The Via Media—Between What and What? | The North American Anglican

John Whitgift (c. 1530-1604): Archbishop of Canterbury and a defender of the Elizabethan Settlement, the classic attempt to bridge the divide between Reformed Catholic Anglicans and what McDermott calls Calvinist (I would call them Reformed Protestant) Anglicans.

One could say that the argument over the Via Media is its own via media, cutting through two camps in the Anglican Communion.

Source: The Via Media—Between What and What? | The North American Anglican

Gerald McDermott – recently retired Chair of Anglican Divinity at Beeson Divinity School, the author or editor of 23 books, and teacher of courses in Anglicanism, history and doctrine, theology of world religions, and Jonathan Edwards – on the much-debated subject of the Anglican via media.

As quoted above, McDermott writes that “One could say that the argument over the Via Media is its own via media, cutting through two camps in the Anglican Communion,” and continues,

“Although there have been various ways of interpreting the term [via media], more recently its interpretation has divided two groups of Anglicans—those who insist on the Reformed character of Anglicanism and those who see Anglicanism as a way of being reformed and catholic but distinct from Rome.

The first group of Anglicans (let’s call them ‘Calvinist Anglicans’) says that the via media runs between Wittenberg and Geneva but finally ends in Geneva. The English Reformation, by its lights, was first inspired by Luther’s doctrine of justification by faith alone and grace alone. Then it turned to Calvin and his Institutes as its best expression of Christian faith purged of papist ceremonial. Cranmer and Jewell turned attention away from Catholic spectacle and back toward the preached Word. The Protestant center of Anglicanism is demonstrated by the Thirty-Nine Articles’ exaltation of biblical authority and rejection of Catholic sacramentalism.

“The other group of Anglicans (‘reformed catholic Anglicans’ might be apt) acknowledges Reformed influence on the early Anglican theologians and continued Reformation influence on Anglican soteriology and authority. For a few examples, Anglicans have always rejected Pelagianism, papism, and Mariolatry. But reformed catholic Anglicans point as well to the embrace of catholic worship—not Roman but patristic, and that of the undivided Church of the first millennium of Christianity—by its earliest reformers and continuing through the Elizabethan and Restoration eras.”

“For these and a hundred other reasons, historians such as the general editor of the Oxford History of Anglicanism have maintained that ‘[d]eveloping within Anglicanism over centuries was a creative but also divisive tension between Protestantism and Catholicism, between the Bible and tradition, between the Christian past and contemporary thought and society.'”

It will probably surprise few regular readers of this blog that The Anglophilic Anglican falls into the second of these two camps: seeing in the Anglican tradition an expression of Christianity which is both Reformed and Catholic, but not Romanist. So, it appears, does McDermott; and he spends the rest of this fairly long but interesting essay in defending that stance – or as he puts it, endeavoring to

“show in this space that the reformed catholic conception of the via media as running between Rome and Geneva more accurately depicts the Anglican story than the Calvinist one. The Reformed tradition has had an undoubted influence upon our faith and worship, but it is only part of the story” –

as well as providing some cautions for those who would behave in a manner too over-zealous, on either side. As he concludes,

“I would suggest that… we should accept our Calvinist Anglican brothers and sisters as good Anglicans whom we can invite to share more of our rich Anglican patrimony. Come not only to hear but also to taste and see.

“We ask in turn that our Calvinist brethren would accept us as genuine Anglicans [as well]. Let us say to one another, Come let us reason together and learn from each other.

A very good and useful read, in my opinion!

 

Update on the coronavirus pandemic – with some reflections from The Anglophilic Anglican (warning: LONG!)

President Trump has announced, in a brief statement at a news conference this afternoon (Friday, May 22, 2020), that churches and other “houses of worship” are to be considered essential, calling upon Governors to allow churches to open.

The President stated that he identified houses of worship “as essential places that provide essential services” – which they certainly are! – and called on governors “to do the right thing and allow these very important essential places of faith to open right now, for this weekend.”

In a statement which is certain to be controversial, he asserted that “if they don’t do it, I will override the governors,” although it is unclear by what authority or by means of what practical mechanism he would do that.

