What if this quarantine is just saving middle-class lives? That’s the question raised in this New York Times piece. The article runs with the headline: “white-collar quarantine”.Continue reading “CovidDiary Day 19 (Weds 8th April 2020)”
Reading the news about football clubs who are placing non-playing staff on furlough, I can’t help but reflect on the moral state of our contemporary economy. I am left feeling pretty depressed.
I’m depressed at the absolute prioritisation of profit over people. As Julian Knight (MP) has put it, “This exposes the crazy economics in English football and the moral vacuum at its centre…It sticks in the throat”.
We have made the acquisition of capital itself a virtue. At the same time, we appear to have abandoned those true virtues of philanthropy, generosity and helping one’s fellow man.Continue reading “CovidDiary Day 12 (Weds 1st April 2020)”
For all of us, the pandemic will be an experience to get through, to survive before things return “to normal”. We should all be involved in this effort to mitigate the spread of Covid-19, no question.
At the same time, and I don’t wish to say this callously, I think it is also important to consider that this pandemic is “not just a disaster to get through, but a moment to seize and change the world”.
OK, that’s perhaps a grand way of putting it. In less grandiose terms, perhaps, these times offer an opportunity to allow ourselves to be changed.
As I reflect on this shift in perspective—on the pandemic as a moment of change and opportunity—I think at one level of the massive structural changes that are happening in the UK:Continue reading “CovidDiary Day 11 (Tues 31st March 2020)”
A brief post to flag up the stimulating conversations happening over at Unherd on #LockdownTV. Today’s episode focussed on the virus and the environment. The climate is a fraught enough topic in normal circumstances without needing to throw in a global pandemic. In the anxious times we’re living in at the moment, it has been sad and frustrating to sometimes see the issues of the climate be handled so badly by some environmentalists. Take for instance the recent XR posters stating that “humans are the problem and Corona is the cure”. This is deeply disturbing, anti-human and frankly eugenicist stuff.
This was why I was encouraged by Elizabeth Oldfield’s strong contribution to the debate (see the video below). Oldfield rejected the approach outlined above but wisely cautioned against throwing out the baby with the bathwater. We can still use this moment to think about our personal individual decisions as well as the need for governments to re-think global capital’s reliance on fossil fuels.
On the point about individuals taking responsibility, I was encouraged and challenged by Liz’s bridge-building instincts (around 8:50) as she made reference to conservative doyen Roger Scruton’s writings on the environment (Liz makes reference to working transgenerationally and in local contexts that we call home). I also greatly appreciated her refusal to decide between the local and the global by making reference to the interdependence that has arisen so clearly in recent weeks between individuals within communities and between communities across borders.
Check out the video below and have a read of Liz’s most recent post on the issue here. It rightly avoids what she calls the “triumphalist crowing” from some in environmentalist circles just now, while still remaining faithfully and positively committed to the care of creation.
LockdownTV from Unherd (Elizabeth Oldfield b-right)
I have a hard time remembering the past.
Which is a pretty embarrassing thing to confess for someone who loves history.
And I’m not talking about the voyages of St Paul, or the life of Perpetua and Felicitas or the intrigue of the Elizabethan court.
I mean the things that happened today. And not even the things that happened around the globe on this day…but the events in my own life.
I have a hard time remembering.Continue reading “CovidDiary Day 4 (Tues 24th March 2020)”
I have begun to record my thoughts each day in a sort of virtual diary. The hope is to encourage and inspire reflection in the midst of the unsettling “time of the virus”.
It was a strange and unsettling feeling to wake up this morning and remember that churches across the nation are shut (in fact, a good number of churches are open for prayer–it is the services that aren’t happening). I honestly can sympathise with the sentiments of some who want these services to continue. Even for someone like me, who for now thinks that the sacrament is highly significant but not the sum total of Christian life and worship, I have to admit that I sorely missed taking communion with my brothers and sisters in person. And I can understand those who say that by cancelling services, the church look “no different” to the world around it.
On the other hand, if all major gatherings have been banned and we imagine a scenario where it was only church-goers that were meeting, we would be forgiven for thinking that this was irresponsible in the extreme. To flout governmental ruling in this way would appear damaging to the public witness of the church. Then there’s the fact that in keeping our distance physically, we are saving lives. As James KA Smith puts it, “How strange: this time in which we love our neighbours by keeping our distance”.Continue reading “CovidDiary Day 2 (Sun 22nd March)”