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A Prayer for Maundy Thursday from The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory

O Christ, the true vine and the source of life, ever giving thyself that the world may live; who also hast taught us that those who would follow thee must be ready to lose their lives for thy sake: Grant us so to receive within our souls the power of thine eternal sacrifice, that in sharing thy cup we may share thy glory, and at the last be made perfect in thy love.

Posted in Holy Week, Spirituality/Prayer

A Nice Maundy Thursday Healing Miracle Story

Posted in Church History, Holy Week

A Prayer for Maundy Thursday from the Church of England

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Holy Week, Spirituality/Prayer

Blog Transition for the Triduum 2020

As is our custom, we aim to let go of the cares and concerns of this world until Monday and to focus on the great, awesome, solemn and holy events of the next three days. I would ask people to concentrate their comments on the personal, devotional, and theological aspects of these days which will be our focal point here. Many thanks–KSH.

Posted in Blogging & the Internet, Holy Week

(ProPublica) We Still Don’t Know How Many People Are in the Hospital With COVID-19

Late last month, Vice President Mike Pence sent a letter to administrators of the nation’s 6,000 hospitals requesting a favor.

He asked them to complete a form each day with data on the patients they are treating with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and submit it to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The data will help us better understand disease patterns and develop policies for prevention and control of health problems related to COVID-19,” Pence wrote.

Now, as COVID-19 nears an apex in some parts of the country, it’s unclear how many hospitals have submitted the requested information. For its part, the CDC has not released the data publicly, saying only that it plans to do so soon.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine

(NPR) Psychiatrists Lean Hard On Teletherapy To Reach Isolated Patients In Emotional Pain

Psychiatrist Philip Muskin is quarantined at home in New York City because he’s been feeling a little under the weather and doesn’t want to expose anyone to whatever he has. But he continues to see his patients the only way he can: over the phone.

“I’ve been a psychiatrist for more than 40 years; I have never FaceTimed a patient in my entire career,” says Muskin, who works at Columbia University Medical Center, treating outpatients in his clinical practice, as well as people who have been hospitalized. Normally, he says he walks patients to the door, shakes their hand or touches their arm or shoulder to reassure them. “Now I’m not doing that, and that’s weird to me. So it’s a whole new, very unpleasant world.”

The pandemic has already robbed many of his patients of their livelihood, or at least their sense of safety. People literally feel trapped, he says.

That, in turn, is leading to a spike in anxiety, depression and addiction — not just among Muskin’s patients, but across the U.S. To try to address those needs, physicians of all kinds are adopting the techniques and technology of telemedicine, which had been only slowly gaining wide acceptance — until the pandemic forced everyone to isolate themselves, mostly at home. The recent demand for telecounseling, as well as for other types of online medical visits, is causing backlogs of care for many providers who offer it.

There are now also even fewer in-person treatment options for some of the most acutely mentally ill in New York, Muskin says; the psychiatric wards at Columbia, where Muskin normally works, have all been converted to beds for COVID-19 patients.

“That means,” he says, “we have no place to send patients who need admission.”

Read it all.

Posted in --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Health & Medicine, Psychology, Science & Technology

(Live5 News) South Carolina State Guard helps to convert MUSC fitness center into field hospital

The South Carolina State Guard helped to convert a MUSC fitness center into a 250-bed field hospital.

MUSC officials said their employees are working with the SC State Guard and the Army Corps of Engineers on the field hospital should it be needed for COVID-19 patients who do not require critical care.

The field hospital will be used for COVID 19 patients who are recovering and ready to be discharged.

“What was thought to have taken two weeks, took only two days to accomplish,” said Brian Wood the Emergency Management Coordinator for MUSC adding, “The level of professionalism and skill of the members of the State Guard was unbelievable, they went above and beyond.”

