Cure for The Fear Pandemic

By Heather Walton

About 20 years ago, shortly after I became a Christian, I was participating in some job training. One day we took a lunch break at a local outdoor food court. As we ate, a bee took an interest in my food and wouldn’t leave me alone. I was terrified of insects, especially the stinging type, so I began panicking like a 3-year-old. One of my fellow trainees, a middle-aged Jewish woman, looked at me pointedly and said, “You know, I’m really surprised that someone with your great faith would be so scared of a little bee.”

At that moment, I was stung with such conviction that I determined that I would no longer fear insects, and to this day, I have succeeded. My fear had ruined my ability to enjoy lunch, but more than that, it had marred my testimony to an unbelieving friend.

A pastor told a story of a family taking a car trip in which a bee decided to ride along. One of the children was shrieking in terror, when his father decided to intervene. The father caught the bee in his hand, took the sting, and then let the bee continue to fly around the car. He assured his child that there was nothing more to fear, since he had already taken the stinger. The pastor likened this father to our Lord, who took the sting of death for those who trust in Him, that we might not fear the sting of death.

How many of us are doing just that, though? We are living in fear of so many things today:

  • a microscopic virus that could make us sick and has less than 1% chance of killing us
  • violent crime
  • losing our livelihood
  • losing our savings
  • being shamed for wearing/not wearing a mask
  • losing our civil liberties
  • who will win the election
  • being forced to take a vaccine
  • what the next big development of 2020 will be

Add to the list any personal fears we each carry, and it can be really overwhelming.

I’ve been considering a few questions lately:

What’s more important — surviving or living?

First, what’s more important — surviving or living? If I have to live in a bubble in order to stay alive, is that really living? If I have to fear every little thing when I walk out of my house and every little thing that comes into my house, is that really living? If I am missing out on relationships, is that really living? Would I rather live long or would I rather live well?

I’ve also pondered why this particular illness is the ONE that has us all paralyzed and isolated. We’ve never done anything like this before, as far as shutting down so systematically and for so long. Other illnesses and activities have killed far more people, but went virtually unnoticed. What’s the difference?

Part of the problem today, I think, is that we are so entitled as Americans. We believe that we simply should live to be very old and that we should have our needs provided for us. We expect life to be safe and sterile, and current events don’t fit our expectations.

I look at America today and, technological advances aside, I doubt our ancestors would recognize us. Think about it: People boarded ships, risking illness, starvation, and death, to come to America. Pioneers trekked across the country on foot and in wagons, risking life and limb, to make a better life for themselves and their posterity. America has been known for its independent spirit. Americans have historically been leaders who took risks to advance and rise above circumstances. Yet, here we are, allowing our country to be brought to a screeching halt by a microscopic organism that is not nearly as likely to affect us as the dangers our patriot predecessors faced.

At the turn of the 20th century, the average life expectancy was mid-forties, meaning I personally probably would have gone onto glory by my age if I had lived during that time. Today, we expect — even demand — to live twice that long. The average coronavirus death happens to those over the average life expectancy, and though every death is sad, it seems presumptuous for us to expect to cheat death. With the exception of two people in history (Enoch and Elijah), every single person has died or will die, barring the rapture. God has determined every one of our days before even one of them came to be, so for us to think we can come up with a humanistic solution to the problem of death is utterly prideful and foolish.

We are creating a generation of germaphobes and hypochondriacs. We need to remember that we shouldn’t fear death so much as we should fear and revere the One who determines how we spend eternity.

Another area of fear relates to our liberty. There are people threatening America’s freedoms, people who violate the Constitution in the name of peace and safety and people who push a Marxist agenda. Many of us know we need to stand against this, yet we are afraid to do so. We fear legal penalties, social stigma, family safety, and more. We would do well to look at the example of our nation’s founders. They put it all on the line for their families and their descendants. They risked all of this for us, people who were not yet born, but would benefit from their willingness to sacrifice. How would they feel, knowing we have taken this freedom so for granted that we don’t mind giving it up?

Let’s take it a step further: How must God feel toward us, knowing that He created our bodies to be resilient and our brains to be wise, yet we are so fearful? How must He feel, knowing that He sent His precious Son to die for us, that we may have the abundant, eternal life, yet we are so caught up in the physical existence? How must he feel, knowing that He died to set us free, never again to be enslaved, yet we willingly submit ourselves to multiple yokes of slavery? How must He feel, seeing us shaking our fists, kicking our legs, writhing in anger and fear, and demanding long life, prosperity, and security, when He has all of those things laid up for us, just not in the form we demand?

There are at least 100 verses that tell us not to fear. Why?

