibid. China, as an example) that we’re benefitting from. This is called “greed,” and our American First World “collective” is, indeed, fueling all of it. The Vatican recently came out with a list of new sins in the context of a global community. One is “…contributing to the divide between rich and poor.” With some of the “supply chains,” and such, breaking down worldwide with the coronavirus, we need to take the opportunity to realign. That is, to go back to predominately “buying American,” while exponentially ramping up our foreign aid to help other countries become as sustainable as possible in their own localized economies. Note: This is, indeed, a spiritual issue each of us in America will be called to account for at Judgement. For some, it will be knowing all of this, yet still contributing to it. For others, it will be about not taking the time to learn about it — because we were too busy buying the next cheap item.
The DOW dropped almost 3,000 points today, the single day biggest drop since 1987. Oh, incidentally, about 3,000 babies were dismembered in their mothers’ wombs today in America as well. The latter goes on every day. And abortion is legal in all but about six countries worldwide now. Did we think God was going to let that go on forever? Is the coronavirus worldwide pandemic just the opening salvo of a series of chastisements coming our way — to wake us up? Psalm 139: “…you [read: God] knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Based on that passage, it wouldn’t take a moral theologian rocket scientists, or an anatomy professor at Dartmouth for that matter, to figure out that: abortion is “murder.” The Catholic Catechism uses that exact term, actually. For more on my stance on abortion, see…
The Great Depression “…hit us like a tornado.” Sort of like what happened with the deadly tornados in Nashville, Tennessee last week? A metaphoric harbinger of things to soon come? Maybe… I watched a documentary about the Great Depression last night. It explained that the “Roaring ’20s” was a prosperous era where credit started to be floated to, not just the big companies, but the general public. The general public started to play the stock market for “easy money.” The market kept going up and up… As, concurrently, unbridled materialism was on the rise, and sexual inhibition was on the decline (“flappers,” as just one example). All the latter, incidentally, is antithetical to sound spirituality. What’s more, its easy to see a corollary to what’s been going on recently with the stock market at the highest point ever, unbridled materialism, American consumers floating on an unprecedented $35 trillion sea of debt, sexual inhibition almost totally out the window… The stock market crashed in 1929 and God, it seemed, allowed a time of realignment in the country. People lived simply, shared with each other, and went back to relying on God. That is a formula much more aligned with making it to heaven. The other is a formula much more aligned with, well, making it to hell.
The rest of the NBA season is cancelled. March Madness is over before it started… Coronavirus cancelled. Think about it. We, the fans, have absolutely “deified” sports at this level, watching hour after hour of games, sports commentary, and so on. Commensurately, how much are a majority of us, by comparison, watching (except for parents), the kids’ games up the street in our community anymore? Not much. How much time are a majority of us, by comparison, spending in prayer, spiritual reading, outreach to the poor… each week? Not much. Tangible time spent with something indicates our real priorities. That simple. And in this case, that sad. Time to realign our priorities in this area. And the coronavirus is giving us time to withdraw from our pro/Division I sports addiction in this country. Or not. Note: The NBA is now a $9 billion industry because we’re paying for the tickets and/or watching it on TV (which is what sells the advertising). The kid’s game up the street, on average, is, say, $4 bucks — with enough of this $9 billion left to, for instance, get food to the 24,000 people who starve to death every day in the Third World.
The coronavirus is currently leaving movie theaters empty in America, delaying movie releases, and hurting the industry in general. Good! A vast majority of modern movies glorify sex, violence, drugs… Does anyone, honestly, think they would find Jesus sitting next to them at a majority of these films (including at, say, even PG-13 films)? Watching most of this stuff is called: “sin behavior.” Its just that you’re not hearing it much from the priests/ministers — because they’re watching the same stuff! We’ve been incrementally desensitized to sin in this society, and these films contribute tremendously to this. Not to mention, but I will, we are now exporting this all over the world. In a very real sense, this is “cultural terrorism” that’s putting all kinds of souls in jeopardy worldwide. Note: After the coronavirus passes, we can either stream (pun-intended) back into these theaters to watch more of these films, or we can boycott these types of films. [They initially listened to Jonah at Nineveh, but then the people went back to their old lifestyles — and God destroyed the city 40 years later. And, incidentally, this is not just about a city/country, it’s about each of our souls now. Anyone’s life could end tomorrow, coronavirus, or not.]
I was wearing a mask this week, but it wasn’t a surgical one — it was a “dust mask.” While Joe Biden, the ‘average Joe from Scranton’ (please!) was taking the lead in the Primaries, this ‘average Joe’ was sanding a cedar wood door frame at Luke’s Restaurant in Bluffton. Populist? With a capital P! This kind of work, besides putting food on the table, gives me time to be, well, meditative. And as I’m thinking about things, it continually occurs to me that we’re out of whack as a country (spiritually, and otherwise). So much so, that we’re actually experiencing the opening salvo of “Nineveh Moments,” it’s just that, well, most don’t realize it — yet. Stay tuned. Note: Joe Biden has a $1.2 million beach house. I have a 1972 camper.
I heard a news segment today about the “loneliness epidemic” sweeping the elderly population. Not only are they in the deadly (for some) cross hairs of the corona virus, but many are facing this, more often than not, pretty much alone. Why? Because our mobility has taken Mary, one of the daughters, to a software company in Seattle. It’s taken Carl, a son, to Des Moines for a job in management at a factory. It’s taken another daughter, Carol, to New York for a job in the cosmetics industry… You see, we’ve, many of us, traded in family and all the quality community building with our friends, neighbors, teachers, coaches… growing up, for the highest paying job elsewhere. And advanced mobility (highways, trains, planes…) have allowed us to do that — at a staggering pace. But is that what God wanted for us? Or did He want us to continue living in our community of origin, continuing to build on these relationships, continuing to be there for our loved ones… (The Amish do that.) It’s just that we got “blinded by ambition,” but called it other stuff. And most people ‘bought’ into it. Time to realign. Time for many of us to move home. Note: Our Social Security platform revolves around seniors feeling “socially secure” in their communities. The platform is much more than just about a monetary “fund.”