Communities of Faith and Covid-19

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Event Name: Communities of Faith and Covid-19
Transcription Date:Transcription Modified Date: 10/27/2021
Transcript Version: 1

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astrophe was always already in place

before we even come to terms with the

next catastrophe because justice has to

do with the way things are structured

not just in a society but the way our


structured in such a way that the Hesed

is not at the center of the way at all

something else is there and that's where

we're wrestling with that Civil War

within each and every one of us would

degreed and the status and the

indifference and the callousness and so

forth and so I think even in this

situation part of the anxiety and the

insecurity has to do with the fact that

you know we got almost 40 percent of our

fellow citizens who live check to check

and so once they can't go to work

there's nothing to fall back on

we got a healthcare system that has not

been able to provide for everybody for a

significant number of us and that's well

but it feels much more tired to market

in it ought to be public good and common

good and these are political and

ideological discussions that we have a

brother Robby and I go back and forth in

and against a loving way clinics but I

think this is also what it needs to take

seriously these the prophetic legacy of

truth well I think it's important to

remember I mean my grandfather told me

about the 1906 earthquake which he lived

through the 1918 flu epidemic the

depression World War one and two I think

we've had a long run here in the West

and and I think our our parents and

grandparents had seen a lot more of

these types of crises but around the

world there aren't healthcare systems I

lived with Bedouins in West Africa if

you got sick there was no 911 to call

you either got well or he died and I and

I think we have to be immensely grateful

because we've got weaker internment

camps we've got the Kashmir ease in shut

down I mean there's a lot of places

where the suffering this is not new to

them that what we're going through you

know is far less than what many many

places have been going through for quite

some time and many of us have been blind

to it so I think it's a time also to

remind ourselves I think this is a great

opportunity one to recognize how out of

balance we are in our lives

I think people don't realize just how

stressful a lot of modern life is in the

United States this is a time to really

it's like I told a rabbi a friend of

mine alone who called me the other day

that this is like a two-month Sabbath

for us so I mean there really is

something to think deeply about I want

to respond to Cherise question about

love and this is an issue that again

comes up in the teaching that Cornell

and I do together it's very clear that

people today we certainly see it in our

students when they hear the word love

word love when they think about love

when they use the term love tend to

reduce love to its emotional component

they see love as emotional fundamentally

a feeling and emotion and there is an

effect of dimension to loving that's

that's certainly true but what we try to

teach our students and show our students

is that that's an impoverished view of

love it's reflective of I think the kind

of spiritual blackout that culturally we

have been experiencing for quite some

time that Cornell referred to love

properly understood CS Lewis teaches us

this in his wonderful book the four

loves love properly understood is more

fundamentally volitional than it is

emotional as affective content but even

more fundamentally it's volitional it is

the act of willing of the good of the

other for the sake of the other love is

an activity it's a verb it's not just a

feeling and it's hard to get through to

people today with that because we've

become so accustomed in our spiritual

condition our impoverished spiritual

condition the thinking of love is

fundamentally just a feeling now true

love the act of bullying is good or the

other for the sake of the other means

reaching out to people reaching out yes

it's good to contribute money and I hope

that everyone is

whether you're contributing to a

particular person who's in need perhaps

through one of the online GoFundMe type

options that that they have I know

individual people have been reaching out

for help and and some of us have been

trying to help individual people or

contributing money to philanthropic

organizations which may even be very

large but that do a lot of good and one

of the things of course we try to do is

to identify the right ones where the

money's used well to actually meet human

needs and you know there that it's

important not to just you know give

money to anybody who asks for money

because you don't know whether it's

actually going to get to the people in

need but even more important than that I

think is calling somebody up who could

use a phone call because they're in

isolation or send an email message

establish human contact money's good and

money's important and especially for

people who living check to check money

is very important and the work being

done by the great philanthropist as well

as a go fund me accounts all that's

really important but let's not forget

