“A Word on Fear”

Applying our God-given 2 Tim 1:7 sound mind in COVID-19 World.

So what do you know?  What have you heard?  You know about this COVID-19 thing… Apart from trusting God; in the natural we could be in a serious pickle if Corona comes to Honduras. I don’t know about you but I’ve never put much faith in mainstream media predominantly owned and controlled by six corporations. Its not I that have a problem with corporations per se. It’s just that the IRS classifies them as individual people. Individual people are biased.

In any case, my wife and I have done some digging amidst the myriad rants we see on social media.  

Specifically, we searched for credentialed sources like  Dr. James Robb former professor of pathology at the University of California San Diego, and one of the first molecular virologists in the world to work on corona-viruses.  He says,

“The current projections for its expansion in the US are only probable, due to continued insufficient worldwide data, but it is most likely to be widespread in the US by mid to late March and April.” 

That seems balanced and realistic. He also provides some very logical steps for prevention in case you are interested. All my sources are hyperlinked so you can dive deeper if you like.

A more radical view is that of Professor Dr. Francis Boyle from the University of Illinois an author of the 1989 UN Bio-Weapons Treaty who claims he has the legal paper trail that proves that COVID-19 is a genetically engineered bio-weapon sold by UNC research labs to China who then tampered with it further before accidentally? releasing it.  

Another notable medical research scientist Dr. James Weiler  says he initially believed Covid 19 was created in a lab and has since changed his mind.

Perhaps the most prolific view published on social media is that of Dr. Drew, an addiction specialist best known for his role on the show “Celebrity Rehab”. He was livid about media propagated, click-bait driven, misinformation regarding COVID-19.  “Essentially the entire problem we are having is due to panic, not the virus,” he said.  

Dr. James Weiler says that regular MD’s and Public Health officials don’t have the background to understand the intricacies of viruses like COVID-19.

While the rest of the world is taking radical steps to test for and manage COVID-19 our CDC and NIH struggle to explain why at the time of this writing they can’t come up with an adequate number of test kits  They appear to be downplaying the problem.  Which might actually be adding to the panic instead of quelling it.

Then again the social unraveling that might take place in an overwhelmingly narcissistic and lawless society could be worse than the effects of the virus itself.

Investors are freaking out about markets and supply chains. Never the less toilet paper manufacturers are making a killing. People in my home state of Hawaii are buying toilet paper in bulk. That is Hawaii’s first reaction to almost any crisis.  That said, a run on toilet paper, might be an indication that someone is full of something other than the truth.

Just sayin…

But I digress.

Of course, politics is at the top of the narrative. Those who don’t like the current president blame Trump whose legacy is rooted in the economy, accusing him of putting the stock market before the lives of people.

Those who do like him are joining in on the apathy, “it’s all a hoax” argument.  Others not so sure its a hoax are concerned that Trump might be gambling his chances of re-election on Corona being nothing to worry about.

I for one, hope he is right.

That said, I’ve been telling people the Global economy is a giant bubble waiting to be pricked since 2007. The Fed has been kicking the proverbial can down the road with rate hikes and rate cuts since 2008. Recent rate cuts basically prove the previous stimulus didn’t work. It occurs to me that a pandemic makes for a perfect cover for an inevitable global economic crash.  

But what do i know that’s just my own conspiratorial speculation based on my own bias. 

The word “Bias” is key here.

Meanwhile, I see multiple well-intended brothers and sisters in Christ disseminating all kinds of varying numbers, theories and prognostications. Some not old enough to remember Y2K, compare it to Y2K. Others compare it to the Flu, SARs, and MERs.  Still others are fearlessly walking in faith.

I remember someone telling us in mission school that there are “two reasons for suffering and being persecuted in the body of Christ. One is for the sake of righteousness and one is for stupidity.”

It’s great to have great faith.

Sometimes denial masquerades as faith.

Anyway, if we put all this info into our proverbial brain blenders we are faced with one undeniable conclusion. 

We don’t know Jack!!

We don’t like not knowing Jack so we defer to our preferred logical fallacies. Confirmation bias is the biggest. If you want to know more about how this applies to markets and politics you can check out my blog Truth or Trump.

But here is a basic illustration based on an all too common conversation I had when I counseled middle school kids on drugs.

Me: Studies show that regular marijuana use reduces IQ scores an average of eight points.

Client: “Mr. I researched on the internet and found out you are WRONG! Marijuana makes you smarter!

Me: Really? Where did you read that?

Client: Motherjones.com

You get the idea. As the Simon and Garfunkel song says, “a man see’s what he wants to see and disregards the rest.”. The bottom line; everyone has a bias.  Refusing to admit it only makes us dumb, easy to manipulate and possibly dangerous.

