Herd Immunity Defined

In the podcast episode linked here: Uncommon Knowledge, you’ll hear an excellent episode about the pandemic.

Two key points: Herd Immunity is defined as when you spread the virus to one person or less—not some miraculous moment when a community is completely free of the disease.

Secondly, the interviewee preaches harder than any actual sermon I’ve heard in years and years and years—and he doesn’t even raise his voice (nor is he a preacher). He says that all the folks claiming to want to protect the poor, the elderly, and the children in pre-pandemic times had their chance to shine during the pandemic—and blew it. Those groups have all suffered the most because of the lockdowns. (If you’re not seeing the connection, try, the people who were going to stay employed during lockdown were all in favor of it, no matter who said what about how negatively it would effect the poor, the elderly, and the children of the world. Way to go, hypocrites!)

Okay. I feel like this second point may turn-off some possible listeners, so I want to be clear. The doctor guy didn’t rub it in anyone’s faces or anything. He’s compelling throughout. I rub it in their faces because I am under the stress that we all are this week as we see what happens to our co-workers come Nov. 1.

Midwestern, Educated, Guilty Perspective About The Pandemic

I transported a COVID patient last night. Besides the clinicians wearing a bit extra PPE, and a few extra considerations on the transport being in play, the event is now routine. But since my last post describing how the disease couldn’t even have existed, much less been considered as a pandemic, until the tools and understanding to identify—for starters—the element “oxygen” were developed, I had some extra time to consider what I was, in fact, implying. Since taking this time, I want to share my conclusion.

My guilty conclusion is: I don’t want the pandemic to end.

Hear me: as a future Gospel preacher, I want the pandemic to end. I want to go back to elementary language and thought. I want everything to be salt and light, not “sodium chloride” and “electromagnetic radiation within the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that is perceived by the human eye”. As a future Gospel preacher, this return to simplicity would make preaching the Gospel simple. Folks would intuitively know that they knew nothing. And with that fact in agreement, we’d be on our way to life-everlasting.

But as a modern man, a man having never come close to “going without”, I have to confess that I don’t want the pandemic to end. Put another way, the pandemic, lethal as it is to some, is only here because of our collective knowledge—just like McDonald’s and Little Caesar’s. Or maybe, powered, heavier than air flight, is a better example of our prowess.

I’m not talking about some “for every good there is a bad” yin-yang nonsense. I’m just stating that anytime “pre-oxygen” would surely be more difficult living than today. We know categorically that anywhere on the globe today that is “pre-oxygen” (there are many, many cultures alive today that have no idea what oxygen is—I’m feeling pretty ignorant myself these days on the subject) is likewise living in conditions that precipitate things like raffles to come to America.

Analogy: Since really beginning to read, I have read some super depressing literature. But I wouldn’t trade literacy for illiteracy.

Keep in mind, no one should have to wear a mask to live, neither should they have to get vaccinated to work. These are crimes against humanity and those in charge will answer for them someday.

But if part of watching Captain Kirk travel the distance from “my mind” to “space” is 728,000 American deaths, then I say so be it. There are worse things than death. And there are better ways of life.

How Would The Bible’s Authors Describe COVID Deaths?

I am so tired of Christians talking about the vaccine and politics and the so-called biblical response to the pandemic and its lunacy. One specific thing that wears me out is the use of the acronym “COVID”.

Did you know the writings that comprise the Bible contain precisely zero acronyms? In meteorological lingo, this mean acronyms are a zero-chance event in the Bible, much like rain on a cloudless afternoon.

Now, the men who preach the Bible today, should, on some level, believe they are called by the LORD to speak his words. On some level, they believe they are speaking divine utterances—not to be added to recorded scripture—but holy/separate speech nonetheless. And so one clear way I use to discern whether the preacher is actually called, or more to the point, whether his sermons contain divine truth, is his use of acronyms.

With this discernment tool, I have found myself stressing to friends and family (in my efforts to test-the-waters of preaching and see how it might look in my future), “People don’t die of COVID. They die because they can’t breathe. We all need to just tell the truth. Do you see how this actually makes you feel different?” I then really rev my engines and continue, “If you say ‘people are dying because they cannot breathe’ then the response at once changes from, ‘we’re in a pandemic,’ or, ‘well, were they vaccinated?’ to, ‘That sounds horrible. Were they in pain?’ And the like. Do you see? There’s an instant humanity-element added. It’s like hopping in a car and heading directly to the room of the diseased person’s grieving family members if we simply lose the acronym. ‘Died of COVID’. Puuh. They died because they couldn’t breathe anymore.”