  1. God is on His throne.
  2. He is never taken by surprise.
  3. He has promised never to leave or forsake us.
  4. He has our best interest in mind.
  5. He takes care of the lilies and the birds, and will certainly take care of us.
  6. He loves us.
  7. He is our father and we are His children.
  8. He determined our times and places, and knew all of our days before even one came to be.
  9. He gave us a spirit of power and a sound mind.
  10. He has promised us the abundant life.
  11. Our eternal life is secure if we trust in Him.
  12. He delights to take care of us.
  13. He will provide for us in the midst of our enemies.
  14. He will not allow evil to triumph.
  15. Nothing can separate us from His love.
  16. He is the One with the power over life and death.
  17. Greater is He that is in us than He that is in the world.
  18. He will uphold us with His righteous right hand.
  19. He has already told us how it ends. Spoiler: He wins and we get the spoils.
  20. He has prepared a place for us.
  21. We are already seated with Him in heaven.
  22. He has freed us from slavery.
  23. He has taken away the sting of death.
  24. He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear.
  25. He is in control!

I could go on forever …

If you’re a Christ follower and you’re fearful or anxious, this is understandable, especially given the uncertainty we currently face, yet the Lord has given us the remedy:

… do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7 ESV

This is the believer’s prescription for peace. It’s not necessarily easy, but it is attainable.

If you don’t yet know the Lord, then no wonder you are anxious or concerned; not only is this life precarious, but your eternity is unsettled. I have good news: That can change today!

Simply acknowledge that you are a sinner, meaning you agree with God that you’ve done bad things, and that you have offended Him with those actions. Because of this, you don’t deserve to spend eternity in His presence. However, God sent His Son, Jesus, to live as a man, to identify with our weaknesses, to live a perfect life, and to die an atoning death, not for His own sins, because He was sinless, but for our sins. Accept that payment for your sins and transfer your allegiance from this world and your flesh to Him. Commit to allowing Him to be in charge of your life from here on out. Confess Him as your Lord, knowing that He died for your sins and rose from the dead, confirming that He is God and that He has authority to forgive sins and power to give you eternal life. When you do, He will save you and begin the process of sanctifying you, which means making you a more Christlike person. Your eternity will be secure, and you will be reconciled to Him. This will give you peace, joy, and comfort, no matter what circumstances come your way. Out of response for what He has done, get plugged into a local congregation, get baptized, read the Bible, pray, and serve others, all in order to know Him better and to glorify God to others, all because you’re grateful for His free gift. We can’t earn any of this; we simply accept it and it’s ours.

A right relationship with God, one in which we believe His promises are true and that He has our best interest in mind, is the cure for the fear pandemic.

Is Gov. Beshear violating the Constitution?

By Heather Walton

Sadly, though I’ve lived here for most of my life, I hadn’t read Kentucky’s Constitution until this week. I suspect I wasn’t alone when it comes to constitutional illiteracy, but I have begun to be enlightened. I would encourage everyone to become familiar with their state constitution, and with the U.S. Constitution, because these are the highest laws of our land, and when our governing officials break the laws that give them their authority, we should consider whether it’s wise to submit.

While I’m not a constitutional law expert, an ordinary citizen should be able to analyze officials’ actions in light of national and state foundational documents. Therefore, I’ve evaluated recent executive orders by Gov. Andy Beshear in light of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, as well as Kentucky Revised Statute 39A, which gives him the authority to declare a state of emergency and outlines his functions.

According to Ky. Rev. Stat. § 39A.090, “The Governor may make, amend, and rescind any executive orders as deemed necessary to carry out the provisions of KRS Chapters 39A to 39F.” I do not think this gives the state’s chief executive carte blanche. Ky. Rev. Stat. § 39A.100 states, “Except as prohibited by this section or other law, to perform and exercise other functions, powers, and duties deemed necessary to promote and secure the safety and protection of the civilian population.” Since the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Kentucky is the highest law of our Commonwealth, it serves as the highest law in our state, and is in keeping with and subordinate to the United States Constitution.

Section 1 of Kentucky’s Constitution guarantees rights of life, liberty, worship, pursuit of safety and happiness, free speech, acquiring and protecting property, peaceable assembly, redress of grievances, bearing arms. All men are, by nature, free and equal, and have certain inherent and inalienable rights, among which may be reckoned:

First: The right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties. The Governor’s edicts have kept and continue to keep many from being able to work, and thereby enjoying their lives and liberties. We do not have the freedom to live our lives and to practice liberty of movement or fulfillment of our God-given calling to provide for our families, move about freely, attend church, sing and participate in sacraments, decide how many people to have in our homes, go places without a mask or temperature check, or keep our associations with others private. At first, these precautions seemed necessary, but they still would have violated the Constitution; now that the curve has been flattened, our rights certainly should be returned to us.

