Wednesday, April 29, 2020


Just when you thought 2020 couldn't get any stranger, the Pentagon goes and releases UFO tapes.


I mean, I've liked to believe that there is life out there somewhere.  If not, it would seem like such a waste of such a vast creation.

I would also hope that if there is another creation out there somewhere, that they would have done much better than us.  That they could have avoided the temptations and struggles that we fell so prey to.

But with all that has happened this year, it seems like such a strange turn of events.  I know better than to ask "what next," but it seems pretty inevitable, you know?

I mean, it's been a crazy year, who knows where we go from here.

Maybe, just hopefully, it will be something more light like this.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Essential Church

In moving, one of the things we were most looking forward to was finding a good church home and getting involved.  To us, it represented one of the quickest ways to start finding friends up here in Indiana.  It was a way to meet people our age, in a similar life situation and get to know them. It was a place our kids would meet other kids their age and see who they might be going to school with.  I suspect for many, beyond the theological strengthening and encouragement, this social aspect is one of the great draws to joining a local body.

Of course, no one expects a global pandemic.  It has certainly prevented us from physically attending local services and meeting everyone like we had hoped.

And yet, in many ways, we feel more connected to our churches than before.

Every Sunday, now, we are watching two services and participating in a host of activities throughout the week.  We watch the service from Wills Point where we had been attending in Texas, keeping in touch with our church family there.  And we have found the church that we will be joining here in Brownsburg and are participating in their services and in their "welcome" meetings.

Finding a church in Brownsburg was surprisingly easy for us.  We chose a church based on their response to the Covid-19 pandemic.  How they were distributing PPE, food, and other necessities.  How they had actually increased their connection with their congregants by offering additional prayer services, worship hours, and devotionals online.  Admittedly, with their existing online presence, they were probably better prepared than most to make the transition, but they still made the most of it, making sure their people still felt like they could be connected to the church and connected to service.

Stonepoint in Wills Point did the same, adding a Family Game night, a morning prayer time, a morning song service, etc.

Where others saw an insurmountable obstacle, they found an opportunity to extend their reach.

And I would expect many others are finding churches in the same way - based on their response to this crisis.  I think we could see a great revival coming out of this time, all dependent on how the church acts now.

Here's why:

Google searches on prayer skyrocketed in March 2020.

The Bible publishing industry is seeing a Coronavirus boom.

Church attendance, though virtually, is up.

To the point of overwhelming servers.

There are people out there seeking for answers, seeking comfort, seeking hope.  This shouldn't be surprising; it happens in times of national crisis.  We saw it after 9/11, for example.

What matters is what we do now.

Will this be an opportunity to proclaim truth, to spread hope, and to show mercy?  Or will it be a breeding ground for division?

For example, is your church using this time to do all it can to reach the people around it?  Has it adapted and put out video messages on social media and other platforms?  Is it sending out words of comfort via email or snail mail?  Is it continuing to be active in meeting the needs of the community?  If it has a kitchen, is it cooking and sending out meals to those that need it?  Is it showing that it cares for the population around it by following social distancing guidelines?

Is it like the church in New Jersey that launched a nation wide local grocery delivery service?

Is it like the church in Alabama that is administering Covid-19 tests?

Or, instead, has it flaunted social distancing guidelines and held in person services anyways?  Has it complained about the government infringing on its rights?  Has it refused to learn new technology?  Has it simply been inactive during this time?

We've started talking about everything in this time as either essential or non-essential.  Here's the hard question during this time - is your church essential to your community?  Or has it become non-essential?

If your church disappeared tomorrow, would anyone miss it, beyond the people who show up on Sundays?

Would anyone even notice it was gone?

Here is the reality: In North America, Church has been considered ‘non-essential’ for quite some time, whether we’re willing to admit it or not. Even in the ‘Bible Belt,’ trends are not just moving post-Christian, they are post-Christian.

I would propose that the churches that will grow from this, the churches that will see revival are the ones that have remained essential to their communities.  Essential to the lives of those people that are around them, whether they are members or not.

