“A crisis, being a terrible thing to waste” Paul Romer.
Our English word crisis comes from the Greek krisis. Etymologically it means a “turning point in a disease, that change which indicates recovery or death.” It is further derived from krinein, “to separate, judge, decide.”
In the Christian understanding a crisis is a judgment. It is a situation allowed by God to reveal the hearts of men. Intrinsically tied to crisis is a “turning point.” That is, men may either repent and return to God or harden themselves in their current state of “disease.” Either way, a turning is undertaken, for better or worse.
To whom or to what will we turn in a time of crisis? This reveals our hearts. Humanity will always have faith in something. Many times we, as a race, simply refuse to have faith in God and would rather put our faith in our own works. Many times we, as Christians, are content to confess with our mouths but not truly believe with our hearts. When push comes to shove, we are found with the world putting our hope in worldly saviors. This reveals a complete lack of faith in God. Yet God allows crisis to reveal hearts.
So what does the current crisis in the world reveal about us?
Many in Christianity, generally speaking, have simply taken up the mantras of secular governments and institutions. Thus, essentially, the message is conveyed that our hope is in them. Many Christians hear about the importance of wearing masks, social distancing, use of disinfectants, proper hygiene, and even the hope of a vaccine. In many places this is a primary message.
A person will always promote that which they believe. Thus, it seems that even though there are many who claim to be Christians, in some way, the current crisis has revealed that more trust is placed in worldly answers rather than heavenly. (Please remember, I’m striving to address underlying reality. Of course certain precautions could be of benefit, the question is – in what are we putting our hope?)
In the Old Testament, Israel is rebuked for hoping in other nations to save it rather than the Lord. During the time of the rise of Assyrian might, Israel, driven by fear, turned to Egypt for help. One might say, what is the problem? There is a strong enemy, should they not seek alliances to defend themselves? Yet, the Lord in the book of Isaiah soundly rebukes Israel for seeking aid from Egypt. For in doing so they revealed the reality that they did not trust in the Lord. They trusted in the might of Egypt rather than the Lord.
The crisis revealed Israel’s lack of true faith.
And what does the Lord say to them? “Woe to the apostate children, says the Lord! You made counsel, but not through Me, and covenants, but not of My Spirit, so as to add sins to sin. You proceeded to go down to Egypt, but did not ask Me, so as to be helped by Pharaoh and protected by the Egyptians” (Is. 30:1-2).
The Lord says clearly, “The protection of Pharaoh shall be your shame” (Is. 30:3). When those who are supposed to be of the people of God turn first and foremost to worldly powers and authority for protection it is a great sin. Yet, the Lord gives the method of healing, “When you return and groan, then you will be saved” (Is. 30:15a). Repentance and putting our hope in the Lord alone is the only path to salvation. For as the Lord says, “When you trusted in vain things, vain was your strength” (Is. 30:15b, note: quote is from LXX which is very different from Masoretic based text).
In times past, Orthodox Christians were ready, primarily, to turn first to the Lord and holy things and second to physical answers. First came prayer services both corporate and personal, processions, veneration of icons, anointing with holy oil, partaking of holy water, and so forth. Then possibly the physical precautions would be of service. Yet, at current one hears very rarely of the need for the above practices but rather hears frequently about the need to wear a mask and social distance, clean everything thoroughly, and so forth. Does not our emphasis reveal where our hearts are placing their trust? Do not our actions reveal that we have doubting faith in the grace of the holy things? How then will the world believe in our message if we in action do not?
And when we stand before the dread throne of Glory, what will we say when we had more hope in the power of antibacterial wipes than we did in the holiness of icons? What shall we say when we put more faith in multiple spoons to not spread disease rather than the Divine power of the Holy Eucharist? Then maybe the Lord will say, let now antibacterial wipes save you.
Moreover the current crisis reveals that people, generally, are most ready to trust in masks and social distancing, for example, rather than God. People are hoping for a savior, not in God but in the power of pharmaceutical scientism. God allows crisis to reveal essential reality – in what the heart of man is willing to believe.
Men will trust in a piece of cloth over their face to save them, things that are completely proven to be useless in stopping the spread of a virus. Even more tragically, it seems, as Orthodox Christians we will hope in “masking” before we hope in the power of the holy things. So much so that in some places priests are still masked as they turn and say “in the fear of God, with faith in love draw near.” Does this not reveal out hearts?
And while we stumble to prove how “concerned” we are to be in compliance with CDC guidelines, we are, it seems, for the most part completely failing our nation (and world) on a spiritual level. As people are currently drowning in the flood of secular lifelessness, should we not be offering much more than – keep yourself physically safe and follow the guidelines?