Okay. So I wanted to likewise sound off this kind of thinking on this blog, but I knew that I was partially talking outta my arse. And so I then took to Chrome with a search of, “how do people die from COVID?” in order to be sure I wasn’t too far off the beaten path.

You should try to find the answer yourself. That’s my first recommendation. It’s actually a tricky “search” to process. Most results are about “how many people die of COVID?” and not our question pertaining to particulars. In any case, see for yourself. Learning facts is important. We’re all altering our entire life over an acronym and we should at least know what the trouble actually is.

Truth be told, before I searched for this question, I searched for “how do people die of AIDS?” The savvy reader may see what my mind was doing. I was taking one acronym and clarifying how “it” (AIDS) was used in our vocabulary and killing people, and then seeing if the answer would help me here.

Short answer: AIDS kills indirectly. Just as we all always have known. You don’t run out of breath from AIDS, you run out of breath from some other disease that was able to take such drastic effect in your defenseless body because AIDS had removed your body’s defenses. And of course with AIDS we’re not just talking breathing problems.

Is COVID the same? In short: no. COVID kills someone by an oxygen problem. Given the many ways the body/blood interact with oxygen and need oxygen, the death may be any number of things. Maybe you can’t breathe, maybe your heart stops, or many any number of other organ failures occur. (This is a very general, but accurate, summary.) So let’s go back to Bible times.

Any available pool of men from which to choose to write the books that became the Bible didn’t know—couldn’t possibly have known—how air is something that can be further subdivided. There was air, there was no air, and then there was probably “bad air”.

(Stick with me. I’m driving it home soon.)

So the authors of our text could not have said, “It’s a lack of oxygen” that killed him. It’s not that the Hebrew/Greek didn’t have a word for oxygen, it’s that that level of knowledge of life on earth and the physical atmosphere was years off from being discovered. Nobody, not in any language, had a word for the particular element we mean by the word oxygen.

I imagine if they were around death a lot, they could tell the difference between what we may call “couldn’t breathe” and “heart attack”, because the obvious symptoms are considerably different. But they certainly couldn’t see (certainly couldn’t communicate) that a “heart attack” driven by lack of “oxygen” was different from a “heart attack” driven by a blockage that a two-thousand year later “cath lab” could’ve cleared right up.

Reader, pay attention here. My post’s question has altered at this point. It’s not, “How would the Bible’s authors describe COVID deaths?” (Answer: they couldn’t do it), it’s now, “Would the Bible’s authors have thought we were in the midst of a pandemic (plague-type situation)?”

And this question need not be answered by me here. My belief is that it need be answered by you, faithful breather.

What to do?

Take away the acronym. It’s certainly uninspired, and it definitely contributes to inhumane living conditions. It may even be obscuring the truth. But that’s for you to decide; that’s for us to decide as oxygen needing people. (Or do we just need air?)

(Let us pray.)

Chappelle Is Toast

I’ve had a change of heart.

I still agree with my last post’s (complicated) assessment, being: the fact that the following sentence will never be uttered reveals why Mr. Chappelle is helping the trans community: “Mr. Chappelle—while thoroughly picking on the trans community—could not but help them—because he is black.” I believe this sentence will never be uttered by anyone of significance, as stated, because I believe the real conflict in our nation (and the world) is between “tranquility” and “morality”. So Mr. Chappelle, in not addressing the immorality of the trans community, is clearly on the “tranquility” side of the conflict—by default.

All that said, where I differ from my opining of a few days ago is that I implied that Mr. Chappelle’s status as a black comedian (which cannot be discussed) will protect him. I have changed my mind. Mr. Chappelle is toast.

So why the change of heart? New facts, or at least a forgotten perspective, have since been revealed to me by my recent reading.