They are the ones that have gone through great changes in this time to make sure they are still reaching and comforting those around them.

And it's those changes that we will need to keep when things get back to "normal," whatever that looks like.  I hope Stonepoint keeps the family game night, perhaps now virtually and on campus (or even just virutally.  I hope Connection Pointe keeps the Thursday song service. Keep the morning devotionals rotating through staff and leadership.  Keep the Monday morning prayer time, likewise.

Why not?

What would be the argument against it?

When adjusting how our churches operate, the question is not, ‘How do we make the future look as much like the past as possible?’
Instead, we should be looking for ways in which we can have the greatest reach and impact.  The greatest ways we can make ourselves essential.

Because if we come through this looking exactly like we did before, then we've failed.

Lord, let that not be said of us.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Be Ingenious

It's been easy to focus on what has been cancelled, shut down, and prohibited in this season.  To think of all the things we can no longer do, places we can no longer go, things we can no longer buy.  To view so much as non-essential and really re-evaluate what is essential.

For non-essential businesses especially, it can be very easy to focus on the negative.  The worries, the frustrations, the hurts.  

Every once and a while, though, you find one that gets ingenious.

In Brownsburg, we get a weekly paper in the mailbox, containing local news and interests, etc.  It's been fun to get to know the community and learn as much as possible in a time when it's hard to get out there and actually do so.  One column they have is on local food recommendations.  Now it has turned into where to get takeout from.  

What we discovered this past weekend was the Royal Theater in Danville, IN.

Here is a business in an industry that has been hit particularly hard.  Not allowed to be open, no new films coming out, no one able to go to the theater to watch.  And yet, this theater had a great spark of an idea.

This theater took its non-essential business and focused on what it could do in an essential time - sell food.

For several nights a week, the theater has been open to sell take out concessions.  Popcorn, drinks, candy.  Whatever you would need to make a home movie night a little more like a theater experience.  You can purchase outside or inside and pick it up to take home (or just enjoy in the car).

They are promoting it on their Facebook page and suggesting movies to watch, connecting with things like the Lionsgate movie of the week on Youtube.  Really engaging their customer base.

It was something that caught our eye, and captured our attention, so of course we went and got some for our Lord of the Rings marathon this past weekend.  And we'll be going back this week.  

It's an ingenious bit of business, making an opportunity when there seems to be none.  Moving from non-essential to essential by their particular business focus.  They are even selling cloth masks in the lobby (got a couple of those for the kids as well).

This is an example of how we get through this kind of crisis.  How businesses, how churches, how individuals get through seasons of great change - by adapting and changing with them.

Hopefully, as things are starting to open back up, and as they will not be immediately springing back to normal as we might hope, we can see more of this type of ingenuity out there.

More on this tomorrow...

Friday, April 24, 2020

Just Wear The Mask

Wednesday, April 22, 2020, Judge Lina Higdalgo ordered residents of Harris County above the age of 10 years old to wear a mask or mouth and nose covering when going outside the home.  The order will begin Monday, April 27, 2020 and lasts for 30 days. Non-compliance can carry a fine.

This makes Harris County the latest Texas county to impose a mask wearing requirement.  It is a measure designed to help ease the transition back into opening things back up, while also protecting us from further spread of the virus.

Put simply, it is the absolute least we can do to prevent the continued spread of Covid-19.

And people of course are already losing their minds about it.

It's being compared to Sharia law.  Lawsuits are being filed.

The Houston Police Officer's Union is seeking an opinion on the legality of the order and likely will not enforce it.

HPOU's response to Judge Hidalgo's draconian mask order: "Now we want to be very clear, the Houston Police Officers’...
Posted by Houston Police Officers' Union on Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Texas Representative Briscoe Cain has written a letter urging that the stay at home order be lifted and that the "ridiculous order" for masks be lifted.

Today, I sent the following letter to Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo. It’s time we stop with any power grabs and open Texas up for business.
Posted by Briscoe Cain on Wednesday, April 22, 2020

All because of a requirement to wear face protection.