According to officials, 20 members of the State Guard’s 1st Civil Support Brigade began the mission at MUSC on April 3rd only one day after the orders were given and completed the mission in two days.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Health & Medicine, Military / Armed Forces

(PD) Faith and Our Future: Lessons from C. S. Lewis in Time of Pandemic

Perhaps death has become our utilitarian coin of this policy realm: counter dead people with more dead people—or other more valuable, less mortal dead people. Death is a pretty solid coin, after all. Even Jesus wept at the death of Lazarus, and Woody Allen had to admit that while he didn’t mind dying, he just didn’t want to be there when it happened. Unlike the fiat money about to be thrown from helicopters, death is a hard coin that is hard to devalue. Perhaps death is the trump card for my neighbor’s decision. Sacrificing—not the carb-fasting that used to feel like sacrificing, but real sacrificing—seems apropos when people are dying.

C. S. Lewis knew this line of argument when he addressed Oxford students in an evensong message in October 1939. He engaged the objections of his opponents, “How can we continue to take an interest in these placid occupations when the lives of our friends and the liberties of Europe are in the balance?” Was not scholarship a kind of fiddling while Rome burned? But Lewis upped the ante. It is not death that should concern us most: it is eternal death. And yet in the face of both, culture continues. “Human life has always been lived on the edge of a precipice,” Lewis tells us. Whether that precipice is war or plague, we cannot wait for normalcy in order to resume our vocations.

Lewis’s imperative to pursue our vocations in the face of death is compelling; and everyone really ought to wrestle with his arguments, particularly Christians trying to determine their duties and callings at this time. But while Lewis argues in this particular work—almost glibly—that it is not panache but human nature that makes us comb our hair at Thermopylae, he elsewhere acknowledges our inclination to be anxious about our futures. Even if we can soldier on in our vocations, it may be with a lot of anxiety.

Lewis’s great meditation on the future is found in a better-known work, The Screwtape Letters. There Lewis imagines the advice of Screwtape, a senior demon responsible for mentoring a younger devil, his nephew, Wormwood. Wormwood is tasked with keeping a man away from God, and Screwtape’s “letters” of advice showcase Lewis’s insights into human nature, including anxiety about our futures.

In one particular letter, Screwtape explains how both past and future are the enemies of the present. Only in the present can we exercise our virtues. Only in the present can we experience the eternity Christ won for us. It is “better” (for the devils), Screwtape tells Wormwood, if we live in the past or future. Of course, only old people and weird, scholarly types (“Read Bentham!” “Trolleycars!”) successfully do this. The way to trip up more people is to get their heads and hearts into the future. That was certainly easy for Wormwood’s Britons, fearful of their wartime future.

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Health & Medicine, Theology

(PC) Tim Keller: People will say ‘I came to Christ during the virus’

Why has God allowed Coronavirus to happen?
There’s three things to say. The first thing is: why weren’t you asking that question before? In other words, when something bad happens to me, that’s when I start wondering about God, when actually bad things have been happening for centuries. The Bible is filled with discussions about it. The book of Job is all about that. Job had a terrible life, way worse than anybody I know.

Secondly, there’s a philosophical answer. The philosophical answer is, if you have a God big and powerful enough to be mad at for not stopping suffering, then you also have a God big and powerful enough who has some good reasons – that you can’t think of – for why he hasn’t stopped it. You can’t say ‘because I can’t think of any reason why God hasn’t stopped all the suffering, there can’t be one’. That doesn’t make sense. If you have a God big enough to be mad at, you’ve a God a big enough to be wiser than you. Philosophically that works, but it’s cold comfort to a person who’s actually in pain.

Thirdly, the more personal answer is, I don’t know the reason for your suffering. But I do know what it’s not. It’s not that God doesn’t love you. Christianity, uniquely among all the religions of the world, says that God actually came to earth and got involved in our suffering in order to someday end it without ending us.

Over the years, as a pastor and a sufferer, that has been the thing that’s helped my heart. Jesus suffers, he understands. I don’t have a God who’s remote. He must have a good reason why he hasn’t stopped it yet. It can’t be that he doesn’t love me, because look what he did on the cross.

Read it all.

Posted in Evangelicals, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theodicy, Urban/City Life and Issues

A Prayer to Begin the Day from W. E. Scudamore

Blessed Lord Jesus, who, when about to depart out of this world, having loved thine own, and loving them to the end, didst institute the holy sacrament of thy Body and Blood, the dying legacy of thy love: Vouchsafe, we earnestly pray thee, that we may never draw near thine altar, save with hearts enkindled by love for thee and for one another; for thy dear name’s sake.

