Social Distancing and the False Narrative of John Allen Chau

While we’re in the middle of a plague scare, I want to take a moment to set straight something: John Allen Chau was not the first person to visit the North Sentinel islanders. He was more like the 500th person. People who had interacted with the natives included National Geographic, when they made an entire documentary of them in the 1970’s, or the anthropologists who were photographed exchanging food and gifts with them in the 1990’s, or the government contractor that lived on the island for 18 months and regularly interacted with the natives. Not a conspiracy, the government of India has openly admitted that they discouraged publication of images of peaceful interaction with the natives, over fears that criminals would flee there to avoid prosecution. Chau took extensive measures over the course of a year to vaccinate and self-quarantine — far more, it should be noted, than the government officials who had been visiting the island every year to check on the natives. The press disgraced him post-mortem with lies and exaggerations. Wherever you may stand on Christianity, the man came unarmed, preaching a peaceful message, practiced distancing, and avoided spreading disease. The only life he jeopardized was his own.

This information was gleaned from several sources, but the majority was derived from the Wikipedia entry for the Sentinelese.

Pet Grief, or The One Kind Person on Reddit

During this time of social distancing, there are still many people who need compassion. It’s never going to be as good as a heartfelt, face-to-face encounter, but there are plenty of people online seeking help.

Here was an online conversation I had with a now-deleted OP who was mourning the loss of a pet. I thought it was advice well-suited to anyone going through this situation as well:

OP:

”One of our family dogs suddenly passed away on Tuesday. I am in my final month of college in another state so I did not get to say goodbye. I know it may sound silly to some of you since he was not a person, and since many people say that only humans can go to Heaven. My father is also struggling with grief back at home, but I will not see him again until Thanksgiving. I have been trying to turn to spirituality to deal with the negative feelings but I am not so sure what to do other than read some Bible verses etc. I have always struggled to believe that God is somewhere out there so I feel like I am just running in circles.”

MY RESPONSE:

“Someone I knew once put it best: ‘Losing a dog is sometimes harder than losing a person. Because a human being, no matter how close they were to you, had some bad things about them, some time they upset you, that kind of thing. So when the person is buried, you may miss them terribly, but there is always at least SOMETHING unpleasant or unhappy that gets buried with the person. But when a dog dies, it is only a loss, a 100% loss.’
Never be embarrassed to grieve a dying pet. People who would mock you for that are either bad people or people who were taught bad coping mechanisms for grief. Everyone grieves the passing of a pet.
Forgot to address the Heaven part. Now, there are, sadly, many churches that preach that pets can’t go to Heaven. But there is literally no Bible verse that says that, so with all due respect to many religious authority figures, and theologians, this is a dumb thing to preach. And I know it’s a part of a lot of dogma, but that doesn’t make it correct. —— What we do know is that God is CRAZY about animals, even more so than we are. In the book of Jonah, part of his stated reason for saving the city was for the sake of BOTH the people and the animals that lived there. He literally curses some people in the Old Testament and says it is because they enjoyed abusing cows for entertainment. Cruelty to animals just doesn’t stand with Him. So He will ABSOLUTELY understand the feeling of grieving a pet. And having lived as a human being for 33 or so years, and not having started his travels until he was about 30, it is extremely likely that He has, on a human level, gone through the experience of caring for an animal and watching it age and die. So you’ve got someone who just doesn’t strike me as the kind that would keep animals out of Heaven. Maybe there’s something we don’t know like there’s another location for the pets to go that we visit or something, I don’t know. But calling his kids home but making them leave their pets behind like some kind of awful FEMA bus? Doesn’t sound like the same God. I don’t see why He’d love a person enough to die for them but then insist on depriving them of something as simple and wholesome as a dog. If you need to be able to see your furchild on the other side, you’ll see them. He found a way for sinful humans to come to him, how much easier must it be to find a way to get something as selfless as a dog in the presence of God. Plus, in the Book of Revelations, John talks about seeing animals in Heaven. Which may just be a metaphor or something, but definitely means no one out there should be trying to preach a doctrine that animals can’t be in Heaven, if it says he saw them there.”
Stay clean, and God bless!

 

 

 

 

Matthew 25:40

There’s a stage in adulthood where, for the sake of your family, career, etc., it becomes very important to become thought of as an upright, law-abiding, mannerly citizen. One of the “good” people. When you’ve been a Christian for a long time, it is surprisingly easy to lump your faith into this same category of “proofs that I am an upright, law-abiding, mannerly citizen”. Then this position becomes so internalized that you don’t stop and think about it, much the same way that you don’t stop and read your own name tag every morning before you go to work. If it no longer has the correct name on it, you probably wouldn’t notice, much the same way I didn’t immediately notice that the words “follower of Christ” no longer identified me.

Now, I’m not talking about wild living here. I’m not talking about “opening yourself up to new ideas” in terms of leaving behind your own faith, or going to places or people that you know are going to cause you to sin. Even if it’s not technically sinful but you know yourself well enough to know it will end in you sinning, don’t do it. But having said this, somewhere along, if you’re trying harder to keep to the straight and narrow than you’re trying to follow Christ, Satan starts whispering in your ear in an attempt to stop the love, and it usually takes the form of combining those 2 distinct roles and saying “that’s not what good, upright, law-abiding, mannerly Christian citizens do,” and then blurring the two together so much that it simply becomes, “that’s not what Christians do.” The Enemy whispers in my ear, “build a genuine friendship with that homosexual man? That’s not what Christians do. You can “love” him, but keep him at arms’ length, as if he was contagious. You can tell him that Jesus loves him, but make sure not to actually love him, because that’s not what Christians do… Treat a known prostitute and addict like she’s a real human being? That’s not what Christians do. Tell her Jesus loves her, but don’t really believe it. Don’t let yourself believe that she, too, is a human being made in the image of God, a person who Jesus would gladly die to set free from the burden of her sins, would gladly take into his arms and give glory to and present before His own Father, saying, ‘this is the one I brought home to you, the one I love as a groom loves his wife’? That’s not what Christians do… Give aid to an atheist, who spent their life loudly decrying God and now has a desperate physical need of help or food or shelter? No, be offended, tell him he’s profaned the family of God too much and isn’t welcome here. Bask in your righteous anger. Don’t have the humility to put aside your differences and help him now, because that’s not what Christians do.”

It’s all lies, of course. Jesus’ criteria for helping others was that they be human beings, not a certain kind of human beings, or even particularly good human beings.

Good afternoon, and God bless.

-Morgan Hart