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The Birds are Still Singing

It’s fair to say that it’s been a spring for the record books. COVID-19 has upended our country in general, but for those of us in academia it’s especially bad. For my part the jolting transition to online has been easier on me than my students; I think that the academy has a rough road ahead of it.

Two other events of less general interest have made life difficult. The first was that, Easter Sunday night, a tornado blew through our area. Our own dwelling came through with minor damage but, as you can see, others didn’t. As is the case with every disaster, ministries showed up in a hurry to provide relief, and now the long term recovery is under way. But it was strange to wake up after the night of destruction (there wasn’t much sleep, to be sure) to hear the birds singing outside. How they battened down the hatches during this maelstrom is hard to know, but at least enough did to give us a cheery greeting the next morning.

The second storm (about the same time) came in the Anglican/Episcopal world, where a well known figure departed from a well known program in a way whose tension (or maybe compression) had been building for some time. With some insight on how this came about, I took the trouble to write the one who departed with this insight. He responded in an audio recording, evidently done outside, because in the background I heard the birds happily singing as they had after the physical storm had passed our own house.

It always amazes me that our smug and ostensibly secular opinion leaders display the apocalyptic attitude towards life that they do. Growing up at Bethesda, end times prophecy were not on the radar screen; I had to get off of the island to find out about that. I suspect that a good number of our elites were going the other way, making a “hick moves to town” transition where they simply repurposed the apocalyptic fears of their childhood to the social causes of their careers. Growing up in an ethic where disasters were to be toughed out and problems fixed, I still find the solution-free panic that our elites meet every crisis with hard to take.

But through all of this the birds keep singing and creation moves forward as its Creator intended it to do. A truly Biblical view of the apocalypse doesn’t focus on the disaster but the goal after the disaster. The Bible is premised on the obvious, that difficulties are inevitable in the pursuit of the objective. This grates on prosperity preacher and sybaritic elite alike, but that’s the way it is.

So when things aren’t going your way, stop and listen. You might hear the birds singing.


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