that if we're really actively willing

the good of the other for the sake of

the other we're not just in a kind of

impersonal way contributing this

fungible good money

we're actually reaching out there may be

a neighbor it could be an elderly

neighbor who's living on her own we we

have the neighbors on each side of us

have to be having both to be elderly

widows you McCall you know reach out to

them see if they need anything maybe

could use a little help they probably

don't need the help

they probably need a voice somebody to

talk to have a conversation there may be

somebody that you haven't been in touch

with for a very very long time

you've been meaning to make that phone

call are you been meaning to send the

email message and be in touch well then

we have a little extra time most of us

why not take advantage of that so make

the love really effective in fact yeah

just very briefly I think one thing that

brings us back to the question of

religious communities is that religion

whether West had mentioned you know the

problem of people living paycheck to

paycheck well a one thing that

communities can do really well and often


and when it's not a huge crisis where

you know where so many people are

unemployed but if someone a community

loses the job and it's living paycheck

to paycheck and the community steps in

and make sure those bills can be paid in

certainly religious communities in

America aren't the only groups that do

something like that but I would hazard a

guess that religious communities that

churches synagogues and mosques and

others are the best at doing that of

rallying together to meet the needs of

people in times of need in times of

crisis and again those communities need

to be in place before the community

happened before the crisis happens as I

mentioned but it's really it shows the

power of religious communities in times

of crisis like this one they can be the

first responders to the non-medical

needs as you might know you won't be

surprised to hear that the questions

have been piling up so we're gonna turn

our attention this last half hour to

asking some of the questions that are

coming in over the transom I see there's

like quite a long list of questions so

we'll try to get through what we can the

first question comes to us my question

is how to stay spiritually motivated

during long periods of isolation as we

so often derive spiritual strength from

the presence of others who wants to

tackle that I defer to you doctor well

you couldn't okay no but I think just

based on my own very less than

imaginative example that I have tried to

connect both with family and family and

friends we just had senator Isaac

Robinson and died on Monday as a result

of this virus he'd invited me and Danny

Glover out to Detroit just three weeks

ago for brother Bernie's campaign we

didn't have an event with him and so

this notion of the ways of which we are

connected and we never know just how

intense the interdependence he is and so

you we have to reach out and lift up

people's names who have already been

taken away

and try to be in solidarity with the

folk who have to deal with those losses

then I listen to Beethoven opens 1/35

the greatest dream quartet the history

of classical musical it occurred as

Mayfield and Aretha listened to Brahms

does a piano concerto number two I find

myself reading because I have so much

I'm now it used to be just two hours a

night I can put in five hours a night so

I can commune with Shakespeare I can

commune with Toni Morrison I can compare

them with check off in ways that I've

been hungry to do for a long time so in

that sense there's ways in which we can

sustain community and solidarity even

though it's not always tied to physical

proximity this question is for honza who

our listener writes as a Muslim prayers

and especially Friday prayers were

attendance at which is under normal

circumstances and obligation for most

Muslims the close proximity of

worshipers makes the spread of

coronavirus and near certainty can hamza

use of comment honest about this in

times like this it's it's permitted to

to cancel because preservation of life

is one of the five universal with

actually Robbie George wrote about this

in a wonderful essay about the purposes

of religion and he pointed out that

preservation of life which concurs with

our tradition is one of the most

important and fundamental ideas and and

also that in for the greater good the

individual will sacrifice so for Muslims

now most of the countries are saying not

to congregate there are some scholars

there's always going to be difference of

opinion like the Jewish tradition you

get three rabbis or three Imams you have

four opinions truth to that so there are

some dissenters that want people to go

to Juma but we the Quran says ask X

birds and so in this case we have to

defer religiously to the epidemiologists

who are telling us what to do this one I

think is for Danielle and Robbie or any

of the presenters concerned with

religious liberty impact as a result of

current restrictions on gathering in

other words since religious gatherings

have been restricted by the current


well governments now find other quote

reasonable reasons to restrict religious

gatherings in the future well so those

are certainly two separate questions one