Hardcore doomsayers are going to listen to Dr. Francis Boyle and say, “I knew it! Time to stock up on toilet paper, lock and load and dig in”

Uber optimists are going to listen to Dr. Drew and say, “Exactly! See? Nothing to worry about. Party on dudes!”

The next logic fallacy through which we filter our world view is the sister of confirmation bias otherwise known as the genetic fallacy. The genetic fallacy determines the accuracy and validity of information by its source alone. We see this everywhere. Conservatives who don’t believe anything on CNN because it comes from CNN and Liberals who reject everything from FOX because its on FOX. By the way, Adolf Hitler claimed to be a Christian therefore all Christians are Nazis. Right?

Which leads me to…

…the false equivalence fallacy that says if one part is the same then everything is the same. Everyone was freaked out by Y2K and but nothing happened. It only follows that everyone is freaked out about COVID now so nothing is going to happen. Granted the gross annual number of deaths from flu far exceed current deaths from COVID-19. The problem is that we’ve only just begun seeing COVID-19. As for SARs and MERs, the regular flu has an average annual mortality rate of 0.1% and as of Feb 18, 2020, “despite the lower case fatality rate, covid-19 has so far resulted in more deaths (1871) than SARS and MERS combined (1632)” The uber optimist argument doesn’t hold. If you watched Dr. James Weiler’s video posted on Feb 24 the Covid-19 mortality rate was at 2.0%. If 50% of the US population is exposed that means three million people could be dead in a year. On March 4th the WHO stated the mortality rate is now at 3.4% but it should drop. One thing is certain. All four are viruses. Things that apply to the Flu, SARS and MERS do not necessarily correlate with COVID-19. Chances are all the COVID- 19 numbers and information will have changed by time you read this. That’s ok. It’s not my main point.

Incidentally the False equivalency fallacy also drives things like climate change, the gun control narrative on the left and the anti-immigration argument on the right. The truth is, most legal gun owners are not criminals. Most Hispanic immigrants just want an opportunity to work hard and get paid in a day what they make in a month in places like Honduras. As for climate change; no real science is ever settled. That’s partly what makes it science. It’s also why we have so much conflicting info about COVID-19. Unfortunately thinking errors and drive society more than logic. Don’t blame the media. They are just saying what people will listen to.

Incidentally, Adolf Hitler was not a Christian.

Finally, we have the appeal to emotion fallacy.  Every advertiser and media outlet knows it’s a nifty tool, whereby people avoid, confuse or otherwise manipulate truth by manipulating the emotions of others. It’s what causes people to confuse feelings with thinking and gets them to buy things they don’t need and invest in sure things that are sure to fail.  Physiologically speaking, our higher functioning cerebral cortex where logical thinking and reason takes place is subordinated to the lower more primitive limbic brain, from which our emotions and physical desires pour forth.

Many refer to this as “Coming from the heart”.

Guilt, fear, and outrage are the most popular emotions to which people appeal.  

The bio-weapon narrative works great here.

There’s been some talk about ISIS creating the bio-weapon. Looks like the caliphate is more concerned than we are.

Does that mean its not a bio-weapon? Heck no!  COVID-19 could be one, all or none of the things I’ve mentioned.

What I know for sure is that I don’t know and neither do you.

Applying our God given sound mind means thinking critically and being honest about our biases, what we know for certain versus what we have been told. It means hearing and trying to see things from another person’s point of view. It means desiring the truth instead of wanting to win. It means clarifying our opinions as opposed to proven facts. It means being willing to be wrong and admitting it when we are. It means seeking the truth not what we want truth to be.

So here’s what I do know.

Approximately 150,000 people in the world die each day.

We are all going to die. At that point the Bible says we will all face judgment.  Heb 9:27  

That might be today or tomorrow. James 4:13-14

If you are a Christian

The bible says “love your neighbor as yourself.” Things might get bad as in really really bad. We haven’t faced this level of uncertainty regarding a virus since the Spanish Flu in 1918. We are committing some of the same thinking errors. That said, its not about you or the risk to you. As a Christian it’s about you looking out for others. You might be healthy and relatively unaffected by COVID-19. However, people who are older and or perhaps those with compromised immunity might be made safe or placed at risk by your actions. You might think it’s all hype and that the precautions are stupid. Do you really believe you have the right to make that determination when another person’s life might be the one at risk? Yeah those are hard words. I know.

The apostle Paul said dying is ultimately better than living.  Phil 1:21

Jesus said if you try to save your life you will lose it. Mat 16:25

I believe the words of Jesus. John 20:28-29

What do you really believe?

