The Concordia Publishing House Podcast

Faith in the Shadow of a Pandemic with Rev. Dr. John Pless and Rev. Dr. Jacob Corzine

August 29, 2020 Elizabeth Pittman Season 1 Episode 18
The Concordia Publishing House Podcast
Faith in the Shadow of a Pandemic with Rev. Dr. John Pless and Rev. Dr. Jacob Corzine
The Concordia Publishing House Podcast
Faith in the Shadow of a Pandemic with Rev. Dr. John Pless and Rev. Dr. Jacob Corzine
Aug 29, 2020 Season 1 Episode 18
Elizabeth Pittman

We know that all things work together for good for those who love God. This is true even in the midst of a pandemic. How do we balance the hope we have in God's promises with the fear and uncertainty we are facing and day to day life, and how do we continue to serve our neighbor in the midst of these challenges?

Our guests are Dr. John Pless and Dr. Jacob Corzine. They are the coauthors of the new book, Faith in the Shadow of a Pandemic. 

Show Notes Transcript

We know that all things work together for good for those who love God. This is true even in the midst of a pandemic. How do we balance the hope we have in God's promises with the fear and uncertainty we are facing and day to day life, and how do we continue to serve our neighbor in the midst of these challenges?

Our guests are Dr. John Pless and Dr. Jacob Corzine. They are the coauthors of the new book, Faith in the Shadow of a Pandemic. 

Elizabeth Pittman (11s):
We know that all things work together for those who love God. This is true even in the midst of a pandemic. How do we balance the hope we have in God's promises with the fear and uncertainty we are facing and day to day life, and how do we continue to serve our neighbor in the midst of these challenges, dr.

Elizabeth Pittman (41s):
John Pless dr. Jacob Corzine, and are joining us today to discuss these issues. They are the coauthors of the new book, faith in the shadow of a pandemic. Welcome gentlemen.

John Pless (50s):
Thank you, Elizabeth. Good to be here. Thanks for having us.

Elizabeth Pittman (54s):
We're glad that you could join us. It's been great to see this book come from an idea to print in a very quick amount of time. What prompted the two of you to say it's time to write this book?

John Pless (1m 10s):
Well, I think actually it started with a, a video chat conversation that Jacob and I were having on Easter Sunday afternoon. Both of us had been doing some thinking about, you know, kind of life under the conditions of COVID and by, by Easter Sunday, in fact, both Jacob and I had already written some pieces for a preaching blog called craft of preaching.

John Pless (1m 40s):
I did something on preaching Monday, Thursday in light of the Lord's supper. And the fact that most people would not be able to receive the Lord's supper this Monday, Thursday, and Jacob did something on preaching on the pandemic or in the pandemic. And it was really kind of out of that conversation. I think they had, Jacob suggested that two of us might team up to write, write a book. And, and so we immediately put the proposal together and by I think Tuesday or Wednesday of Easter week emailed it to Bruce Kensen, he was excited to accept it.

John Pless (2m 21s):
And we went right to the work. Jacob, you might want to add something on that too. Well, that's all, as I remember it, it was one of these things that kind of snowballs, right? Cause as we, I think, as we started to think about it right at the beginning, my first thought was I haven't seen anything yet. And the second one was, of course not, there hasn't been enough time for anybody to do anything. And the third thought was by the time anyone does anything, it'll all be moot and it won't matter anymore. But then we, well then we, we talked about it a little bit and John really jumped on the idea and then suddenly we were moving.

John Pless (2m 56s):
And then I remember also discussing that we probably have to do it fast,

Jacob Corzine (3m 0s):
Probably have to finish the manuscript by the end of August. And here we are at the end of August. Yeah, yeah. Kind of a shock when we got the, you know, a very enthusiastic green light from Bruce Kintz, but then in the kind of followup, he said, we need the manuscript by 1st of June. And so that meant we really had to kind of dig down and work pretty hard to get a manuscript out.

Jacob Corzine (3m 36s):
And, and I think one of the other things that we mentioned in the book early on is that we were writing about something that was still unfolding. So we did not have kind of the luxury of, of something that was passed and then kind of reflecting. This is what we did and this is what passenger's done, and this is what we can do next time and do better if we, if such an occurrence would come. But we were working in a environment where predictions and even medical advice was changing almost kind of day to day.