Second: The right of worshipping Almighty God according to the dictates of their consciences. We have not been able to worship according to the dictates of our consciences. While I’m glad we have been able to use online worship services, we have not been able to meet, and now that we are, we still are not able to do so according to our consciences. We are told not to get too close to one another, not to sing corporately, and not to participate in Sacraments. These things go against Scripture. If a person is sick, he should stay home from church, but that’s common sense and should be exercised at all times, but if he is well, there is not a substantial reason to comply. (He also should theoretically be able to be anointed and prayed over by the elders of the church.) If a person is at-risk, she also should consider staying home, but also should have the freedom to make that choice. For those who are healthy, there is no compelling reason to celebrate faith differently than at any other time.

Third: The right of seeking and pursuing their safety and happiness. This is an individual right of each Kentuckian to seek and pursue safety and happiness, not a mandate for the government to impose corporate safety on all citizenry. Our governor and other authorities have decided to potentially compromise financial, religious, and informational safety for supposed health safety. And many have been forced to trade happiness for a supposed safety.

Fourth: The right of freely communicating their thoughts and opinions. While I can’t specifically fault the government for this, I see the media inhibiting and overruling the right to free speech and communication.

Fifth: The right of acquiring and protecting property. How can people acquire and protect property when commerce is mostly shut down and nearly half of the state population is unemployed? Granted, many are receiving unemployment, but not all, and there will likely be a future price to pay for today’s temporary provision.

Sixth: The right of assembling together in a peaceable manner for their common good, and of applying to those invested with the power of government for redress of grievances or other proper purposes, by petition, address or remonstrance. People have been allowed to protest; yet they have been demonized for doing so. Have their petitions been acknowledged or addressed? It doesn’t appear so.

So far, we have only looked at Section 1. In Section 2, absolute and arbitrary power is denied.

Absolute and arbitrary power over the lives, liberty and property of freemen exists nowhere in a republic, not even in the largest majority. It seems to me that there has been much absolute and arbitrary power in the republic and in the commonwealth. Gov. Beshear made many executive orders which were presented as law and did so while the legislature was out of session. He was partially checked by the courts, but many of his edicts have been made without anyone being able to do anything about it. Not only has he exercised absolute power, but his decisions have appeared arbitrary. A large store could be open and lots of people could be inside, while a small business had to be closed. People couldn’t get cancer screenings and “elective” surgeries, but they could get an abortion. People could pack the hardware store or go to a liquor store, but could not go to church. Kids can now participate in contact sports, but nobody can go to a public pool.

Section 15 says that the General Assembly is the only one with the right to suspend laws, but it seems that the governor has done so time after time during this “crisis.”

Section 26 sums it all up well by stating, To guard against transgression of the high powers which we have delegated, We Declare that every thing in this Bill of Rights is excepted out of the general powers of government, and shall forever remain inviolate; and all laws contrary thereto, or contrary to this Constitution, shall be void. I understand this to mean that several of Gov. Beshear’s executive orders are essentially void.

This brings me to my last point, in Section 4, which states that power is inherent in the people. Right to alter, reform, or abolish government. All power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority and instituted for their peace, safety, happiness and the protection of property. For the advancement of these ends, they have at all times an inalienable and indefeasible right to alter, reform or abolish their government in such manner as they may deem proper.

We have a governor whom I believe to be well-intentioned, yet in many ways wrong. He may be a nice guy, but nice is not a leadership qualification. Gov. Beshear has, in the name of saving “the most vulnerable,” neglected many vulnerable taxpayers, small business owners, people with health conditions other than COVID-19, school children, unborn children, and newly born children. Our Constitution gives us the right to alter, reform, or abolish our government as we deem proper. Is it time to exercise this right? We have petitioned Gov. Beshear. He has refused to listen, and in many cases, even to acknowledge our grievances; perhaps it is time we consider requiring him to step down from leadership, and restructure the government to provide greater checks and balances, that we may not be subject to absolute and arbitrary leadership from any future governor.

Author’s Note: I am not condoning violence in any way. Those who have threatened the Governor do not represent the best interests of Kentuckians, and should be held accountable for their actions.

A Conflict of Liberty?

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail

There is a divide in the church today. Unfortunately, this statement could likely be made at any time in history past, present, or future, until the Lord returns.

I just read an article about a local megachurch, in which they had taken a survey of their members. According to the pastor, there was about an equal split between members who believe they should meet in person immediately, those who think they should wait the situation out a little longer, and those who believe they should wait till there’s a cure or vaccine for COVID-19. Right after reading that, I read a post from a Christian leader who believes it’s cowardly for pastors not to immediately open, especially given that the President said he supports churches opening right away, even though some governors have kept them closed or placed lots of restrictions on them; she was discouraged that many pastors elected to remain closed.