Posted in Holy Week, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

The elders of the daughter of Zion
sit on the ground in silence;
they have cast dust on their heads
and put on sackcloth;
the maidens of Jerusalem
have bowed their heads to the ground.

My eyes are spent with weeping;
my soul is in tumult;
my heart is poured out in grief
because of the destruction of the daughter of my people,
because infants and babes faint
in the streets of the city.

They cry to their mothers,
“Where is bread and wine?”
as they faint like wounded men
in the streets of the city,
as their life is poured out
on their mothers’ bosom.

What can I say for you, to what compare you,
O daughter of Jerusalem?
What can I liken to you, that I may comfort you,
O virgin daughter of Zion?
For vast as the sea is your ruin;
who can restore you?

–Lamentations 2:10-13

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(Local Paper) South Carolina announces 12 more deaths from coronavirus, 2,552 total cases

South Carolina announced a dozen deaths Wednesday, the highest number of fatalities in coronavirus patients on a single day the state has seen.

There are now 2,552 total cases in the state, and 63 residents have died, according to the Department of Health and Environmental Control.

The 12 patients who died most recently include three Spartanburg County residents and three patients from Richland County. Clarendon, Horry, Kershaw, Laurens, McCormick and Newberry counties tallied one death each.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Health & Medicine

(Miami Herald) Vivid ‘pandemic dreams’ and nightmares keep nation awake during coronavirus outbreak

The coronavirus has infected nearly 1.4 million people and killed nearly 77,000, including 11,000 in the United States, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University from April 7.

As a result, stay-at-home orders are forcing millions to stay isolated for weeks, store shelves are empty due to hoarding and jobs are laying people off due to lack of customers.

“The coronavirus pandemic has upended nearly every aspect of our waking lives — our routines, our job security, our hopes for the future,” The Cut reported in an April 2 story on pandemic dreams. “And our nights are changing, too: our sleep can be fitful, our dreams darker — and, for many, unusually memorable.”

This is worrisome to health experts because lack of sleep makes us more vulnerable to illnesses, including the coronavirus.

“Scientific evidence is building that sleep has powerful effects on immune functioning,” according to a CDC report. “Studies show that sleep loss can affect different parts of the immune system, which can lead to the development of a wide variety of disorders. … Sleep loss is also related to a higher risk for infection.”

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Health & Medicine, Psychology

(WSJ) Government and Businesses Turn Attention to Eventual Reopening of $22 Trillion U.S. Economy

Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey, which has the second-most Covid-19 deaths, said the resumption of economic activity would be “slow and careful, because the last thing we’re going to need is going too quickly.… That’s the equivalent, I think, of throwing gasoline on the fire.”

San Miguel County in Colorado, using a test from United Biomedical, has plans to check all its residents for immunity. Republican Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker last week announced a coronavirus tracking initiative that will involve 1,000 people working at a virtual call center to trace people exposed or infected with the virus.

GOP Texas Lieut. Gov. Dan Patrick announced Tuesday he is forming a task force on how to reopen the economy, and GOP Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has created a response team to discuss measures that must be in place for opening the state back up.

Some governors talked Tuesday with Scott Gottlieb, the former head of the Food and Drug Administration, about ways to work together or launch their own surveillance plans that would trace the disease should it resurface and spread. One idea is to galvanize congressional lawmakers to pass legislation setting a U.S. surveillance system for coronavirus in place.

Dr. Gottlieb, who ran the FDA from 2017 to 2019, released a report on the “roadmap to reopening” Tuesday with Mark McClellan, a physician and economist who ran the FDA under President George W. Bush.

“I’m worried we don’t have the systems in place to carefully reopen the economy,” Dr. Gottieb said in an interview. “You need to be able to identify people who are sick and have the tools to enforce their isolation and [tracing of people they contact]. You have to have it at a scale we’ve never done before. We need leadership.”

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Politics in General

(Diocese of London) Graham Tomlin, the Bishop of Kensington, offers a reflection: My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Wednesday: My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? from London Diocese on Vimeo.