This spiritual famine is reflected in the fact that more people have died of suicide than from covid. Even in Japan, for example, more people died of suicide there in one month than the entire covid crisis. There is not space to elaborate on the toll it has taken on livelihood, families, social dynamics, and so forth. This is just the tip of the iceberg that reflects the real toll of the current events. The psychological effects of general “lock down” mandates and other covid social responses alone is worth exploring. (Does anyone else remember back in March/April hearing” we just need a few weeks to flatten the curve,” and here we are how many months later?)
It reflects the demonic dehumanization that is at the core of the current crisis. The virus is but a cover for a satanic anti-human and anti-God agenda. Do those powers which are behind many of the current “health” regulations truly care for humanity? They support abortion on demand, euthanasia, and so forth. Many, very clearly, have a goal of reducing the global population, that means they plan to systematically kill millions of people (disease being one of the methods). Can fresh water and salt water come from the same spring (cf. James 3:11)?
And yet, Christians are going to run to this Egypt for safety? Don’t worry Egypt knows best! Rather than use the prophetic voice of the Church to speak life to a dying age, we would rather simply preach, “obey your local government guidelines!”
Where is our concern for the spiritual effects, which are much more serious than a virus, of that which is taking place at current? Where are the voices speaking against the categorizing of persons as “essential” and “non-essential”? Such designations are demonic. They are preparing the minds of people to think of others as “disposable.” It is a method by which certain groups are systematically dehumanized. It is following in the footsteps of past secular ideologies, such as the Nazis, which categorized people as “useful” and “disposable.” It is but a few steps away from declaring certain people “useless eaters.” Handy if depopulation is your goal.
But no, at current the most important thing is to wear a mask! Social distance! You are a selfish bastard if you don’t! Yet, what are the psychological and spiritual effects of masking? Of de-socializing people? Of increasing reliance on technology? These are the question that Christians should be raising. Thankfully some are asking these questions, such as “The Shepherd and Flock,” an Orthodox publication in Ukraine. In it one doctor, by the name of Alexander Sosnowski, states, “The problem with masks is not so much a question of their effectiveness, rather the problem is the sharp decrease in visual contact when communicating. In communication our psyche receives and analyzes several signals at the same time, the eyes and lips are of the most importance … Masks deprive our internal analyzers of half the signals, the result is that there is an increase of mutual distrust, difficulties in, and a break down of, communication. As a result there is a rise in depression and panic attacks … Another problem is that a mask, to some extent, depersonalize a person, it destroys, (or significantly erases) his face, turning it into but an individual cog in a giant mechanism. The mechanism is based on loyalty to not so much medical achievements and requirements, as it is to loyalty and readiness to accept the thesis of scientific-technological progress as the absolute good (in contrast to other benefits that are achieved through the internal transformation of a person).”
Since the efficacy of masks in preventing the spread of a virus is very questionable, the main question should be what are their spiritual effects, what are they doing to the psyche of humanity? (Please see my article “With Faces Unveiled” for a look at the importance of unmasked faces in Christian worship). The considerations of Dr. Sosnowski should cause pause for every sober Christian. Why and who would seek to deface humanity and create of him but a cog with loyalty to a scientistic-technocracy? The underlying spirit is satanic.
My article is already running a little long but it bears importance to mention again the vaccine. The secular world is promoting it as a savior. Keep in mind the survival rate from covid is extremely high, around 99.8%. The total number of deaths in 2020 are not significantly more than past years. How is this possible if there were a “deadly” pandemic (and I’m not saying that there is no virus and that people have not died but rather we must keep proper perspective). Does the situation justify a completely experimental and novel vaccine? In short, do a lot of research, please. The vaccine is a experimental mRNA delivery system which utilizes Lipid Nanoparticles. In brief the goal is to insert a new type of “software” into your “operating” system. What will be the long term effects? No one really knows. (for more on vaccines see “The Modern Vaccine Agenda”.)
Is it possible, generally speaking, that men can do proactive things in an attempt to prevent disease and other such things? Of course. The point is not that possible physical preventions should never be pursued but rather, to what primarily do we turn and place our hope? The attempt of man to “save” himself is rooted in the deepest arrogance. In the current crisis I hear little to even no reference to the need for God’s help. Science will save us. The “experts” will save us. The government will save us. Guidelines will save us. The vaccine will save us. This reveals that we do not believe in God. For the secularist this is not surprising, yet for Christians this is a great shame. The great tragedy is that many in Western Christianity are simply regurgitating the salvation message of the world. In doing so, we completely fail in our Christian vocation.
Our trust has not been in God but in the strength of Egypt. Yet the hope is, we still have this day in which we may repent: today is the day of salvation.
“Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help … who do not trust in the Holy One of Israel, nor seek God. So He wisely brings evils upon them, and His word cannot be set aside, for He will rise up against the house of evil men and against their vain hope” (Is. 31:1-2).