is what is the what is the legal status

of restrictions that we have now and is

this a danger for the future I'll take

the second one first and I guess partly

acknowledge the premise of the question

that we do have to be really careful

emergency times call for emergency

measures but they're not good precedence

you know we saw this in the debate over

the stimulus and there may be that the

bailout whatever you want to call the

big bill but people said wait a second I

thought you weren't in favor of big

government spending and you know whoever

they were saying whichever people they

were saying that and I said well I'm not

but this is an exceptional emergency and

requires exceptional measures that I

ordinarily would approve of and so I

think there is room for those kinds of

things I that doesn't rule on all of

technologies but it also means that you

have to recognize that that doesn't set

a precedent for other things and so we

have to be very vigilant and we have to

be very vigilant with all of our rights

and and you know all of our rights have

qualifications there's freedom of the

press but the press can't print nuclear

secrets you know is that going to be and

that's always true is that going to be

an excuse for the government to limit

freedom of the press at other times well

it could be and so we have to be

vigilant and I would add that we have to

visually not book just book I'll do

values of freedom but because we value

the underlying good that the freedom is

protecting religious freedom isn't good

ultimately because because we believe

people should be allowed to do whatever

the heck they want our religious freedom

is ultimately good because religion is

good it's good for the people who

practice it and it's good for the

country in which it's practiced in so

many ways that we don't have time to get

into now and and if we don't value

underlying good then when the freedom is

restricted under special circumstances

it's much easier for those quote unquote

reasonable terms to be extended


the first question about out of will

probably already gone on too long but is

that I think there needs to be a very

careful balance on one hand the

government absolutely has the right to

regulate for public health especially

extreme situations like this but I think

the government needs to and what has

traditionally been understood as a fall

for a compelling reason which certainly

we have here and with least restrictive

means so the government should go as far

as it needs to go but no further and

make sure that it's not trembling on the

ability of religion to practice as much

as I can without endangering there are

issues here this is a serious business

and I think it has to be handled

carefully and handled properly

Danielle's right the standard in our law

and I think the morally correct standard

is what sometimes called the compelling

state interest least restrictive means

test the law must be a neutral law of

general applicability it has to apply to

all institutions equally it cannot

single out religious institutions or the

institutions of a particular religion

for special restrictions that's

discriminatory that's wrong that's

illegal but with respect to general

neutral laws neutral laws of general

applicability government can restrict

practice including religious practice

incidentally where the interest is

compelling and certainly the prevention

of life-threatening disease is a

compelling state interest and using as

daniel said the least restrictive means

in other words if there are ways of

pursuing or protecting that compelling

state interest short of restricting

religious liberty then we have to prefer

those means to the means that would

involve restricting religious liberty

but if there are another me no other

means then yes you can say that

institutions including churches that

aren't themselves institutions that

aren't themselves in the business of

doing the life-saving like hospitals and

so forth doing hospital not elective

procedures of course but life-preserving


then the government can legitimately

place that restriction and churches

should observe it now there's you know

there's questions about whether it's

really neutral whether everything's

being handled in an even-handed way

they're serious questions in some states

where the governors have allowed

abortion clinics to continue to operate

but not allow churches to continue to

operate well that's going to raise some

very serious questions about whether we

really have neutrality here a general

neutral law and there is the question of

whether this could then be abused

whether precedents could be said that

are then abused by people who are not

too sensitive or concerned about or

respectful of religious liberty to

trample religious liberty the mayor of

New York said something very very

unfortunate when he threatened to

permanently close synagogues that

violated his order to to not hold

services I mean it's one thing to say

you know we're going to subject you to

exactly the same punishments under the

law that other institutions would be

subjected to if they violated this

neutral law of general applicability

it's another thing to go so far as to

say we're gonna threaten so we're going

to actually close you down forever if

you fail to comply or if you breach this

this this rule so this is next question