If you are not a Christian

You are not alone. The Bible says a lot of people think Christianity is dumb. 1 Cor 1:18

Yes I know. All Christians are hypocrites. That’s why we need Jesus.

People generally don’t recognize their need of a savior until the reality of their frailty and mortality sets in. Mark 2:17

Jesus said there is only one way and He is it. John 14:6

I realize people don’t like “one way” any more than kids like being told marijuana makes you stupid. It doesn’t matter. Marijuana still makes you stupid.

There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance — that principle is contempt prior to investigation. – Herbert Spencer-

Now might be a good time to really question the eternal viability of your world view and seriously investigate the words and claims of Jesus in greater depth.

If you are a Christian

What are you doing to comfort, exhort, encourage and lead people to the Truth?

Granted we walk by faith and not by sight. Ultimately Christianity is a relationship. However, there is a reasoned response to every assertion that Christianity is silly or false or nothing more than blind faith in fairy tales. Do you have questions? Do you need help providing a logical reason for the 1 Peter 3:15-16 hope that is in you. Submit your questions and comments and subscribe to this blog.

As always, if you are receiving this its because we love you.

En el nombre de Jesus!

Que Rompe Tu Corazon?

– What Breaks Your Heart? –

One of the most frequent questions we are asked by visitors is,

“What is it like to be a missionary?”

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To be a missionary is to pursue brokenness. It is first and foremost about love.  Love in the context of a relationship with God and with each other.  Everything we do is rooted in intimacy with Him and each other in Him. The greater the intimacy the greater our recognition of our dependence. Dependence on God is a to key success on the mission field.  It is the understanding that apart from relationship, the words “love” and “God” are meaningless.

 

Sometimes the gospel is more effectively preached with a smile, a hug or a small act of kindness that leaves people with questions rather than answers to questions they never asked.

Being a missionary means understanding that preaching a sermon and cleaning a toilet might be one in the same. 

Being a missionary means having set schedules that rarely pan out because like everyone else, missionaries are gifted and dysfunctional.  It is understanding that the patience spoken of in James 1:4 is an end and not just a means.

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Some days begin at 3 AM in the back of a pick-up truck on a muddy road in the rain and end at 10pm in the same.  Others might start at 10 and end at 3.  Sometimes we are hot, hungry thirsty and sick.  Sometimes we are cool, relaxed and full of energy.  Sometimes we have electricity and water.  Sometimes we don’t.  The periodic absence of first world comforts begets a greater sense of gratitude for the little comforts we once took for granted.

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Being a missionary means not punching a time clock

or looking for one to punch. 

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It means not coveting Friday and a bigger paycheck.  It means not working for the next vacation or retirement. It means not being afraid of being late or failing to perform. It means not being distracted by materialism, the latest styles or trends or the busyness of first world life. It means not being consumed by sports, politics and sewer-stream news.

It means keeping the eternal end in mind.

It is freedom from fear of suffering and the death that no one escapes.

Being a missionary means being willing to live in the desert, proverbial and literal rather than paradise.

Being a missionary means more than being a humanitarian.

It means honoring an old man or  shaking a hand dripping with slime at the dump knowing that you can wash your hands, but he can’t and may die because of it.

It means traveling for an entire day to hug a suffering child.

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It means paying attention to the little things, those who don’t matter to the world.

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It means understanding the words of Mother Teresa,

“the most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved.”

That these words apply to eternity.

That eternity apart from God is the quintessence of loneliness.

We can tell people ad infinitum that Jesus loves them, put on our best Jesus smile and our best Jesus act in hopes that they will see Jesus in us and raise their hand at an alter call.maxresdefault We can pat ourselves and each other on the back in celebration of decisions for Jesus on a given day.

But at the end of the day it’s about us seeing Jesus in them, “in the least of these” in the ONE in front of us.Gerson2.mp4.00_00_47_03.Still010

It means staying in touch with what breaks God’s heart. 

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There is a reason that it is written twenty-three times in the New Testament that Jesus had compassion.  Compassion (literally to suffer with) is the door to God’s heart.  Knowing what breaks His heart is the key to intimacy with Him.  Intimacy with Him is the path to joy in Him.  Being a missionary is about joy. It is the freedom to follow the call of God we received as a fruit of our relationship with Him.  It is a freedom that comes with the knowledge and understanding that if we delight ourselves in Him he will give us the desires of our Heart, of His heart.  He has.

To be a missionary means to be fully human.

To be human is to be paradoxical.

The blessing is in the brokenness.

Que Rompe Tu Corazon?