Updated: Mar 25
by JS Reeverts
One of my favorite gut-busting moments of laughter was revealed when I saw a Bud Light commercial on YouTube that was short lived on TV. It was entitled “Swear Jar”. It also went viral but didn’t shut down professional sports, restaurants, schools, churches and the like.
What it demonstrated, though, was that people don’t exactly respond the way you expect them to. As these uncertain days unfold, they are filled with a spectrum or fear, frustration and ridiculous humor - consider some of the Coronavirus memes.
I have listened to so many people express frustration, and certainly my frustration has risen throughout this ordeal. However, one beautiful conversation I recently had broke out in laughter at the outcome of shutting everything down; “I’ll tell you what’s gonna happen is that we are going to experience our next baby boom in 9 months!”
Hence, people don’t always react the way that you expect them to.
For instance, “Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly canceled in-person K-12 school and classes for the remainder of the school year, saying students would continue online learning. The decision late Tuesday was the first of its kind by any state in the nation. More than a dozen states have canceled traditional classes for two or three weeks, but none so far has stopped in-person teaching for the rest of the academic year.” 1
Okay, how awesome is that for kids… I can hear the Alice Cooper lyrics drowning out this blog! “School’s out for the summer… School’s out...forever!
But what about all those families that will never get to celebrate 13 years of commitment and dedication, the ups and downs of high school and the aspirations for their future; somehow a ZOOM video of that senior and her classmates walking out individual ceremonies that no one is allowed to attend or congregate with is a little deflating. But, on the positive side, think of how everyone saves on graduation gifts and cards… and so another industry bites the dust.
Or maybe it’s that, in an odd way, school was actually a pretty effective contraceptive. After all not much sex took place in the classroom those eight to ten hours aday. But now, left home, digitally supervised or disconnected for most of the day… um, really Jon?!?
Consider this: Centers for Disease Control writes, "HPV infections (or genital warts - a sexual disease transmitted primarily by genital contact) are so common that nearly all men and women will get at least one type of HPV at some point in their lives.Nearly 80 million Americans are currently infected with some type of HPV. About 14 million Americans, including teens, become infected each year." 2 HPV is a stepping stone to cervical cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates about 13,800 new cases in 2020 and as a result 4,290 women will die. 3
However, internationally, The World Health Organization estimated about 570,000 new cases in 2018 resulting in 311,000 women’s deaths. 4 Yet, Planned Parenthood says, “HPV is harmless and usually goes away by itself, but some types can lead to cancer or genital warts.” 5
No one in the history of the world has ever “cured” a virus. Once you have a virus, you have it for life. There are over 100 strains of HPV of which at least 14 are cancer-causing, and reports are, that vaccines can contend with 4 of the 100 strains. 6
If that’s the situation, can we expect that (Swear Jar in mind), the deaths that really occur from the Coronavirus will not have as much to do with COVID-19 as they do with our nation’s behavior.
I admit, I don’t deal with the science of virus outbreaks, but my profession deals with the fallout of people’s lives after the shit hits the fan and the dust settles.
Add this to the “Swear Jar” table. There will be an estimated 700,000 legal infant deaths this year in the United States before these children take their first breaths. Polls show that about 61% of all adult Americans are okay with this and sleep fine every night. And about 38% of American’s are against abortion and struggle to know that this has been the policy since 1970. 7 Yet, no one shut down industries, ransacked grocery stores or abandoned First Amendment rights to peaceably gather or express their freedom to worship under either of these epidemics.
As of today, the CDC reports 8
Total cases: 7,038 (6,493 of these cases are under investigation)
Total deaths: 97 (Most of these deaths are people 70-90 year’s old)
Yet somehow, today we passively give way these same First Amendment Rights saying, “It’s just for a short time… a few weeks, months….”
As a believer, I am reminded in all of this that my God is bigger than what’s happening around me. “...for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
(Read 1 John 4:1-6)
But Jon, aren’t you afraid of this outbreak?