I'll direct to Cornell and then whoever

else would like to jump in that would be

great a questioner asked koban 19 has

exposed a lot of economic divisions in

new ways such as the allocation of

resources and exposure examples

including those who can access testing

typically those with wealth and better

healthcare and between those who can

stay home with a salary and those who

have to go out to make a minimum wage

trunk and faith communities address this

point of pain and division without

divulging in two political parties or

tropes well it's a wonderful question I

think we've touched it touched on it in

a number of different ways I think again

though we must always put a primacy on

the moral and the spiritual so we don't

degenerate into narrow partisan on

noise-making and what I mean by this is

that this this crisis is the kind of

crisis that on the one hand

to acknowledge our common humanity and

allow us to see very clearly the

hierarchies in place the economic

hierarchy the racial hierarchy the

gender hierarchies and so forth the

regional hierarchies Anna as was pointed

out the international context in which

America visa the other countries given

our richness and given our resources we

can see those kinds of hierarchies as

well so the question becomes how do we

become more morally and spiritually

vigilant to generate some political

consequences and by political I'm not

talking about democratic republic apart

I got it could you come over I'm talking

about Public Interest common good forms

of solidarity that have moral content

and spiritual substance to them that's

the only way to keep alive fragile

experiments and debacles there's no

democracy of was talking about without

healthy public life common good moral

and spiritual dimensions that keep track

of our humanity as opposed to other

identities that we may have and so I

think this is a matter of raising our

voices it's a matter of trying to forge

conversations discourses for most forces

and institutions that can't just I'm a

sea of the moral and spiritual as it

connects to the least of these as it

connects to often widowed fatherless

motherless and so forth so we've had two

or three people riding with a question

about what you were reading or

recommending for reading in these times

of isolation we'd love to hear from each

of you right now well I have a

scriptural amount that I read every day

just as a practice I continue to do that

like I said I read a book on the virtues

or the benefits of plague which was very

interesting and by a man who'd lived

through a few plagues

I'm also rereading some Jane Austen

right now she's she's a very firm

she's an analogical writer she's she's a

deeply spiritual writer a lot of people

miss that aspect of gain but so and then

I just reread finished Moby Dick again

which was an incredibly rewarding

experience I think people wanted one of

the tragedies of having to read things

in high school and colleges that you're

really not ready for them so it's very

important to read them when you have

enough life experience and Moby Dick was

a complete eye opener for me about the

very things with dr. Cornell was talking

about earlier about the hierarchy and

social injustice and and this madness

that the head of this ship which is

going to take everybody to destruction

and I found out because I want to know

where he got the name Moby Dick and I

actually found out that it was after

Austin Beale who was who had a ship

called the Moby Dick and he was

smuggling slaves on this ship out of out

of the south and he was doing this in

the 1850s in Boston so I thought that

was a shame can I just make an on with

this I I just want to make a correction

I think dr. Cornel mentioned Islam with

the idea of being angry at God and I

just I just wanted to say that in our

tradition there's a verse in the Quran

God will not be asked about what God

does but you will be asked about what

you do so as Muslim devout Muslims never

question the judgment of God or the

circumstances that God puts us in we're

just told to respond in the best way

no no I appreciate that though brother

that that's one of the differences

between these precious Muslims and we we

we wanna left-wing of the Reformation

Baptist you know got a whole lot of feel

you know I on readings if I can jump in

on on readings Thomas's reference to

Moby Dick just reminds me that gosh this

is a great opportunity to do something

that many of us have wanted to do for a

long time but didn't think we have the

time which is take on a big reading

project like Moby Dick that's a big

project to read Moby Dick or one of the

great Russian novels right probably

they're probably a lot of people out

there who know they should at some point

read something by Dostoyevsky or perhaps

one of the greats so some instant novels

there's something by tolls for but just

don't have the time to do something like

that well maybe now's the opportunity is

in a certain sense it's a gift the

opportunity to to do that to take on a

project like that I was saying to an

interviewer for the Catholic News Agency

recently in a similar vein now's the

time to do things that you've always

wanted to do or take up something you've

always wanted to take up but I've been

putting off ever had time maybe you'd

