How not to be bad news in the coronavirus crisis. Posted on March 20, 2020March 20, 2020 by Peter Meadows You’d imagine Christians, in their active years of retirement, would be nothing but good news in these troubled coronavirus times. I wish. And I’m not making this up. To be fair, most are heeding the official advice. Including limiting contact and putting church and volunteer activities on hold. Yet others, seemingly convinced they’re not vulnerable and God offers them some special protection, seem to think that life as it was is fine. Over the past weeks, I’ve come across a surprising number of after-work boomers with an approach that puts them and others at risk. That may not be you, but perhaps you recognise the symptoms. In which case, please take the following to heart – or use it to open the eyes of others. Don’t behave as though you are invincible Unlike the frailty of their parents when retirement came, boomers land on the shores of after-work with a spirit of ‘can do’ optimism. Alongside that comes the fact that most of us don’t see ourselves as ‘old’ or ‘vulnerable’. All of which can lead to seeing ourselves as invincible – and being tempted to behave as though it is true. Our parents came through the second World War and we’ll come through this one. Recent research indicated 1 in 4 adults had yet to make any significant change to their behaviour since the outbreak began. This leaves me wondering how many of them were, in their own minds, ‘invincible boomers’. Yet, in reality, our bodies are not all that they were. Nor are our immune systems. Should the virus strike us our invincibility would be out of the window. And, invincible or not, failing to make changes puts others at risk. Perhaps you’ve heard it said or even said it yourself – ‘I’m not going to stop living’. But that’s not what is being asked. What’s needed is a different kind of living – one that demonstrates the reality of how things are and doesn’t risk your life or the lives of others. Christians are not a special case Multiply that invincibility with a sincere belief that ‘God is on my side and in control’. Then add a sprinkling of ‘If God be for us who can be against us’. And it can be a toxic mix in the present circumstances. As I read on Twitter recently – I went to church today. I did not shake hands. One friend actually became upset. One joked that he had more faith than me. One said we know God will protect us. Don’t do this people. He is so right – ‘don’t do it’. And if you don’t believe me believe Jesus. ‘God makes the sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust’, said Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount – Matthew 5.45. In context Jesus was saying that everyone benefits from acts of nature – not just God’s special people. In the same way, it is clear that all natural phenomena is equally distributed. When trouble comes the good guys and the bad guys are treated alike. There’s no supernatural shield round those who are on the inside track with God. You may not fear catching the coronavirus. But loving our neighbour means we should fear spreading it. Bold acts of misplaced faith could bring suffering and even death to others. In the midst of not being fearful we must also be responsible. You may need to be brave The social group each of us is part of has a huge impact on the way we behave. Standing out from the crowd is seldom comfortable. That’s why, if your Christian environment is one where ‘life can go on because God will protect us’, it may take some courage. After all, who wants to be written off as a spiritual pigmy?! But your survival, and the health and survival of others, may depend on you being willing to rock the boat. If you think others will be helped by this please share using the links below. Do you have an insight or experience about balancing faith and practical reality? Then do please share it here or on the AfterWorkNet Facebook community Peter Meadows Peter is AfterWorkNet’s Programme Director and presently under ‘house arrest’ and missing his grandchildren. He’s using his retirement to help churches, resource inter-church initiatives with a dream of escaping to Spain when travel permits.