Now, I generally tend to be on the side of “States Rights,” but to be frank, many of the governors have seemed to be using their heads for little but hat-racks in this crisis, and that’s putting it as gently as I possibly can. Kudos to the President for expressing a truth which earlier generations would have held to be self-evident! It’s just a shame he had to.

He further noted that “In America, we need more prayer, not less.” To all of which I can only say, about darned time! The fact that, as the President pointed out, many governors have considered bars and abortion centers to be “essential,” but left out churches, is something that has stuck in my craw for a good while, now! Again, kudos to President Trump.

Dr. Birx: These areas still show high numbers of positive tests ...

In addition, Dr. Deborah Birk, chief of the national Covid-19 task force, has pointed out that nationwide, new hospitalizations and emergency room admissions for both influenza-like illnesses and covid-like illnesses have been declining throughout the past month, according to CDC data. In fact, across the country, she points out that we are “below baseline.”

Maryland, sadly, has been lagging behind: it remained stubbornly “orange” when most other states had turned various shades of green: Dr. Birx reports that the CDC has been “calling out” the “high plateau” in Maryland for some weeks, now. But even the Old Line State has dropped to yellow, at least, over the last week. That is excellent news! The CDC website confirms this overall improvement, stating that

“Nationally, levels of influenza-like illness (ILI) and COVID-19-like illness (CLI), as well as the percentage of specimens testing positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, continue to decline. Mortality attributed to COVID-19 also decreased compared to last week but remains elevated above baseline,” noting cautiously, as always, that numbers “may increase as additional death certificates are processed.”

This doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods, as of yet; and of course, there is always the chance for the dreaded “second wave.” But it is certainly encouraging to see some significant progress, at long last! Other pieces of data from the CDC website: Continue reading “Update on the coronavirus pandemic – with some reflections from The Anglophilic Anglican (warning: LONG!)”

J.D. Unwin on the correlation between sexual liberty and cultural downfall

Fulton Sheen – The level of any civilization is the level of its womanhood

In Sex and Culture (1934), British anthropologist J. D. Unwin “studied 80 primitive tribes and 6 known civilizations through 5,000 years of history and found a positive correlation between the cultural achievement of a people and the sexual restraint they observe.” Writing in his blog, “Disfigured Praise: Affliction for the Comfortable,” Jonathon McCormack comments on Dr. Unwin’s findings:

“After studying cultures as diverse as the Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, Anglo-Saxons, and dozens of other groups, Dr. Unwin found a 100% perfect correlation between the practice of heterosexual fidelity and cultural development. As Unwin wrote, across 5,000 years of history he found absolutely no exception to his rule:

“These societies lived in different geographical environments; they belonged to different racial stocks; but the history of their marriage customs is the same. In the beginning each society had the same ideas in regard to sexual regulations. Then the same struggles took place; the same sentiments were expressed; the same changes were made; the same results ensued. Each society reduced its sexual opportunity to a minimum and displaying great social energy, flourished greatly. Then it extended its sexual opportunity; its energy decreased, and faded away. The one outstanding feature of the whole story is its unrelieved monotony.

Without exception, once restrictions on sexuality are lifted, especially female sexuality, a society destroys itself from within, and is later conquered from without. When not focusing mental and physical energy on building strong families, members of a culture lose the impetus for upkeep and innovation [emphasis added – The Angophilic Anglican].”

“Author Daniel Janosik puts Unwin’s findings this way:

“If the British anthropologist J. D. Unwin is correct in his assessment of society, this present generation in the Western world may be the last one. He found that when strict heterosexual monogamy was practiced, the society attained its greatest cultural energy, especially in the arts, sciences and technology. But as people rebelled against the prohibitions placed upon them and demanded more sexual opportunities, there was a consequent loss of their creative energy, which resulted in the decline and eventual destruction of the civilization. Remarkably, he did not find any exception to this trend.”

“The fact the world’s three major religions, which date back to the Bronze Age, have been structured around the ideals of monogamy and sexual restraint for thousands of years should tell us something about tampering with the set and frame of civilization, then calling the resulting degeneracy ‘progress.’