Our small church did open today, allowing for following CDC recommendations, while not demanding churchgoers follow these protocols. We had some folks in attendance, as well as some watching online.

Christian seems to rise against Christian, some claiming we need to stand up for our rights, while others say that doing so violates Biblical principles. While I agree that the Bible trumps the Constitution, I also would posit that the Constitutional framers did so with Biblical principles in mind. Initially I asserted the view that we should lay down our First Amendment rights for the greater good of protecting our brother from harm; however, I’ve appreciated some contrary perspectives, and, while I don’t claim to have a perfect answer, I want to propose consideration of these thoughts:

  1. If someone slaps me on the right cheek, I can offer him the left; however, if someone slaps all of us on the right cheek, or if slapping me on the right cheek could lead to abuse of others, I should strongly consider standing up for our collective rights.
  2. I should examine my motives; if I’m driven by fear, greed, unrighteous anger, or any other sinful attitude, I should reconsider my position. Once my motives are pure, then I need to establish the best plan of action and follow it.
  3. What precedents are we setting by allowing our Constitutional rights to be infringed upon? How will our response impact future generations? We need to be wary of giving up rights that our God-fearing forefathers and generations of military members secured for us, many of them giving their lives, and all of them being willing to do so. More importantly, we need to prayerfully consider what is worth giving up the freedoms for which Christ set us free. We have been commanded not to be subject again to a yoke of slavery. The enemy of our souls can make a very convincing argument, and we need to be vigilant and discerning, lest we be led astray.
  4. What effect do our actions and inactions have on those who witness them? What will most glorify God to the watching world? There is a prevailing thought that Christians need to be compliant, docile, and unassuming at all times. Jesus called us to be peacemakers, not peacekeepers. Some people believe that, since Jesus was described as meek, we are not to assert ourselves. However, meekness isn’t weakness. Meekness is power under control, not a lack of power. Jesus stood up against oppression and injustice. He spoke out against the Pharisees, who placed unbearable yokes on others, and against the moneychangers, who took advantage of others. He did not gloss over sin, but lovingly confronted transgressors. Should we not follow in His steps?
  5. How has our culture shaped our view of what it means to be loving? Is being nice the same thing as being kind? In this era of political correctness, we have been brainwashed into trying to please everyone and to avoiding actions that may offend others. To love another means to want his or her best. I would never condone shaming someone who doesn’t feel comfortable returning to church, to work, or to society because they are in a high-risk group; we are called to prudence. However, if we give the impression that the only way to be loving is to watch church at home, to keep our businesses closed, to wear a mask everywhere, and to support the governing authorities’ every decision, we may not be giving the full picture. Isn’t it also loving to visit the sick (provided we are healthy and not caregivers for others in a high-risk group), to contribute to our neighbors’ livelihoods by utilizing their businesses, to contribute to society with meaningful work, to uphold truth, to confront error, and to preserve our countrymen’s God-given rights?
  6. Do our actions show favoritism to any person or group? It seems that we are listening to the counsel of some medical professionals but not others. There are plenty of solid medical personnel, some of whom use conventional medicine and others who use alternative methods, who say that the recommended measures are inaccurate and even counterproductive. Even though many are using recent data or reliable research to verify their stance, not only are they being discounted, many are effectively being silenced, because their recommendations don’t fit the prevailing narrative put forth by many in government and the mainstream media. We also seem to be showing favoritism to those vulnerable from a health standpoint, to the exclusion of those vulnerable from an economic or spiritual standpoint.
  7. What is the highest authority in our country or state? It is not the president or governor, and it definitely isn’t any worldwide organization or philanthropist. The Constitution guides our government, and the government is “by the people, of the people, and for the people.” Who are the people? The citizens of this country. When governors, presidents, legislators, or judges violate the Constitution, we need to question whether obedience is necessary. If we follow the Constitution, we are not breaking the law, even if we are told that we are.

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail, a masterpiece of logic, morality, and theological exposition, as applied to the issue of segregation is the source of the famous words, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Do you know the audience of this letter? Dr. King addressed this apologetic for “civil disobedience” to white pastors who thought he had gone too far by encouraging his followers to break the law. He echoed Augustine, saying that an “unjust law is no law at all.” He said that a just law is in harmony with moral law, that any law that degrades human personality is unjust. We must ask ourselves if quarantining the healthy is in harmony with moral law. We must consider whether destroying people’s livelihoods, keeping them from attending church, and imposing social isolation, especially in the midst of compelling evidence that this virus isn’t a serious threat to otherwise healthy people, is the correct coarse of action.