As I think I’ve mentioned, I’m still working through the Great Books of the Western World, via the Great Ideas Program guided reading set. I’m in Montesquieu at the moment, still. (It’s a longer than normal selection.) And I came across this in last nights reading (The Spirit of Laws Book XII, Chap. 5 Of Certain Accusations that require particular Moderation and Prudence):

“The Emperor Theodorus Lascaris attributed his illness to witchcraft. Those who were accused of this crime had no other resource left but to handle a red-hot iron without being hurt. Thus among the Greeks, a person ought to have been a sorcerer to be able to clear himself of the imputation of witchcraft. Such was the excess of their stupidity that to the most dubious crime in the world they joined the most dubious proofs of innocence.”

Don’t mishear me. I’m not saying Mr. Chappelle is being accused of witchcraft. This is clearly no witch hunt. I would even hesitate to say it’s like a witch hunt. But maybe I could be pressed to admit similarities do exist. Instead, the point is that the trans community is out to get Mr. Chappelle and Netflix. It is also clear that the trans community is never going to be satisfied. Moreover, history is full of examples of humans never achieving satiation, no matter how many times they claim they could be. Taking this fact into account, the inevitable consequence is that the accusation will rue the day. Mr. Chappelle is toast. Fini. Finished. Dunsky. Netflix is likewise on the hurt train.

Netflix will likely recover after firing the boss, but we’re operating—not under a time of witch hunts, no—we’re operating within a time of the category that includes witch hunts and “cancel culture”, which Montesquieu rightly and timelessly labels “stupidity.”

To be clear, Mr. Chappelle was stupid, or put more nicely “unwise”, for electing to take on “tranquility” without arming himself with a shield of “morality”. You’ll see soon how his joke only helped the trans community.

All the while, “morality” and “tranquility” battle on. Whose side are you on? In either case, choose your weapons carefully.

Reaction to One Political Conservative’s Reaction to Dave Chappelle’s Latest Joke

As most of you know, I spent my twenties in the Air Force as a pilot. This means that all the things that folks generally do in their twenties, I did while a pilot in the Air Force. Before this, I was a very active little Bible thumper at church, and always working towards being an Eagle Scout at Boy Scouts. Then came college at a small private college, in a super small town whose only bar I never frequented. The picture I’m trying to paint is that I lived a life full of full disclosure. I could, did, and was encouraged to talk about life within all these groups. Real life, you know? Personal things didn’t stay personal. We all just lived together, good, bad, and ugly.

Due to the limited size of groups I was in within the elite pilot training program that is the Air Force’s SUPT, I never really gave much thought to the very different nature of social environment that I had then found myself in as a 23 year old. Put plainly, I hadn’t had my trust broken in life yet, and given the similarly small group size, I just assumed the Air Force would be no different.

Suffice it to say, I was wrong. And I got burned big time.

Time go’d on. Time go’d on.

I became known as a guy who wasn’t “one of the guys”. The fellas liked me and all, but they knew that I wouldn’t put up with much teasing (said I had “thin skin”) and they knew that I wouldn’t dish it out much either.

One day, a mentor figure saw my consternation (and I saw he saw) and so I finally asked him for help. He sat me down and answered my confusion by saying, “Pete. It just makes people more comfortable when they know that they can pick on you and that you’re willing to pick on them. Nobody means anything by it. But when you don’t join in, it feels off, and makes us nervous. You know we all really like you, right? We’re just picking on you a bit extra because we like your reaction so much. So if you want, feel free to give it back and then we’ll eventually get to a happy medium and all will be well.”

I was pretty sure then, and am more sure now, that this type of moment is rare. And so I considered it and then happily consented. And all was well.

The point of this trip down memory lane is to demonstrate that I know the concept that being picked on (a seemingly negative event) can actually be proof of a positive and healthy relationship. So, when Andrew Sullivan’s piece on Chappelle’s controversial joke landed, “Dave Chappelle Is Right, Isn’t He?”, I was intrigued and gave it a read.

In short, Mr. Sullivan claims that, much like my mentor, Mr. Chappelle, in making his joke, is doing the trans community a solid by picking on them. Mr. Sullivan argues that it’s good for the trans folk to be picked on, argues that it proves they’re approved.

Like my personal situation, I have to agree that Mr. Sullivan is right that Mr. Chappelle is doing the trans community a favor by directly, and with surgical precision, picking on them. (Make no mistake, Chappelle picks on the trans community.)