“Unwin concluded that the fabric that holds a society together is sexual in nature. When life-long heterosexual monogamous relationship is practiced, the focus is on the nurture of the family and energy is expended to protect, plan for, and build up the individual family unit. This extends to the entire society and produces a strong society focused on preserving the strength of the family.

However, he found that when sexual opportunities opened the door to premarital, post-marital, and homosexual relationships, the social energy always dissipated as the individual focused more on self-gratification rather than societal good.”

To which The Anglophilic Anglican can only quote that great philosopher of the earlier and more innocent 1960s, Gomer Pyle:

Gomer Pyle – Surprise, surprise, surprise!


[Disclaimer: No offense to Mr. McCormack intended, but I would not have titled the linked blog-post “How Women destroy civilization,” if I had been the one writing it.

It is not women per se who destroy civilization: it is masculinized women and feminized men; it is decoupling sexual relations from the gift and blessing, but also unquestionably the responsibility, of procreation and parenthood, and especially the vocation of motherhood; it is, as the above quotes make clear, privileging personal gratification over the good of families and societies.

Women who understand their primary and proper role being to act in support of their husbands, families, and homes are no threat to civilization, but indeed, one of its most essential pillars! Feminism, not femininity, is the problem.

“The British Church” – George Herbert (with some reflections thereupon)

Image may contain: sky, tree, grass, outdoor and nature
“A Distant View of Hythe Village and Church, Kent” – Arthur Nelson (c. 1767).

The British Church

~ by George Herbert (1633)

I joy, dear mother, when I view
Thy perfect lineaments, and hue
Both sweet and bright.
Beauty in thee takes up her place,
And dates her letters from thy face,
When she doth write.
A fine aspect in fit array,
Neither too mean nor yet too gay,
Shows who is best.
Outlandish looks may not compare,
For all they either painted are,
Or else undress’d.
She on the hills which wantonly
Allureth all, in hope to be
By her preferr’d,
Hath kiss’d so long her painted shrines,
That ev’n her face by kissing shines,
For her reward.
She in the valley is so shy
Of dressing, that her hair doth lie
About her ears;
While she avoids her neighbour’s pride,
She wholly goes on th’ other side,
And nothing wears.
But, dearest mother, what those miss,
The mean, thy praise and glory is
And long may be.
Blessed be God, whose love it was
To double-moat thee with his grace,
And none but thee.

 

Nota Bene: Herbert is referring, of course, to the Anglican via media (“middle way”), which is perhaps best thought of in Aristotelian terms as the “Golden Mean” between the extremes of surfeit (too much of something) and deficit (too little). Indeed, “via media” is itself a 19th-century term for this phenomenon; earlier centuries expressed it as the mean (cf. Herbert, above) between extremes, or even, as we shall see below, a “virtuous mediocrity.” But all can be understood in fundamentally the same sense.

Herbert’s view in this poem is expressed in rather more extreme language by Bishop Simon Patrick of Ely (1625-1707), who wrote of “that virtuous mediocrity which our Church observes between the meretricious gaudiness of the Church of Rome and the squalid slattery of fanatic conventicles” – though it should be noted that, as one scholarly commentator has pointed out, “squalid slattery” fits the sectaries of the Civil War and Commonwealth period better than the sober demeanor of the Lutheran and Reformed Churches of the Continent, the products of the magisterial Reformation.

And indeed, it was within that context – the era of the English Civil War and Interregnum, and the eventual Restoration, that Bishop Patrick was writing.

In any case, a love of order, seemliness, and good taste (cf. I Corinthians 14:40 – “Let all things be done decently and in order”) has led the Anglican Church along a middle path between these two extremes. And as it has furthermore been elsewhere noted, the via media meant positioning the English Church such that it could recognize not only its affinity with the medieval catholic tradition, on the one hand, but with the enduring legacy of the Reformation, on the other: a position of both-and, not either-or.

