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Issue 013

Pagan Moontide of Mars 30, Anno Domini 2020

Lent 5: Putting Fear in Quarantine

"O my God, do not delay. You are my help and my deliverer." Psalm  40

"Fear mongering can destroy the economy, create worldwide panic, and result in far more deaths and fear and destruction than letting this virus play its course.”

In his conclusion to a tremendously careful article in the most recent Altucher’s Investment Network, James Altucher hits it square. 

He is not the only one out there pointing out that only the most extremist reading of the facts imply that the real threat of coronavirus is all of us getting sick and dying. The great destruction is the dismantling of a global economy that, unlike the cars not selling off dealer lots right now, will not just start back up with a touch of a button. 

We are inland of this economic tsunami. China is ground zero, with its 21st century gambit to be the world leader of assembly line manufacturing now seriously jeopardized. But that impact is one that we will not even hear about until months from now. Meanwhile, just how far inland that economic wave will come by the time we try to reboot City-Life America is anyone’s guess. 

My only contention is that we are underestimating “it", because we are so much more afraid of the virus than “it". We created “itby pushing the closest thing to an “off” button the USA has.  

So personally, the fear killing my mind has more to do with what we might find three weeks from now.

This doesn’t mean that I’m hoping to get sick! The threat that this mutation, closely related to the common cold and SARS, poses to me and mine is fair enough:

  • My aging father's health has been declining significantly for the last year.
  • Several of my children are plagued by immunodeficiencies that affect their respiratory systems.
  • One of these children, due to another allergic reaction, is currently still recovering from several major welts caused by contact with the allergen. This is the definition of a “compromised immune system." 
  • My sister's children have similar scenarios.
  • My wife is only just finding health again after years of battling a malnutrition we only this year learned was the heritage of a childhood venture into vegetarianism. She eats cow now and is doing so much better, but she is still in a malnourished and recovering state.
  • Meanwhile, my most recent head cold joined up with spring-time allergies leaving me with congestion precisely in the place that coronavirus is most likely to hit.

And every single one of you reading this has a similar trail of stories and names and concerns.

Yes, there are reasons to fear this virus.
But fear is the mind killer.
Fear is the logos killer.
Fear is the lie, whose power is imagination and whose substance is less than a breath.
Truth is another matter. 
And truth is always bigger than me

The fact is this: on a worldwide scale, whether from virulent or economic disaster, 2020 will be a year of excessive death tolls, heaped upon new and unexpected pains and trials that we as a civilization were wholly unprepared to face a month ago.

BUT  this is not  the end of the world.

This is a moment of reckoning for an age too-content to embrace its own decay.
This is an ordeal of cosmic proportions by which the mettle of faith and life shall be tested.
This is a time during which we should expect a small or even great falling away.

And, this is a time when the church of Jesus Christ will find herself strengthened to courageous new heights and levels of conviction, the likes of which before were entirely unimaginable

James says, "Hopefully, the factories will re-open, the economic situation will get back on track, and then the real hard work begins.”

Building on the ashes is never a dream come true, but wallowing in the muck is for pigs and zombies. When forced to rebuild from the ground up, there is ample opportunity to make some much needed upgrades.

Those who trust in Jesus Christ are like Mount Zion which cannot be moved. 

Agoras-thaeta gar Timeis!

Rev. Fisk

Another Incontractable Extra-Crunchy Edition of 

Clickbait Paradise

As much as we had hoped to quarantine this newsletter off from Coronamania for a while, news about the pandemic is proving hard to avoid. So put your feet up and enjoy another round of madness - we could be here a while...

God's peace,
Team Mad Mondays

(NB: Skip to the end if you've had enough)

The Bride in a time of isolation

A lot of Christians are reluctantly accepting that holding services at this time poses too high a risk, but some have found ways to continue meeting. BYO popcorn. 

On a more serious note, the LCMS' Commission On Theology and Church Relations (CTCR) has released a helpful and comforting document on "Communion and COVID."

"In this uncertain time, let us encourage every baptized child of God to be fervent in seeking opportunities to hear the Word of God as it goes forth from written sermons, letters, websites, emails, streaming videos, and other means, to read the Word in their homes, to implore God to end this plague and preserve His church, and—as His royal priesthood—to “proclaim the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Pet. 2:9)."

Meanwhile, the Lutheran church in Africa may not have the luxury of sheltering-in-place. 

"In the slums, the majority of people live from hand to mouth and cannot choose to stay at home and isolate themselves, because that would bring about swift starvation. Many of those jobs will, however, be cut. No wonder that security advisors send out predicted threats of civil unrest and crime when people’s incomes dwindle. There have already been isolated incidents of xenophobic attacks as angry mobs blame foreigners for bringing the virus to Kenya."

Lost in Russia: This awesome podcast from the Issues, Etc. vault discusses how Russian Lutherans survived under persecution for 70 years, passing down their faith when meeting and communing together was illegal. 

