I write at a critical time in the Covid-19 outbreak, with half the UK (and many other countries) confined to their homes and people not expected to venture out unless they have a good reason for doing so. Personally, I feel blessed – I have a supportive family, all of my material needs are catered for and this is a good time for me to read, reflect on events and write my book. Even so, I have feelings of unease because many do suffer and I want to do my bit, so to speak, given my gospel preaching, community activist mantra.
All sorts of people have waded in with their two penneth, reflecting on events etc., as have I (check out my blog)…
- Lord how long – a phoenix from the ashes
- Who are the useful idiots?
- Homelessness, Coronavirus and Self-isolation
- COVID-19, conspiracy theories and Christian responses
- The Coronavirus and the end is near
This is a sensitive time and given my track record of upsetting people with my “extreme” views in normal times, it is with some trepidation I do so yet again in these extraordinary times. I want after all to help when it is in my power to do so, be a good neighbor, follow government advice etc. But if my mantra incorporates being a watchman on the wall, it would be remiss of me not to warn and my main fear is that I may not be up to the job if people reject the message (as they will) because of the messenger.
I would like to give a comprehensive summary of the “conspiracy theories” concerning Covid-19 as well as 5G, which according to some are strongly linked. Right now, I don’t know enough to do so, although there is no shortage of those pushing such theories for any who so desire to search them out. My position is things are not what they seem or we are told (it has ever been thus). Whether operating 5G transmitters attacks the brain, the Covid-19 story is part of a conspiracy by an evil cabal, the Chinese Communist Party are one of the villains, Bill Gates and his vaccination agenda is anything but altruistic, most governments are inept when it comes to dealing with the crisis, it is all part of a plot to bring in the New World Order that will be headed by the AntiChrist, elements are probably all TRUE.
There is not enough hours in the day to research all these theories, some of which are strongly fact based, and sometimes it is difficult to do much more than hold an opinion albeit with reservations given it won’t make a difference, or will it? Two things I did in the last few days is sign petitions: “Reverse the Dangerous Coronavirus Bill (HC Bill 122) (Rushed through Parliament last week)” and to put a “Halt on 5G in Southend”. The first is because I fear civil liberties are being taken away faster than they should and this is evidenced by the stay at home message. The second is because the health risks of 5G need to be properly evaluated. In both cases I recognize there are contrary arguments: in an emergency, some civil liberties have to be sacrificed due to the situation and 5G is part of the future involving high speed data access that might benefit us all, just like many advances in technology have done so in the past.
As I write, no-one knows how long the lock down will last. As for getting back to normal, it is unlikely the new normal will be like the old, and pertinently will it be better or worse? But for this writer, just as big a concern is the part the church plays at this time. I have seen two trends I find concerning. Firstly, there are those churches that ignore the present crisis including assembling if they can get away with it and buying into the conspiracy narrative. Secondly, there are those churches that completely buy in to the official narrative and condemn those who entertain conspiracy theories.
Some may adopt a third (middle) position, arguing unless it means disobeying God they must obey the authorities whether or not agreeing and, as for commentating on the various conspiracy theories out there, that is not their remit even if some of these are true. Instead their focus is on pastoral care and doing what church is meant to do: preaching, teaching, praying, getting closer to God, taking care of those in need etc., “endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” Ephesians 4:3. I should add given many are confused and scared, and may be seeking answers, this could also be an opportune time for the church to share the Gospel (see here) and point them to what is after all man’s only hope.
It was said “of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do” 1 Chronicles 12:32, and the present situation cries out for people of that ilk and for the church to be a prophetic voice to the culture. While finding historical precedents may not be easy, might I suggest one. In the 1930’s as Hitler came to power and people’s freedoms were eroded, the church did nothing and if and when they woke up it was too late. While my own church veers more toward the third position, I am unconvinced that is enough. Jesus told us to watch and pray and there is enough evidence out there to raise alarms.
There are many dangers facing us as a people right now but if we truly love our neighbor we would want to do them good and protect them from these dangers. I believe this may be the Church’s (those who belong to Christ) finest hour and its greatest opportunity.