Posted in Christology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Holy Week

(NYT Op-ed) Ross Douthat–In the Fog of Coronavirus, There Are No Experts

p class=”css-exrw3m evys1bk0″>The official experts, under such conditions, are most trustworthy insofar as their admonitions track with nonexpert common sense. The approach that most experts are currently urging, for instance, is not some complicated high-science approach to disease management, but the most basic pre-modern method of disease control, as obvious to 15th-century Florentines as to 21st-century New Yorkers — shut things down, quarantine the sick and hope for the best.

Whereas the more specific and granular the experts get, the more the fluidity and chaos of the situation makes their pronouncements dubious. It’s good that we’re modeling the arc of the pandemic, but that doesn’t make any of the models trustworthy. It’s good that we’re trying to figure out how the disease spreads, but none of the claims so far about how you’re most likely to get it (from air, surfaces or otherwise) or who is most at risk (whether from viral load or pre-existing conditions) can be considered at all definitive. It’s good that we’re practicing social distancing, but all of the rules we’re implementing are just rough and ready guesstimates.

And you don’t want to overweight the pronouncements of official science in a situation that requires experimentation and adaptation and a certain amount of gambling. Yes, you should trust Anthony Fauci more than Donald Trump when it comes to the potential benefits of hydroxychloroquine. But the exigencies of the crisis require that experiments outrun the confidence of expert conclusions and the pace of bureaucratic certainty. So if you’re a doctor on the front lines trying to keep your patients from ending up on a ventilator, Dr. Fauci’s level of caution can’t be yours, and you shouldn’t be waiting for the double-blind control trial to experiment with off-label drugs that Spanish and Chinese doctors claim are helping patients.

The same logic applies for policymakers, for whom there is never going to be a definitive, one-size-fits-all blueprint telling them how and when to reopen cities or communities. Every single reopening will be its own unique experiment, with confounding variables of climate, density, age and genetics that are nearly impossible to model, and the advice of epidemiologists will only go so far. Governors and mayors will have to act like scientists themselves, acting and re-acting, adapting and experimenting, with expert advisers at their shoulders but no sure answers till the experiment begins.

Read it all.

Posted in --Social Networking, America/U.S.A., Blogging & the Internet, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology

(Local Paper) Army won’t send recruits to basic training at Fort Jackson amid SC coronavirus outbreak

As the coronavirus continues to spread, the Army announced it will stop shipping recruits to basic training, which will halt new soldiers from arriving at Fort Jackson in Columbia.

Those currently in basic combat training will finish and then be screened and monitored for COVID-19 symptoms before moving to their job assignments within the branch, the Pentagon said Monday.

“The decision to pause the shipment of trainees to BCT for two weeks will allow leaders to focus on setting conditions so movement can be conducted in a safer manner in the future,” said Gen. Paul E. Funk II, commander of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Health & Medicine, Military / Armed Forces

South Carolina Bishop Mark Lawrence’s Episcopal Directive Regarding Spiritual Communion

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Greetings in the name of our Blessed Savior Jesus Christ as we walk with him in the Way to the Cross trusting that it will be for those we shepherd and to us the way of life.

As it seems prudent during this time of public and self-quarantine given the recent requests of national and local government as well medical professionals, for us not to gather in our churches or go to extraordinary means to offer the sacrament to our parishioners in piecemeal manner. Therefore, as I am not rescinding the prior prohibition on distributing the sacrament, I want to offer you some guidance on the matter of Spiritual Communion.

This is especially important as we draw near to Easter Sunday, the Sunday of the Resurrection. It seems appropriate that of all Sundays a priest, if at all possible, should be in the local church, or elsewhere to preside at the Easter Eucharist on behalf of the people of God and in festal celebration of our Lord’s victory over Sin, Death, Satan, Hell, Judgement and Wrath—wherein he trampled down death by death. The Anglican tradition has been for the priest to do this with two or three others being present even if they do not receive the sacrament (see my prior Episcopal Directive).

The ACNA Book of Common Prayer 2019 presciently has a prayer “For Spiritual Communion” on p. 677.