ICYMI, Rev. Fisk and Ps. Wolfmueller had a conversation about concerns for their own congregations in this time of isolation. Click on the podcast link below.

How the world is travelling

While surreal footage of quiet cities is popping up on the internet, this collection of photos, shows the tenacity of medical personnel, facing mayhem on the front line. We at MM think this should help us all resolve to love our neighbors by staying home. 

Cruise passengers and also commercial shipping crews are being stranded at sea, as they are refused permission to dock. The summer Olympic Games in Tokyo have been postponed and India has been plunged into a 21 day lockdown, with more health workers putting themselves at risk to help.

Are we there yet?

A sudden loss of taste or sense of smell may be symptom of COVID-19 infection and studies are being conducted to see how long the virus can last on surfaces. Some countries are reporting a slow down in the amount of new cases of  coronavirus and warm weather may help that trend to continue. More than 30 companies are working on a vaccine, but it is most likely going to take some time.

It appears the stockpiles of face masks belonging to Big Tech companies will prove helpful and many corporations are lending a hand, in their own particular way. Louis Vuitton hand soap, anyone?

The US government has settled on handing out a big bag o’ cash, but not without much politicking. The Democrats have relinquished their attempts to move some money to the left, even insisting at one point that Planned Parenthood should get a slice of the bail-out pie. Wait, what? 

"Hard cases make bad law" is an adage out of the legal world, but it would appear pandemics make for haphazard spending and reactionary regulations. Pray for our leaders.

Kyrie eleison.

To paraphrase Robert Owen, who was clearly speaking about isolation during a pandemic...

All the world is mad save thee and me, and even thou art a little mad

It seems that it takes a strong will not to panic shop but pity poor Facebook employees languishing at home, far away from their catered workplaces. Suddenly, realizing they don't know how to cook, necessity becomes the mother of [fanfare]…the Totwaffle. 

Those who are fortunate enough to continue in their employment virtually, are finding that the thrill of working online soon wears off. Some have devised a way to loop Zoom video to pretend they're paying attention during meetings. Wasn't there a movie with a speeding bus that tried that?

Back To The Future II was right! Drone dog walking is here.

All the best feels this week came from the Couch Choir, with a thousand people in 18 countries edited together to sing the same song. Speaking of songs, Cheryl Magness put together a list of hymns to sing through times of plague, a great use of the awesome First Article gift of music. 

Corona Shots

And now for something completely different...

.. In the small space left, some other news..

There have been many great libraries throughout history, some legendary and some real. Today, there is Minecraft and this virtual library is housing real texts, allowing journalists and others to fly below censorship radars. It's not quite Pergamum or Alexandria, but the amazing sandbox favorite has proved its genius again and again. 

Minecraft Marketplace has also added educational 'rooms' for this time of pandemic. Does that = innovation squared? ;)

Elon Musk has FCC approval for heaps of satellite broadband terminals to give better internet access to more of the population.

A new procedure, performed at a hospital in Israel, has cleaned and replaced a patient's lung during surgery.

Promo of Friends

Rev. Fisk's recommendation for those whose services are cancelled. Speak to your elders, they love to help! 

Also, please consider how to continue your financial giving to your congregation during this time - your pastor is worth his wages.

A Good Word:  Rec's from Rev. Fisk

Rev. Fisk’s recent recommendation - a mixtape to bring out your inner superhero. 

Madness Score: .95 - Definitely Sweet Action

Only Illuminati Need Apply
Your Reaction Highlights

Dear Pastor Fisk,

I’m crap at video games but want to play the game you’re playing.
What do I need to know to play?
(I don't even know gaming terminology.)
I need to learn the rules and define my character.

One rule I know already is: Power is in the Word, or the Word is power.
In my weakness I’m looking to Jesus, Who has played this game before me.
His score was perfect.

And He's still in the game.

Your sister-in-arms,

And also some sage words from one of our SMChill vikings:

Inbox zero is made for man, not man for inbox zero!!!

Andrew Berg

Quick Hits for the Eyebuds

  1. Our favorite Lutheran hyper-realist painter
  2. "Heads Up!" is now free
  3. FF VII might yet redeem itself
  4. Cityscapes wrapped around your finger
  5. A Japanese chef illustrated all his meals for 32 years
  6. Formula 1 set to compete virtually
Sweetness You May Have Missed...
Podcast Release

At Least We Got That Goin' For Us

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Travel through the OT

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Entertain Me
Next Week in the Exile:
Trust not in Princes
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We are all waiting for the next Dust release.

Images Used:

Dark Sun

Let us pray: Lord Jesus, High Priest, who never fails to make the perfect offering, Lord Jesus, who answered the Father’s call for our salvation, make us to know our sanctification in name, and so resist the binding yokes of the carnal passions, for you live and reign in the Father’s presence, by your Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Lent 5:
Putting Fear in Quarantine