"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

Courage Is the Mother of All Other Virtues in Life

Last night Rachelle and I watched national news for the first time in a long time. The lead story was about "the anxiety and fear Americans feel returning to work after Covid-19." After we watched the story, my wife turned to me and said, "This nation is full of cupcakes."

I believe there is a correlation in our nation between courage and tyranny: Tyranny accentuates as courage dissipates. 

Only when a nation's people are renowned for their courage (think, The Greatest Generation) will that nation be strong enough to rebuff government tyranny.

Aristotle said that courage is the mother of the virtues because it makes all the other virtues possible.  C.S. Lewis wrote
“Courage is not just one of the virtues but the form of every virtue at the testing point.”
Living in a free country, not at war with other nations, is of enormous value. However, living in such a country is not something that happens on its own. A country's government cannot declare its people free and at peace.  The citizens must each be dedicated to defending the principles of freedom in both small and large ways with personal courage, even if that means placing ourselves in personal danger, as did the Greatest Generation when fighting the Nazis. 

This current pandemic, in the grand scheme of world history, is insignificant. If that upsets you, you should familiarize yourself with past generations and the trials they faced with individual courage and valor. For example, for those who lived in the late 1940s and early 1950s, the expectation was the total annihilation of the populace through nuclear war. 

That makes Covid-19 look like a common cold. 

C.S. Lewis lived his adult life under the threat of nuclear annihilation. In his 1948 essay, “On Living in an Atomic Age,” Lewis wrote some wisdom for America's cupcakes in 2020:
 “If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things – praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts – not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies but they need not dominate our minds.”

 "Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid" (Deuteronomy 31:6).

Courage is an essential virtue for a free society.

Perhaps this explains why cowardice seems so prevalent in our country right now. 

Yes, there is a possibility that Covid-19 will kill you or a family member. Yes, you may die. But take C.S. Lewis' advice. Don't huddle like frightened sheep and think about dying. Covid may break your body, but it need not dominate your mind.

Get on with your life. 

14 comments:

Sue Dempsey said...

So well said, Wade. I am so amazed at the fear so many continue to live in. I lived in fear far too long in my early life, I have no time for it now. I am so excited to be out and about. Fear is a liar!

Bob Cleveland said...

Good article, and much needed now.

I remember well the fear and dread that came with Polio, in the early 1950's. I became a teenager, right in the middle of that. And so help me, I have friends now who are more fearful over Covid, than we were over Polio. And there's no comparison in medicines now vs then, either!

Christiane said...

'Loving-Kindness' is as close as we can come to translate into English the meaning of 'Hesed' which is the kind of love that God has for His Creation and His creatures, where He gives freely to all, even ahead of the time when they may need His help.

In Judaism, there is even a kind of 'hesed' practiced as an action where a person giving alms to the poor doesn't WAIT until he is asked but will chase after the poor person to give him alms. This charity, this 'loving-kindness like that of Our God' ANTICIPATES ahead of time the needs and plans accordingly to be pro-active in giving help without thought of self-gain.

So, in our wish to follow Christ, if we wish to honor Him by practicing 'hesed'(Chesed), here are some things to consider:


“The help of another is essential; the person in need cannot perform the action,
and the help itself is essential; the needy person's situation will turn drastically for the worse if help is not received.”
“The circumstances dictate that one person is uniquely able to provide the needed assistance; there is no ready alternative if help is not forthcoming from this source.” “The person in need has no control over the decision of the person who is in a position to help, and there are no legal sanctions for failure to provide help; often no one else will even know of a negative decision.”
“The potential helper must make a free moral decision, based essentially on commitment to the needy person within the relationship.”
“While self-interest might occasionally encourage a positive response, the term HESED focuses the rationale for action on commitment to the other, not on advantage to the act"
https://www.bjpa.org/content/upload/bjpa/c__c/Zion-%20Hesed-%20Maimonides%20and%20Erich%20Fromm.pdf


BETTER we are free from having to be ordered by any controlling powers to help those in need of our help, as in that freedom, we may be able to serve the persons who are vulnerable in alignment with the concept of 'loving-kindness' (the Chesed of Our God).

And if we choose freely to enter into this commitment to 'the other' for their sake, out of love for Christ, we will also be able to ANTICIPATE behaving towards 'the other' in ways that are compassionate, knowing we will 'at least do no harm' and possibly be an agent for good in the life of the 'other', not for our own credit or benefit, but simply that we show charity (loving-kindness) only for the sake of 'the other'.

That is one approach to living out the faith that can be considered going forward in the age of this deadly virus. For sure in doing so we may freely give of our own selves for the sake of 'the other' out of love with no thought of self-gain. Not a bad option, one that doesn't include 'being fearful'. :)


Rex Ray said...