Jacob Corzine (4m 12s):
It really was things, you know, a lot of things seem to relax now, but, but in late April early may, when we started writing every day, you didn't know what was coming down through the news. And that's that created some real challenges writing it. I think,

Elizabeth Pittman (4m 28s):
Well, if, if we knew anything, then it was that what we knew that moment was not going to be the same the next day. So I'm sure that definitely kept you on your toes. As you were writing for each of you in your own communities, what have been your biggest challenges? I know John you're in Fort Wayne and Jacob you're in Chicago as, as you experienced the time of the forced isolation and the early on uncertainty, what caused you the most challenges?

Jacob Corzine (4m 60s):
I think the, the biggest, we had a, maybe a big challenge and something that made us feel on settled, right? So I've said this, I think even it's even mentioned in the book, it's in one of the endorsements that someone wrote, my wife is pregnant. She's due in a couple of weeks. And we of course knew in March also that she was pregnant and she works at the one of the major local hospitals here in Chicago. We're just on the, just to win.

Jacob Corzine (5m 30s):
I don't know what they call it. I haven't been here long enough to know is the near Western suburbs or something like that. But she works at a big university hospital and they got a lot of COVID patients. And so as you continue to go to work, even though we didn't really know what that would, all, what kind of risks she was really facing, what kind of risks that were to the baby. And that seems to all be working out fine. They took a lot of precautions at the hospital and we took some at the house. The bigger, the bigger thing that hit me was the way that it changed the university life.

Jacob Corzine (6m 2s):
So we went on spring break and then they extended spring break for a week. And at the beginning of that second week, they told us we're coming back completely online. So redirect all of your courses to finish them online for the rest of the semester. And that was, that was a big shift. That was a little bit painful for everybody involved, I think. But what happens after that of course, is that we rolled into the summer where, you know, I'm usually working from home mostly anyhow, and I have to admit that, that, that transition wasn't, wasn't that big of a challenge.

Jacob Corzine (6m 39s):
I always think it's important when we talk about the book to point out that in some ways, for me, the, really the, for example, the chapter on collateral damage is not when I write, because I faced a lot of collateral damage in the sense that others do.

John Pless (6m 52s):
Absolutely. How about you, John? I know you found yourself with more free time than you're used to. Right? Well, I was in, I am a visiting professor at Lutheran seminary in Pretoria, South Africa. So I was actually down there teaching in February, late February, early March, and began to see things on the internet about the so called the coronavirus or other UConn virus and impact that was beginning to have in the States.

John Pless (7m 22s):
And I thought this was a little bizarre and it seems to be even overstated. And so just kind of continued my work there. And then the last, last day of classes down there was actually March 13. And, but before boarding the plane that night to fly back to the United States, received an email from our academic Dean telling us that the seminary would actually be on lockdown for at least two weeks. And we should be prepared to follow the migration of our courses online for spring quarter, beginning on Monday.

John Pless (7m 57s):
So I got back on Saturday evening from, from South Africa and then Monday we started the new quarter, but no face to face chapel online clashes. And we thought that, you know, that this thing might blow over in a couple of weeks and we'd be back in class. And of course that did not happen. And we spent the whole order online. And as you probably know, from growing up in the shadow of the st Louis seminary, the spring springtime at seminary is always very exciting time.

John Pless (8m 37s):
We've called service and all the end of the year events culminating in, you know, graduation. Well, all of that had to be done, you know, kind of virtually all the social occasions, banquets and so forth for outgoing victors and graduating seniors off the table.

4 (8m 58s):
It was very strange to see call day and graduation as being a virtual event still, still powerful and emotional, but it was just strange not to have that comradery of the community.

John Pless (9m 11s):
Yeah, exactly. And at both at st. Louis and Fort Wayne, there's a, you know, their parties and receptions and everything surrounding those events and the real time of comradery with students and in faculty and all of that was, was, was, was gone. And so we had to kind of readjust one of the things I do at the seminary or, or actually concluded doing this this summer, but was director of field education.

