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Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has issued two stay at home executive orders, March  23, 2020, and April 9, 2020, in an effort to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

“As of Saturday, Michigan had nearly 24,000 cases of COVID-19 with close to 1,400 deaths. The state has the third highest number of cases in the country, behind New York and New Jersey. However, about 78% of the confirmed cases are in the three-county Metro Detroit region and some counties have yet to see any coronavirus patients.”

No government official, including me if I were one, is omniscient, so no essential/non-essential policy can be written that’s not laced with inequities and eventual collateral damage. This has always been the problem with planned economies and why the free market should be trusted to let people determine by their buying habits what is non-essential. By the way, a business deemed non-essential by government is essential to the ones who own it or who work there.

This comment does not mean I’m against social distancing or even shelter in place. I’m only raising a serious political question about how liberty and economy work that isn’t getting much consideration other than by a few libertarians.

I also don’t think Governor Whitmer is acting in some horrible way designed to grab power or hurt religious institutions or businesses. Nor do I buy-in to conspiracy theories. I categorically reject and do not endorse attacks on her, or any person, that use insulting language and demeaning caricatures (including coming from the U.S. President). I do, however, question her and several other governors’ broad stay home executive orders that I believe are unnecessary overreach.

It’s an age-old question of liberty vs. security. What are you willing to give up in the way of freedom to be or feel secure? And who makes you secure? And who governs/limits any government that offers security in exchange for fewer liberties?

No, I don’t think the current political context amounts to some socialist plot. But I do believe I understand a bit about human nature and history, and trading of on long-term civil liberties to secure an uncertain short-term security from an illness is a dangerous game.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

Social media is great for relationship building but is not good at fostering critical thinking, analysis, or reasoned debate.

People post emotionally, not that this is illegitimate in itself. Emotions are genuine expressions of human feeling and as such are important. But emotions that don’t or can’t allow a focus upon the facts or science or even just another person’s point of view are ultimately not helpful.

June 2018, I wrote an article entitled, “The Death of Discussion.” This was long before the experience of the current coronavirus pandemic. I argued that “We’ve come to a point in a so-called post-truth or fake news culture (and Church?) in which polarization is so pronounced we can no longer communicate, resulting in a virtual inability to discuss, much less debate, any social-political issue without becoming defensively partisan, ideological, or upset.” This is still taking place and is now, in my view, worse than it was.

The COVID-19 crisis has pitted partisans and ideologues, Big Media coverage-qua-hype that stirs up the populace, and a long list of “experts” against one another. Social media has exploded with the same. Social media may work to alert or get out a word but is not good at encouraging adults in the room to think beyond the short-term.

I’m not saying social media is “bad” or a curse upon the land. No, in fact it gives access to people who might not otherwise have a place to express their opinion, or Yes, their feelings. What I’m saying, though, is that for good stewardship of a country or company and long-term decision-making, social media leaves a lot to be desired.

Unless you are a person with a significant following social media is limited. You post your ideas, attitudes, or feelings to basically the same audience of friends, fans, or followers day after day. Same people. If you really want to influence the body politic, post in a blog or on a website, or publish somewhere online so your content is searchable and open to the www, the “world-wide” web, not just your social media BFFs.

Social media invites off-the-cuff commentary. Nothing wrong with this per se, but it seems for many this is as far as it goes. Social media is a shoot-off-your-mouth methodology. More heat than light and, again, this approach offers little that actually informs, helps, or persuades us.

If you doubt me, post a nonpartisan comment about a current issue, maybe when the United States should attempt to reboot its economy in the wake of spring 2020 coronavirus pandemic sheltering in place orders. Then watch what happens. You’ll get emotional diatribes, ranting, partisan slants, some using insulting terms to refer to leaders on the other side, childish memes, and accusations. You won’t get much reasoned consideration. I know. I’ve tried this.

I will say that social media is a good tool to encourage connectivity with family, friends, colleagues, and new acquaintances. Various platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, or just Whatsapp can facilitate keeping in touch with others’ lives. And this is a blessing of the Information Age. 

That’s where I’ll leave this. Social media works for “social.” It does not work for informed discussion, debate, or decision-making. My advice if you need the latter? Look online for another outlet.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.     

This 1:27 min video considers where people can find solace and hope in the face of a global pandemic.

In a culture that spends more time on screens than reading the Bible, where do people turn for encouragement during a public health crisis?

 

In the midst of a global pandemic crisis, where do people turn for encouragement, reassurance, or hope?

People once turned to God, the Church, or family, obvious choices that played a high-profile role in American society. Today, not so much.

Society is rushing pell-mell to jettison references to the existence of a majestic God who is also our Heavenly Father.

The Church, too, has experienced declining attendance for a generation or more.

Family has taken a hit. Fewer two-parent, safe homes act as a refuge from the world.

So people have no safety net, nothing but screen time and the mall, meaning social relationships are also broken.

But in my Mother’s favorite verse, God reminds us:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4: 6-7).

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020

This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com Follow him at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.

This 1:27 min video raises concerns about unintended consequences becoming a looming larger threat, i.e., the potential-becoming-predictable collateral damage from "just do something" government decisions.

How can we navigate uncharted waters and the unintended consequences of our decisions in the middle of chaos, crisis, and disease?

 

The coronavirus is a pestilence, a pandemic.

It’s a scourge, makes people ill, takes lives. Human beings rightly want to kill it.

So public health officials and political leaders are daily making innumerable and complex decisions in efforts to curtail its spread.

But no one knows what will result, whether these actions will indeed “flatten the curve” of virus growth. And even more, no one knows what unintended consequences will result from actions meant for good.

We cannot unerringly predict when the coronavirus will run its course.

But we can believe God’s promise:

“And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done. As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease” (Genesis 8:21-22).

No pandemic can thwart God’s purposes. For God there is no such thing as unintended consequences.

God is still there, and he is not silent.


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020

This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com Follow him at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.

This 9:11 min video chat with Rev. Dr. Leslie Mosher, Founder and Executive Director, Surprised by Hope, considers how SAT-7 and Surprised by Hope can do ministry through the limiting challenges and new opportunities presented by the coronavirus pandemic.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020

*This vlog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers at www.rexmrogers.com/. Follow him at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.

 

This 1:29 min video reminds us that the coronavirus pandemic is not partisan, but it is providential.

Is it absurd to ask the question, is public health partisan or providential?

 

Is public health partisan? The short answer is, No.

But it would be naïve to think politicians don’t do a political calculus on what their actions might do for their careers.

This, however, is not a diatribe against politicians, though partisanship does get old. This is about Christians seeing the big picture in a public health crisis.

No one would pray for something like the coronavirus pandemic. No one wants their loved ones infected. Yet God can turn evil to good.

Christians ought to see the pandemic as an opportunity to glorify God by ministering to others.

In centuries past through numerous plagues, Christians did not succumb to flight or fright but stayed long, served long, suffered long.

Christians provided medical and compassion assistance to everyone, not just people of the faith.

Christians first established hospitals in Europe.

Christians recognized that when plagues did cause them to flee, the diaspora helped spread not the plague but Christianity.

No, pandemics are not partisan, but they are providential.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020

This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com. Follow him at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.