March 23, 2020
Hey, Bill Senyard here and this is the Gospel Rant. Like most people, I am hunkered down in my home. Bummer. But it gives me time to do this more. In my last podcast/blog, I wanted to share something that is helping me balance my life under siege. No one is taking this lightly, certainly not me. My children are scattered around the globe and hunkered down. I hope that they are safe. But we parents have every right to be concerned. And even worried. That would be human. Denial is not our friend here. We should do everything we can to help flatten the curve—our brand new life motto. Should be a T-shirt, right?
Now having said that, there is also room for parallel good news. If you are a Christian, you are not saved from danger of catching Covid-19, or even dying from it. I wish that were the case. But sadly, it is not. God’s beloved children die. We certainly don’t need to belabor that point, do we?
But we can share with each other, and with the Brain Beast (more in a moment) in our head that is goading us to panic, the good news of Christ. Jesus-follower, 2000 years ago, strictly because of what Jesus did for you, God has to love you as much as the Father loves the Son and the Son loves the Father. You did nothing to earn it. You cannot add to it or take away from it. It is yours now and forever, whether you catch the virus or not. I am not being flippant. This really is good news. Worth hearing again, and as I said last time, we have the ability to say it to ourselves over and over, drip, drip, drip so that it has a good chance of penetrating the flood of cortisol that is igniting fear and some panic in our brain. It is helping me—a little.
As I mentioned last time, I am creating a second participative tool for Christian counselors and pastors, similar to The Forgiving Path. We are calling it The Dance. It will target increasing damage being accomplished by that Brain Beast in our heads. The Beast can be described as an entity in our brain that is working really hard to make us feel miserable, like losers, imperfect, unnecessary, exposed, and lonely. We all have the Beast. According to my research, the Beast begins to grow in our brains starting at least in the 3rd trimester of our mother’s pregnancy and flourishes up until the age of 2. Long before we knew what was going on, before we could really mentally process what was going on, the Beast began to undermine our sense of safety and well-being—a little, maybe even a lot for some of us.
More on that to come. But suffice it to say that some, maybe a lot of this fear that we are feeling under siege comes from the critical nasty voice of the Beast in our heads. “You are not safe!” “You can’t do anything to be safe.” “You are going to lose your job or savings and there is nothing you can do about it.” “You deserve this bad treatment.” “You will end your life alone and lonely.” “Your life continues to be a deadly sky-dive.” (Thanks for the image Jeff).
This Brain Beast goes by another name, but we don’t want to use it. Too much stigma. So I will give it to you in code. It starts with “sh” and rhymes with “game”. Enough said.
So here is some good news that hopefully will lean in against the Beast. A little. In the last blog I referred to the Greek Cappadocian church fathers’ concept of the Trinity and how the Trinity works as a perichoresis or a dance around. If you are a Christian, this is your life, your safety net, even your ultimate significance. You are an intricate part of this dance. I get it, it may not feel like it right now and right here, but it should, or could be encouraging.
Listen to these descriptors of the Trinity. Theologian Pastor Jurgen Schulz writes, “The Triune God lives in an incomparable celebration of eternal joy. The Father, Son and Spirit have a rich and overflowing life with or without us. They did not decide to create us for their benefit, but for ours—because that is how God lives. That is how God LOVES! … The Three-in-One God is a fountain of blessing and joy and goodness that spills over, that gives and gives and gives. This is who our Creator is, and this is why he creates. C. S. Lewis pointed out: “We were made, not primarily that we may love God (though we were made for that too), but that God may love us.”… This overflowing love is what prompted him to create—and to redeem. He is intent upon bringing others into the Triune celebration of eternal joy.”
That sounds pretty good. It doesn’t fix the Corona Virus, but still feels pretty good. Schulz continues, “The center and the matrix of the universe is not a machine or a monastery—it is a dance, a ballet, a perichoresis, an interaction of love between Father, Son and Holy Spirit that is so beautiful, so exuberant, so marvelous that the Triune God purposed to create us so that we would be part of the dance and participants in the eternal fellowship of the Trinity. Could anything be more amazing than that?”
So what to do with this good stuff? Read it again and again, listen to the podcast again and again, and even say it aloud so that the Beast gets a earful of good news. I am not promising that this will make you feel safe, but maybe a little less panicked? A little? Maybe help you sleep a little better?
If it helps, give us a shout out. Pass it on. We need to come together to survive this mess.
See you on the next Podcast.
I’m Dr. Bill Senyard