Pastors and other Christian leaders are called to be countercultural. We are to obey the authority placed over us, but in this country our highest authority is the Constitution, which was primarily written from a Biblical worldview. The Apostle Paul appealed to Caesar in the face of injustice; in America, the equivalent would be to appeal to the Constitution. Our Constitution says that nobody should prohibit the free exercise of religion, of speech, the press, or the right to peaceably assemble (Amendment I). Furthermore, “no State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws” (Amendment XIV).

Some of you live in open states, and may wonder what all the fuss is about. Churches in Washington State and Minnesota have unjustly been kept from operating, and many still fear government reprisal. This morning, the Chicago mayor was reported to have sent police to shut down a church gathering in her city. Churches, daycares, and small businesses in Kentucky have far too many restrictions to practically operate. Everywhere the mainstream media mafia perpetuates fear and censors informed citizens in an attempt to control the narrative.

Christians, we must not be silent. Pastors, part of your calling is to admonish the flock according to Scripture and to equip us for participation in all spheres of life, including the media and the government. Please challenge us to speak into the culture, rather than to assimilate. Please give us permission not to be nice, but rather to be holy and effective at fulfilling the Great Commission and the Great Commandment. Please activate us in the spiritual war that has the whole world in its grip. Please don’t sit down and shut your doors. Please don’t bow to those who rule unjustly, no matter how “well-intentioned” they may seem. Please bow only to God, and refuse to allow His commands to be twisted into irrelevance.

In the words of Dr. King, “it is wrong to use immoral means to attain moral ends … it is just as wrong, or even more, to use moral means to preserve immoral ends.” Let us be neither complacent, nor arrogant. Let us not use our liberty as an excuse for sin, but also let us not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. We were bought with a price. It was for freedom that Christ set us free. Let us walk in that freedom, for the good of our country and our fellow countryman.

Obedience and Justice: An Open Letter to All Who Follow Jesus Christ

20170804_163841Dear Church,

There are many opinions and divisions today among us. Some of them are due to personal preferences and simply illuminate the diversity of the people God created. Others simply should not be. “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise (Galatians 3:27-29)”

As those who profess Jesus as Lord (meaning master, one who is in charge), we should strive to live as He lived (1 Peter 2:21). Jesus gave up His rights when he became man (Philippians 2:5-11). He did so for our benefit. We also should be willing to give up our rights for the benefit of others.

I should not exert my rights simply because I can. However, I am called to fight for the rights of those who cannot fight for theirs. I am called to stand against injustice (Proverbs 6:16-19; Proverbs 24:11-12; Nehemiah 4:4-5; Psalm 94:1-7, 20-23; Isaiah 10:1-3; Revelation 6:10). Sometimes that means participating in civil disobedience.

I know that there have been many in the Bible and church history who disobeyed the earthly authorities, but it was because the alternative was to disobey God. So I have to ask, with each executive order and law issued in our state and in our country, am I being asked to disobey God? For example, I don’t think I’m being asked to disobey God to wear a mask, but I may very well be disobeying Him if I don’t sing in church (Ephesians 5:19). As much as I don’t like the thought of it, I don’t think I’m disobeying God to submit to a temperature check, but I definitely believe I would be disobeying to take a vaccine that was developed with fetal stem cells and/or was accompanied by a chip, mark, or other detection system.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t protest and petition the government, because I think we should, but I know we are to do it respectfully. I see too many Christians being disrespectful to governing officials. We are called to kindness (1 Corinthians 13:4-5). We are called to submission, so that we may glorify God to the unbelievers (“Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.” 1 Peter 2:12). We are told to be unified as believers and to let our gentleness be known to all, because the Lord is near (Phil. 4:5). I believe He is very near. “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16).

I’m definitely open to insights about all of this. I know I don’t have all of the right answers, because I’m fallible and because this question is downright baffling. Experts don’t agree and the Bible doesn’t specifically address our current situation. I hope that, in the midst of our varying perspectives, we can be united as believers, because the world is watching.

In Christ’s Love,

Heather Walton

 

 

An Open Letter to Gov. Andy Beshear

Gov. Beshear

May 11, 2020

Governor Beshear,

I want to begin by saying that, for the first several weeks of your COVID-19 response, I was one of your strongest supporters. I watched your briefings every day and I was quite impressed with your handling of the situation. I also noted that you used your faith to support your reasoning, and I believed you used it well. I truly appreciated your desire to protect the lives of all Kentuckians, even those many seemed to discount as less important than the economy. I did wonder, however, why the abortion clinics were allowed to remain open. Even so, I supported you in the rest of your response measures. I defended you on social media multiple times and I used the hashtags you asked us to use. To this day, we turn on our green light nightly to honor those who have died of the coronavirus.

