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No path to normalcy

A “reopened” America won’t be as we remember it


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Joel Belz Joel is WORLD's founder. He contributes regular commentary for WORLD Magazine and WORLD Radio. Joel has served as editor, publisher, and CEO over three decades at WORLD and is the author of Consider These Things. Joel resides with his wife, Carol, near Asheville, N.C.

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West Gramma

" As far as the point made about the change in the local evangelical church after this Covid shut down; I say an enthusiastic HALLELUJAH!   We need a change.  We have become fat, sluggish, and ineffective,  because "going to church" has become an easy, non-thinking cultural norm for too many, for too long.  
Let me repeat: "a new thing" should not strike terror into the heart of true believers; but hope.  
Are we, "the peculiar people" not looking for something new, new as in a fresh wind; in our materialistic, pagan nation?  And I am speaking of the evangelical church, by the way."

Leah B, you dared write that at World Magazine? Good for you!

Laura W

Thanks for providing some perspective. :)

Leah B

Yes, our country is definitely moving towards Socialism.  This is not a small or insignificant thing, correct.  But allow me to use this space to remind any fellow readers what Psalms 2 pens for us as  reality check: "Why  do the nations rage?...He who sits in the heavens laughs?"

This is, indeed "a new thing" as pointed out.   But, let us remember, according to  the Holy Scriptures "a new thing" is exactly the words used by the Prophet Isaiah to proclaim the hopeful future reign of the Messiah, finally coming for weary children of God.  
As far as the point made about the change in the local evangelical church after this Covid shut down; I say an enthusiastic HALLELUJAH!   We need a change.  We have become fat, sluggish, and ineffective,  because "going to church" has become an easy, non-thinking cultural norm for too many, for too long.  
Let me repeat: "a new thing" should not strike terror into the heart of true believers; but hope.  
Are we, "the peculiar people" not looking for something new, new as in a fresh wind; in our materialistic, pagan nation?  And I am speaking of the evangelical church, by the way.

Thank you Joel for your professionalism and wisdom; as always.

Leah Beecher

West Gramma

Some of the more measured reader comments are very good. Although I am a post-World War II baby boomer, I once visited an outstanding, small museum in a west coast town that very thoroughly covered life in America during the war. I will never forget that experience. I was overwhelmed at the extent that the national government had intruded into the minutiae of daily living. Propaganda galore, rationing coupons, recipes for homemade concoctions, and did I say government propaganda? Every detail of American life was intruded upon, down to gardening tips and what vegetables to plant in your personal victory garden. Funny, I didn't see any exhibits about socialism or of people complaining about loss of freedom. Remember Rosie the Riveter? Now her attitude wasn't, Oh me oh my! Our wicked, wicked government--it was: We can do this! (Some will say that she herself was a propaganda poster.) I believe today's America complains more than any other nation on earth.

I lived through Viet Nam and the draft. Draft? Now there's a government intrusion if there ever was one! But the bulk of Americans didn't see it that way and many condemned the young people fleeing to Canada, where their freedom could be preserved.

But you say that's different? Our country was at war? The point remains that there are moments in history when our American government intrudes upon our individual freedoms and our lives. It's been that way since the beginning, since the Revolutionary War when General Washington threatened to shoot deserters. It's called being a country.

I will agree with Mr Belz that life will not be the same, at least for a while, post-Covid. I remember my very first thought after hearing the news about 911 at 7:45 am, before I had to collect the children to begin the day in my 2nd grade classroom, "This changes everything." America did change after 911, and the changes remain. Time alone will tell how permanent some of the new Covid habits will be. Not everything has been bad. After all, the air is cleaner.

Can we just quit complaining?

Hawkdriver

Amen!

Hawkdriver

 

Well said Sir.  We are citizens of a Greater Kingdom and a Perfect, Invincible, Eternal King!  CV19 will have it's affects on earth as all vestiges of the 'curse' will........ we'll get through it by God's Grace.

 

Trumpetly Speaking

I agree, the Church can show herself to be Christ's faithful followers in this situation.  There is no doubt that China and other forces meant this for evil.  But God will bring good from it for us, His beloved.

I, for one, don't want things exactly as they once were.  I hope that we all take a few things with us from this experience:  patience, love for our neighbors, more Sabbath-keeping and rest, contemplation, prioritizing time to spend with family and with our heavenly Father, paying attention to what He is calling us to do daily, and fixing our minds on the Spirit.

I also would not want to hold onto comfort if it meant delaying His return.  If we're suffering, let it be done with love for God, and for others.

nxlcsdeo

My heart breaks for the truth of what you write, Mr. Belz.  How odd that government decree now colors even our most intimate relationships.  How cruel that "protecting" our aged and vulnerable now means not touching them.  If we don't happen to be "believers" in the new scientific "reality" which is being marketed to us (there is a tiny invisible virus out there which can kill you or someone you care about), we risk ostracism or worse.  So we go along to get along.  

TCR5862

If I can push back. Joel is overstating the case. Yes, different but not altogether different. Yes, We have had to accept more government control, and nobody likes it, but this virus has been so different than anything we have experienced in the past.  The man on the street is clue less and the experts are only a little less clueless. Tough decisions have had to be made, the price to preserve life has been a restriction to our freedoms.  The government “orders” will pass as the virus passes. But when?   

Yes, what price are we willing to pay? The faster we reopen, and reduce restrictions, the more lives we will be risking. Even at this stage we don’t really know what that means, in cost of lives, but we do know how many lives have been lost so far.  On the other hand the cost to the economic life of our nation is mounting, fast, under these restrictions.  The protests and pressure for reopening the economic is growing stronger.  The stakes are high.  More tough decisions need to be made with inadequate information and the clock is ticking.

I think we need to boldly step forward but not run. Take one step and see what happens and adjust.  Reduce some restrictions, open up some.  Highly encourage safety, keep the six-foot separation, keep the masks on. Keep expanding testing.  Once an inoculation against the virus is available the life threating aspect will be reduced, but it looks like we are some months away from that.

My guess is that once we get on the other side of this life will be different. We will have time to mourn the loss of lives.  The economic will be different, I don’t know how broken it will be or how long it will take to get back up and running well. But we will have more reason to be dependent on our eternally strong Father in heaven as we have seen how fragile life of this earth really is.

JENNYBETH

I hadn't thought about it until my husband said, "'the time before the coronavirus' will be a memory." How many schools will close as more families try homeschooling and options like K12? What freedoms will we lose and barely remember that we had them? Will the Christian faith be weakened by the idea that assembling in person to be the body of Christ is not as important as avoiding danger? Or will we treasure physical presence more than ever? Will economies become more localized as we realize the fragility of a global supply chain? Will bras go the way of girdles and pantyhose as many women get used to not having to wear them?

There's no way to know until it happens, but I pray that the Lord's purposes prevail over all the ways that the evil one will want to use the situation.