John Pless (9m 44s):
And so we had to figure out a way that our students who were involved in local congregations for what we call a contextual experience, practicums in nursing homes and so forth, it could get some experience, even though they wouldn't be able to be there, you know, face to face. Obviously they're not able to go into the nursing homes. They're completely excluded there. Most of our churches ceased doing services for a while, at least.

John Pless (10m 16s):
And then kind of back with limited sort of 10 or 12 and gradually kind of increased attendance, but we had to find ways in which students could be involved virtually in the congregations. And, and so that was a challenge. And yet also kind of prompted some things that, that I wrote about in the book as well.

4 (10m 43s):
Well, it definitely provided all of our seminary students and our church workers, a chance to really be innovative and think outside the box when it came to ministry, because everything was so different, you know, on some days it's really hard as, as people are living through this pandemic to find the good in all of it, but we know that the good is there. Where can we find hope in the midst of the uncertainty,

John Pless (11m 9s):
As you know, again, kind of the ultimate hope of course is in Christ. Jesus. We know that T is Lord that, as I say in the book, it's not COVID-19 is not Lord Jesus is Lord and crucified and risen from the dead. He's already brought to conclusion the last chapter. And so, and the confidence of Romans eight, we recognized and confess that all things indeed work together for the good, for those who love God and are called according to his purpose.

John Pless (11m 40s):
And so we have that kind of horizon, that kind of background in which to attend to all the other things that are now kind of pressed on us because of COVID-19 and everything entailed in that, in, in that lockdown. I think the other thing that we all show observe is the way that Christians in their congregations are still really encouraging each other and hanging together, even though they're not even though in many cases, they were not able together for the divine service for, for being, you know, congregation around altar and pulpit and thought that one of the congregations, for example, here in town, where we have students doing their field education assignment was given to the field education students that they were to call, make a telephone call to shut-ins once a week.

John Pless (12m 49s):
And the things that happened in some of those telephone visits were really quite encouraging. I think, for our students, as well as for the people who were, who were being visited, you know, in, in that way. And I guess one of the other points that I would Mark here is the generosity of God's people. We have a chapter in the book on generosity and greed in light of COVID 19.

John Pless (13m 20s):
And one of my fears at the beginning of the lockdown was if people aren't coming to church offerings are gonna bottom out. And it's been amazing to hear stories from brother pastors, how not only have people been fate all logging into the online services, but they found ways, again, you know, electronic thing and so forth. And that in many of the congregations, the actual monetary giving has not decreased in fact, within Greece.

John Pless (13m 53s):
And, and so you see those examples, I think of, of generosity within the congregation.

4 (13m 60s):
I know that we're not as Christians isolationists to talk about this in the book. How can we in this time where many people are separated, not everybody is coming back to church just yet, even though more churches are opening up, how can we want to stay connected to each other and to kind of pivot on that a little bit, some studies that have come out recently have shown that a fair number of people who were active church goers prior to COVID have not come back or have not even been worshiping online.

4 (14m 36s):
So in addition to how we can stay connected with others in the community, how can we encourage those individuals who haven't stepped up to worship online or to stay connected in other ways, how can we keep them in community?

John Pless (14m 50s):
You want to take that one checkup?

Jacob Corzine (14m 54s):
I mean, it's a really challenging question. I, what is one of the things I worry about is that the results of the pandemic and the lockdown and the changes to church life and the concerns that people have around safety at church is going to lead to some people going away and not coming back. And I think we, I think one of the ways we have to face that is, is with the eighth commandment, right? That we put the best construction on things.

Jacob Corzine (15m 26s):
And because especially, I think, especially if you were someone who is away from church right now, because you are uncomfortable, then that's a pretty, that's a pretty real concern for you, right? If it's significant enough that it's keeping you away, that if, if we treat that lightly, that will be felt right. And the church, when we come back might, or when people would come back, my notes seem like a place that they, they feel acknowledges what they've had to go through right.

Jacob Corzine (15m 58s):
Being away. Now, of course, there are people who are just going to go away and they're not watching services either, but I think we, we hope and pray for them. And it also, you know, if we have someone then for whatever reason, their way finally returned, then that's coming to church is always an act of repentance seeking of Christ, right. Or at least that's the core of it that we want to recognize. And so receive them back with open arms, right?