really like to take piano lessons now

you can't actually go to a teacher or

have a teacher come to you but guess

what in this age of the Internet

there are wonder I'm a musician myself

there are wonderful lessons for any

instrument you can think of online you

can learn piano with online lessons or

guitar or banjo or whatever it is you

offering Angeles yeah yeah I'll give you

that and then if I can go back just very

quickly to an earlier question Cherie

about what do we do with our time

spiritual sustenance let's not forget

that in all of our traditions there are

spiritual practices there are spiritual

practices that are promoted like in

Catholicism the saying of the rose or

or certain prayers or meditations maybe

maybe many of us don't do those on a

regular basis as much as we would like

to well now is a time to do that also if

I could just urge something for

religious folk out there you probably

have a prayer list a list of people

you're praying for because they're

especially close to you your children

your grandparents or because they're

people you know or in need perhaps

they're recently bereaved or they're

suffering from an illness or an

infirmity of some sort or they have a

special cause or something that's coming

up in their lives and you're praying for

them because of that they're they've got

a got a bar exam to pass or they are

trying to finish school but because

we're a limited time you know the the

prayer list has to be fairly fairly

short we rotate people on or often now's

the time you can actually expand your

prayer list right you can you can take

the time to to pray by name for more

people than you ordinarily what you can

take up each other's cause us in prayer

that's just something occurred to me

that it would be nice for us all to do

yeah I know what are you reading almost

hoping you wouldn't ask me I have an

embarrassing confession but since we're

here with our eleven hundred closest

friends yeah twenty-six hundred closest

friends and friends so dear that they

may have taken time out of Tiger King to

join us so I'll say that the truth is I

I don't have any big reading projects

right now we have thank God so far two

very small children a two-year-old and

the 10 month old in that occasion also

to thank my dear wife who's doing

overtime childcare right now so I could

be here but you know in addition to that

I'm trying to steal every moments I can

to work on my own writing a book not

related to this I'm trying to finish but

I I do admit that in between all of that

and the little extra moments I'm

stealing from the quarantine beyond the

normal duties I've been trying to read

as much as I can about the coronavirus

to be honest I mean I'm interested in

the medical and the scientific aspect

from the debates that are going on now

but also I mean this is you know one way

or another this is something that's

going to stay with us for a while

lots of ramifications and a lot of

articles about the political economic

and social consequences of the of the

pandemic and of the crisis though my

go-to place I if I may since we're

naming names of the Witherspoon

Institute in Princeton has a website a

journal called public discourse and it's

an amazing resource during these weeks

for articles on the humane aspect of the

crisis about what it means to be a human

being at a time like this and to live

through it as well as things relate to

economics and politics and so on that's

just that's just one source but of

course the Internet has as many good

articles and you know for someone like

me who who teaches in a political

science department at his job it is to

think about the way we organize the

world and the way we live together in

communities you know I think about that

professionally it's a really good

opportunity to take these extra moments

to think deeply about what this crisis

means for us as a society in addition to

you know how to stay safe when I go to

the grocery store and all of that on

that dr. George's about prayer I

personally have a lot of friends who are

physicians I was once a registered nurse

so I know what it's like I worked in

intensive care and then ER in burn unit

so I think to pray for our first the

people my own son is is working in an

ambulance taking older people so he

worries about just being a you know

infecting anybody so I think praying for

these people because they really are the

heroes in this situation and dr. Aisha

Subhani who dr. George knows I mean he's

in some of her colleagues to come just

because they've been expired

yeah and just keeping them in it just

you know in our hearts and prayers

because they really are extraordinary

people many of them are going above and

beyond and and so praying for them I

think means a lot to them as well as

hopefully God hears our prayers yes

that's so that's so important Tom so

thank you for bringing that out and

while we're at it let's pray for anybody

who's out there on the

lines taking risks this this includes

you know the the people who are at the

checkout counter in the grocery stores

because the grocery stores are still

operating sanitation workers clergy

anybody who doesn't have the luxury

because of their vocation doesn't have

the luxury that I for example happen

just being able to stay in my house and

occasionally go out for a nice walk in

