“Amantes, ut apes,
vitam melitam exigunt”
Beyond Contradiction – May 25, 2020
As America began to reopen (too early for safety, I suspect) the complaining began. These masks are too hot. This mask is inconvenient, it is in my way! This is just a hoax, these masks anyway! All things in America these days always end with the politics of the thing, whatever it is. Half reject “said thing” because it must be a conspiracy of “the other”!
For many years I have been fascinated with the notion of the leadership of groups in times of high anxiety. Having been a parish priest for thirty-six years, how could I not. These days everyone complains. While that is wearying it is amateur in the extreme when compared to the master complainers of the universe, namely, the Children of Israel in the Wilderness.
The Scripture records fourteen times they murmured. I love the word. Why? Murmuring is speaking loud enough to be clearly understood and not so loud that the speaker is forced to take responsibility for the remark. Anyone who has ever reared children knows exactly what I mean. Keep in mind that every time they complained bitterly it was always against a policy designed to bring them safely through the Wilderness into the Land of Promise.
Fast forward. Masks and social distancing are designed to KEEP PEOPLE FROM CATCHING COVID19. It is the best way to slow this virus until a medical remedy can be found, prepared, and ministered to the entire human race. This is only a mild inconvenience compared to the Black Death of the Fourteenth Century, I’m just saying.
Let us take a long slow breath and consider two responses. One to take steps to calm ourselves down and the second to grow ourselves up. Once we do this, then do it again and again. It will help one’s blood pressure and generally improve the quality of life in this reopening society for everyone around us.
John W. Sewell
May 25, 2020
November 30, 2019
John W. Sewell
1. Like Christopher Columbus, what we find may be more important than what we were looking for.
2. Whatever is worth doing is worth doing poorly.
3. Dealing with matters of power and faith is like driving a car on ice. Doing what comes naturally, is almost always not the thing to do.
4. Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly
5. Salvation is a gift requiring a response.
6. The Christian life is like driving a car on ice. The automatic non-thinking reaction is not the thing to do.
7. Dissecting a frog is instructive but afterward it will not hop!
8. In matters of faith and nutrition, you are what you eat.
9. Ministry is like being pecked to death by a flock of small ducks
10. Every expression of Christianity has an inner inarticulate essence and a cultural manifestation. – Rev Stephen Parsons
11. Don’t collect so much clutter that you will be relieved to see your house catch fire. – Wendell Berry
12. If you want a huge funeral die young and tragically. If you live to extreme old age and it rains there will be nobody there.
In hope, in spite of the facts.
“Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”
― George Orwell, Animal Farm
- Is extremism concerned with the supremacy of one’s own group, or is it defined by hatred of the “other”?
- Do extremists emerge on the scene suddenly, or do they evolve from mainstream movements?
- Are they found only on the margins of society?
- Is violence a necessary component of extremism?
- How do extremists decide on their beliefs?
- Are they rational?
- How can we define extremism objectively when so many possible variations exist?
Berger, J. M. Extremism (MIT Press Essential Knowledge series). The MIT Press. Kindle Edition.
“He wears a mask, and his face grows to fit it.”
― George Orwell, Shooting an Elephant