Indeed, I would submit that the Anglican via media represents the point where several axes come together, if one can visualize a multi-dimensional graph: the legacy of the medieval Catholic tradition and that of the magisterial Reformation, as noted above; “High Church” and “Low Church” liturgy and churchmanship; Anglo-Catholic and Evangelical theology; and indeed Eastern and Western forms of catholic orthodoxy.

I believe that, as a contemporary Collect for that great 16th-century Anglican divine, Richard Hooker, has put it, the Anglican via media is to be understood

“not as a compromise for the sake of peace, but as a comprehension for the sake of truth.”

The challenge, and the sadness, of course, is that humans have a tendency to want to hive off into our own little enclaves, and to declare our understanding of the “truth” to be the only one that is acceptable. Anglicans are no less guilty of this than are others!

 

Greece: Angry migrants chop down 5,000 olive trees on Lesbos

Days after video footage surfaced showing groups of migrant men ignoring social distancing measures and ridiculing the police officers trying to enforce them, illegal migrants from the Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos have struck again, chopping down 5,000 olive trees.

Source: Greece: Angry migrants chop down 5,000 olive trees on Lesbos

“The destruction of these olive trees, which can take 65 to 80 years to reach stable yields, is being viewed as an assault on Greek history, culture, and identity, as well as an attack against the island’s local economy, the Greek City Times reports.

“The olive tree is one of the most ubiquitous symbols in Greece and classical Western civilization… For the ancient Greeks, the olive tree was… viewed as a symbol of peace, wisdom, fertility, and victory, and was believed to have been a gift from Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom.”

Furthermore,

“The island’s local economy will suffer for years to come as a result of the destruction of these decades-old olive trees. Each year, olive exports contribute nearly 650 million euros to Greece’s national economy.”

I am passionate about my European ancestry, and about the history, heritage, and culture of Western Civilization. But I am also passionate about ecology and the environment, and about local and sustainable food and farming.

This is an attack on all of the above, by vile and despicable cretins who have conclusively proven – if it were not already blindingly obvious – that they do not deserve to set one foot on European soil.

My mantra used to be “send them back.” The more this sort of thing happens, the more my perspective shifts — to “send them to Hell.”

 

I despise “hook-up” culture.

My thought for today, the last day of March in this year of grace 2020:

I despise hook-up culture. I mean, seriously? Show a little respect, for yourself and others. Court. Date. Fall in love. Marry. Have kids, if God so blesses you. Pass your genes, and your traditions, down to the next generation. Grow old together. Live in the present in light of both the past (ancestors) and the future (descendants).

That’s where it’s at.

You’re welcome. No extra charge!


Nota Bene:  The second pic, above, is from a website called “Total Sorority Move,” and an article (?) entitled “How to be the best hookup buddy ever,” which includes “tips” like “Find a guy that you wouldn’t imagine yourself with,” and “if you do not care deeply about the guy (or at least care about him a little!) it will make it easier to not fall for him and slip and fall into some feelings.”

To be fair, it also includes the notation that “If you are looking for true love, you are not going to find it with the next guy you hookup with. You need to date if you’re looking for love.” But that begs the question, why are you so totally lacking in self-control that you want to have sex with someone you don’t love, and never have any intention of being in a relationship with?

That is precisely the problem with hookup culture: it reduces sexual intimacy from being both an expression of deep love and commitment between two responsible individuals, and a means of expressing their genetic and cultural heritage into the future, to being just another casual recreational activity. That demeans both sex itself, and the people involved with it.

I mean, look at the pictures above. Which demonstrates more self-respect, respect for the other person involved, and indeed, more respect for culture and society as a whole? In which scene would you rather see your sons or daughters (whether actual or prospective)? And in all honesty, in which scene would you rather see yourself?

If you chose the second, to any of those questions, you may have some soul-searching to do…

 

PSA: Coronavirus (COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, C-19) precautions

C-19 Precautions

There is a lot of mixed information, and most likely a lot of misinformation, out there about the current outbreak / pandemic of what, for simplicity, I’ll call C-19. There are, it seems to me, two general category errors that a lot of people are making, currently.