I was disheartened to make a possible connection between campaign contributions and your refusal to close the clinics, but when you chose to veto SB9, which would require babies who survived to be cared for, I was astonished. This bill passed by a landslide and had clear bipartisan support. You reasoned that this would reduce our unity and ability to defeat the coronavirus and reopening of the economy. However, if every Kentucky life matters, it’s worth doing, even if it’s not popular, could cause law suits, or could hinder reopening the economy. Isn’t this the very thing you have done and continue to do in the COVID-19 response? You have said you don’t care if it’s popular, you don’t care if people disagree, and you don’t care if people sue you. You also have been willing to keep our economy shut down indefinitely. I realize you’re doing some reopening, but it’s really not very quick and it’s also not highly practical. Your argument has consistently been that we need to save as many Kentucky lives as possible. In fact, you’ve been willing to do absolutely everything, including allowing many businesses to close permanently and overriding the First Amendment rights of our citizenry, to make sure that our losses are as minimal as possible.

You have cited your faith many times. Therefore, I feel compelled to tell you what is on my heart as a believer. The blood of many, many children is on your hands. You have accepted blood money from Planned Parenthood and from abortion clinic owners Ernest and Ona Marshall, and likely many others who practice and champion abortion. Even without the veto, you support abortion. You may argue that there need to be exceptions for the life and health of the mother, but as one who had to have a pregnancy terminated because of the baby implanted ectopically, I did not need to go to an abortion clinic, and would not have been able to have been serviced there.

Abortion is murder, as God has created each life. Most abortions are the result of previous sin, whether from the mother, the father, or usually both. Taking a child’s life because of his parents’ sins is not ethical, moral, or Scriptural. So when you vetoed SB9, I woke as if from sleeping and began to question why you are willing to inconvenience so many and even devastate some on the grounds of caring for all Kentuckians, yet far more have died through abortion than from the coronavirus. At first, it seemed these measures were necessary, but as we’ve learned more, it just doesn’t add up. I’m willing to believe you began with the best of intentions regarding the COVID-19 response, but now, why not go ahead and open up the economy, allow people to resume church services as normal, and allow us to get back to what hopefully will be a new and better normal?

I also have concerns about your handling of churches. Biblically, we are not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. It’s great that we are able to have online services, but that’s simply not the same as meeting in person. And being told not to even sing together is disheartening. Being told not to meet together, sing together, or participate in sacraments goes directly against Scripture. If this were as bad as health officials originally had projected, I would be more open to the idea of church being conducted alternatively, but I would also expect most other organizations and businesses to be closed. If I can’t go to church and worship in the normal way, I also shouldn’t be able to go to an abortion clinic, a liquor store, or a hardware store.

I work hard to be respectful and pleasant toward those with whom I disagree, but I don’t believe in shying away from the truth, because the truth sets us free. No law can take away our freedom in Christ, but it’s still crucial that Christ followers petition the authorities when injustice prevails. There are clear injustices when some human lives are considered expendable or less valuable than others, and there are clear injustices when people’s livelihoods are lost due to excessive government control.

After the fall of man, God commanded Adam and Eve to fill the earth and subdue it. These are related to two main realms – childbearing and work. Your actions affect each of these in the opposite ways that God intended, because you are allowing childbearing to be unnaturally restrained, while not allowing people to work. Please prayerfully read the Scriptures. I ask you, on behalf of all citizens of Kentucky, to change your stance on abortion, to fully open Kentucky’s churches, and to allow Kentuckians to go back to work. There are ways to protect the vulnerable that don’t require so many others to suffer in countless ways.

I am praying for you, and am open to discussing this with you if you would like to.

Sincerely,

Heather Walton

 

 

How shall we then live?

Be very careful Scripture

By Heather Walton

I am continually surprised by the comments I’m seeing on social media and in the news, regarding this outbreak of coronavirus. I completely understand feeling frustrated by having to stay at home, not being able to attend church, having to suddenly “homeschool” children of various ages, and facing possible financial ruin. These are all huge challenges.

However, when hundreds of people are dying in Italy in one day, and our governing authorities and medical professionals are telling us we need to stay home for the good of everyone, it baffles me that people don’t heed the warnings. A few weeks ago, I too thought this was overblown. I simply lacked understanding. As a nation, we were going along, business as usual. There were murmurs of this potential threat, but honestly, I was oblivious. Today, though, how can anyone be oblivious?

It concerns me to hear Christians say they aren’t going to obey the government. In Romans 13, we are told to obey the governing authorities. What kind of a witness is it for us to blatantly defy the government? It disturbs me that some people are adamant that we meet in person in order to fulfill Biblical commands, and therefore asserting our rights to meet. What about loving one another, being living sacrifices, denying ourselves, and living quiet lives among the unbelievers (Matthew 16, John 13, Romans 12-13, 1 Thessalonians 4)?