the in the open air there are people out

there who have to have human contact

because they're serving human needs and

gosh do they deserve and need or prayers

I think you thought the series point

above read reading as a form of

empowerment not just individually but

allowing us to use our imaginations in

such a way that we are not paralyzed in

wheel when it comes to serving others

when it comes to forging bonds of

solidarity and this is the kind of thing

that Bill O'Reilly and I have talked

together for 15 years Paideia the deep

education tied to reading so that when

somebody is invoked Melville and

brightly throne I just haven't be greedy

not there be a chart so great lectures

1950 on on a hat the second section the

first sections on Don Quixote

it's the enchant fleur that when you

read a mail real or Cervantes when you

read hell God adds up the meaning of

Shakespeare the greatest lectures

probably in the history of the United

States on the greatest Bardon English

language from swath for brother Robert

is from as well more than 30 years

teaching it allows more boy died that

these are ways of actually allowing us

to become more fortified given the

grimness that were wrestling with

because these profound tech have already

provided in their own context ways of

understanding engaging overwhelming

catastrophe and all of us form desk

dread despair disappointment this is

chance and what have you and so I think

your question to those system should be

about reading it's very important very

important indeed one of my teachers

Mortimer Adler

used to say that reading is the most

revolutionary act so we have 78 it looks

like questions lined up and time is

running out so what I want to try to do

is combine two particularly good ones

into one last question you can address

it either one that you want but both

really had to do with isolation one

listener asked how can we handle our

grief in response to the peculiar way we

are dying or a loved ones are dying

another person asks what about our

upcoming religious festivals how does

one recognize the most important

liturgies which of course are embodied

in person practices or our faith under

these circumstances so we'd love to hear

from each of you on either question as

we wrap this up Robbie

you'll actually start us off yes well we

can pray together again this technology

makes that possible

just to give you one example there are

countless out there those of us who are

in the Christian community both

Protestant and Catholic who in be Stern

Orthodox who are associated with the

politics department at Princeton and the

James Madison program which I have the

honor of directing I got together at

noon every Tuesday for prayer session

and one of the things we do at the

beginning of each of the sessions is

have a reading from the Psalms it's

become our custom to have the great

Civil War historian Alan gales Oh who's

a new member of the Princeton community

we're so delighted to have him who is

very distinguished scholar of Lincoln in

the Civil War read us a psalm select a

psalm and read us a psalm and that's a

great comfort a because the Psalms are

such powerful inspirers of hope and

trust in God that's ultimately what they

are about and they're so beautiful the

Psalms indeed they are so beautiful that

it's very uplifting it's it's

spiritually enriching just to hear them

read and to contemplate them and to

meditate on them and to do it as a group

we can't be together physically but we

can be together virtually and of course

faith communities in all the traditions

are getting together masses for

Catholics are being live-streamed I

think that's more complicated at least

with Sabbath services for the Jewish

tradition because of the use of

technology I think Hamza mentioned did

you mention Hamza that there's some use

of technology to enable Muslims to pray

together surely that's happening in

other traditions as well so I think

that's something important that we can

all do and as far as the desolation is

concerned you cannot beat the zones

yes yes yes yes I think I think again I

love the arts I think of Dorothy love

coats up and listening to I'm just

holding on and I won't let go my faith

she and the Harman axis classic text

I've been living to Tchaikovsky's

Symphony number six the pathetique one

of the saddest and grimace works of the

classical music that we that we know

think of spiritual by Coltrane 1961 all

of these are works of art in the musical

way that helped us come to terms with

our grief but we just want to make sure

that grief does not become so

melancholic that it becomes something we

can never get a distance from we want to

go through the stages of mourning so in

the end we can come out fortify but if

the grief is not adequately wrestled

with then it leaves for the paralysis

and one of the ways in which music at

its deepest level helps us is that allow

us to objectified our creaks to get

enough distance from it so we can come

out strong even though the memory of

their loss is something that will haunt

us until we ourselves die I think also

if poets have a lot to offer us there's

there's there's a poem by Rumi where he

says this being human is a guesthouse

every morning a new arrival a joy a


meanness some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected guest welcome and

