Boots on the Ground

wellington-boots-men-close-up-greenWe are now a few months into dealing with Ebola in this country, with the angst and rancor really heating up in the past month. I don’t have an opinion on what the quarantine policy should be. I don’t know whether it’s best to have health screenings at every airport or only certain ones. I don’t have a qualified opinion on whether the nurse in Maine should ride her bike outside or not. And likely, neither do you, even if you think you do.

There have been embarrassing moments, though. Like being asked by a Patient First doctor if Kenya was near Liberia, when I had a cough a few months ago following my return from Nairobi in July. Or witnessing normally even keeled people lash out on social media regarding this very sad and devastating disease. Sometimes the rant is about the president, the government health agencies, health care workers, refugees and these groups’ involvement or lack of involvement with the disease or the continent where it began.

The most embarrassing, though, is some of the Christian response. Crises bring out the best typically, but they also bring out the crazies. I drove past a sign in Maryland this week that said Ebola is God’s punishment for sinners, and cited a Scripture verse, presumably the one where God says he was sending Ebola to punish sinners. I didn’t actually look it up. But it was on the sign so it must be in there.

Yes, that is an extreme response. But I’ve listened to and read far less vitriolic but no less Christian responses from “Christians.” Faith should be the lens through which Christians view everything–politics, economics, even health crises. But when something like ebola comes along, ebola becomes the lens through which faith is viewed.

Last week, I came home and found a newly purchased pair of rubber boots sitting by the front door in my house. I wondered why my husband bought them; he never wore these kind of boots. I asked him, and while stirring a pot on the stove, he remarked, “They are my ebola boots.” Oh. Of course they are.

Friends, this is a Christian response. A nurse who voluntarily prepares to be a part of ebola treatment for the unlikely but possible nonetheless. He doesn’t lash out on social media at anyone. He just does his job, even if it is scary.

If you call yourself a Christian, and you are posting about ebola or talking about it with friends, ask yourself, are you part of the problem or part of the solution? Ranting about what you think is right, even if you are right, is never part of the solution. Pretending you know better than those who have been in the action treating this disease, or the officials trying to contain it, is just that. Pretending.

Are you part of the problem or part of the solution?

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