Dial 9/11: A Humble Christian Homily

Please open your Bibles to Matthew 13 as we read together aloud, verses nine through 16:

9 “Whoever has ears, let them hear.” 

10 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?” 

11 He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 

12 Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 

13 This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. 

14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “ ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. 

15 For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ 

16 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.

The age of coronavirus is a bleak time: frustrating, frightening, and often infuriating. We can’t reliably sense what will happen next week, let alone a year from now. We’ll get through this together – most of us, anyway – and after we do, the time will come to remember.

Each September we wrestle with days of national mourning. On 9/11, this year as every year, we will each experience exhortations to “NEVER FORGET” the simultaneous attacks we sustained against our World Trade Center, our Pentagon, and (in a foiled attempt) a target never revealed. Those events assailed our symbols, challenged our confidence, and changed our lives and culture in immutable ways.

This one will, too.

The scourge of COVID-19, AKA novel coronavirus, is certain to claim at least 25 times the number of Americans killed on 9/11. It has already slaughtered more of us in a season than the Vietcong managed to kill in 18 years of professional military efforts. It will likely kill more than the Korean War. Left unchecked and managed poorly, perhaps more than the Civil War.

I entreat you always to remember those who stepped up at this time in the noblest, most human reaction to community threats, simply saying, “Here I am.

“Send me.” (Isaiah 6:8)

Coronavirus nurse describes 'heartbreaking' job - BBC News

Many of your heroic neighbors worked furiously to stave off a poorly understood, highly lethal adversary, to the benefit of us all. They are the best of us. Those who run to the sound of the guns – be they nurses, epidemiologists, grocery clerks, cops, or postal carriers – have always been the best of us. They deserve, and have earned, our praise. They merit not only our momentary recognition, but perpetual commemoration of their hard work and many sacrifices through this arduous period. Artists and foundrymen, prepare your bronzes now.

Never forget the contributions of others, however. Always remember who led in this crisis – and in which direction.

Rep. Matt Gaetz wore a gas mask on House floor during vote on ...

Remember the people who told America there was nothing to fear, even as they dumped their stocks in the wake of secret briefings. You can no more serve both your portfolio and the American people than you can serve both G-d and Mammon. It is a cosmic conflict of interest.

Never forget.

Recall both the pastors who defied closure orders to collect up busloads of tithing penitents; and also those histrionic G-d botherers (often the same men) who swore that COVID-19 could only claim homosexuals, Jews, atheists, and other such ungodly folk. “Beloved,” we read in 1 John 4:1, “believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”

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Quavering with earnestness, those false prophets swore on their Bibles that the global pandemic killing your great uncle Jess, a couple of neighbors and my favorite songwriter was G-d’s judgment upon those who failed to tithe enough to the television screen. Let their combines of commerce melt away like the wax of their souls, for verily I say unto you: they are demons who walk among you.

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Never forget.

Hold to account the diagnostic wizards who guffawed at the “fake news” of coronavirus, who shook their heads like you were a stupid, panicky sheep while patiently explaining that it was “just the flu.”

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“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,” Proverbs 1:7 reminds us, “but fools despise wisdom and instruction,” so do not simply nod along with the idiot influencers who convinced themselves that smart phones synthesized viruses from chemtrail powder. Stupidity kills.

Never forget.

Likewise, do not excuse the ambitious peddlers who pushed quack remedies for profit and political cover, for they also are demons who frolic through the heartbreak of plague. “Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death (Proverbs 11:4).”

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The unrighteous, however, deliver only death. When the day comes that we unstack our fallen from refrigerated trucks and exhume their corrupted corpses from graves in public parks, the lion may lie down with the lamb but the fox who roistered through the henhouse will still be licking feathers off his chops.

Never forget.

Recall, until their dying day, the governors who ignored medical advice and sent their constituents cavorting into early graves as they shook their defiant fists at “snowflakes” who valued science above the ideology of personal invulnerability.

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“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,” says Proverbs 12:1, “but whoever hates correction is stupid.” Because their pride obtruded against knowledge, many were slain on their account.

Never forget.

Recollect, with verisimilous clarity, the time you received a $1,200 rebate on the $18,000 burden you assumed in girding up a billionaires’ economy. Who was saved? It was not you. Your name was not advertised on that check. “Whoever oppresses the poor for his own increase and whoever gives to the rich, both come to poverty (Proverbs 22:16).” Which is to say that a savior may ride humbly on the back of an ass, but an ass rides on the back of the people.

