Unexamined in the Upside Down

stock-photo-covid-coronavirus-in-usa-dollar-money-bill-with-face-mask-coronavirus-affects-global-stock-1668472411Does it seem to anyone else as if COVID-19 has shone a bright spotlight on our displaced values?

Keeping up with evangelical friends, I see a lot of them going down a rabbit hole that quarantine equals the death of liberty, not the opportunity to birth kindness. Many are talking about the New World Order, which has long been code for a time when Christians have to defy the Antichrist and not participate in world systems.

Problem is, right now, it’s hard to know which systems should be participated in. We’re lauding a man who encouraged his many extramarital girlfriends to have abortions, as the champion of pro-life. Church women hold up signs that say “Sacrifice the weak” when Jesus told us to honor our parents, and take care of the elderly and orphans.

What if this virus is an opportunity to reset, a last chance to examine the way we live, align it with how Jesus told us to live, and do so? Give fair wages to those who work in the fields; honor women the way he did, as True Promise Keepers, not guys feeling small; look with clear eyes at the lives we have lived and what our goals have been, and change them from “make money, keep busy, look good” to something more in keeping with “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

The virus shut down schools and we suddenly saw the value of teachers–and mothers–as the full weight of looking after our own kids descended. And pointed out the unfairness of labor between men and women in so many households, undergirded by Church teaching, not Christian teaching.

The virus pointed out that money decides who lives and who dies in way too many places in the world–including here in the States. And that who has the money isn’t based on who works the hardest. What does Christianity have to do with capitalism? Last chance, kids; why are you living the choices you are? To eat, or to prey on others? What kind of carnivores are we, here in America? The more I look at that question, the worse it gets.

We suddenly have loads of free time, and how we use it is judged heavily. Production of art, stuff, meetings, dinner: good. Contemplation, devotions, meditation, relaxation: bad. Hmmm.

Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Jesus said, “Seek first God’s kingdom and its righteousness.”

What if this is a last chance to look, clear-eyed, at the blinding rhetoric flashing all around the realities of politics and policy: that we have not valued those who have given the most, that we have honored the worst traits of human nature by twisting them up into the Gospel where they don’t belong, and that we have become Americans first, Christians last?

Jesus also said, “The first shall be last” and vice versa. Right after the protagonist in his parable paid all the vineyard workers the same, no matter how long they worked or which jobs they did.

Is this virus a severe mercy, asking us one last time, “Look who you’ve become, look at what you believe. How far have you moved from the simplicity of ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, and the second commandment is very like the first. Love your neighbor as yourself’?”

Time will tell.



15 thoughts on “Unexamined in the Upside Down

  1. Yes!! I’m often left wondering what would Jesus do? My small gift is staying home, making face masks. The current President infuriates me. He’s ruining the whole country. More infuriating? People who declare “He’s the best President ever.” How can they not see his policies of destroying the very plans that would have avoided this, are destroying, even killing, all of us?

      • Maybe because some of your posts and the replies to those posts go in the opposite direction. Just read Audrey’s and Janice’s posts. The hate jumps off the page. The meaning behind this post ‘Unexamined in the Upside Down’ seems to have been lost. Thank you and please keep praying for our country, our president, and our people.

    • Wow! The judgemental tone of your question doesn’t speak to me of love, nor does it speak of prayer; yet you accuse me and another responder that our “hate jumps off the page”!! I don’t hate and I try not to be judgemental of people who honestly pray – even if I might pray the opposute,

  2. Amen to Wendy and to Janice B-H. It’s very difficult to have any respect for this president. (I refuse to call him my president, and I just can’t capitalize his title – he dishonored it since before he was elected. Anybody who sneers at disabled people and brags about groping women doesn’t deserve the title – he is a stain on the White House.

  3. “People who live prayerful lives don’t have to agree politically. Do they?”
    There was no ‘Reply’ button under this comment so possibly I should not reply.

    However, since there is a question involved, I will say that no, they do not have to agree. But, how we express our disagreement, in both words and deeds, exemplifies our faith and underscores our relationship to Christ and His teachings.

  4. Wendy, I couldn’t agree with you more. I will never regard the current occupant of the White House as an exemplar of any of the values I hold dear, including the teachings OF Jesus, not the teachings about Jesus, also including teachings of the Buddha, & other spiritual teachers. Linda

  5. Yes, exactly what my husband and I discuss these days. It’s so wonderful to see people loving and helping one another now. Big changes are needed for believers – how do we get more grass roots groups to change the corporatization of everything in the USA, to allow true diversity for people who follow Jesus to make a good living while being true to His Word and loving one another? It’s like we’re on the verge of realizing so many possibilities to improve life for American citizens, for more of us to really LIVE here on Earth in a way that brings glory to God (and saves our souls).

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