In the dark days of 1942 one of the United States Navy commanders in the Pacific was reported, twice, to have exclaimed, “My God! What are we going to do about this?” in response to critical communications about the war situation in his command area. Such didn’t inspire confidence in his ability to lead and the admiral was soon sacked.
This article isn’t about national leadership during our current COVID-19 crisis. It is about pastoral leadership and public communications from some segments of Christendom active on social media.
There is not a whole lot that the pastor can do other than minister to and encourage the congregation, or, if you will, those who follow him on social media.
It’s bad now. It’s going to get worse before it gets better. I read that the lighthearted positive quips about positive aspects of social distancing are totally inappropriate, insensitive to the suffering of the hundreds of thousands who have become ill and the tens of thousands who have died. I don’t disagree in some cases where blithe, superficial, and supercilious behavior are unhelpful; however, we cope with tragedy, darkness, and light in many ways. Reflexive positivity is one of those.
We could use a little more of it.
Southern Baptists seem at times to be infected with a heavy amount of cheerleading. At other times they are hopelessly mired in the slough of despond, weighed down with the cares of the day and hour. Both of these are dead end roads.The impact of cheerleading is ephemeral, fleeting, and ultimately unsatisfying. Sober assessment followed by optimistic, solid faith in our eternal, omnipotent Lord is a better recipe for helping.
…but I’m not preaching tomorrow in any form. Many of you are. I trust that you will not use the title quote here unless it is to illustrate how the followers of Christ are to express hope and faith, not despair.
So, how are you going to approach this?
The “My God…” quote is from MacArthur at War: World War II in the Pacific by Walter Borneman. I didn’t name the despairing admiral. You can look him up.