How honest are we in our prayers and in our public and private lives I’ve been wondering.
I had a 30 second elevator ride with a woman the other day. It was the morning of the first day of the latest four week lockdown imposed by the heap of mashed potatoes posing as governor of Minnesota – Tim Walz. As the elevator doors opened I heard her in mid mantra.
“Day one. Day one. Four weeks. I can do it. Day one. Day one.”
She wore a wool hat pulled down low over her forehead, and a giant mask, which covered everything but her eyes, and gloves. She moved to the furthest corner of the elevator as I got on and resumed her affirmations.
She interrupted herself to ask me in a rising voice, “Do you think he [Governor Walz] will extend it longer than four weeks?”
She answered for me.
“He has to cancel Christmas. He can’t allow Christmas but I don’t know if I can do four weeks. Today is day one.”
I looked at her as the doors opened. It was my floor.
I said to her as I was walking off, “Of course he’s going to cancel Christmas but you’ll be fine. Just live. You can do it.”
I got out and turned to lock eyes with her as the doors closed. She was incredibly sad and afraid. I could tell she definitely did not believe me.
I have spent the last few days thinking of that woman. I haven’t encountered her on the elevator since. I hope she is okay. She lives in my building, and if you’ve purchased my essay [only $2.99 on Kindle!!!] you know my building is on the expensive side. She lives above me so I know her rent is sky high and from that I know she has an advanced degree and she makes legit cash. I also know her life is a disaster. She has everything but hope.
I know the numbers for people dying with and of this infernal Chinese virus in our age category in the state of Minnesota (from what I could tell she is my age). The infection fatality rate is .003% according to the state department of health presided over by Governor Mashed Potato. In the few seconds I had with the unfortunate woman I confronted my two options – A. Play along in her fear B. Attempt to tell her the truth of her situation in an effort to get her to buck up and resume her life. I went with option C: Give a snarky answer followed by an imperative then get away from her crazy ass at the first opportunity because she was making me uncomfortable.
Option C is the option most of us are taking. We call it “loving our neighbor”. It is the most important act a Christian can perform in 2020.
I have questions about what loving your neighbor means in this bleak autumn in the long fall of Western Civilization. Does it mean letting them be manipulated so scheming, second-rate leaders can have control over them? Does it mean we ourselves participate in the manipulation by wearing worthless fabric over our faces and thereby symbolically erasing/concealing our humanity? Apart from the virus does it mean going along with the demented fantasies of men pretending to be women and women pretending to be men? Are we loving our neighbor by addressing the man in a dress as ma’am? I don’t think so but it seems that is what loving has come to mean.
Loving our neighbor means, now, joining in heightened fear. Embracing harmful hysteria. It means to encourage others to not participate in life. It means denying the natural order that includes death and that has immutable differences between the sexes. It means sitting on the sidelines while livelihoods are demolished and while poor children are denied education – the only means they have of bettering their life in this society outside of being astoundingly tall, fast, agile, or strong. Or having the ability to sing, dance, or entertain better than almost all others.
I see you, Christian. Do you see yourself? You tell us all the time that you stand against injustice. You would have marched with Dr. King if you had lived back then, for goodness sake. You would have been bunking right beside him in that Birmingham jail.
I see you, though. You would have stood with Bull Connor because he was the “authority”. He was God’s minister for justice. You wouldn’t have opposed him in favor of the trouble makers. You would have lovingly explained to your neighbor he can’t eat at the same counter as you. He has to stand back six feet or whatever distance would have put him in the place reserved for him. You would have lovingly told him that living life in the way proscribed for him by the civil magistrate was the safest way to live. Safety – because upon it hangs all the Law and the Prophets – is the highest calling for man.
I wonder about strangers we’ve abandoned – the political refugees in our borders. Not from Syria but the politically disfavored people trapped in their homes by unlawful fiats whose livelihoods have been banned, whose academic avenues have been closed. Do we owe anything to them? Where are the associations and guilds and academies we can build from our wealth and connections that would serve as oases for those whose human presence has been abolished?
Note that I didn’t say get political which I know many of you consider nearly sinful. I am merely pointing out that the gap that exists between getting in the street to protest and getting in the street to actually in real life love your neighbor in flesh and blood, and word and deed. It is not the gap Christians should inhabit even if it is safe and germ free. Maybe especially since it is so safe and sterile.
I should have ridden the elevator all the way to whatever floor with that poor, tormented woman. I should have taken her surgically gloved hands in mine and prayed for her. But that would have been a risk and what we know in the year of our Lord two thousand and twenty is taking chances on strangers is not at all what it means to love thy neighbor as thy self.