Nicodemus missed it, too.
Nicodemus missed it, too.
â€œIf you are making predictions about the corona virus, you are wrong.â€ So said a pundit on one of the financial channels this morning as the markets tried to figure out the impact of the virus in the days and months ahead.
In uncertain, unchartered times predictions are closer to guesses. We just donâ€™t know, no matter how hard we figure. And already too late into these comments, with yours â€“ my prayers go out to all the people who are ill or will become ill; to those who have lost loved ones and friends; and to the doctors, scientists, and academics who are working for treatment, cures and vaccines. In the midst of unknowns, prayer is always a steady and stabilizing practice with real impact. How, Iâ€™m not sure â€“ just that it is.
Predictions. Predictions are natural places for us to go when we are trying to prevent or face conditions that challenge our lives. We look for causes and redress to assure control and remedies. I was brought up on a form of â€œpredictionsâ€: if you donâ€™t studyâ€¦; if you donâ€™t brush your teethâ€¦; you can fill in your own. And some behaviors are very indicative of particular outcomes with high degrees of predictability: â€œIf you smoke cigarettes and other tobacco products, enjoy your â€œchewâ€, or vapeâ€¦â€
The predictions, though, about Godâ€™s judgment, best left to God â€“ arenâ€™t always left to God. There are still so many who try to predict outcomes for what they donâ€™t understand. One wonders what it is that really makes folks or institutions so quick to judge others, especially if the Other doesnâ€™t live or love exactly as they do or insist they do.
We use terms such as welcoming, affirming, open, big tent and more to express the core nature of our own church, as others do theirs. Even so, we permit those who continue to predict that only dire outcomes will occur in a church that truly welcomes all â€“ to have platforms. Those who insist on â€œanothenâ€ (born again from above) â€“ not as Jesus meant it, but as compliance with rigid and destructive rules set to assure their own predictable outcomes for eternity. Outcomes based on the exclusion of others whose eternity in hell paves their way to heaven. In a word, â€œYikes!â€
My opinion is that unless we step aside from projections for future church-life based on what we think will happen; move away from trying to build and preserve the church by accommodating any forms of exclusion; and sprint toward addressing the harms that have been caused by our past behaviors and practices â€“ we will continue to be wrong in both predications and practices, if only because the foundations of our projections are expressly corrupted in unfinished amends.
Itâ€™s some comfort that Nikodemus missed this, too â€“ but it doesnâ€™t make anything better. We, however, still have a chance.