Where Did All the Bluebonnets Go?
By Andrew Pate, Jr.
Every year, mid-March or thereabouts, Texans love to enjoy the spring flowers that so splendidly decorate the hills and countrysides of their beloved state, especially do they enjoy frolicking, and photographing themselves amid fields made beautiful by their state flower, the bluebonnet.
Well, the flowers have been there this spring, but barely noticeable. Instead, those awful, however colorful, media images of Covid-19 have taken over, leading to the waning of the annual Texas spring rebirth.
Something similar has happened around the world, for the same reason.
Amid the multitude of uncertainties facing us now, in late April 2020, there's one thing all Americans appear to agree upon: Life in the United States will be radically different after Covid-19 has been conquered.
When will that will be? No one knows for sure. We just know: it's going to be very different from the way it was!
I cannot pretend to list here, much less provide coherent solutions to the thousands of troublesome problems that will confront us when our lives return to some semblance of "normality." But I can ask and attempt to answer what just may be the most important question we will face post-Covid-19: Will we be a more divided people or more united?
Oh, how I wish my first response might fall on the strong side of unity, to be able to say with confidence that post-pandemic we will demonstrate in our "rebirth" that we have learned some important lessons and emerge from the present chaos with a better understanding of how, even as we differ, we can find ways to work together, rebuild our economy and move toward being a yet better country than we were.
The #1 unity-preventing factor? We love our divisions too much. We glory in our stubbornness. We love the "fight" more than we covet communion. And no where is this more the case than in Washington DC, where our president and our congressional leaders seem actually to delight having uncompromising opinions. And so it is that constant warfare has become the central trademark of American politics.
Consequently, the only tasks that really get done in our nation's capitol are those that enable the warfare to continue unabated. It is stupidity feeding on itself.
That must stop. For it it doesn't, I fear that the Republic to which we have historically pledged our allegiance will cease to exist.
For us to emerge victorious , I am convinced that we must rid ourselves of the destructive forces that are so bitterly dividing us; or at the very least, gain a unified control over them.
This means, in the first instance, exposing and rejecting forthrightly the blatant racism and self-righteousness that are defeating us,
The passage of Civil Rights legislation and the new laws enacted assuring equality for women over the past half-century--none of that has dealt with the cancers eating away at our very souls. Racism, sexism and ignorance simply went into hiding for a while, only to emerge yet more powerful in the rise of Trumpism and other fascist ideologies.
Sadly, the Church, the entire body of Christendom, has contributed significantly to the downward spiral of human decency among us. Sexual scandals and other crimes against humanity have exposed the rottenness at the core of the institution that was once our greatest Spiritual power.
In addition, the Christianity that has become popular has substituted a flaky "prosperity" gospel for the Gospel Good News, as other heresies have promoted an anti-intellectual rigidity that scorns the brilliance of our God-given reasoning ability.
Not surprisingly, true disciples of the Nazarene have been compelled to look outside the church for Christlike moral guidance.
Which could be a good thing, a mighty good thing.
The one true Church has no walls. The one true Voice of Truth has many tones and ranges of pitch and delivery. The living spirit of Christ is universal. It binds, it ties together
Which, hopefully and prayerfully, I think could be a great thing for the Christian faith and its genuinely devoted disciples: With the crumbling church walls gone, we can look elsewhere and everywhere for signs of true believers, keeping our eyes ever open for those who are reaching out to the poor, to all the less blessed and to every child in need of Christ's comforting embrace.
In this awful pandemic, a powerful unifying force is at work:
Yes, Christ wants the church to be reborn and its faithful to turn from getting toward giving, from applause-seeking toward selfless-serving.
If we make that turning, I am persuaded that come next spring, the Texas wild flowers will be more beautiful than ever.