The first is panic / gloom-and-doom pessimism: “It’s going to kill us all! Millions dead! It’s the end of the world as we know it! And it’s all Trump’s fault!” To people on that side of the spectrum, let me say, take a chill-pill. For one thing, there is no situation that it helped by panic. For another, the stark and, yes, frightening “worst-case scenarios” are precisely that: what might happen if governments and people do nothing.

But a lot is being done. Social distancing and voluntary isolation – even, yes, government-enforced shutdowns and quarantines, as little as us liberty-minded folks like them – do a great deal to break the chain of transmission. So do closing borders, although it can certainly be argued that that should have been done sooner!

Moreover, there are tremendous efforts underway in labs across the nation and world to bring new antiviral therapies and even vaccines online, and there is a lot of promising being done. We are by no means out of the woods yet; but the chance of a mass die-off is, while not zero, at least fairly unlikely. Particularly if proper precautions, such as those in the graphic above, are utilized.

And that brings me to the other significant error I see in this: the idea that “oh, it’s just a bad cold!” Or, “oh, it’s just another flu” – with the assumption being that it’s not that big of a deal; it’s an over-reaction, or worse yet a hoax, and I don’t really have to change my behavior or worry about this thing.

That attitude, frankly, could get you killed. Or worse yet, get someone you care about killed: your grandparent, your friend or relative who is immuno-suppressed or has an underlying condition you didn’t know about. Too many knowledgeable people, who have no reason to be advancing a hoax, have sounded warnings about this for me to take it lightly.

I was, frankly, horrified to see the videos of college kids on Spring Break in Florida hanging all over each other on the beach like nothing was wrong. Yes, when you’re that age, you think you’re immortal, invincible – right up until something happens. Stupidity shouldn’t be lethal, but it often is – and it’s not always the stupid one who suffers.

So it’s not only or even primarily what might happen to them; it’s what they may take back to their communities, and more vulnerable members of those communities. And while younger people do tend to have milder effects from this thing, they’re not immune: 1 in 5 of those hospitalized in the US are younger adults, between 20 and 44.

But if ignorance, foolishness, and chance-taking go with the young, what is even more frustrating is older adults, including some who should be thoughtful, intelligent, and responsible, who are not yet taking this with the seriousness it deserves. Most of those are skeptics because they assume that it is an attempted Deep State takeover, or part of the vendetta against President Trump, or both.

To be fair, I think there are very real dangers to our Constitutional rights and civil liberties stemming from government actions to limit the effects of this virus, and they will increase the longer the threat continues, and the more drastic the steps taken to contain it. “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” as the old saying goes.

This is particularly the case since, unlike (for instance) World War Two, in which  the American people had to put up with some pretty extreme government limitations – including rationing of fuel and foodstuffs, censorship of mail, and even limitations on travel – there is not necessarily a clear and obvious end-game.

The war against the Axis had a definitive conclusion: surrender, and the signing of peace-treaties. The war against a virus isn’t likely to end on the deck of a battleship. Like the also-nebulous “War on Terror,” there will always be a new virus, a new threat, and a new (or worsening) temptation to misuse power, even for good reasons. And of course, not everyone in the government has pure motives, and the Deep State does exist.

But that is a separate (though related) issue from limiting the spread of a dangerous virus. If the government oversteps, that’s a problem; but it is, in my view, a more serious and immediate problem to refuse to take the danger posed by C-19 seriously, or neglect to take appropriate steps to mitigate it, just because one is concerned that the government will take Rahm Emanuel’s infamous dictum (“never let a good crisis go to waste”) to heart.

At minimum, the suggestions in the infographic above provide reasonable, common-sense precautions that will help prevent or limit the spread not only of C-19, but of other dangerous viruses as well. The top two apply to everyone (and the instructions for hand-washing should apply to all times, not just pandemics); the lower one is for those whose state or municipality has not already imposed more stringent restrictions.

Yes, by all means let’s keep a weather-eye on the government! But in the meantime, let’s also do what we can to prevent C-19 from becoming even more of a problem than it is already. The life you save may be your own… or a beloved grandparent’s.


