The COVID Bell Tolls for Us All
A very dear friend of mine has “breakthrough COVID.” He is hospitalized with significant neurological symptoms. Please pray. And PLEASE get vaccinated. If you are a Christian and want to follow the Lord’s command to love your neighbor, this is a concrete application right now.
Yes, this is a “breakthrough” case, but that’s because even the best vaccines for any disease aren’t perfect. Missouri’s numbers are startling and headed towards the worst we’d seen of the pandemic thus far. Other places already are setting new records. There are simply too many people spreading COVID right now and too much resistance to basic safety measures that would reduce spread.
The question for the Christian who is not yet vaccinated boils down to the sanctity of life. If you are pro-life, are you willing to be “inconvenienced” by a vaccine for the sake of saving other bearers of the Image of God? There’s a selfish reason to get it too: vaccination does lower your chances of infection, serious illness and death. But it is not about iron clad protection. It is about reducing the likelihood.
Like so many things in life, our decisions affect others. As John Donne reflected,
No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or of thine owne were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.
People deciding they didn’t have a responsibility to protect others from COVID gave my friend COVID even though he did the right thing and got the vaccine, because even greatly reduced chances of infection aren’t zero. And the amount of risk of “not zero” naturally rises when lots of other people are playing a risky game that exposes you. Here’s a thread on how vaccines can be both helpful and still fail in such a way that the loving answer isn’t just “Well, if you want to protect yourself, fine, get the vaccine — I have no obligation to you to get one, too.”
The Good Samaritan did what he did because it was loving, not convenient. Please get a vaccine and, while viral spread is really high, please follow WHO guidelines and mask up. Is this inconvenient? Yes. Is doing the right thing to love our neighbors inconvenient? Yes.
But, we all should care for whom the bell tolls. Our Lord does.
The Spirit Throughout
The Snail returns! 🏁🐌🏁 Timothy and Jason zip through topics hopeful (the #HolySpirit is with us!) and challenging (#ChurchToo and the need to stand against abuse in the church) alike. This packed episode also include a Facebook versus Twitter discussion, social media for #prayer, and a brief #EndTimes discussion. #UpperRoomDiscourse #RussellMoore #ERLC #SpiritualAbuse #OlivetDiscourse
Hyper-Partisanship and the Old Klingon Proverb
Time to Zip! #ZippytheWonderSnail 🏁🐌🏁
Tim and Jason zip through segments on the current Washington debate over infrastructure (with a visit to plans around space exploration, no less), the case for vaccination versus going “No-Vax,” the dangers of hyper-partisanship and the value of laughter.
For your afternoon amusement, Dennis E. Powell muses on those brooding over #BroodX:
If you pay any attention to the national news you have seen how Washington, D.C. has gone more berserk than normal. The cause of this particular derangement is this year’s emergence of the proud members of brood X of the 17-year cicada.
This is a really good piece on where the coronavirus stands, particularly in comparison to the flu.
Friends, please keep trying to #flattenthecurve. It is working and we can be ingenious to find ways to keep life, ministry and work moving along — I’m seeing so many people being so creative already. I think for the Christian this truly does come under “loving your neighbor.” Even if, say, I get a mild case, what if the person I give it to doesn’t? I know a number of people sent to ICU by this and one who has died so far.
The flu can be bad, but I have never known so many people severely afflicted during a single flu season and those run for six months. This is the situation in sum: even with drastic response unlike anything we do for the flu, in just one month, this has killed more people than a bad flu season of six months. That is sobering and calls us to carefulness as we value the preciousness of each life God has made.
Since the first reported death from COVID-19 in the United States on March 2, we’ve averaged about 550 deaths per day (if you average it out over those 42 days), though the average in April is much higher. If that overall average were to continue for six months like a flu season, we would be looking at over 100,000 deaths; if the higher present rate continued, it would be more like a quarter million. Let’s hope our efforts to #FlattenTheCurve help and, more than that, let’s keep praying to the God who has power over death that he would heal our world and comfort those for whom those averages aren’t average at all, because they include their loved ones.
Jayson Stark writes:
So settle in for a memorable evening — as two tough, talented baseball teams empty their tanks for the right to keep playing, and keep dreaming. Yeah, it's “just” Game 5 of a tremendous National League Division Series. But in truth, you know, and we know, and they know, it's much, much more.
It is going to be quite an evening.
Matthew Yglesias on the contrast between investor's reaction to Apple's quarter in which the company increased profits and Amazon which saw a dramatic drop in profits:
The company's shares are down a bit today, but the company's stock is taking a much less catastrophic plunge in already-meager profits than Apple, whose stock plunged simply because its Q4 profits increased at an unexpectedly slow rate. That's because Amazon, as best I can tell, is a charitable organization being run by elements of the investment community for the benefit of consumers. The shareholders put up the equity, and instead of owning a claim on a steady stream of fat profits, they get a claim on a mighty engine of consumer surplus. Amazon sells things to people at prices that seem impossible because it actually is impossible to make money that way. And the competitive pressure of needing to square off against Amazon cuts profit margins at other companies, thus benefiting people who don't even buy anything from Amazon.
I'm certainly not complaining about Amazon — I love shopping with Amazon. But, it is curious how investors treat Amazon differently than other companies year after year.
This is one of the strangest news stories I've seen in a long time:
An attempt to remove spider webs ended with a charred home at about 1 p.m. Saturday.
Eiliya Maida used a propane blowtorch to clear cobwebs in the backyard of his 811 Coit Tower Way home before dry plants ignited and started an attic fire, said George Basbous, Maida's brother-in-law. While Maida went into the front yard unaware, Basbous noticed smoke rising from the top of the house.
HT: Mark Ryan.
Depending on how you look at it, Matt Drudge either posted one of his best or worst headlines today. Earlier, the Drudge Report had a large headline that said “GREEKS KICKED OUT OF EURO!” Naturally, I assumed that the Eurozone had ejected Greece from the multinational currency system and went to read the news. The actual article, however, was about soccer. Hmm.