Psalm 91 is a wonderful comfort, and I have read it multiple times, especially in the past week. It upsets me, though, that some people are using this beautiful passage to justify meeting or going about their business as usual, because they believe God has promised that believers are protected from the coronavirus. I’m not saying that everyone who cites or shares this verse feels that way, but I’ve definitely seen it used to justify negligence. Even if no believer were to contract the virus or to die from it, isn’t it possible that a believer could carry it to an unbeliever?

What kind of witness is it to non-Christians that so many Christians deny that this virus is as destructive as it is, or are even willing to endanger others simply because of their rights? I remember a teacher in grade school saying that our rights end where our neighbors’ rights begin. So if I were healthy and I decided to just exercise my rights, regardless of the fact that it could compromise my neighbors’ health, would I be acting in a Godly way? Of course not!

Another argument I hear is that we shouldn’t live in fear. I agree completely! Why is it, then, that people are unwilling to protect their health and their neighbors’ health because they are afraid it will harm the economy, and specifically because they are concerned about their own financial status? Isn’t that giving in to fear? As someone who has struggled with a variety of health issues, I can tell you that I’d rather have my health than to have money in the bank. More than that, I’d rather have my loved ones’ health than financial security. Don’t most people feel that way?

Medical professionals continually tell us that, if we don’t follow the guidelines given out by the government, we are going to be in for greater sickness and death rates, longer time of having things shut down, and perhaps even forced confinement at home. Is that what we want? I don’t think so. However, what we say we want seems to be at odds with our actions. If we want this to end sooner and elicit fewer casualties, we need to submit to the governing authorities.

Better yet, brothers and sisters in Christ, rather than bemoaning the fact that we can’t be at church, let’s joyfully be the church! The church is not a building. We can assemble together online, and we can worship as households. Even more importantly, we can worship best by serving one another in the name of Jesus Christ.

In John 4, Jesus stopped in Samaria at a well, and he asked a woman for a drink of water. She proceeded to engage Him in a theological discussion about where to properly worship God. Jesus answered her essentially like this: “Woman, you’re asking the wrong question! It’s not about where you worship. It’s about how you worship. True believers worship in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:22-24, author’s paraphrase). Spirit and truth — neither is a physical thing, and neither can be contained in a physical building. Church, wake up! Stop being legalistic and demanding! It’s time for the church in America to take advantage of the time we’re living in and the situation at hand. Many are already doing this, but if you’re one of the holdouts who is bellyaching about what you can’t do, it’s time to consider what the Holy Spirit may be calling you to do right now. We are called to make the most of every opportunity, to redeem the time, to be wise, and to understand the Lord’s will, because we are living in dark times (Ephesians 5:14-17).

A few weeks ago, I hadn’t given the coronavirus more than a few minutes thought. Right now I’m sitting at home, unable even to go out and practice social distancing at the grocery store, because I’m waiting for the results of a test. According to the medical professionals, it will take a week to get the results. I wish I would get the results sooner than that, and so do a lot of people I’ve been in contact with, but perhaps the Lord is using this whole situation to create patience in many people, myself included. Because I’m not feeling great and I’m contagious, I may not be able to do the same things to serve others that I wish I could, but I’m trying to do what I can from right here on my couch. I hope that my perspective helps people.

So, if you’re a believer, here’s my challenge to you: What can you do today, in your present circumstances, to bless others, to be the church, to fulfill the Great Commission, and to advance the Gospel? If you’re not a believer, consider that God may be using current events to get your attention. This world is temporary and flawed, but God has something eternal and perfect for everyone who submits to His Lordship. Consider turning your life, your health, your finances, and your eternity over to Him today. And here’s my challenge to everyone: Let’s evaluate how we can live, making the most of our time and circumstances, that we may emerge better people when it’s once again time for social closeness.

 

COVID-19: Has it changed the world?

Corona Doctor Office PicBy Heather Walton

A week ago at this time I honestly wondered what all the hype was about. I questioned whether people were overreacting. Later that evening, after hearing from the president and the local school superintendent, and learning that our local megachurch was closing, I began to reconsider my perspective.

I think most of us have been impacted in some way by this crisis. At minimum, most of us have had some change to our routines and give up our freedom to go where we want. It seems a bit surreal for many. Depending on your perspective, you could be stir crazy, frustrated, skeptical, anxious, relieved, refreshed, or maybe all of these things in the same day! And if you have children, they may be struggling too, especially if their routines have been majorly disrupted.