And don’t forget to wash those paws!

https://sites.google.com/site/handwashing27/_/rsrc/1364247482412/contact-us/handwashing_2009_e.jpg?height=403&width=550
Obviously, you can also use bar soap! Just make sure you work up a nice lather.

 

Bjorn Andreas Bull-Hansen asks: “Coronavirus & covid-19: Is this how freedom dies?”

I like Bjorn Andreas Bull-Hansen, because he is even-tempered, reasonable / rational, and thoughtful. I like other YouTube videocasters, too, but folks like Dr. Steve Turley can sometimes be a little too bombastic and ebullient, and Marcus Follin (a.k.a. “The Golden One“) a little too narcissistic (although he’s gotten better since becoming a father), for me to take in large doses. But Bjorn Andreas Bull-Hansen seems like a guy I’d love to sit in the woods with, by a campfire, sipping coffee and talking about these things.

And we do indeed live in troubling times! At this writing, many things in my home state are closed down – schools, government offices, gyms, bars, restaurants (except carryout) – and the Federal authorities are recommending avoiding gatherings with more than 10 people. I am willing to accept that we need to deal with certain restrictions on movement, on gathering, etc., while the authorities try to get a handle on this virus.

And there are enough different countries affected, with enough different types of governments, on enough different locations on the political spectrum, and enough responsible, respectable medical personnel involved – and genuinely concerned – that I do not think this is a hoax, or a tempest in a teapot.

I’d rather us do more than necessary, and it end up looking (at least here in the States, as it’s already been pretty bad in some other countries) like – as one commentator put it – “a great big nothing-burger” than to have us not take it seriously enough, and it ends up killing thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or more people. To that end, I’m willing to put up with a good bit of inconvenience, even frustration.

I am more concerned, as Bull-Hansen says, with what comes after. The government – the various governments – have now had, for the first time in a very long time, probably since the end of World War Two (a conflict with a very specific enemy, or group of enemies, and a very specific end-point), experience with imposing curfews, travel restrictions, restrictions on the size of assemblies, and so on. And like the war on terrorism, a war on viruses does not have a clear end-point. You can’t have a ceremony on a battleship to sign a peace treaty ending a war with a disease.

So, the government has, in a sense, tasted blood. Like a sheep-killing dog, are they going to be able to go back to being the family pet? Something they haven’t been, for a very long time, anyway! Not since the 1860s, at least. What will be the next excuse? Or the next, to all appearances, legitimate reason? I’m a historian. Most dictatorships, most authoritarian forms of government, don’t come into being without what are initially good reasons, or what seem to be good reasons. But once the camel’s nose is in the tent…

Well. As Bull-Hansen put it, “we need to be alert, vigilant. We need to think for ourselves. We will be tested in the days, weeks, and months to come.” Beyond that… we’ll see.

We’ll see.

 

Thoughts on family, fatherhood, work, and home-life… in a post-global age

The Tradwife Movement Reminds Us of the Virtue of Service in Marriage

There seems to be what I see as the beginning of a substantial backlash against many things we have taken for granted in culture and society for the last five or six decades in the Western world, and particularly in America. One of these is the notion that motherhood and homemaking is an inferior, subordinate role that oppresses and demeans women, and that women should therefore eschew it, and join men in the workplace. The rise of the “TradWife” (traditional wife) movement is part of the kickback against this – and one with which, in large measure, I agree.

I was raised by a traditional wife and mother: Ma never worked outside the home during my lifetime, although she did work as an English teacher during the first few years of her marriage to Pa. But not long after my oldest brother was born, she left “outside” work, and returned to the home. And there is no question that I benefited – we all did – from her ability to devote her full time and attention to being a wife, mother, and homemaker. We had clean clothes, a clean house, healthy, delicious homemade meals, baked deserts, and much else, thanks to her not needing to squeeze such things around full-time (or even part-time) work.