But I cannot agree that anything meaningful is taking place. The most compelling social/political problem in America and the West today (and given the hegemonic value of America—in the world today) is people valuing “social justice” and “equity” and “diversity” and “equality” and “inclusivity” above morality. It’s this replacement of core values that’s the problem, not one particular social group’s standing in society. Here’s how I know.

There is one little sentence that can be uttered which brings the whole house down, one little claim that shakes the foundation to the core. One minor comment that brings to the surface the true nature of the social/political problems our nation faces.

It’s arguable that Dave Chappelle is the greatest living comedian. It’s definitely true that he is on the leading edge—a bonafide influencer of the highest order—of Western Culture. But these two facts, powerful as they sound, don’t negate the claim I’m still preambling and which will not disappoint.

Ready? (I’m excited for you.)

“Dave Chappelle’s joke ultimately is not like my mentor’s advice, nor like Mr. Sullivan’s assessment, because Dave Chappelle is black.

Of course he can safely say the joke. To pick on Mr. Chappelle will only earn you the label “racist”.

If you think Mr. Chappelle’s joke could do anything but help the trans community, that’s your mistake. A joke which hurts the trans community is like Muslim Imams performing wedding ceremonies for gays. It just ain’t happening. The only thing that Mr. Chappelle’s joke has influenced is the amount of confusion.

It’s not confusion we’re after, it’s alignment. It’s integrity.

My mentor helped me because he had spent years developing himself into someone all considered worthy from whom to seek social advice. So when I was stuck, I sought help, sought wisdom from him, regarding how to navigate a confusing social environment.

On the other hand, the trans community is not interested in social advice. They feign to seek social approval—and from a culture which has so far shown nothing short of total willingness to re-center the culture on “social/political tranquility” instead of “moral excellence”.

Does Mr. Sullivan have pithy distillation power on Mr. Chappelle’s inverse goal? Sure. Does Mr. Sullivan (and other erudite pop culture commenters) make the clever, pragmatic observation that he supposes he does? Nope.

Mr. Chappelle doesn’t get cancelled because he’s black.

Final proof: Anyone see Jerry Seinfeld addressing the trans community like Mr. Chappelle does? Anyone see Brad Pitt jumping on the Chappelle Show? Anyone see Leonardo Dicaprio or Christian Bale or George Clooney or Steven Spielberg or Craig, Daniel Craig signing a petition with Mr. Chappelle? No. No, we don’t. We do not see these demi-gods doing these things. And we won’t either. Why not? Because the real fight between social/political tranquility and moral excellence is ongoing and they’re hedging their bets.

If you think Mr. Chappelle’s joke is helping the trans community, you’re right.

Conversely, if you think the trans individuals need help, you’re right.

God Did Not Write the Bible

This post is driven by that same Wednesday night church experience last week behind that other post about choosing a home church. As a refresher, the Baptists had a new children’s winter Bible Study and through it, on day one, lesson one were teaching the kids that, “God wrote the Bible.” In fairness, the pastor quickly clarified or tempered this claim with something like, “…using men…” But my point remains. God did not write the Bible. Moreover and more to the point, no Baptist, alive, dead, or yet-to-be even believes that God wrote the Bible. So why teach a child that?

I’m actually a little at a loss on the topic overall, these days. Why even say, “The Bible is inspired by God?” Or, “The Bible is God-breathed?” I’m totally fine with quoting scripture as in, “In Peter’s second letter he (Peter) says the writings we consider as the Bible are…” But, if we’re talking amongst ourselves (Christians to Christians), the thing being communicated is known and part of the “Christian-ness”. It’s like two basketball players describing that there is air inside a basketball.

And if we’re not talking to Christians, then we’re telling a person who doesn’t believe in an admittedly invisible being that that self-same unseen being wrote a very visible book which is most evidently written by humans.

What, then, shall we say? Start with, “The Bible is coherent.” We Christians believe that both the Christian and the non-Christian/pagan/heathen can all understand the contents. No different than Romeo and Juliet or the Constitution of the United States of America. So start there.

Scrap all the virtue-signaling and holier-than-thou talk and just tell the truth. Say true sentences that are defensible to their core. Was the Bible written by God? I answer as a Holy Spirit filled follower of Jesus Christ and a literate human, “No.”

