COVID-19 America’s Chance for a Secular Great Awakening

By Donald A. Collins | 28 March 2020
Church and State

Pope Francis has given a solitary prayer service to an empty St Peter’s Square as Italy’s coronavirus death toll passes 9,000. (Credit: YouTube / screengrab)

America has now been housebound long enough to learn a great lesson which is how much we must rely on each other!

And no thanks to help from The Great Divider who won our highest office on the supposition that everybody was out to get everybody else.

I awoke this morning from the first good night’s sleep in several days because our daughter who has been bringing us old folks our groceries was able to get my 94 year old wife’s prescription for her neuropathy which had her up several times at night.

How many other examples of this kind loving togetherness do we need to tell how incongruous the behavior of The Great Divider is?

Or to fully appreciate the risks of all those people who are staying out there risking COVID-19 to keep our lives together.

I haven’t heard much lauding of them from The Great Divider but he never omits the chance to tell you how great he is doing!

What can this old housebound octogenarian do to help besides scribble a few unheeded words?

Simple: Phone or email all your family and friends to see how they are doing. Calls that ask how they are doing may disclose aspects you never knew before.

You transcend politics, religion or anything but that you cared enough about their well being to phone.

As Wikipedia tells us,

The Great Awakening refers to a number of periods of religious revival in American Christian history. Historians and theologians identify three or four waves of increased religious enthusiasm occurring between the early 18th century and the late 20th century. Each of these “Great Awakenings” was characterized by widespread revivals led by evangelical Protestant ministers, a sharp increase of interest in religion, a profound sense of conviction and redemption on the part of those affected, an increase in evangelical church membership, and the formation of new religious movements and denominations.

The Awakenings all resulted from powerful preaching that gave listeners a sense of personal guilt and of their need of salvation by Christ. Some of the influential people during the Great Awakening were George Whitfield, Jonathan Edwards, and Gilbert Tennent, and some of the influential groups during the Great Awakening were the New Lights and the Old Lights. Pulling away from ritual and ceremony, the Great Awakening made religion intensely personal to the average person by fostering a deep sense of spiritual conviction of personal sin and need for redemption, and by encouraging introspection and a commitment to a new standard of personal morality. It brought Christianity to American-African slaves and was an apocalyptic event in New England that challenged established authority. It incited rancor and division between old traditionalists who insisted on the continuing importance of ritual and doctrine, and the new revivalists, who encouraged emotional involvement and personal commitment. It had a major impact in reshaping the Congregational church, the Presbyterian church, the Dutch Reformed Church, and the German Reformed denomination, and strengthened the small Baptist and Methodist denominations. It had little impact on Anglicans and Quakers. Unlike the Second Great Awakening, which began about 1800 and reached out to the unchurched, the First Great Awakening focused on people who were already church members. It changed their rituals, their piety, and their self-awareness.

What a remarkable chance to shuck off the bonds of secular religious tyranny for a new age when their fantasies will not be used to govern our best human behavior. Can you still go to your longtime church with impunity? Of course, but not confused by your wish to believe in the presently unknowable. You can believe and gain succor from whatever you wish, but not at the expense of invading the values of others.

We will survive this crisis and be better for it if we learn to appreciate the temporal blessings too often taken for granted as we are daily subject to the egotistical blubbering of The Great Divider.

Our President (at best only for months not years) is at bottom a pathetic figure totally unrepresentative of our best values only our worst!

Just when we most need a come together time, we get The Great Divider!

So today get on the phone and call — not with any message about him but simply about them and how much you love and value them in your life.

We are just one nation but part of a world in desperate need to come together. Hopefully from this experience we can come to appreciate the vast non-material riches of human spirit which we potentially have. Important: today call your family and friends and find out how they are doing.

Former US Navy officer, banker and venture capitalist, Donald A. Collins, a free lance writer living in Washington, DC., has spent over 40 years working for women’s reproductive health as a board member and/or officer of numerous family planning organizations including Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Guttmacher Institute, Family Health International and Ipas. Yale under graduate, NYU MBA. He is the author of From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013.

From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013

By Donald A. Collins
Publisher: Church and State Press (July 30, 2014)
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