Here's what we know - wearing a face and nose covering is the easiest way to help prevent transmission of Covid-19.  Just by covering your face and nose with a cloth, whether that be a cloth mask, a scarf, or a bandana, you can help significantly reduce the likelihood of transmission to next to nothing.

Covid-19 is thought to spread mainly through close contact from person-to-person in respiratory droplets from someone who is infected. This means droplets from coughs, from sneezes, from talking in a close proximity (i.e. within 6 feet). It can be spread by people not showing symptoms at the time.

By covering your mouth and nose with a cloth cover, you are lessening the likelihood of droplet transmission.

That’s it. The mask isn’t designed to prevent you from catching it. It's not some super protection for you.

It’s designed to prevent you from spreading it. And if everyone is wearing a mask, the likelihood of transmission plummets. Between two people wearing masks it can fall to 1.5%.

As we start opening the country back up, masks are going to be a new reality for a while. If you want to get out to non-essential businesses, and to be able to open things back up safely, masks, social distancing (6 foot gaps), and enhanced cleaning will be the way we do that.

It really is the easiest thing you can do to help protect the people around you.

And if you can’t even do that, or worse, if you refuse to do that, what does it say about you?

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Quarantine Dangers - Gaslighting

In 1944, MGM released a new motion picture entitled Gaslight, starring Charles Boyer, Ingrid Bergman, Joseph Cotten, and a very young Angela Lansbury debuting in a particularly wicked role.  The film was based on a 1938 play by Patrick Hamilton entitled Gas Light and was the subject of a previous British film in 1940.

Now, it is impossible to talk about Gaslight and its relevance today without spoiling it, so please forgive me.  It is an incredible film and well worth the watch, so if you want to pause this and go watch the film and come back, I understand.

In the film, Bergman plays Paula, the niece of a world famous opera singer.  When Paula is 14, she witnesses her aunt's murder and interrupts the murder's attempt to steal a set of priceless jewels.  Paula is sent to Italy to study opera and grow.  Years later, she meets and marries Gregory Anton, played by Charles Boyer, and moves back into her aunt's old townhome at No. 9 Thornton Square with her new husband.  Here, things take a turn for the bizarre.  She seems to start forgetting things.  She hears footsteps in the attic, when no one else does.  The gas lights start to dim and flicker, though no one else notices (hence the name of the film).  Pictures disappear from the wall.  Because of this, Gregory keeps her isolated at home, implying he is doing so for her own good.

Paula eventually discovers that her husband is not what he seems.  He is really Sergis Bauer, her aunt's murderer, and he has been causing all of the bizarre activities and blaming them on Paula.  He removed the pictures.  He is dimming the gas lights.  He is searching the attic for the jewels he left behind all those years ago.

This underlying theme of the film has come to be referred to as gaslighting.  A form of psychological abuse in which the victim is gradually manipulated into doubting his or her own sanity.  It is a particular tool of narcissists, who use it to continually position themselves in the right and make their opponents doubt themselves.

Gaslighting requires a victimizer or group of victimizers and a victim or group of victims, and depends on the victimizer convincing the victim that their thinking is distorted and that the victimizer’s thinking is correct and true. It creates cognitive dissonance in the victim, making them question their own thinking, perception, and reality testing, leading to low self-esteem, and may facilitate confusion, anxiety, depression, and even psychosis. It is designed to foster a dependency on the victimizer, a learned helplessness making the victim more susceptible to the victimizer’s control.

It generally plays out over time, through increasing doubts in the victim’s thinking or perception.

I raise this discussion because this is the most recent form of danger we are seeing in this quarantine.  Large scale gaslighting regarding the Covid-19 pandemic.

It's in that insidious logic that says only X amount of people died, so Covid-19 can't have been all that serious, right?  Or that we didn't overrun the hospitals or use all the ventilators necessary, so the stay at home orders were unnecessary, right?

It's in the President rewriting his position on and his handling of the outbreak repeatedly.

It's behind the Fire Fauci movement.  In Trump saying the anti-stay at home protestors are practicing social distancing.