Dear Jesus, I believe that you are truly present in the Holy Sacrament. I love you above all things, and I desire to possess you within my soul. And since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, I beseech you to come spiritually into my heart. I unite myself to you, together with all your faithful people [gathered around every altar of your Church], and I embrace you with all the affections of my soul. Never permit me to be separated from you.  Amen.

I recommend that you take a moment either after the offertory and before The Sursum Corda, or immediately after The Fraction and before the minister receives to draw attention to this prayer and give a very brief instruction about it. Some have chosen to read it in the place of what normally would be the “Prayer of Humble Access”. The celebrant would then receive the sacrament and, if not fasting in unity with the members of the congregation, the attending priests or deacons then receive. Once again, I reference the guidance of my previous directive. I share with you a comment a parishioner from Christ-St. Paul’s sent to the rector after last Sunday’s Palm Sunday Eucharist, “The spiritual communion was necessary and filled my soul.”

I also recommend for your consideration a seven-minute video, which our retired Archbishop, The Most Rev. Robert Duncan, has made, explaining the history of Spiritual Communion in the life of the undivided Church of the first five centuries, as well as in our Anglican history and the long tradition of the Book of Common Prayer. It is professionally produced, timely, and very instructive. While perhaps too long to show in the midst of Sunday worship, it will benefit those in our congregations if the link is available in advance of the Easter Eucharist.

One brick in this long tradition he did not reference is that found in the 1662 BCP. This prayer book, that is still the standard for many of the Churches across the Anglican Communion, has a rubric regarding spiritual communion in “The time of plague, sweat or other like contagious times of sickness or disease….” Reading such a rubric reminds me of just how relevant the teaching of the Bible remains. As we read in the Book of Ecclesiastes, ‘Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, this is new”? It has been already in the ages before us.’ (Eccl 1:10) The rubrics as do the Holy Scriptures continue to guide and teach us. I quote a portion of the rubric for your reference. “But if a man, either by reason of extremity of sickness,…or by any other just impediment, do not receive the Sacrament of Christ’s Body and Blood: the Curate shall instruct him that if he do truly repent him of his sins, and stedfastly believe that Jesus Christ hath suffered death upon the Cross for him, and shed his Blood for his redemption, earnestly remembering the benefits he hath thereby, and giving him hearty thanks therefore; he doth eat and drink the Body and Blood of our Savior Christ profitably to his soul’s health, although he do not receive the Sacrament with his mouth.”

One final word. Having followed what many of you are doing on line or by report, as well as in written word, I want to tell you how grateful I am for the ministry and the effort you are making to reach your people, as well as many others far and wide, with the good news of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is an honor to serve with you in this most unusual season. This continues to be a Holy Week unlike any we have ever known. Let us continue to be vigilant not only in social distancing but also in social care—in the ministry of intercession for our world. As Jesus challenged his disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane, “So, could you not watch me with one hour?”

Gratefully yours in Christ,

Bishop Mark Lawrence's signature

The Right Reverend Mark Joseph Lawrence

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Eucharist, Holy Week, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Sacramental Theology

(Bloomberg) U.S. Labs Face Crisis After Crisis Despite Improvements in Testing

More than a million Americans have now been tested for the novel coronavirus, but access varies widely from state to state and often even between hospitals in the same region. New York State has tested more than 340,000 people, while California, with double the population, had tested just 143,800 as of Monday. That’s nearly five times as many tests when counted per capita.

And that’s just tests performed. With many facilities relying on third parties to process tests, that step in the testing process often becomes another bottleneck resulting in lengthy delays. After aggressive efforts to cut down a backlog of more than 59,000 tests, the state of California was still waiting Monday for results on more than 14,000 tests.

In New Jersey, results have frequently been delayed by up to two weeks. That’s led Governor Phil Murphy to caution that each day’s numbers include stale data.

“We are getting only a very fuzzy picture of the scope of the problem, and it is very slow to develop,” said Eric Blank, the chief program officer for the Association of Public Health Laboratories. “There are all of these questions about the virus that have been swirling around, and we are only starting to get some sense of the issue.”