Trump halts US funding to World Health Organisation at height of ...

Never forget.

Hasten to educate the boisterous among our countrymen who marched on state houses with rifles; those who plastered their cars with insistent demands that we suffer “the weak” to drown in fearful bedlams of pulmonary clotting, in preference to letting laundromats go out of business. In their zeal to spawn an apocalypse to which they sincerely believed themselves immune, they never met a leader they were unwilling to slander, nor a grandparent they were unwilling to sacrifice to Wall Street.

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Be not evil as they were evil or selfish after their way, but gentle and insistent upon the path of righteousness, for as Ezekiel reminds us in verse 3:19, “Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.” They don’t understand their roles as useful idiots in the culture wars spawned by billionaires, so make haste to inform them. You may not convince every angry moron, but take care of yourself and the people around you.

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Never forget.

Take sound note of those among your fellow Americans who implicitly threatened to shoot you for sheltering in place, in compliance with known best practices yet in defiance of their Astroturfed appeals to “liberty.” They claimed all the guns and all the G-d, and your life didn’t matter a whit. Jesus may love them, but that doesn’t mean sober adults should heed their counsel.

Never forget.

Stay-at-home orders: Anti-quarantine protesters are a minority - Vox

Nor easily excuse the President who consolidated his power while disclaiming the responsibilities of it. Hold onto the truth of him: that he denied the power of the plague; that he ignored professional advice in preference to his own unproven talents; that he prescribed medical treatments that killed Americans; that he prized sparring with the press over offering solutions; that he incited rebellions against state governments; that he declared national medical stockpiles were not for the people; that he gaslighted the public whom he nominally serves; that he gave not a nod to the grief of thousands; that, in the end, he took no responsibility at all.

Trump Failure to Declare Coronavirus National Emergency 'Beyond ...

Throw him down from leadership and all his people with him, for with his power “(h)e walked in the way of the kings of Israel, just as the house of Ahab did (for Ahab’s daughter was his wife), and he did evil in the sight of the Lord (2 Chronicles 21:6).”

Pursue no vendettas, no matter how richly deserved by the worst and loudest of American voices. They will suffer as we all will suffer. “Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice (Proverbs 2:17).” Recall that some who screech public stupidity to polish their graven images may also perform private charity to soothe their troubled souls. It is the liberal heart which instructs in forgiveness. Per Proverbs 25:11-12, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. Like a gold ring or an ornament of gold is a wise reprover to a listening ear.”

The reason to recollect misdeeds is never to condemn the miscreants among us, no matter how many of us die on the back of their misbehavior. Rather, our careful accounting is required to judge their trustworthiness rightly. Society records its successes and defeats so that we may judge the ability of our fellow members to lead, and evaluate the credibility of their influence, during times of trouble. Those who fail the tests of integrity and judiciousness become discredited by their own hand. Those who do harm must be removed from power, and restrained from all influence, until they demonstrate learning and progress.

Never forget the heroes. Emulate them in all ways. They inspire every one of us.

Remember also those ignorant, bloviating few who proved themselves crass, cruel, and craven. They teach many of the most important lessons of all. Listen with your ears. Watch with your eyes.

Use your head.

The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them. (Proverbs 20:12)

Comments

  1. Frank Looper says

    That’s the best written sermon I’ve seen in a while. You will get lots of hate over it.

  2. Dan Jacobs says

    Fuck yeah. But many will forget. Some because they don’t like their ox being gored, even if it was “just the tip”. Or they’ll feel like their single issue they always make sure to vote for is under threat again (I think DON’T TREAD ON ME is more a battle cry for extreme selfishness and not so much for solidarity on any issue). Or it’ll be Benghazi, or her fucking emails, or some other stupid bumper sticker length wail.

    No, I don’t really seem to have much hope for the next election, because My Fellow Americans don’t seem to be able to vote with their head near as much as with their dumb ass.

    • Maybe we’re all shouting a little too much.

      I wonder how many foamingly angry “no step on snek” folks will show their colors here.