entertain them all even if they are a

crowd of sorrows who violently sweep

your house empty a bit of its furniture

still treat each guest honorably

maybe clearing you out for some new

delight the dark thought the shame the

malice meet them all at the door

laughing and invite them in be grateful

for whatever comes because each has been

sent as a guide from beyond and I think

there's an immense amount of truth to

that is to recognize the gifts that come

with the trials also I'm glad that the

all the other panelists are far greater

than I am because that first question

certainly is way above my pay grade I do

just want to acknowledge that question

though and say you know the questioner

made a reference I think in the unique

way in which people are dying I mean I

think there's so many overlooked aspects

of this in their heart or aspects that

are easy to overlook you know the idea

that people are not that just people are

dying you know who don't have to be

dying now or wouldn't be dying otherwise

but they're dying alone because they can

have by definition it can have visitors

in the hospital and what a what a sad

and tragic thing that is that people

suffering from this by definition have

to suffer alone because of the danger of

transmission and what a what a terrible

thing that is and so but some I'm glad

the questioner brought it up it's just

such a hard thing on the you know we are

we are thinking about Passover full-time

now in the Jewish community there's I

think I could say without without

controversy that the Passover Seder that

our our liturgy and celebration on here

in the United States on the first

evenings of Passover is the most

family-oriented aspect of our liturgical

year I mean there's no such thing as a

seder without without family without

guests and when there is including this

year especially this year it's it's

really a tragedy

the rabbi's the rabbi's serving the

communities that I'm a part of have said


that everyone has to stay home even if

that means being alone and I think I

think we have to don't want to end this

on such a such a sour note but I think

we actually have there's a lot of ways

to find meaning in that of course there

are many beautiful stories about grand

rabbis who have celebrated a Passover

Seder alone under difficult

circumstances and we can draw a lot of

inspiration from that but at the end of

the day it's a tragedy . not the tragedy

of death of course that we were speaking

about before but it's a tragedy . and we

have to just acknowledge that and just

recognize that this means and again I'd

rather have a Passover Seder alone then

lose my job I'd rather hoped Passover

Seder alone than lose my life and you

know fortunately I'll be able to be home

with my wife and my young children

that's that's an incredible blessing but

we won't necessarily be able to visit

you know our extended family as we would

have otherwise and that's really really

hard and I just hope and it's it's kind

of a lame comfort but I hope people can

find see a new angle that they never

would have seen in the holiday except

for these circumstances you know we

celebrate because we were slaves in

Egypt and we were redeemed and they in

the liturgy each year that we're

supposed to see ourselves as though we

left slavery and it's hard and are very

comfortable American lives certainly

among people here to imagine ourselves

suffering and this is not the sober

suffering like Egyptian slavery let me

be clear

and nevertheless it's a little bit

easier to put ourselves and in shoes of

dislocation and difficulty and so on and

so I think we need to take that take the

lessons but also just accept the fact

that this is a real loss having these

holidays come up without the normal

gatherings and there's just no way

around that

you know I was so struck by what Cornell

was saying about music and what homes I

was saying about poetry and it reminded

me of this this this very morning

because some of our great hymns are

really combinations of music and poetry

as you know Sharia although my Catholic

I grew up in West Virginia among

evangelicals and I learned to love the

old hymns that I grew up with and this

morning as I was just reflecting on our

condition or current crisis and all the

sadness associated with it and the

dangers what came flooding into my mind

was that wonderful old hymn I wonder if

you know it called we're drifting or I'm

drifting too far from the shore you're

drifting too far from the shore and

here's the poetry of it it's out on the

perilous out on the I guess perilous

deep where danger silently creep and

storms violently sweep you're drifting

too far from the shore you're drifting

too far from the shore drifting too far

from the shore come to Jesus today he

will show you the way you're drifting

too far from the shore that's a sort of

Christian reflection on what we do in

the face of the dangers that inevitably

come in life especially when we are

distracted and concerned with everything

else and not with what ultimately

matters but there is always the coming

back come to Jesus today he will show

you the way even though we're drifting

too far from the shore

Robby thank you there are so many

questions that have been asked there's

so much more that could be discussed but

this has been such a rich time and just

really appreciate each of our panelists

your generosity with your time and with

your wisdom as we wrap up just one more

note to all of our listeners we will be

sending out a survey immediately after

this broadcast and really would just

covet and welcome your thoughts on how

we can continue to do this better and

enhance this as an offering of both for

Trinity form and for Baylor and we just

thank you for joining us today as we

wrap up given that I think each of our

panelists have mentioned this it seems

only fitting to close in prayer so

Cornell would you close us out with

prayer indeed indeed dear God we come

humble hearts sincere souls even in this

grimness we acknowledged the gift of

life like each day is a gift and each

breath is a breakthrough and we hope

that this time we spent together for the

robbing sister sister she read brother

Hamza brother Daniel to be a moment that

would provide some inspiration some

empowerment to help somebody as they are

wrestling with this crisis that we know

will crack vessels we know we are

inadequate we know we are finite

we represent very very rich and profile

traditions of people down to the years

trying to make sense of overwhelming

suffering in massive misery and we know

as we come together whatever our

differences that there's a source of

solidarity which is moral and spiritual

that allows us to be the forces for good

we can be in the midst of this

overwhelming catastrophe amen

thank you again to each of our panelists

on behalf of both Baylor and Baylor in

Washington program and all of us at the

Trinity forum thank you so much for

joining us good night