Response to Castro’s “Americans Don’t Know Who Latinos Are” New Yorker Podcast

Mr. Castro was interviewed on the “New Yorker” podcast the other day. This title was very provocative to me, so I gave it a listen as I exercised. It’s only 20min long.

The main charge he makes to prove his thesis is, “Can you name three latinos who had had a significant impact in American history?” He explains that he asked this to a very high placed school administrator.

The problem with the exchange, as described in the interview, is that Castro doesn’t account for the current political climate as he reveals that the administrator sheepishly admitted that he couldn’t.

Conversation 101: Whoever is asking the question has the power. Read your Bible if you don’t believe me. If you are in an important conversation and asked a question, answer with a question. If it’s a good question, the momentum will shift in your favor.

The administrator, by answering the question, already loses. Instead, he need have—and this can be done charismatically if need be—only flipped the question on Castro and asked, “Can you?” And then when Mr. Castro posits the name, the administrator (or you or me) interrupts as he takes notes slowly, to say, “Excuse me, but could you go slower. What did he do? Uh-huh. Got it. Yeah. Funny how I never heard of him. Must’ve been some genius.”

On this specific topic, the truth is—and all Americans know this deep down—Latinos don’t know who Americans are. And most Latinos probably never will.

Americans do not care about skin color. Americans do not care about ancestry. Americans do not care about how much hardship you overcame. Americans do not care about your current struggles. Americans do not care about your hopes and dreams. Americans do not care about Hollywood representation. Americans do not care about Latinos. Americans do not care about Blacks. Americans do not care about Whites.

Americans are not superficial. Americans are not trendy, and they are not trending. Americans cannot be cancelled. Americans cannot give up. Americans do not have DNA. Americans do not have an accent, they do not have a dialect.

Americans do not have mothers. Americans do not have fathers. Humans cannot create an American anymore than we can create purple mountain majesty.

Americans don’t know who Latinos are? Wrong, Sir. Wrong.

You want me to name three Latinos who had a significant impact on America? While I’m thinking, can you name three Americans who you don’t consider as your personal heroes?

The only people who have a significant impact on America are Americans. Next question.

A Baptist, a Charismatic, and a Baby Walk Into a Bar…

…actually it was just a walk around the neighborhood. But picture it with me, because the setting is important. It’s a small town, about an hour from the major metropolitan city center. It could be any number of these type of towns. Mostly rural, but that doesn’t mean folks don’t have all the markings of city life, from fancy cars to fancy ideas.

My wife likes the local charismatic church, as does my step-son. (I choose the word “like” over others intentionally, as any Baptist should. So mark that.) It’s hard not to like the church. On Wednesday nights the foyer is lit like a nightclub, and the parking is full like a bowling alley’s on league play.

I had just arrived after ducking out of the Baptist church’s Wednesday night programming early, that is, when the games started. Baptists have recently switched from AWANA to “Kid’s For Truth” and this particular Baptist church was on its first effort with the new program. Suffice it to say, the night did not go well. Lots of scrambling, lots of evidence of lack of preparation. Lots of scapegoating that it was the “new programs” fault that things were not running smoothly.

This morning then—starting last night really—my wife and I chatted about the different experiences I had as we continue to seek out a church home. I love these types of conversations and discussions, and my wife enjoys them enough to indulge me.

Without walking you through the hour long chat moment-by-moment, though that was an eye-opening experience itself, I want to give you an analogy which captures the result, or where we landed.

The mystery of the modern protestant church is best likened to two engineering schools that teach from one specific written curriculum how to build one specific item—boats.

Now imagine that one of the schools is packed with students and that the professors all believe they are teaching how to build boats. Moreover, all the students really feel like they are learning how to build boats—the professor’s all agree—and they talk all the time about boats and their design and construction.

But they never build boats.

Mind you, no one needs any boats. It’s not like there are customers calling to ask, “Where’s my boat?” That’s just not happening. What is happening, to repeat, is there is a school which uses one specific written curriculum to teach how to build boats, there are professors teaching how to build boats, and there are paying students believing that they know how to build boats. All this, but no actual boats.

This is the first school.