Jacob Corzine (16m 29s):
In the meantime, it's the effort to keep up contact. And it's, I think it's simple things like phone calls and things like that. John, you may be able to add more to this from your experience in the parish, right. But I know it's, it is a big challenge.

5 (16m 43s):
You know, habits can be good things, it can be bad things. And there's something about simply that the habit of going to church, it's good. People get into that habit and that's the way I was raised. And so Sunday morning it was not, are we going to go to church this morning and just, that's what you do on Sunday mornings. And as I said, that, that's good. That's a good discipline that we need, that, that kind of habitual, you know, pattern of gathering together on Sunday, on Sunday mornings.

5 (17m 16s):
Now, when now in the, you know, COVID-19 crisis people aren't able to go churches aren't meeting or are doing, you know, services, services online. And there is a patient I think, there for people to get out of the habit. And then when you get out of the habit, Michelin one Sunday missing two Sundays becomes missing four Sundays and six Sundays. And then you're in a alternate and negative habit of not attending.

5 (17m 51s):
And, and, and so I think it is important as Jacob mentioned for pastors to keep, to keep in contact with people, whether telephone calls, video chats, email, you know, so Joe's, and, and, and, and also recognize, and that not all people are going to feel comfortable coming back at the same kind of speed of reentry.

5 (18m 25s):
In fact, I really do sympathize with pastors here because sometimes brother pastors are caught kind of between the rock and the hub place. So to speak that they have some people in the congregation saying we should never have closed in the first place. Let's just trust God, God. And, and, and, and, and move forward with this. Why did we ever, you know, stop having, and then there are others who are passenger. I'm not comfortable yet. I'm, I'm actually, I'm just afraid I'm going to, you know, kind of a vulnerable position, preexisting conditions, whatever, and how the pastor has to be able to minister to both of these group, how we have to bear with the weak work, to use the words of Paul and Galatians bear one another's burdens, you know, and, and, and recognize people.

5 (19m 21s):
Aren't going to be kind of the same place here. And, you know, pastors are called to be good in general shepherds were to feed and lead the flock. We're not to harass them. We're not the dry to kind of beat them back into church, but we want to hold before them the promise of Jesus, that he, his words, their spirit and life, and that here in his gospel, preached in his sacraments administered.

5 (19m 52s):
He is actually giving us the one thing needful. The one thing that will sustain us in the face of Emory in any crisis that might come namely the forgiveness of sins. And with that forgiveness, the promise, not only the fortification of our faith, but the outcome of that faith and the resurrection of the body. So again, you know, we lay the promises of God before our people and, and recognize, you know, pastor has to work with, with patients and with her care for those who are, are weak and, and, and, and, and, and troubled.

5 (20m 32s):
And in certainly we do exhort, the earning or those who just don't account of kind of human laziness would, would fall away from the divine service. But most of all, we, we let gospel predominate,

Jacob Corzine (20m 48s):
We let the gospel do the heavy lifting. We let the gospel do what God has promised he would do through that gospel. I mean, we create and sustain almost hard to add to what dr. Plus just said. But if I tried, there's a chapter in the book on bearing the burden of masks of worry masks in social distancing, and really the, the attempt in the chapter. So the goal really of the chapter is to encourage people, to support the very efforts of their pastors that dr.

Jacob Corzine (21m 24s):
Plus is talking about, right. To find ways to bring people back so that the, the perceived barriers to receiving the gifts of the gospel can be removed. And to go to your back to your previous question about hope, this is something that has given me some hope, cause I've been around in a few different congregations, not a ton, but a little bit. And in the last month, and I've seen pretty consistently congregation members where I expect there's some disagreement about what, how one should behave and how seriously somebody should take the pandemic.

Jacob Corzine (22m 4s):
I haven't seen a lot of diversity in how people actually approach it in church, but there seems to be respect for providing some, you know, the appropriate distance and for the most part people wearing masks. And I think there is some, there is a service that has done to our neighbor and that even if it isn't even, you know, even if all the scientists are wrong, I don't, I don't think that they, they are right, but even if things are just not nearly as dramatic as, as it sometimes appears, right, that we help to break down the barriers that keep somebody away.

