Love in the time of COVID-19

In the last week, I have been thinking hard about the two institutions I help lead: the Goetsch family (as Mom) and Huron Hills Church (as board Vice Chair). I believe it is incumbent on every institution leader, no matter how small, to ask what public service they are called to do at this unique moment.

Everything I have read has led me to the conclusion that if we want to “flatten the curve,” every institution that can must shut down as soon as possible. And, realistically, the smaller the institution, the easier it is to do so. So, the small ones must take the lead. At this moment, every gathering that is canceled and every individual that self-isolates can make a difference in whether this virus overtakes our hospitals at a rate they can handle or swamps them way beyond their capacity.

If you have not already, the time to act is NOW.  We are at most fourteen days behind Italy whose doctors are already facing horrific decisions about which desperately ill patients get ventilators. In just a few days, the difficulties of remote learning, working from home, and canceling travel are not going to feel nearly so important.

Rick and I decided to self-isolate our family starting today (Thursday, March 12th). We have withdrawn our kids from school and ourselves from all gatherings.  We have prepared to not leave our home for two full weeks. This is not so much to protect ourselves from germs but to protect others from germs we might be carrying. We want to protect the vulnerable…of whom there are many. Everyone above age 60, all cancer survivors, anyone with diabetes, heart disease, or asthma, and everyone who is immuno-compromised for any reason.

Additionally, our church board unanimously agreed last night to move services online and to suspend all gatherings on church property until further notice. Attached is the beautiful email our pastor sent our church body today. I commend it to you, particularly those who lead churches and other groups. A few quotes:

We are confident in Christ’s power. We are concentrating on caring for and loving each other. We are committed to our civic responsibilities as an institution.

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We turn first to our Loving Father. Then we do our part in cooperating with his healing work.

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We want to create a COVID19 RESPONSE TEAM. This team will focus on our at-risk members. We will contact them regularly, pray with them over the phone, and stay informed of their practical needs, especially if they are self-isolating.

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Rick during the 2009 H1N1 epidemic. May everyone who needs it this year be able to get the critical care that Rick was so blessed to receive then.

Evangelicals, we have a major blind spot

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I have become convinced that white, American evangelical Christians have a major blind spot. I say this as a member of this community, reflecting on my own people.

Very often, we evangelicals do not see power. We are blind to power dynamics in the world and blind to them in the Scriptures. We cannot assess whether power is being used ethically and justly because we do not notice it is being used at all.

Here’s one way to test the teaching you’ve received and the lenses you’ve been given: were you taught that David’s sin with Bathsheba was primarily sexual? Or were you taught that his sin was the way he abused his power?

Continue reading “Evangelicals, we have a major blind spot”

What in the world happened to Laura Goetsch?

Is she still thinking about such things? Has she given up veering wildly from the weighty to the frivolous?

My faithful readers may be wondering this since it has been 42 days since I published a post. And that was a short, frothy one.

Rest calmly, dear ones. I am still frolicking in the frivolous and seeking wisdom for the weighty. Truthfully, my days are bulging with both laughter and lament. As I imagine yours are, too.

I have needed to devote most of my words, imagination, and hours to church leading and to parenting this fall.  That’s where my best wisdom and deepest prayers are most needed right now. It has been hard but satisfying work.

So, for the foreseeable future, this blog will remain a bit quieter, though not entirely silent, I hope.

If you find yourself craving my quips, tales of imaginative children, or lackluster fair-to-middling dazzling photos, your best bet is to follow me on Instagram. I post photos and short paragraphs there several times a week. I realize that many of you, dear readers, are not on Instagram, but I’d like to gently whisper that perhaps it’s time to join the cool kids.

For now, I’d like to leave you with proof of one of my personal convictions, namely: Orange cats are the best cats. Meet Max, the cat who lost the library but won the internet.

And a few pics from life in Goetschland:

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Current favorite “sport”
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When we tried to decorate for Christmas
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My life in one picture

©Laura Goetsch and Thinking About Such Things, 2017.

The insufficiency of “consent”

IMG_2291I had just turned 22 when the big Bill Clinton scandal broke. I remember a phone conversation with my dad at that time in which we disagreed on the relative guilt of the parties—he argued, if I remember correctly, that the preponderance belonged to President Clinton. I argued that Lewinsky and Clinton shared near equal culpability. After a bit, my dad concluded the conversation by saying, “Laura, I think you may be too young to understand.”

He was right.

I was too young, too inexperienced in the world. Here’s what I did not understand: power.

Continue reading “The insufficiency of “consent””

Why we brought our kids to their grandmother’s deathbed

May began with a funeral and ended with a wedding. We let our kids do both.

Allowing them to participate in the wedding was a no-brainer. Of course they would take the opportunity to be flower girls and a junior bridesmaid for a close family friend. It was an honor and a joy.

Truthfully, we gave no greater thought to the question of whether they would visit their grandmother on her deathbed than we did to whether they would stand up in the wedding. Of course they would.

Continue reading “Why we brought our kids to their grandmother’s deathbed”

My favorite thing about the Bible may surprise you

It’s the beauty.

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Images that burst into color in my mind’s eye. Phrases that stop me cold.

But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays. And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves. Malachi 4:2

I feel myself already warming in the healing rays of that sun, playing like a frolicking calf.

Continue reading “My favorite thing about the Bible may surprise you”

How Hidden Figures haunts me

I took my oldest daughter to see Hidden Figures last weekend—a remarkable story that is very well told.

One aspect of the story particularly haunts me. (Besides the analytic geometry.)  I am nagged by the question, How could all those well-meaning white people not see the injustice they were perpetrating against those African American women? Continue reading “How Hidden Figures haunts me”

If I could have a word with my Christian friends

The year 2016 has revealed many surprising things. Cleveland can win championships! The Cubs can play baseball!

The most significant revelations, of course, have been cultural and political. The racial and geographic divides are even deeper than we knew. There do indeed appear to be two Americas (at least).

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Not surprisingly, I’ve taken some flack for my last blog post. I imagine some of the offense comes from my use of the word repent. As incendiary as it is, I chose that word because of its meaning to turn in the other direction. I believe the Bible when it says that it is never too late to change course.

Christian readers who voted for Trump may feel that I came down hard on them but let Clinton voters off easy. I did not, after all, call Clinton voters to repent even though they voted for (and thus endorsed) a candidate with abortion views more extreme than most of the country’s.

I think that is a fair criticism.   Continue reading “If I could have a word with my Christian friends”

My faith as a bright, flowered couch

I have a theory that most people’s spiritual lives are like fabric–with color patterns and definite textures. If you stand back, the feel and look of the fabric is clear. Mine is like a bold, floral chintz.

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Like the tiny threads woven together to form a fabric, there are certain ideas that define my faith. Together they form the texture and color of the whole thing. Continue reading “My faith as a bright, flowered couch”

On Justice and Lament

In my early twenties, I had a room-mate who was a PhD student in Space Science. Kandis-Lea was an unexpected mix of folksy and scholarly. She would return from her lab late at night and unwind by watching Touched by an Angel; when I rolled my eyes, she would just giggle. Her research was on the moon of Jupiter called Io, and though I attended her dissertation defense, I could not have told you one thing about it, even an hour later. It all flew straight over my head. To this day, Kandis-Lea closes all her emails to me with “Love you dearly.” We have not lived together since 2001, but she is one my most loyal friends. Should I ever be in grave danger, I am confident the Holy Spirit would alert her and she would throw herself into praying for me. Continue reading “On Justice and Lament”