      • Dan Jacobs says

        So far, one for the “maybe Snek flag column. The comment sounded like a bot that copies and pastes Trumpian and conservative bumper sticker talking points a more coherent manner. (Le sigh, and it was, worst of all, BORING)

  3. Vimru Amen

  4. Steven C says

    I suppose some of you think Hillary or Bumbling Joe would be better for the country? The Swamp needs to be drained and dried up, but I doubt that will happen considering the multitudes of Sheep and parasites in our population today. Trump is the first president not bought and paid for by the Globalists. I pray for his and his family’s safety every day. Eventually the Deep State will take over more than they already have if not stopped here and now. I expect hate. Especially from the libtards reading this. No problem. Won’t be the first time or the last time I am sure!

    • I’ve approved your ability to comment, Steven. Now how about posting an original thought?

      I offered a few of my own. Now let’s see at least one of yours.

      Thanks.

      –Resident Libtard

      • I am sorry but I can’t say I read any “original thoughts “ in your prose either. It would be nice if the die hard democrats would realize they have been infiltrated by the socialists. At least the socialist faction has finally revealed who they really are. The next decade will be the deciding of the course of our country. There’s enough people on the government tit that will opt for the socialist path.

        • Dan Jacobs says

          That doesn’t make any sense after you you hear the definition, that Socialism is a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.

          Not talking about Marxism or any other version with someone’s name attached to it, but more like syndicalism. Not Communism, not Leninist anything, not Chinese central control, not anything with a fascist bent to it.

          But if you’re only gonna use socialism as a bad word and try to compare that to vicious and centralized totalitarian regimes of any kind. Of that’s the only way you know to use the word, then you aren’t using the word correctly.

          • Dan Jacobs says

            My reply had some bad edits. I’ll blame my socialist California Republic education. 😉

        • Okay, you got me there, Steven. The public teat is my best pal (that auto-corrected to “breast pal”; I probably should’ve left it).

          I’ve been a soldier and a firefighter, worked county search & rescue, and matriculated a public university on the GI Bill. Hell, I even pay taxes, vote, and have a library card!

          Total socialist.

          • Steven C says

            You twist what I was say. You served. I am referring to the masses living for generations on welfare and the able bodied on Social Security Disability. And socialism is political thank to the Democratic Party being infected with socialists. I am grateful for everyone who serves, especially in the times we are experiencing. Anyone who wants socialism should look at countries that have gone down that road. It sounds good to get some of what someone who has more than you do. Never mind that it doesn’t work that way. Never has. Never will.

          • I twist what YOU say, Steven? Hmm…

            You accused me of being a socialist, and I copped to it. Now you insist that I can’t be a socialist because I served (in the army, as it happens, a one hundred percent socialized institution that’s older than the United States itself).

            But then I’m a registered Democrat, which is the party “infiltrated” and “infected” by socialists. I’m also the libtard who wrote the piece that got you all lathered up, ranting about the takeover of our sacred nation by terrible people like… well, like me, I suppose.

            On the other hand, I own a lot of guns and I’m a helluva good shot, and EVERYONE knows lib’ruls cain’t shoot and don’t own no guns!

            So which is it, my friend? Am I a socialist? Am I a patriot? Am I a snowflake? Am I a stand-up guy? Was Lee Harvey Oswald a commie patsy, a traitor, or a U.S. Marine?

            Maybe the lines aren’t as bright as you insist. I’m can’t admire the manly men who executed the anti-fascists of the White Rose, but then I’m no fan of the Khmer Rouge, either.

            Maybe we should both try harder to be good than to be right. Let’s not be any more simple-minded than we can help, alright? Pretty sure we can all get onboard with that.

  5. Gil White says

    Amen Brother!

  6. Gil White says

    Amen Brother, keep up the good work.

  7. Thomas M. Ortiz-Owens says

    Thank you, as always, friend.

    John Prine would have some choice words and melodies for these bastards had he been given the chance to do so. Probably wouldn’t have mattered, the bastards wouldn’t be able to hear him even if they were listening.

    Be well all.

    • The cool thing about Prine is that he would have seen their troubles better than I’ve been able to… and turned them beautifully lyrical. It’s not whether they would have heard him. It’s that HE could hear THEM.

      That’s a piece of magic I aspire to. Ain’t been there yet, but I feel like I’ve peered through the border fence once or twice.