I also have no doubt that I was saved from many opportunities to “sin and err” by the fact that I knew she (or if she had to be away, my grandmother) would be there waiting for me when I got home from school! And no matter how far I roamed, through the woods and fields near my house, I never seemed to be out of the range of her call (a resounding “Tooommmmmmmmmm!”), that echoed through the air, come supper time – to the awed amazement of my friends, who were shocked that such a small person (she was all of 5’3″ in height) could call so loudly.

I empathize with the nostalgia for the immediate post-WW II era. Although I was born in 1965, I was in many significant ways a “child of the 1950s”: Ma and Pa were married then, and both my brothers were born in the ’50s (I was a late-comer, and rather a surprise, at the time!). So I get it! My concern about the TradWife movement, however – despite my admiration for many of the women involved, and my agreement with the basic premise that both women and their families are benefited by them being at home with and for those families – is that many or most of them seem to take the 1950s as their template for what a “traditional” wife should be, and do.
Continue reading “Thoughts on family, fatherhood, work, and home-life… in a post-global age”

Coronavirus and Covid-19: Nothing will be the same after this | Bjorn Andreas Bull-Hansen

Norwegian author and YouTuber Bjorn Andreas Bull-Hansen has some interesting thoughts on the long-term, cultural significance of coronavirus (COVID-19 / SARS-COV-2). The existence of this virus will definitely have effects on how we think about things, how we act, where we go, who we interact with:

“We’re going to see people understanding the value of family, we’re going to see people returning to the local communities; people will travel less, people will have a lot more skepticism toward foreigners, towards foreign cultures. I’m sure there will be a lot of push-back toward this, that people will call you a lot of names if you have that kind of skepticism” – but, he strongly implies, it’s going to happen, whether some folks like it or not.

This is starting to hit home to me. I have just learned that because Maryland has decided to cancel all school classes and programs for two weeks, starting on Monday, I am going to be taking some serious hits professionally and financially. I may lose two weeks of pay. At least. Maybe more, if things continue.

It’s definitely making me think. I am vulnerable, here. I’m vulnerable economically, since I’m dependent very much on what others do for my employment. We all are, to some degree. But I’m acutely so, by the nature of my job. I’m vulnerable health-wise, again due to the nature of my employment.

And I am vulnerable, too, in that I am living a) close to a very large and fairly unstable city – Baltimore – which has a history of rioting, and which could become very unpleasant very quickly if things get bad; and b) in a context in which it is very difficult for me to “prep” – to stockpile food and supplies, and to operate “off the grid,” if necessary. Not just difficult, but nearly impossible, at present.

I have been resisting the thought of moving – even as I have also been pondering the prospect – partly because I was “once burned, twice shy” by my 2013-14 relocation to Maine; and partly because it is simply a daunting concept. Where will I go? What will I do to make money, to support myself? I have no easy answers. But this coronavirus outbreak is definitely making me think more deeply about the questions.

Another way in which this has touched me: I stopped at the local supermarket on my way home from work today. Thought nothing of it, there were just a few things I wanted to get, some for supper, some for later. I walked into a “panic buying” situation, as the school closings had caused local people to make a run on the store. In this one incident, I now have more of a sense of what it must have been like to have lived in the Soviet Union, at least as regards empty shelves in the stores.

I ended up getting more than I had intended, just because I wasn’t sure it’d be there the next time! And this was because there has been a single “community-transmitted” case of coronavirus detected in the State of Maryland: that is to say, an individual who had no known exposure to coronavirus through travel or an infected individual, meaning the precise source was unknown.

While I am not saying that an abundance of caution is inappropriate in this case, it does make me wonder what would happen in a more dramatic emergency. And yes, this certainly does cause one – at least, this one – to hope that our contemporary reliance on global supply chains, porous borders, and “just in time” delivery models are overdue for a rethink.

Understanding the value of family, returning to the local communities, less-frequent or at least more thoughtful and less-casual travel, and more skepticism toward foreigners, all sound like pretty good ideas to me, at this point.

Bull-Hansen has more to say, too, than what I have quoted and reacted to. Definitely worth a watch, and worth considering his comments. “Stay strong,” he concludes. “We will get through this. We will all get through this.”

May God grant it.