Jacob Corzine (22m 39s):
There's a, there's a kind of equivalent to it. There was a God, I like to quote this. Sometimes there was a, I think Goldman Sachs, a big financial company released a report that said that some, some absurd sum of money in the economy would be saved if everybody would wear masks. And the point wasn't that anything else than that with the masks, there's less shutdown. And with less shutdown, more parts of what is normal to life will occur.

Jacob Corzine (23m 9s):
I think there's some wisdom in that

4 (23m 11s):
When it comes to these precautions, wearing masks, social distancing, and whatnot, what are our responsibilities to our neighbor?

Jacob Corzine (23m 19s):
Well, we're always still, you know, for the wellbeing of the neighbor, you know, Paul says in the book of Philippians, one of the texts, I think that either Jacob or my shelf sided, let each look out, not simply for himself, but for the neighbor. And that means I have to take into very serious consideration the needs of the neighbor, both real

John Pless (23m 46s):
And imagined. And so I, I use those categories both real and imagined because there are people who are at risk and, and I need them to take every kind of a precaution to be of service, to them, to guard and protect them from any harm that might come to them in their body. That's basic of fifth commandment, small catechism kind of, you know, con kind of stuff. There, there are also people who have kind of imagined fears.

John Pless (24m 20s):
And there, again, I have to recognize that even their imagined fears are real to them, and I have to find a way I'm able to address them. And so, for example, in, in, in church church, I go to here in Fort Wayne, the pastor is wearing a mash when he distributes the Lord's supper uses hand sanitizer before in a very visible way that people can see that before he administers the sacrament, you have takes the mask off when he's preaching or reading the scriptures.

John Pless (24m 60s):
But when he is actually kind of face to face with people, that's what he's using the master one. So you probably wouldn't need have to, but it's kind of an extra mile. He's, he's really, I think going the extra mile to give a clear signal to people who make I'm fearful that we are really taking a legitimate kinds of precautions here. We're not just gonna throw, you know, foster knock the door and in a very Piatt touristic way say, well, God will provide, or God will take care of us because we know that God also uses means.

John Pless (25m 40s):
And there is a place where we are to make use of what I would call reverent common sense. And we want to, we don't set that aside. And in the name of faith we crushed in God's promises, but the God who gives us promises to trust in also has given us directions about how we are to be of care for the neighbor and how we are to serve the neighbor.

John Pless (26m 10s):
And so I want to really kind of take, take stock of all of that and try to put that into action as a, as a pastor, you want to add anything to that? One of the, one of the things that I've I've been learning is that we owe our neighbors. We know this, right. We know our neighbors, the best construction on what they say and these conversations. And it's very hard to, it's hard for me to, I don't want to exclude myself from this to constantly

Jacob Corzine (26m 44s):
Simply provide the best construction. But one thing that is a little bit helpful for me, as I tried to do that is to remember that not everyone lives where I live, right. I live in a close suburb of one of the biggest cities in the country, and that suburb is mostly Hispanic and that makes it one of the communities with especially high COVID rates. And so that colors, the perspective that I have, which leads me to be very careful in a lot of situations where I know I have, I have brothers and sisters who live in very rural areas where they maybe in a County, much bigger geographically than my own.

Jacob Corzine (27m 28s):
I've only seen two or three cases or something like that. Right. And if that is left out of the conversation, then, then it's really easy to understand why people have trouble finding, finding common ground on which to stand and discuss this things is obviously the biggest thing in all of our minds, right? So I think that, that, I mean, if we talk about loving our neighbor, then we can just sort of walk our way through the course of the 10 commandments. But if we take a minute on the eighth commandment and think about how we approach our, how we listen to our neighbors, especially when they're not our immediate neighbors, but they're quite far away and living in very different circumstances.

Jacob Corzine (28m 4s):
I think that can be a real valuable thing to do.

4 (28m 9s):
I know there's been no lack of debate over things like wearing masks and social distancing. And I suspect that the large majority of those conversations are conversations in theory only, but when it comes to practice, most people are probably playing by the rules. They're wearing their masks when they have to be. And certain areas like st. Louis here, we have a massive mandate as Christians. How should we respond to people who even with all of that say, Nope, not going to do it and put themselves in a position of, yep.

4 (28m 45s):
We're not going to do it.

Jacob Corzine (28m 46s):
I want to say, have you met anybody? Yeah, fair enough. I haven't, I don't know what to do. Right. It depends on where you are. Right. We're really would be a problem is in church. And, Oh, I don't want to prescribe for any pastor how he should deal with a situation like that. There's I mean, there is nothing I have is profound.

Jacob Corzine (29m 19s):
You have to take them seriously and listen to them. You can't sacrifice the comfort and safety of a whole bunch of people for one person who is very politically motivated and on, on yielding. But I don't think there's a, there isn't a simple answer that can be applied across the board. And for that,

4 (29m 43s):
I didn't think there was going to be, I didn't think there would be a simple or a straightforward answer, but I thought I'd throw the question out there.

John Pless (29m 48s):
It's a good, it's a good question. And of course, if you're talking about simply kind of out there in the world long before, COVID 19, if you would go down to the local BQ, there would be a sign, no shoes, no shirt, no service, well are just some basic kind of table etiquette out there in the world.

John Pless (30m 18s):
There, you know, that for reasons of propriety and public health, we long had regulations about drafts, for example, and coming to restaurants. And I see the mass clear, simply following falling in that, that kind of category. And it's a little more difficult within the congregations where you have people with very strong, we hold opinions, you know, on the one hand, if I, I am not going to come to church, unless everybody in the church is wearing a mask, I've, you know, I've heard that expressed.

John Pless (31m 2s):
And then on the other side, the aisle, you know, you have those who say, ah, nobody's going to tell me how I have to dress when I go to worship my God or what I don't have to wear this mask. Well, that seems to me to be rather selfish again. And again, you know, Paul's words to the Philippians. You're not simply to be looking out for your own interest or needs, but for the interest of others.

John Pless (31m 34s):
And so if my not wearing a mask is going to keep somebody from receiving the means and grace, then that is a problem. And I need to, I need to wear a mask. And I need as if I am not a pastor right now in con congregation, obviously, and I've often kind of thought, what, how would I have responded to these things we're actually serving in a congregation and not serving from the kind of the security of the seminary faculty, where we don't have to deal directly with these things that pastors are having to deal with.

John Pless (32m 10s):
But I would want to, again, you know, talk about this in the category of Luther's category of Christian freedom, that Christian freedom is not simply a freedom to do as I please, but it is the recognition that my freedom is always to be used for the edification of the body of Christ and for the good of the neighbor. And so am I free to come to church, not wearing a mask? Well, perhaps,

Jacob Corzine (32m 41s):
But I can abuse that freedom and I, and, and the Christian needs to be directed away from such an abusive use of freedom. If I could add one more thing to that. The, the other useful text from Luther on this is in his exposition on the sermon, on the Mount, where he speaks about what happens if you are, if you are faced with injustice in society, right?

Jacob Corzine (33m 14s):
And I think there are cases where, where the, the, the senses that forcing me to wear a mask is unjust. That shouldn't be allowed. No one should have that kind of control over me that this limitation of my freedom is unjust and Luther into talking to Christian through how a person might respond. Doesn't say you have no recourse, but he does say that if you take some kind of recourse, if you take some kind of action against the injustice, it should not be out of vengeance.

Jacob Corzine (33m 44s):
And I think that's, that can be sort of lightly extended to say, if the action is really a response of anger, then you, then, then there is a clear space for it to be reprimanded and condemned with the law, right. But it really is. It has to be, this is where the listening comes in first and tasked me to understood what's going on. That leads a person to that sort of a very firm position.

4 (34m 16s):
You spent some time in the book talking about the collateral damage that is going to come of this. And I think at this stage, we can't even begin to understand what those impacts are going to look like in any specter. I think about the number of kids who are having to study at home alone on a laptop and what that's going to do down the road, as you need to think about economics, talk a little bit about the collateral impacts and where we might be prepared to use our vocations as Christians to help down the road.

Jacob Corzine (34m 54s):
It's very hard to guess what the collateral damage will be. Right. So I tried in that chapter to be, to name the things that were clear already, but to be general, and to acknowledge that this is going to be applied more widely. One of the things we're facing right now, for example, is you mentioned it at the beginning, or maybe it was before we started recording, right? Where schools have not opened. Parents have to define how they're going to get to work. You have to sort of staggered or scaffolded effect that starts with one decision by the administrator somewhere, which may be a good decision to report decision.

Jacob Corzine (35m 33s):
It kind of doesn't matter when you're three steps away from it and someone isn't able to pay the bills anymore because they can't go to work because they have to take care of their children. So that's one, right? We have the weird situation right now that you see hospitals furloughing or letting go medical staff at a time when it seems like we should need more. But because for various reasons, people aren't going to the hospital, there's another economic consequence.

Jacob Corzine (36m 6s):
Then you have the people who are I've, I've understood this at least that there's sort of an increase in deaths from things that really should be preventable. And aren't COVID related, except that people aren't going to the doctor when they, when they run into them. Right? So it partly in our vocations, right? Some of us are medical personnel. Some of us are administrators and managers who make these hard decisions and we stay and make them right, and try and make them with as many things in mind as we're able to, to juggle and, and make them repeatedly.

Jacob Corzine (36m 46s):
And in, in prayer for Christ's forgiveness. Because most of the time there isn't a perfect decision. That's going to solve all the problems available as pastors, as church workers, whose whose vocation is to communicate the gospel. Then, then we have to, I think it's on us to realize the breadth of what Christ brings. And so in the chapter, I quote this old Paul Guihard him, Paul Garrett, him as old, but it's one of my favorites.

Jacob Corzine (37m 20s):
It's a lamb goes uncomplaining forth and it has several verses in, and I'm sorry, I don't have it in front of me right now. There's a wonderful verse that really describes how the gift that we have in the golf world. And along the way through the verses, he talks about how I'm going to treasure this in my heart, as the it's going to replace whatever shrines I might have, because this is, this is everything to me, the gift that I have, because God in his love gave the life of his son for me. Then it can stand in.

Jacob Corzine (37m 50s):
It can be my companion and every time of need and every type of meat that I think there that has helped me in the past, you know, faced a loneliness or loss. These are some of the things, right? The economic things. They also sort of stagger into the things that you feel in your heart, right? And pause the pain there. And there, the breadth of the gospel message, I think, is important for us to communicate on the collateral damage.

Jacob Corzine (38m 24s):
I was also thinking about certainly economic people are able to go to work and fluctuations

5 (38m 38s):
Black market, you know, noticeable there, but also, you know, kind of a personal level. I've had some good conversations these past weeks with a colleague who teaches at Luther nutrient seminary in Adelaide, Australia, Steven peach, who's written a wonderful book on Luther and depression, pastoral care for people under encountering depression and depression. According to peach has been really on the rise with COVID-19.

5 (39m 10s):
People are isolated. Aren't able to be with, you know, friends and family sometimes. And, and so depression, which maybe was somewhat manageable under more normal circumstances, becomes a much more problematic with depression. The uptick number of suicides that's empirical that's that's happened, addiction, whether it's alcohol or drugs or gaming or online, or Nagra as people are in the isolation and tempting to deal with boredom, domestic abuse, all kinds of different issues here that I think I've been, you know, were there before COVID-19, but in some ways now are, are magnified by the, by the pandemic.

5 (40m 9s):
And again, you know, when you look back historically at, you know, 16th century, for example, Jacob mentioned Paul Garrett, who lived through the atrocities of the 30 years' war. It was not only war, but then it was famine. And that one thing leads to another. They are finally, you know, interconnect, I think we're, we're in keying. That man has to be part of our, our response to this as well.

5 (40m 41s):
We could do with a Paul Guihard him Renaissance about now. Yeah.

Elizabeth Pittman (40m 53s):
Now, before we wrap up, now that we're sitting about two months after you finished the manuscript, if you had the opportunity to add either one more chapter or a postscript on something that you hadn't thought of at the time, is there anything that you would add?

5 (41m 10s):
I would want to do another science chapter? I think there was a lot more to be said there. Oh, for example, about how we interact with the communication that comes out of the scientific community. I don't really hit that in the chapter. And I think it's pretty important of what I steered into in that chapter was that we, that we distinguish between the things that we acknowledge as truths about the world and the things that we acknowledge as truths about how we should act or what we should pursue.

5 (41m 49s):
And that is true. It's in the first case, in the second case, but then also something that the sort of does justice to the expertise of the experts without glorifying or define them, I think would have been really important. And I'm going to risk saying this other thing, maybe it wouldn't have fit this book, but it was just a few days, I think after I felt like just to at least after just a few days after we got the main script out that that George Floyd died in Minneapolis and that it's a different topic, but this summer, it sure has felt like something a lot could be said there.

5 (42m 31s):
Yeah. I think a kind of two things that I would add if I had, we've had the leisure to wait longer or, or whatever I did a chapter on the seventh petition of the Lord's prayer, deliver us from me a pen, further reflection. I would actually expand that to include the whole Lord's prayer. I mean, as I've kind of thought about the pandemic, praying the Lord's prayer, you know, praying the Lord's prayer always kind of takes on a different kind of depth and significance as you go through things in life.

5 (43m 11s):
And I think there's something to be said under each petition of the Lord's prayer relative to the pandemic. Second thing I would have added, and this actually would be maybe I kind of a connecting to what Jacob had said about how science has to be used and, and, and so forth is something on medicine and what can we expect medicine to do and what can't, what ma what medicine both can and can't do.

5 (43m 47s):
And, you know, right now I just, you know, coming back from lunch today, I was up listening to a report on, you know, possibility of a vaccine. You know, a lot of relative to that. Well, that's good. We should be. Medicine has as its vocation in the world to try to push back the frontiers of death and to create a space where life can actually, you know, flourish.

5 (44m 19s):
And I would have loved to have dealt a little more with kind of a Lutheran approach to practice of medicine. What medicine can do, what medicine can't do that God alone, because the ultimate healer, but we don't reject the mask or the instruments of medicine that he has given us under the rubric of daily bread. That's also part of his kind of first article provision for us. I would have liked to have perhaps expanded that. I think I would have also maybe dug in a little deeper on some of the passages in the scripture, both old, new Testament that actually talk about Panda, talk about pestilence and how, again, these things don't just happen.

5 (45m 5s):
You know, not having a hand in it. He sends plague. And at the same time, you know, he also delivers from these things and how God can be both the ClinVar of affliction and the one who relieves us of that disease. We talked, I touched upon that in the chapter on pandemic and Providence, but I'd like to, you know, maybe unwrap or add in a little more and, and, and look at, you know, how, what is the net and sickness?

5 (45m 51s):
There are all kinds of missteps that people make when they talk about that. But there is a way in which we have to acknowledge that because every sickness is a kind of a forerunner of death. And that death is a result of sin. Death came into the world by sin and through sin. We have to be able then to talk about sickness from this kind of God's perspective.

Elizabeth Pittman (46m 26s):
There's a lot there, and we've covered a fair amount today, and there's a lot more in your book for our listeners. If they'd like to dig deeper, I'd encourage you to head over to back slash pandemic. And that will take you to the book where you can cover topics that we've just scratched the surface on today. And several others. Gentlemen, thank you very much for taking time to be with us today. We appreciate this.

5 (46m 53s):
Well, we enjoyed it, Elizabeth, and thank you to yourself and the whole crew at CPH for your helpfulness and getting this book produced in, in a very timely way. As Jacob said, we didn't want to write something that was going to be obsolete by the time it got out. And when we started this, we weren't sure whether or not we would be able to get it done in time that it would actually be of help. But as the pandemic continues to, you know, kind of wind its way around and, and predictions of a reoccurrence or at no

John Pless (47m 30s):
Immediate relief in sight, we, you know, really do hope. This book will be of help not only to pastors, but to ordinary Christians in their own callings and vocations.

Elizabeth Pittman (47m 43s):
There is, there is a great deal of material that is going to be applicable even beyond the pandemic, your writings on vocation, on how we serve our neighbor and other topics that you get into. Even when we're looking at this pandemic in the rear view window, it's, it's going to be very useful. So thank you both very much for taking the time to write the book and spending some time talking with us about it. Thank you. Catch next time, everyone.

Elizabeth Pittman (48m 13s):
Thank you for joining us on this episode of the Concordia publishing house podcast. I pray that this time was valuable to your walk with Christ. We'd love to connect with listeners on Instagram, Facebook, and for more resources to grow deeper in the gospel.