It's in the memes that overplay the comorbidity issues that we are seeing.  You know the ones.  The ones that are talking about a car crash victim showing up at the hospital and being treated as having died of Covid-19.

It's saying Covid-19 is just the flu.

Look, I'm not trying to say we have issues that need to be dealt with, questions that need answered about comorbidity, about true mortality rates, and about how to balance the disease and the economy on a global scale.

But if you are seeing news items or shared posts downplaying the severity of the virus and effectively saying our protective measures were not needed, you are being gaslighted.  Because we can measure the impact the disease has had in fatalities.  We can hear the first hand accounts of the severity of some of the symptoms.  We know it is more serious than the seasonal flu.

Arm yourself.  Gaslighting works because it makes you doubt what you know to be true.  To combat it, make sure you have verifiable, true information.  Get your news from sources that are known to be fair and true.  Stay up to date on statistics from first hand sources like the CDC and the WHO.

Please note, though, that facts and truth are not going to change someone who is engaging in gaslighting.  They will not make them back down.  You will not get that cathartic moment where the manipulator gets their comeuppance.  This is particularly true of narcissists, who will continually dig in their heels and find new ways to save face.

Being armed with the truth is more about staying sane yourself and recognizing the manipulation when it is occurring.

Stay safe out there.

"In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality, was tacitly denied by their philosophy. The heresy of heresies was common sense. And what was terrifying was not that they would kill you for thinking otherwise, but that they might be right. For, after all, how do we know that two and two make four? Or that the force of gravity works? Or that the past is unchangeable? If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable – what then?"
1984, George Orwell

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Earth Day @ 50

Today marks the fiftieth celebration of Earth Day.  The first celebrations took place in two thousand colleges and universities, primary and secondary schools, and hundreds of communities across the United States.  It now is observed in 192 countries, and coordinated by the nonprofit Earth Day Network, chaired by the first Earth Day 1970 organizer Denis Hayes.  According to Hays, Earth Day is now "the largest secular holiday in the world, celebrated by more than a billion people every year."

Hays created Earth Day in response to the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill, which spewed more than three million gallons of oil, resulting in an 800 square-mile oil slick he viewed by plane.  The day is to demonstrate our commitment to environmental protection.  Our commitment to be good stewards of the Earth.

This year, more than ever, we should see the impact that we can make in that regard.  How our actions (or in this case inaction) can impact the world around us.  And improve things for the better.

With us all in quarantine, we are seeing truly remarkable reports of environmental improvement around the world.  Our Earth is getting wilder - and cleaner.  Compared to the previous five years, March air pollution is down 46% in Paris, 35% in Bengaluru, India, 38% in Sydney, 29% in Los Angeles, 26% in Rio de Janeiro and 9% in Durban, South Africa, NASA measurements show.  Smog has stopped choking New Delhi, one of the most polluted cities in the world, and Indians have views of the skyline that they have not seen before.  Nitrogen dioxide pollution in the US northeast is down 30%.

The Earth is improving because we are not out in it.  Think about that for a while.

I know people who have thought that God sent COVID-19 to slow us down, to get our attention, to put families back together.  What if he sent it to heal His creation?  To fix the damage we have done as poor stewards of His creation?

This season is rough, no doubt, but it should be causing us to reflect and ask these questions.  I know everyone wants things to go back to normal, but if everything goes back exactly like it was before, then we've failed.  There are lessons to be learned from this and areas for us to improve when we start again.  How we steward the world around us should be one.

On this Earth Day, we should remember that we can make a difference.  We're seeing it all around us in this time.  What kind of difference we make when this is over is up to us.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Quarantine Dangers - Misinformation

"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."
Mark Twain

Of all the dangers on social media today, mis- and dis-information is running rampant.  Insidiously, such posts focus on a piece of true information to then what "feels" true.  It's where we get the famous "alternative" facts.

