“Odds and Ends” are the letters covering some important topics that do not necessarily require a whole article.
A COUPLE OF THOUGHTS ABOUT COVID-19
I would like to share a couple of opinions I have heard regarding the coronavirus. Below is the perspective of Len Kingston as shared with me in an email from John Wyndham from Australia,
“The ‘great threat’ that holds our media’s attention is, of course, the coronavirus. Just look around, and you will see that many schools have been closed, cities shut down, places of worship locked up, and of course, visiting loved ones in care facilities is banned.
My question is, “What would it be like if we were as careful about wrongdoing (sin) as we are about contracting the coronavirus”? What if we took every possible measure to avoid sin? What if, as soon as we were aware of having done a serious wrong, we ran and sought the Lord for forgiveness as fast as people run to the doctor when they know they have a life-threatening disease?”
Here is another perspective, this one from a podcast with Dr. Steve Greene,
“We’ve heard it again and again: The pandemic will eventually go away. If we follow the CDC recommendations. If we fully quarantine. If we wear masks. If we avoid crowds. If we get the vaccine. And now, if we get the booster. If we do all these things, the pandemic will eventually go away.
Not so, cultural commentator Micheal Snyder tells Dr. Steve Greene…
‘It’s not going away,’ Snyder says, and believers should recognize it as a part of the prophesied end-times signs.
In fact, just over the weekend, the head of Pitzer went on ABC News, and he told George Stephanopoulos… ‘What we believe is going to be the scenario is that every year, people are going to have to get their COVID shots, because by now it is apparent to everyone, if you get these vaccines, any immunity you get from it is very, very temporary,’ Snyder explains” (charismamag.com).
WOKE RACE THEORY
Lee Grady, in his blog “Fire in My Bones,” declares, “We desperately need racial healing in America. But that healing won’t come through critical race theory.”
Grady writes, “Critical Race Theory, in summary, says this:
— All white people are inherently racist, whether they realize it or not.
— White supremacy is built into our government and institutions—and even in the U.S. Constitution—because white people inherently seek to maintain power through law.
— White people must work hard to rid themselves of the need for ‘white privilege,’ but in the end, they really can never be truly free of their whiteness. They will always be at a disadvantage because they are forever linked to institutional racism…
Lee Grady also points out, “Racism is a human problem, not just a ‘white’ problem. The ‘woke’ crowd today insists that all white people are racists, but it leaves no possibility that a Black, Asian or Latino person can be racist because they are not ‘in power'” (charismamag.com).
THE GLOBAL CHURCH
John Stonestreet and Glenn Sunshine of the Colson Center write about the Global Church on Breakpoint, “Consider the continent of Africa, which is poised to become the leader of world Christianity. According to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity, the number of Christians in Africa is increasing at a rate of 2.81 percent per year. That may not sound like much, but the compounding effect is huge. In 1900, there were about 9.5 million Christians in Africa; by 1970, that had risen to over 140 million. Today, the number is nearly 685 million, over twice the population of the United States.
In Asia, Christianity is growing at 1.5 percent per year, with over 100 million more Christians there than in North America. By 2030, it is estimated that there will be more Christians in China than in the United States, though with the current wave of persecutions, precise tracking of these numbers is impossible” (breakpoint.org).
REPARATION FOR PAST SLAVERY
The question has arisen to providing reparation to descendants of slaves. Reparation is defined as making amends for the wrong done by paying those who were wrongs (in the case of slavery, their descendents). This is a controversial issue, and I am not proposing a solution at this point. However, I came across an interesting counterpoint by a United States Airforce Veteran, Aja Smith, who wrote this regarding moves in California to provide reparation, “A state that never allowed slaves is taking money from people who never owned slaves and giving it to people who never were slaves.”
THE MISSING INGREDIENT
The recent Langstaff Letter on “The Missing Ingredient of Forgiveness” brought more than one response saying this was the best Langstaff Letter yet. Be that as it may, forgiveness is central to the Christian message. I want to conclude with some words on forgiveness by Dr. Gary Chapman, “Have you ever struggled to forgive someone who has wronged you? If so, you are not alone. But if your intention is to remove the barrier and begin the process of restoring the relationship with that person, a sincere apology must be offered, and forgiveness extended.
One might say, ‘I don’t feel like forgiving.’ The truth is, not many of us do. What we need to know, though, is this: forgiveness is not a feeling. It’s a decision to offer grace instead of demanding justice.
When it comes to forgiveness, however, there are a lot of misconceptions that muddy the process. To better understand forgiveness, here are four things forgiveness DOES NOT do:
Forgiveness does not wipe our memory.
Forgiveness does not remove all the consequences of wrongdoing.
Forgiveness does not rebuild trust.
Forgiveness does not always result in reconciliation” (Chapman 2010).
Chapman, G. D. (2010). Things I wish I’d known before we got married. Northfield Pub.