Monday, March 16, 2020

God's Will?


WDBJ in Lynchburg, Va. has reported

In-person classes at Liberty University will go on, even after most schools across the country are moving online. Now, residents and students are making their voices heard.

"I'm from the area and I have a lot of family that have cancer or lung problems in general," Alexis Valle, a freshman at Liberty University, said.

She thinks it's a bad idea for in-person classes to resume after spring break with the coronavirus continuing to spread.

"I don't want to risk taking it home and spreading it to my family because with the cancer they have, that could potentially really hurt them and potentially even result in death," she explained.

That's why she signed a petition that asks Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. for an extended break and a switch to online classes.

Valle commented on the petition: "This is a serious issue and Jerry needs to treat it as such."

"It's a little annoying for the fact we're still open when all the other colleges have closed, and even high school, like K-12 have closed, and Jerry is still not closing it," she said.





Jerry Jr. is a lawyer, not a member of the clergy. Still, he is considered a leading figure in the (white) evangelical movement, was an early and loyal supporter of candidate Donald Trump, and remains a supporter. And so his willingness to jeopardize lives, directly and indirectly, is no surprise. Three Washington Post reporters write

In Arkansas, the Rev. Josh King met with the pastors of five other churches on Thursday to decide whether to continue holding service. Their religious beliefs told them that meeting in person to worship each Sunday remained an essential part of their faith, and some of their members signed on to Trump’s claims that the media and Democrats were overblowing the danger posed by the virus.

“One pastor said half of his church is ready to lick the floor, to prove there’s no actual virus,” said King, lead pastor at Second Baptist church in Conway, Ark.

But King and his colleagues were concerned: They believed the virus was a serious threat, and mass gatherings such as church services could spread it. He and the other Arkansas pastors ultimately decided that they would hold services as usual this Sunday, with some extra precautions.

They hired cleaning teams to scour their buildings. They asked the greeters to open the doors, so no one would touch the doorknobs, and asked members to donate online or at the door, so they wouldn’t need to pass a communal offering plate. No more coffee after the service, they told members, and no hugs or handshakes either.

“In your more politically conservative regions, closing is not interpreted as caring for you. It’s interpreted as liberalism, or buying into the hype,” said King, whose church draws about 1,100 worshipers on a typical Sunday.

It's very likely that most of the churches held services on May 15 didn't do so to enable individuals to pray. Parishioners  could do that at home. But they can't stick it to liberals if they stay home.

Another factor may at work.  For most believing Christians, God is in control determines and directs everything which transpires.  That is a mistaken notion of "control" and there is no better time to quote President Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan, who once wrote

A closing thought. God is in charge of history. He asks us to work, to try, to pour ourselves out to make things better. But he is an actor in history also. He chastises and rescues, he intervenes in ways seen and unseen. Or chooses not to.




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