It's even where we get the idea that the mainstream media can no longer be trusted.  That is a dis-information campaign on a massive scale and at the highest levels that shows a fundamental misunderstanding of how the news works.  Our mainstream media sources are generally trustworthy, though it is important to know where their bias lies.  And no, it is generally not as large of a bias you would imagine.  It is also important to remember that their primary bias is towards "sensationalism, conflict, and laziness," as John Stewart would put it, not towards any political end.  Meaning, the news needs ratings, especially now more than ever and the maxims of "if it bleeds, it leads" and "sex sells" remain true.

And because we don't trust traditional news sources, we're putting out half-truths and lies from a variety of disreputable sources because the information they provide sounds true to us.  We don't fact check, we don't double-check sources, we don't scrutinize their claims.

This helps spread conspiracy theories as in the previous post and spread misinformation.

A lot of what we are sharing is based on anecdotal evidence and usually generic anecdotal evidence at that.  A "NY doctor" has shared, "French doctors" are sharing...  No names, no sources.  Just the secret piece of information that everyone else is missing.  Everyone else is overlooking.

At this point, if you are sharing something that seems like everyone else is ignoring, that no one else is telling the truth, or will dare to speak about, then you are spreading a lie.

For example, let's talk about hydroxy chloroquine and azithromycin.  The two drugs that everyone is sharing as the cure for Covid-19.  Yes, there is anecdotal evidence that some patients have improved with such treatment.  However, clinical trials of the drug have just started and we do not have enough evidence to show that it is an effective treatment for a broad population.  Anecdotes start the process, they are not the end.  We need hard, scientific data to be able to approve this treatment for the general population.  Because the historic evidence that we have is that the drug has not been effective against viral illnesses and carries potentially lethal cardiac consequences.  Further, the run on the drug caused by the anecdotal sharing is making it more difficult to obtain for the communities that depend on the drug.

The other anecdotal evidence being shared relates to hospital usage.  Reports that hospitals are near empty or are not seeing the number of Covid-19 cases expected.  You should recognize there is a bit of chicken and the egg here.  The cases are likely lower due to the shelter in place requirements and would be greater if everything was business as usual.  Likewise, reports that individual hospitals or individual wards are near empty only reveals the impact for one particular location, not the greater impact on your area, state, or the country.  If you want hard numbers, go to  This is the organization that the big entities (Morgan Stanley, PWC, Dell, HP, the BBC, the UK, parts of the UN, etc.) are using to get their data.

Every sharing hard numbers can be misleading, if you are not getting information from a trustworthy source like the one above.  Let's take an example showing how statistics are being manipulated right now, particularly with a comparison between H1N1 and Covid-19.  There are people that are pointing out that H1N1 killed 284,000 people worldwide and we didn't freak out then.  That only reveals part of the story.  H1N1 killed 284,000 people over 19 months.   Covid-19 has killed 168,906 people worldwide so far in just three months.  H1N1 killed over 12,000 Americans, Covid-19 has killed just over 42,000 Americans, already and the number continues to climb.

It can seem overwhelming.  I'm sure a lot of this is being shared a bit recklessly.  Without intent, but without research or confirmation.  It may have started as dis-information, that is the original poster wanted to create confusion or to lead away from trustworthy information.  But the vast majority of what is going on online is just people trying to latch on to some answer.  To find some hope of a way out of this.

So what can we do?

A few things, actually.

Before you share anything, before you post about the disease, the effects, the solutions

  1. Verify the source - verify where the information is coming from. Is it from a major, well known source?  Is the source historically trustworthy?  Can you actually find the root source of the information?  Do they attribute and cite?  
  2. Go to the root - when at all possible, avoid quoting from news outlets.  Instead post information from the World Health Organization.  The CDC.  From Worldometers above.  Go to the people with the data.
  3. Think through what you are posting -  "Before you speak ask yourself if what you are going to say is true, is kind, is necessary, is helpful. If the answer is no, maybe what you are about to say should be left unsaid." Bernard Meltzer.  Read through what you post.  If you cannot affirmatively prove it is true, if you can not affirmatively show the information helpful, if it is unkind, don't post.  We sadly have far to many people who have been commanded to be true, to be helpful, to be kind who are ignoring those commandments because they believe their side is right.