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology, State Government

A Prayer to Begin the Day from L. Tuttiet

O God our heavenly Father, who to redeem the world didst deliver up thine only Son to be betrayed by one of his disciples and sold to his enemies: Take from us, we beseech thee, all covetousness and hypocrisy; and so strengthen us, that, loving thee above all things, we may remain steadfast in our faith unto the end; through him who gave his life for us, our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Posted in Holy Week, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

For I made up my mind not to make you another painful visit. For if I cause you pain, who is there to make me glad but the one whom I have pained? And I wrote as I did, so that when I came I might not suffer pain from those who should have made me rejoice, for I felt sure of all of you, that my joy would be the joy of you all. For I wrote you out of much affliction and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you pain but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you.

But if any one has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure—not to put it too severely—to you all. For such a one this punishment by the majority is enough; so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. For this is why I wrote, that I might test you and know whether you are obedient in everything. Any one whom you forgive, I also forgive. What I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, to keep Satan from gaining the advantage over us; for we are not ignorant of his designs.

–2 Corinthians 2:1-11

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(The State) Identified coronavirus cases in South Carolina reaches 2,417

South Carolina health officials identified 187 new cases of the coronavirus Tuesday, bringing the statewide total of known cases to 2,417.

Three additional South Carolinians have died as a result of the disease, according to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control. All three were 60 years old or older, and had underlying health conditions. Two were from Lexington County and one was from Greenville County, according to DHEC.

Statewide, the death toll is now 51.

The actual number of S.C. cases is likely higher than what is being reported. As of Sunday evening, DHEC estimated the state had more than 15,000 cases of COVID-19, meaning about 85% of cases have not been tested or identified.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine, State Government

([London] Times) Nigerian General who said Boko Haram are winning is sacked

A senior Nigerian army officer has been relieved of command after a leaked video showed him saying that his forces were outgunned by Islamist fighters.

Major-General Olusegun Adeniyi was removed as head of the operation in the northeast of the country after he was recorded describing an ambush by Boko Haram, who fired hundreds of mortar bombs and rocket-propelled grenades, killing scores of Nigerian soldiers. Many of his colleagues believe that they are losing the wider battle against the militants.

The military claimed that 47 troops died in the attack near the village of Gorgi last month, but sources on the ground said the death toll was nearly twice that.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Military / Armed Forces, Nigeria, Politics in General, Terrorism

(Sightings) Lijia Xie–Patience in the Pandemic: Hurrying to wait in the time of COVID-19

“For time is the essential ingredient; but in the modern world, there is no time.”
–Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

Less than four months after the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) was first reported, public warnings and action have escalated quickly past their previously steady crescendo. Though early reports were uncertain about the extent of the contagion’s threat, the number of cases in the United States has since skyrocketed, and organizations around the country have responded urgently and dramatically. A wave of schools across the country—including the University of Chicago—asked students not to return following spring break, and students and teachers alike have been required to adapt quickly to online formats for the foreseeable future. Local, state, and even national governments have declared states of emergency or ordered lockdowns.

These large scale efforts at “social distancing” are grounded in sound epidemiology: slowing the rate of transmission is necessary in order to avoid overburdening healthcare systems and leaving doctors in the impossible dilemma of choosing which patients to treat and not treat, as is currently the case in Italy. History also offers its proof: public health experts note that in the 1918 flu pandemic, non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), like the ones currently being enacted, implemented at an early phase of the epidemic, drastically lowered peak mortality rates and total mortality. Moreover, given a new virus with even higher rates of transmission, each day that passes without intervention can result in magnitudes of difference in outcomes of infection. The urgency of this moment has required collective hurrying and quick response.

But now we must wait.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine

(CC) The coronavirus pandemic is exposing the myth of self-reliance

I’m writing from home, where I am blessed and forced to be, sitting in the same chair where this morning I led worship and preached over Face­book Live to a congregation that encouraged me as I became a televangelist before their eyes, taking breaks from the gospel to wave to my four-year-old and my husband as they ran in and out of the screen.

Church looks different. Family looks different. Home looks different. School looks different. I am not homeschooling, despite having downloaded about 200 lists of “fun learning activities for kids to do at home.” Mostly I am refereeing fights in between Zoom calls and trying to figure out where God is in the midst of coronavirus haze and anxiety. I can no longer take daily life for granted, even as I can’t take toilet paper for granted, even as my dear friend who’s a nurse in California can’t take having proper protection in the ICU for granted.