Wade,

Judy said during that time, their school had drills how not to be hurt by flying glass. They went to the halls.

The scare of a nuclear war extended also after the terrorist attack on 9/11. Dallas was large enough city expected to be bombed.

My son that lived there, had plans to come to our home that was 100 miles away. His wife was to pick up their kids and come, and he’d come from work that was miles away from his home.

They didn’t like the taste of our water, and had stored bottled water in one of our closets.

RB Kuter said...

I have not done any surveys, but my personal impression living in my universe is that the greatest impending fear these days is not that of being afflicted by COVID but rather a feeling of hopelessness in living in days of uncertainty with no reliable sources of "truth" to depend upon.

Perhaps it is due to my own feelings alone but I don't believe it is. I listen and observe expressions of others and feel that this assessment is not inaccurate. People seem to have become imbalanced by the sense that there are no reliable voices of authority upon which can be depended for leadership. Given that my universe is dominated by Jesus Followers, they are not deeply shaken due to their essential source of security being derived from the realization that their well-being is ultimately dependent upon their heavenly Father, but the absence of any legitimate civil resource having credibility is still unsettling.

Civil leaders have proven their absence of deserved trustworthiness. Their actions most often display their motives conflicting with the common good and welfare of society and instead being strictly for political, self-serving leverage. There are no voices of sanity or rational, logical, thinking. This conformity to fabricated standards based purely upon what is conceived as being politically correct at the expense of having a logical thinking process creates distrust, uncertainty and sentiments of "whose next to be exploited by those in civil authority?"

I think that this, not COVID,is what is creating the chaos, sense of hopelessness, despair and mental/emotion breakdown throughout our world today.

Rex Ray said...

P.S.

My daughter corrected me; she said her brother didn’t bring a lot of bottled water to our home because they didn’t like the taste; but because they wanted to be sure to have plenty to drink.

My cousin, Claude Earl Hicks was on a ship to invade Japan, but two weeks before the invasion, the Atomic Bomb was dropped on Japan that ended the war.

That saved a lot of Japanese lives because they believed their emperor was a God and would have fought to the death.

Rex Ray said...

Bob Cleveland,

I have a friend that got Polio in the 1950’s. He got well, but it came back on him in his old age. He swims a lot most days. He lives in Alaska where he was best friends with my brother.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

Judy and I went to bed tonight singing, “Ghost Riders in the Sky”. I imagine most of the commenters have never heard of it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Fhy8o7ufi8

Wade Burleson said...

Rex,

I would have loved to be a "fly on the wall" in the room to hear that! :)

Christiane said...

WADE, LOL.
That was funny. :)


REX RAY, that song reminds me of the Blues Brothers film. :) Good stuff!

Thanks for cheering us all up. Joy is one of the gifts you bring to your writing sometimes and it is always appreciated. And God Bless Judy for putting up with you!

Christiane said...

I think what people outside of the 'red states' are concerned about is this:

with those who in good conscience refuse to take the vaccine, some will escape infection and some will perish, and some will 'get the virus' and recover, AND SOME WILL BE CARRIERS OF THE VIRUS (God forbid!);

in the words of that well-known blog commentator, Headless Unicorn Guy, it was put this way: "Looks like COVID will be the Never-Ending Pandemic, with the Christians as the permanent virus reservoir."

So if people 'worry' for you, they are worried also about the 'bigger picture' especially as among those who carry the virus, the virus is prone to 'mutate'. That alone, will keep the pandemic going and may prevent our country from fully returning to something approximating 'normal' American life.

It is what it is. People will not be 'forced' to get vaccinated, but I imagine soon that a vaccination will be required in order to attend certain colleges and universities or to work at certain companies or businesses. So that is a form of 'encouragement' (pressure) to be vaccinated that challenges a person to re-think and weigh consequences for their choice.

There are no winners with this virus. People will do as they see fit and hopefully no one will ever be 'forced' to be vaccinated against their will. But opportunities may be closed to those people seen as possible 'carriers' of virus; and that is something that cannot be avoided as people ARE terrified of its impact on the vulnerable.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

“Fly on the wall” huh?

Now Judy sang in the choir at her church, but ME? Did you see the Andy Griffin show where Barney was in the choir? Well, that’s me.

Hez and I were in an 8th grade choir, and the leader kept moving Hez around where he wouldn’t be heard so much.

One day, Hez said to me, “You can’t sing any better than me. Why aren’t you moved around?”

“I just mouth the words without making a sound.”


CHRISTIANE,

Yes, God bless Judy.

Scott Shaver said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scott Shaver said...

Christianne:

With that kind of oppressive action, they may find something in the not too distant future far more "terrifying" than any present "concerns for the vulnerable".