As if there were sides at all in this issue.

We'll get through this, but only together.  This quarantine time will either be a great opportunity for growth or it will tear us farther apart.

If you are participating in the misinformation campaign, even unwittingly, you're just contributing to the fracture.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Quarantine Dangers - Conspiracy Theories

"Conspiracy is the myth of the modern age."

Today begins a series on the dangers that are facing us in a quarantine age.  Beyond the virus, the dangers we are creating for ourselves, informing how we respond to this crisis and how we interact with those around us.

These are dangers that are growing via social media, in particular.  We're at home, we are generally connected for far too much of the day, and we are looking for ways to explain what we are going through.

Think about it, myths existed to explain the world around us.  They told how the world was created, why it rained, how the sun rose and where it went, etc.  They even explained why bad things happened, either as a punishment from the gods or as a result of a god's actions.

When we feel powerless, when we feel out of control, we come up with an explanation for it.  And the most obvious way we explain the world around us today is through conspiracy theories.  The "Men in Black."  Deep-state government.  George Soros.  The Koch Brothers.  The Clinton Assassinations.  The anti-vaccination movement.  9-11 was an inside job.  And so on, and so on.

All based on emotion rather than fact.  All selectively choosing information, ignoring other facts and science, and reacting based on what feels correct.  What fits the narrative that they have created.

Right now, conspiracy is running rampant.

The coronavirus was created in a Chinese lab and was leaked or intentionally released.  Bill Gates created and released the virus so he can profit from the vaccine he is creating.  The future vaccine for this virus will contain a microchip that will be the Mark of the Beast.  The virus deaths are being exaggerated and the media is lying to us regarding the severity as part of a deep state plot to perform a test run of taking over the country and subjecting us to martial law and stealing our rights.


Some of these take the smallest piece of fact and stretch it to the maximum extent possible. They then generate an often outlandish tale of good and evil.  That's really the thing - conspiracies help us make things orderly.  They get there in an overly complicated way, but they are generally very orderly.  This person, this group does this for money, for greed, for power.  It clearly delineates good guys and bad guys in stark black and white terms.

Real life is messier.  People screw up.  They act against traditional motivations.  They play against type.  It doesn't follow a straight line.  "Good guys" do bad things with the best intentions.  "Bad guys" do good things for the wrong reasons.

Further, any conspiracy involving the government gives them too much credit for efficiency.  Just look at how long it took them to come together to approve the stimulus and then to delay it so that our dear leader could sign it and make sure he got his attribution.

Conspiracies require groups of people acting in concert and keeping things secret for far longer than people are actually able to do.  Few people will die to protect the truth.  None will die to protect a lie.

In the current situation, each of the Coronavirus theories above has much simpler, more fact based explanations.

The WHO has found no evidence that the virus was created in a Chinese lab.  Coronavirus, generally, is a very common naturally occurring virus.  This one just mutated to affect us, and some of us greatly.

Bill Gates had the foresight to see that a viral pandemic would be possible in the future and has been working on eliminating malaria for a long time. It would seem natural, given his philanthropy, he would be working to find a vaccine.  And he will be taking a loss in the process.  We should promote this kind of action by billionaires.

Any future vaccine will be necessary to stop the spreading.  No one will take the Mark of the Beast unknowingly.  If you believe that, you need to re-read Revelation.  To take the Mark of the Beast, you will know that you are being required to worship the Beast.

The discussion of the exaggeration of viral deaths is part conspiracy and part misinformation/gaslighting.  It's relying on anecdotal evidence based on a specific location to extrapolate it to the world. "It's not affecting me, so it can't be that bad."

It's our job to combat this.  It's our job to check sources.  To verify the news agency's bias.  If you are getting information from Breitbart, it is less trustworthy than NPR or the BBC, regardless of whether you want to believe this or not.

If you are a Christian, it is especially vital, as we are to be ministers of truth, not conspiracy or misinformation.