The second school, using the exact same curriculum, has trouble finding professors—often resorting to retired professors and temporary professors—but they teach the curriculum to the letter. A person could build a very good boat based on their teaching. Regarding students, there are only non-traditional (25+ year olds) who actually are just auditing the course. Every once in a while, a real student shows up and pays to learn, but they often quit attending and ultimately (and quietly) stop submitting assignments. The older auditing students happily provide the materials for the boats—often one-upping each other in quality of supplies—but the students just seem to need other students around and so they keep quitting when they realize that they are the only one in the school.

So again, like the first school, there are no boats being built.

And like the other school, the written curriculum is there. There are capable, if not likeable and consistent, professors. Different than the first school, at this school there are even all the necessary supplies and tools, to build the boats, but the trouble is there are no students—and so no boats.

Now enters the problem. In what everyone sees retrospectively as a “should’ve known” moment, a bizarrely miraculous but terrible event occurs. Everybody, all people—not just students of those two aforementioned schools—fall into their own personal sink hole of varying sizes that contains themself and everything they have ever built. If one man built a lego set, it’s in their sink hole. If another built a paper airplane, it’s there. Many individuals have many items. Some have none. If someone built their house, the house is in the sink-hole. If a person built a boat, they have their boat. If a baby built nothing, there is a rather small hole with just a baby (probably crying). You get the picture.

There is no way out of these sink holes. No ladder can reach the top. No one is above who can throw down a rope. No flying machine has fuel. Everyone is stuck by themselves with whatever they built.

Then it starts to rain with no sign of stopping.

As this rather precarious and new, if not oddly predictable, situation continues to unfold, suddenly, the entire planet, and all its occupants, all its plants, everything instantly burns up. Nothing is left.

Finally, everyone gains awareness that they are still alive. Some are amongst a trash fire, unaware, and never becoming aware, that any change to their misery is possible. Others find themselves in what words cannot quite describe, but when pressed maybe something like blissful communion with what feels like an old friend and mentor, communion that has an odd mixture of familiarity and constant newness and overall is simply awe-inspiring.

That’s it. That’s the analogy.


In short, for my dad and readers like him who feel they want to understand but aren’t there yet, I’m saying the problem with church-shopping is that the church doesn’t direct where we end up after the fire.

My Second Anniversary

Nearly two years ago I posted, while on my honeymoon, an update to the classic children’s tale “Henny Penny”. You know the one. It’s where the chicken gets a whole line of animals to follow it as it claims the sky is falling—that is, until Foxy Woxy comes along and takes over as leader and slaughters them one by one. Remember?

It’s on my mind tonight again for two reasons. Firstly, because I chatted with a policemen at the HyVee where I was picking flowers and a card (and candle) for the occasion. This then reminded me that, secondly, last week Peggy Noonan wrote a Henny Penny-esque column that I had meant to respond to here.

Mrs. Noonan is a force, that’s for sure. She won’t stand the test of time, but she is compelling for today. It’s not that she writes poorly that’s the problem. It’s that she writes in a way that seems to indicate she really understands the word on the street. Her “M.O.” seems to be pinpointing the word on “main street” and then giving it context. But like most folks, since Trump, she’s lost the pulse.

The specific point of hers that I’m referring to, in her “Lost Thread” column, is the part about how police used to be respected and how now there is no respect. Instead, she points out, there are actual calls to defund them etc.

Before joining the Air Force, I had entertained the notion of being a policeman. And this, despite having seen “Wayne’s World” and laughing with the jokes, “[sniff sniff] Definitely a pork product.” Can you believe it?

You see, Peggy Noonan is no different than the other hype-sters. How could she be? The sky is not falling. And yet she says it is. She says the very men who have sworn to protect and serve are today under a newer and stronger attack than ever before.

It’s all hype. They are not. Police have never been popular.

Hear me clearly. When I say, “Police have never been popular,” I am not wrong. Nor am I able to be persuaded away from my position. This is because I am not basing my position on facts, I am basing it on belief.

The police are only now under attack? Give me a break. Never in human history have people wanted to submit their actions to judgement or consequence. This law of nature is behind how police barely exist in history. Who would even want to get in a criminals way? It’s a nearly unreasonable profession.

Mrs. Noonan has it all wrong. The police have never been popular. And there isn’t enough data in the universe for her or anyone to use which would prove otherwise. Sorry, Ms. Penny. The sky isn’t falling.

The right perspective is that life is hard—if you’re hellbent on living as a man and not an animal.