      • Andy Ives says

        You have your own magic. In fact, by my reckoning, Uncle John and Uncle Jax occupy the same short list for inspiration.
        Thank you for seeing, hearing, and speaking.

  8. Allan Wyatt says

    Steven C. Just because you may not agree with someone is no reason to hurl invectives at them. All it does is put them on the defensive and cement in their minds their preconceived notions that those who disagree with them are ignorant red-staters who don’t know shit. Do not give them the ammunition. The same goes for those on the other side regarding elitist east and left coasters. . We should be able to disagree with devolving into “I know you are, but what am I”. I’m sure Jack and I are at different ends of the political spectrum, but there are very few people I’d rather sit down and have a few Scotches with. Way more in common than not.

    • Well spoken, sir — and I’ll hold you to that drink!

      Unless you drink Speysides. No true Scotsman* would blend with Speyside folk.

      Slainte!

      *I’m not actually a Scot at all; just an Islay bigot. 🙂

      • Allan Wyatt says

        I love my Islays, as well. I do have a dear friend whose family owns a prominent Speyside distillery. Love his whiskies. No such thing as bad scotch, just bad company…

    • Dan Jacobs says

      “Way more in common than not.”

      Solidarity with my fellow humans.

  9. Yup, his insight and understanding of the human psyche was a gift. Upon his passing I listened to his work all day and into the night and wept and laughed in equal measure, almost.

    Thank you, Jack, for sharing your insight and understanding of things as you see them.

    I’m angry as Hell but still find hope stirring in my misanthropic heart. Good people still have the numbers but given the direction we’re headed i fear it may not be a numbers game.

    As an aside, there’s never been a better time to have a Triumph down with an as yet diagnosed starting issue. There’s never, in my lifetime, been a worse time for parts to arrive from Great Britain. No big deal.

    Loving kindness to you and yours.

    Keep up the good work!

  10. Steven C says

    I worked many years in a UAW shop and know many like yourself who vote the union ticket and belong to the NRA. They don’t like socialism and love their guns. Some are pro-life. Most want to pay less taxes also. They are very confused people.
    I never said that you couldn’t serve your country and be a socialist. Try reading the words instead of between the lines. I enjoyed your writings. Especially the articles in a now ruined motorcycle magazine. That said I am not a fanboy as many are. I will agree to disagree with you.

    • I’ve never been a union member, myself. Spent a lot of time as an independent contractor, though.

      Maybe I’m as confused as you assert. Surely one of us must be.

      I’ll make no assumptions.

  11. Brilliant! Wish this was required reading for… well, someone, as those that need to be swayed enough to think a bit will immediately discount your argument and ignore your background.
    Thanks for sharing regardless.

  12. Dan Frick says

    Wow another person using GODS sacred inspired word to glorify his propaganda . Dont know who you are not do I care . Presidents , Kings and Rulers only exist because God our Father allowed them to .

    • Dan Jacobs says

      Yeah, he said so himself, right?

    • Well, we have something in common, Dan. I don’t know who you are, either. Here’s where we differ: I didn’t seek out your message. You came here, ostensibly on purpose, to read what I wrote and respond to it — by claiming you don’t care about me or what I have to say.

      Obviously you do, though. You’re the guy who opened a conversation here.

      You do sound very sure of yourself with regard to G-d and governments. The challenge you face is to prove that case with facts and reason. I don’t value your chances, but I’ll encourage your efforts.

      Explain your assertion that governments exist only because (your particular) G-d allows it. What evidence is there of that? Were there no kings or rulers before the Jews first wrote about the G-d you worship today?

      I’m gonna go out on a limb and say, “Yes.” The architectural record supports civilizations that predate the Torah.

      Was He the G-d who allowed the suffering of the ancient Israelites under foreign kings? If so, why would He do that? Based on the texts, He sounds like a weak ally. Shouldn’t His strong hand and His outstretched arm have protected them, as promised in the Bible?

      And if the Hebrews were truly His chosen people, forever and ever amen, why did he later allow Christians to persecute them, and to continue to persecute them to this day? Is G-d so fickle that He chose ANOTHER people?

      Take all the time you need with that. I’m interested to read what you have to say.

      May whichever Lord you choose to believe in bless you and keep you, Dan. Thanks for stopping by.

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