Our capitalist system and our individualistic society have long rendered faith as cheap and acts of selfless love as obsolete or even stupid. Now we are asked to sacrifice for one another. We need Easter more than ever, and we are stuck in a Lent where sometimes it seems like no one wants to carry their cross.

We’ve mistreated valuable people and made them invisible. Home health care and hospice workers are easily discarded in America, while stock traders are cherished and protected. Our prized possessions arrive in a box on our doorstep from halfway around the world, and only now that they might be carrying a virus do we care about the low-wage worker in Asia who sewed our new sweatpants or the Amazon worker who raced to get back from his three-minute bathroom break to tape the box together on time.

A gift of this pandemic is that we can no longer make each other invisible….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Health & Medicine

(NPR) Hindered By A Pandemic, Religious Leaders Prepare For Holidays

“Mayors have had to have sessions explaining that the doors are not open for the churches to gather,” said Jesse Rincones, Executive Director of Convención Bautista Hispana de Texas — a collection of over 1,100 Hispanic Baptist congregations in Texas.

Like other clergies still working to serve their congregations, the organization is trying to preserve a sense of community amid a loss of routine, ritual and, at times, a sense of peace. Rincones, a pastor of 18 years, has been helping other churches’ leaders move their services online.

The technology aspect has been easier on the United Hebrew Congregation in St. Louis, says Rabbi Brigitte Rosenberg. UHC, which serves over 900 families, already had its livestreaming services set up for the homebound and college students, the rabbi said. Still, it’s a different experience.

“I know for many congregants it has taken some getting used to not being together and just sitting in their homes and listening and feeling like they’re watching as opposed to participating,” she said.

The virtual transition will be particularly challenging during the Jewish holiday of Passover, which begins on Wednesday. The St. Louis synagogue is encouraging its congregants to allow for some flexibility with normally strict traditions. This year, the United Hebrew Congregation will be hosting its Passover Seder online.

“Whereas we may not be utilizing technology on a normal Passover, we are going to be using it this time so that we can connect,” Rosenberg said.

Read it all.

Posted in Blogging & the Internet, Health & Medicine, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

(NYT) How Will We Know When It’s Time to Reopen the Nation?

Gregg Gonsalves, a professor of epidemiology and law at Yale, said: “I’d feel better if we had serological testing, and could preferentially allow those who are antibody positive and no longer infectious to return to work first. The point is, though, that we are nowhere even near accomplishing any of these criteria. Opening up before then will be met with a resurgence of the virus.”
He added, “That’s the thing that keeps me up every night.”

Until we get a vaccine or effective drug treatments, focusing on these major criteria, and directing efforts toward them, should help us determine how we are progressing locally, and how we might achieve each goal.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Politics in General

South Carolina Bishop Mark Lawrence’s Palm Sunday Sermon at Christ Saint Paul’s Yonges Island

Morning worship including a sermon from Bishop Lawrence for Palm Sunday which starts at about 35:15ish….

Posted in * South Carolina, Christology, Holy Week, Ministry of the Ordained, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(ACNS) Archbishop Geoffrey Smith elected Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia

The Archbishop of Adelaide, Archbishop Geoffrey Smith, has today (Tuesday) been elected Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia. Archbishop Geoffrey assumes his new responsibilities with immediate effect as his successor, the Archbishop of Melbourne Philip Freier, retired from the primacy on 31 March.

In a first round of elections, held on 14 March, Archbishop Geoffrey won majorities in the Houses of Bishops and Laity; and the Bishop of Tasmania, Bishop Richard Condie, won a majority in the House of Clergy. A majority was required in all three houses.

A second round of electronic voting opened yesterday and concluded today.

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Posted in Anglican Church of Australia

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Arthur McCheane

O Lord Jesu Christ, who as on this day of the Holy Week didst teach the people in the temple at Jerusalem, and also instruct thy disciples on the Mount of Olives: Grant us the ready mind at all times to learn what thou wouldest teach us, that thy word may dwell in us richly in all wisdom; for the glory of thy holy name.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer