Well, I think it’s a law that we have to blog about Coronavirus now. And who am I to disobey, so, here we go.
First of all, here are some other people who have been writing interesting things. Cat, for one, and this person who has good advice for teachers who suddenly have to venture into the online world. Seriously, read them both. All very sensible.
And here’s a guy who thinks he’s Jesus. I feel like this might be a spoof, but it’s pretty great either way. Sorry, that’s not about coronavirus, but I couldn’t resist. And here is Kenneth Copland who honestly looks like he’s demon-possessed. Someone should go try to exorcise him.
And here is a longish piece that said a lot of things I’ve thought over the week, though the writer comes to a bit of a different conclusion than I have. He thinks it is bad if the whole world is thrust back into the “isolation” of working from home. We’ll all just stay quarantined, as it were, and certainly, that is possible, especially if this change is effected thoughtlessly and without consideration. It may be, though, that this is just the thing society needs to be helped away from isolation and towards true community.
I mean, almost everyone agrees that we are in the midst of a massive technological revolution, at least as big as the industrial revolution, if not bigger (I mean, I read that somewhere, can’t remember where), but honestly, we are still living as if we aren’t. By way of a tiny illustration, we all expect to buy movie tickets online, and then go and show the proof of purchase on a phone, but sometimes you go stand there and you can’t get it up easily, and the thing that the person reads the code with has to face a certain direction. It would have been lots easier to walk up to the window and be given a paper ticket by a live person. The online way could be easier, but often it is completely exasperating. Or Instacart—great idea, but it’s still not that awesome, at least the last time I tried to use it and then gave up. We are on the cusp of being able to shift totally in the way that we think about buying things, and are nearly there, but, well, it may be that coronavirus is going to push us right over the edge.
And like all major societal shifts, there will be some good, and some bad. Being a Luddite, I always think it will be bad, except that having lived in the way described in that article, I actually think this might be better than the whole going to work in a big office building. Of course, this could isolate us all more, but it hasn’t by any means isolated me. Honestly, I think we have organized our home in a more ancient kind of way. I will briefly explain.
Because we all eight of us are mostly home all day, laboring away in our own intellectual spheres, our lives have two poles—the home, and the church. These two poles pull against each other, and give us a fairly gracious rhythm, both to each individual day, and the week, and of course the year. We eat what many people might call “dinner” at lunchtime, altogether around the table. Breakfast and supper are small meals taken whenever you like. We work six or seven days a week (it should be only six but gak), and Sunday is completely taken up with church. Evenings are available for a variety of activities, which mostly don’t feel too onerous because we’ve eaten together at noon. We pray at home and at church, we have friends who we see throughout the week, but then more intensely on Sunday, and, theoretically, we are not beset by the insanity of the world. Our home culture is robust, balanced by a similarly robust church culture.
It’s taken a lot of effort to do this, of course. The first useful thing we did was have a lot of children so that we were immediately made cultural pariahs. Also, we don’t binge on Netflix—much, especially during the workweek. TV is supposed to be for the weekend. We read books, both by ourselves and together. We eat food, both by ourselves and together. Technology allows us to be close to friends, but also distant from them. Whenever people worry about the “Socialization” part of homeschooling, I always want to fall on the floor. That is not our problem. We need more time to study, not less. The friends are abundant, and the books always have to be remembered over social obligations.
I would not want anyone to think this is idyllic, by any means. But Matt and I both being around each other and the children all day every day is pretty great. If you’re looking for “embodied’ relationships, being in your bodies in the same space for the bulk of your work and leisure is fantastic. I like that we can both roil along in our own intellectual spaces, but in physical proximity to each other and the children. It’s like living on a farm or something, without actually having to farm (thank heaven). If you go watch Ruth Goodman’s Tudor Monastry, I feel like that’s what we’re doing only without the farm and without the Tudors. The soul, as it were, if not the particular substance. For all the people fretting about the state of the family, forcing people back into proximity with their families is very useful for making it…what’s the word…better.
But you have to be, what do you call it, “intentional”—what an overused and almost useless word. You can’t give up and sit in your house lazily all by yourself when you should be working. You have to go find a church—a community of faithful believers who all work hard to be with each other in the closest way possible. The great thing about a church is that it’s a community no matter what your lifestyle or work. Do you work in an office? That’s great, you can still go to church. Do you work at home? That’s great too. Do your kids go to a school and have a community of friends there? Awesome, they can also have friends at church. The church, in this isolating and tumultuous age, is there to reach out to people in their offices, in their classrooms, in their homes, no matter their economic status or intellectual and emotional abilities. It has gifts and riches that will be urgently required in every age until Christ returns.
But honestly, if we could knock down all those hideous office “parks” …I mean, that would not be a tragedy. Go check out more takes!