I’ve been thinking about authorities, as in what authority lies behind a truth told, what proof or evidence witnesses to the truth told. For we must choose carefully today to whom we listen, to whom we rely on to tell the truth. Are they biased? Are they competent? Do they have sufficient knowledge and background to make the statement?
Our medias fly at us like bullets, thousands of emails, thousands of words, thousands of statements claimed to be facts. Which ones are accurate? Which words do we listen to and believe? For it makes all the difference, which authorities command our allegiance.
I have found that given the liberal left slant of mainstream news, I should balance their opinions, opinings, with conservative versions of the same event or statistics. For the mainstream, I read our local paper, which channels New York Times into a community paper, complete with vicious denunciations of people of faith and people of tradition. For the balance to our local screed, I turn to the Epoch Times and the Wall Street Journal.
The numbers reported in the Chinese Flu Pandemic have been odd ones in the mainstream press. It has been difficult to see real numbers, i.e. death rates by age, by comorbidities, by country. At first I searched online through the major medical sites, CDC, etc., and eventually I would find the case numbers and the death numbers and do the math to get to the death rate, the percentage that, I am told, is standard for comparison of flu, etc. waves. But that took time, and I finally gave up.
I finally found in the Epoch Times this last week a death rate percentage. It was a global rate, so not the best for our country, but there it was: COVID death rate globally over the last year has been .15. That’s the same as the average flu season. The COVID death rate is probably lower than this, since the numbers of deaths in this country have been off by 70% in terms of reporting causal or incidental. All those who died of any cause were tested for COVID and if they were positive, they were listed as a COVID death. A person dying in a car crash would be tested for COVID and, if positive, the death would be listed as a COVID death. One writer explained that death causes are either “causal” or “incidental.” It appears that around 70% of reported deaths due to COVID were not causal but incidental, and they were misreported. Why?
So I choose my authorities carefully. I weigh the numbers and the evidence and consider the source. Then I make up my own mind. I am not a medical doctor (or any doctor, for that matter) so I must look to others to give me the facts.
How can we see things as they truly are? I rearranged a few of my icons in my office, moving them from the bookshelves, where they seem to disappear into the many titles, to a blank bit of wall. I did the same with some family photos, moving them also to a white space. I can see them now, and feel they have been given new life. Life is often like that, so muddled with too many details (or emails). We lose our way in the forest of trees.
One of my authorities is Scripture. But here, too, there are many interpretations. So I consider which source to use, and have concluded our Anglican tradition hits things pretty much on the mark. In the parable of the Prodigal Son this morning, our good preacher reminisced a bit about his own past, and then stepped into the parable, told by our Lord Jesus. I listened carefully, for I trust his insight, I trust his authority. It is a story we have all heard many times, the younger son leaving home for a dissolute life and returning desperate and penniless, the older son jealous of his brother’s reception by their father. The father forgives. The father welcomes. The father celebrates. The young man is like the lost sheep of other parables and the last minute vineyard worker.
And so I was reassured that God the Father loves us, each one of us, and welcomes us home, even after a dissolute life, even after no-matter-what. We are forgiven when we come home. But we must come home.
There is an integrity in the Gospels and the Epistles, an integrity that complements and affirms the whole of Christianity and Christian witness, including the Old Testament prophecies and wanderings of Israel’s people. And there is an integrity, an honesty, in our clergy, for the most part. For they are human too and make mistakes. But if I immerse myself in weekly Eucharists, healing my soul and my body, I sense that I am also healing my heart and mind, and being fed with truth that will shine light on the world around me. I will be less blind. I will see better.
We all want to be able to see, and to see better, more clearly. We want to understand who we are as individuals and as mankind, as humanity. We can only do this if we evaluate our authorities carefully. Whom do we trust to tell the truth about Man, about God, about the Earth and the Heavens? About a rather nasty flu pandemic?
I am glad they call the Mass the Eucharist. For I give thanks throughout the hour of song and praise and prayer. I give thanks I found authorities I trust to tell me the truth. I give thanks I found God, or rather, he found me.
For this makes all the difference. I sleep deeply. I live and love wholeheartedly. I embrace the world that God made for us. But I will not countenance lies, or slander, or silencing, or malicious reporting. I want the truth.
And I am relieved that the global death rate over the last year has been similar to a normal flu season. I’m double vaccinated, but my mask remains in my pocket in case I scare anyone with my joyful, fearless countenance.