As a homeschooler and as one who works from home, my family’s life has not been as disrupted as many people’s have. We have had changes though: My husband is a pastor, so a family whose lives are intertwined with church, that aspect has looked very different. He also works for the school system, so he’s been home this week, which I have found refreshing. I also have moved my regular students and my tutoring clients to an online platform, rather than having them come into my home.

The biggest issue for me has been that I personally have been sick for the past few days. Today I developed a fever, so my doctor sent me for COVID-19 testing. They say it will be a week or so before I get the results. A week ago, getting sick with this virus was the furthest thing from my mind.

While all of this is unexpected and somewhat unsettling, I don’t think the world has actually changed. Yes, it feels different, but I think that’s largely because, a week ago, it felt like we were in control, and today not so much. The truth is, though, that control is an illusion, at least as far as we’re concerned. However, God is always on His throne and in control of the universe — always. Nothing occurs that He doesn’t allow. And nothing catches Him by surprise.

No, I don’t think the world has changed. I think it has been exposed for what it is: a temporary, unpredictable home. It hasn’t changed, but perhaps we can change as a result of this revelation. Perhaps we can change for the better. Maybe we can value relationships more fully, worship God more fervently, serve our neighbors more intentionally, worry less, and simply live the life God has graciously allowed us to live, for however long that will be. Most importantly, maybe we will consider the fact that this home truly is temporary, and therefore prepare for our eternal home by accepting Christ as Lord and following Him, who has control of everything, rather than the crowd, which truly has control of nothing.

Coronavirus: How Seriously Should We Take It?

1 Cor 13 on WallBy Heather Walton

I believe in following the requests of our governing officials, as long as they don’t ask us to go against Scriptural commands or principles (Mark 12:17; Romans 13:1-7). I also believe in not giving in to fear (Joshua 1:9; Psalm 23:4; Isaiah 41:10; Philippians 4:6-7, etc.). In this time of heightened health sensitivity due to COVID-19, my approach, both as a community member and a community leader, has been to follow the direction of our governing officials. Since the seriousness of the situation began to become clear, I have not attended any large gatherings, and as director of a para-church organization, I have worked with our board to cancel all events and meetings for at least the next three weeks. However, I also have conducted the rest of my life as normal, attending smaller meetings, going to the grocery store, and hosting people in my home.

I have watched as people have given in to fear or greed, buying ridiculous amounts of toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and bottled water. I have witnessed others making light of the situation, posting insensitive memes or flaunting how they really don’t care because they aren’t giving into fear or they aren’t at risk. Still others are more worried about the effect on the economy than on people’s health. Really I was taking it all in as more of an observer than anything else, but I have to admit I was skeptical.

Until last night …

At around 10 p.m., I suddenly started coughing. Suddenly. No warning. Before that, I had felt great. A few days ago I had blood work, and all of it was good.

Overnight the cough got worse, and now I have a sore throat and chest pain. No fever, though. I’ve consulted with a health provider online and they just want me to stay at home. They are having to be very careful about whom they test, as there are a limited number of tests available. There are so many things going around that it’s likely I just have a regular cold.

Am I worried? No, not about myself. But I do think of all the people I’ve come into contact with during the last 7 days. I have been around multiple people over 60, and I’ve been around at least one immune-compromised person. I’ve also been around an unknown number of people who will be around others over 60 or with immune challenges. This concerns me.

I probably don’t have coronavirus. Nevertheless, this has all gotten me thinking. I would hate to be oblivious to the need for caution, and because I personally didn’t think it was a big deal, to have caused problems for someone else who can’t handle getting sick. I know there are sicknesses going around all the time, but this one seems to be more contagious and more problematic to specific populations.

I encourage you, even if you’re as healthy as can be, to avoid unnecessary contact with others. I fully believe God determines our times and places and that He remains on His throne and in control of the universe. I also know He calls us to be considerate of others, even when it inconveniences us (Philippians 2:3; John 15:13). A few days ago, I didn’t understand what all the hype was about. Now, whether or not I have COVID-19, I more fully understand the importance of doing our best not to spread it.

I also encourage you to find creative and practical ways to support those impacted economically by this crisis. The effects are potentially serious for many; as one who earns money by being consistently in contact with other people, I understand this.

I believe the answer to this and to every situation is love, because “perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18),”  “is not self-seeking (1 Corinthians 13:5),” “always protects (1 Corinthians 13:7),” and “does no harm to a neighbor (Romans 13:9-10).” So please don’t join in the panic, and don’t buy unnecessary amounts of supplies, therefore depriving others of those same necessities. Please consider your reasons for doing business as usual. And please consider those vulnerable people with whom you may not normally even cross paths. And in all things, prayerfully consider what is the most loving choice.

(Author’s Note: Here is an article that lays out the risks, from a physician’s point of view, better than anything else I’ve seen so far.)

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