Evictions and God

Hello, God.

The chart I showed You a while back was too confusing. It was counterintuitive, as we say. That means that how you instinctively understand something is actually incorrect. Sorry if You already know what that means, I’m never sure with You.

Anyway, if the bars in a bar chart about a catastrophe descend in height, mostly anybody would assume the catastrophe must be receding, but in the case of the chart I showed You, that assumption would be dead wrong. So here’s a better one. It shows, essentially, cumulative totals of Massachusetts unemployment claims.

Continued claims are, I’m guessing, unemployment claims that are two weeks old or older.  So, as You can see, that number has increased drastically, from about 80,000 on February 22 to almost 570,000 as of April 25.

How will people who have lost their incomes pay their rent or mortgages, utilities, health insurance, car insurance, food bills, clothing bills for growing children, and other basic expenses? If they can’t, what then? Do we think they will agree to politely shrivel up and blow away?

Look. See that, down in the right-hand corner?

Chart has been cut down from output of https://oui.doleta.gov/unemploy/claims.asp/.

That’s our unemployment rate. Almost 16%. In my work experience of the last 45 years, things get tough when that rate hits 7 or 8%. That’s when nobody is hiring. Nothing moves. And some news outlets are talking about a possible 30% unemployment rate.

The problem I am having is that I don’t know how to pray to You about this. To me, there is no difference between these prayers:

Almighty and most merciful God, we remember before you
all poor and neglected persons whom it would be easy for us
to forget: the homeless and the destitute, the old and the sick,
and all who have none to care for them. Help us to heal those
who are broken in body or spirit, and to turn their sorrow
into joy. Grant this, Father, for the love of your Son, who for
our sake became poor, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Oh God, help! We are so scared and confused about what’s going on! Help us dear Lord to take care of our brothers and sisters who are suffering and alone! In Jesus’ name, a-men!

The stylistic difference is immaterial. Both prayers assume that, because we have appealed to You, You will do something different.

But that’s so obviously a lie.

A man writing a letter to his friends mentioned some people and said I want them to feel encouraged and to be united in love, so that they can understand confidently, and have the knowledge of God’s mystery: Christ himself, in whom all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden.

That’s a much better idea about You. It states the obvious: You are mysterious. Then it adds that Your mystery is a person: Christ, in whom wisdom and knowledge are hidden.

These are tangled, intriguing ideas. I prefer them to oversimplification. So no, You are not understandable and we don’t have to pretend that You are. We don’t have to talk to You as if we know how You will behave. I only hang out with You because (1) I can’t help it, it’s built into me, and (2) I hope that built into You is goodness.

I won’t petition You to save the people from being put into the street. That will happen no matter what.

May 14, 2020 COVID-19 Infections and Deaths

GlobalUnited StatesMassachusetts
COVID-19 Infections4,258,6661,407,53182,182
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