Afraid, “No.” Yet, I understand the care that must be taken to still other’s fears and respect their safety; but, it makes me angry, because it stinks of the darkness. Anger is the emotion to which I can best relate. What a disturbing turn of events to separate us as human beings and believers and as communities - to instill deep roots of distrust and suspicion in each other, our neighbors and families.
In a release Wednesday (March 18,2020), (Colorado) Gov. Jared Polis's offices provided the following statement:
"In accordance with CDC guidelines, the Colorado Department of Public Health also issued a public health order prohibiting gatherings of 10 or more people. Gatherings include community, civic, public, leisure, faith-based events, sporting events with spectators, concerts, conventions, fundraisers, parades, fairs, festivals or any similar event that brings 10 or more people together." (9) That means that anyone who dies in the next few weeks can expect to have little to no recognition of their lives, because a funeral would have to be limited to 10 people or less. Hard to fathom!
In the midst of all this, I find peace in Psalm 46:10 (which is tattooed on my wrist) that I need to remember to “Be Still - and know that He (God) is God.” He is in control, just not controlling and micromanaging our lives.
Also, Psalm 139:13-16 (ESV) reminds me that my days are already known. I have a date with God and nothing can change that date. I’m good with that. He knows my life from start to finish.
13 For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
Knowing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior changes how we see the world and how we live out our mission to it. Yet, while we are in this war, we can respond with light. We can respond with faith and trust!
I think we’ve learned to listen to a new message of what God is calling our ministry to do in this moment and going forward. Being connected to Flatirons Church has taught our ministry many things, like delivering the Word of God in everyday, meaningful language. But Flatirons has also taught us to partner with other ministries that touch the lives of our communities. Sure, we could invest our giving in ministries outside of our local area, and if compelled by God to do that, so be it. Most of us have to make choices about how we give - there’s not an unlimited well. However, Jenny and I have always considered ourselves to be missionaries to eastern Colorado and western Kansas.
We have been a teaching ministry, sharing The Exchanged Life message. But, through this virus panic, we desire to see things more clearly. In this case, to establish a long-term relationship with Prairie Family Center. They have built trusting relationships in our community by providing food, clothing and training to area families in need for 25 years. They do so much more, but essentially, we see the new opportunities to serve those who are underserved and most at risk, by supporting them and publicizing their needs to our In Christ Ministries community. They meet physical community needs well. We hope to do the same by meeting the spiritual needs of an underserved community through our Sunday Outreach.
We encourage you to join us; plan your giving and lifestyle for 2020 with this in mind.
Perhaps, through this, our eyes have been opened to the reality that we don’t need professional sports or college tournaments to make it through March and/or the rest of the year. Perhaps we are now more aware that in the past we have lost sight of the needs of our elderly and the marginalized in our communities. Maybe we can reorganize some of our planned giving and donations. Maybe there are things in our closets and pantries that we should be sharing not hoarding. And perhaps we have learned to wash our hands and cover our coughs and sneezes more carefully, to respect those concerned about a pandemic.
"Just think,", my friend Sarah Reinertsen said, "if we can universally respond this strongly out of fear, how much greater a response could we generate out of faith and hope?"
I believe “we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
In a nutshell, there are greater concerns than Coronavirus-19. I Swear It!
1 “Kansas becomes first to cancel in-person teaching for school year.”
2 "HPV infections are common" https://www.cdc.gov/hpv/parents/about-hpv.html
3 “Key Statistics for Cervical Cancer.” https://amp.cancer.org/cancer/cervical-cancer/about/key-statistics.html
4 “Human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer.”
5 “Human papillomavirus (HPV).” https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/stds-hiv-safer-sex/hpv
6 “Human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer.” https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/human-papillomavirus-(hpv)-and-cervical-cancer
7 “Public Opinion on Abortion” https://www.pewforum.org/fact-sheet/public-opinion-on-abortion/
9 “State health dept. bans gatherings of 10 or more people in Colorado.”