I get it, we may not like the truth right now.  We may feel powerless.  We may feel out of control.  But we gain nothing by spreading useless conspiracies. In fact, we risk minimizing people's losses and pain.  We risk actively making the situation worse, by ignoring the actual sound advice we have been given.

Let's focus on the truth, on reality for a while, and promote efforts that bring us together.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

A Warning Regarding Your Digital Life - Social Media Quizzes

With social isolation and quarantining the norm, social media usage is on the rise.  People are home, connected to the internet, and looking for ways to entertain and distract themselves.  And with that, particular types of social media activity are on the rise.  Celebrities reading.  Music and singing.  And quizzes.  Lots and lots of quizzes.

The five names that you go by.

The five jobs that you've had.


Graduation pictures.

So many types of quizzes, that they make you pause a bit and wonder what the end of this is.  Then you see reminders like this -
Or even this,

And they are right.  The vast majority of the types of things that are asked for in these questions come up as security questions for your bank account, your credit card, your email, your online bills, etc., etc., etc.

By engaging in all of these quizzes, you are putting out so much personal information that can be used to get around any passwords that you may have on your most sensitive data.  Click on forgot password, hope for a security question by-pass, and viola.

I get it, these are fun ways to engage in social media.  It's fun to learn more about your friends.  It's fun to connect in someway virtually.  But you have to be careful about the ways you do so.

Make sure your accounts have two-factor authentication - i.e. make sure that when you log on you have to input a code from a text or email that you receive.  Text is best because it is most likely you will be the only person with access to your phone.

Limit who you are friends with or interact with on social media.  Only accept friend requests from people that you know.  That you could ask to confirm they were the one to send you the request.

Really evaluate the types of content that you are putting out there.  What private information are you sharing.  Be very selective about what you share.

You have to be careful about what is put online.  It can exist forever, it can be used against you, it can come back to harm you.  It's a great tool, but it is a potentially dangerous one.

That will be the theme of the next few posts.  A series of posts on potential quarantine dangers, focusing on that challenges of each, and why they are particularly harmful in this time.

Conspiracy Theories

Each are serious issues facing our ability to get through this time together and to minimize casualties.  Each will require recognition and our vigilance online to combat them.

Be safe, be smart.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Mitchuation Update - One Month In

It's now one month since we moved the whole family up to Indianapolis.  One month since we got in the car and started driving away from Texas.

Let me reiterate - moving in a global pandemic is very interesting.

It makes getting to know the place you are moving to challenging to say the least.  We really haven't seen Indianapolis, except through car windows, though we have greatly enjoyed the places where we have stayed.  The Airbnb in Old Northside was amazing and it was great to get to know our hosts.  Avalyn and Jude loved playing with their two year old, at appropriate distances of course.

We are finally completely moved in to our home in Brownsburg and have been staying here since Good Friday.  While there are still pieces that need to come together, every box has been opened, virtually 80% of everything is in its place.

We're actually a little accustomed to the day to day. Prior to getting the job with Cummins, I had been working from home for the past five months.  Jamie had already been homeschooling Avalyn and Jude for this entire school year.  We were only getting out on any regular basis for supply runs.

What we are missing, though, is field trips.  Excursions.  Date nights.  All of the things we were looking forward to experiencing in Indianapolis and surrounding areas.

We're trying to make it work as much as possible though.  We've enjoyed Take-out Tuesday, supporting local restaurants, by getting food delivered.  And we've had some really good food.  Great authentic Chinese food.  Excellent gyros.  Classic Indiana tenderloin sandwiches.

We've also made a point to watch good art.  We're working through Akira Kurosawa, having seen five of his classic films so far, with five more saved for future viewing.  We're even moving from the Kurosawa film to the other versions they inspire going from Seven Samurai to The Magnificent Seven, and now looking at Yojimbo/Sanjuro and A Fistful of Dollars.

It's a process, but it works.  We at least have a project to keep working on, in getting the house to feel like a home.  We just have to balance the desire to get everything together, without just buying everything in sight that we see because we like it and don't have much else to do.

We'll keep at it and will keep updating you.  Hope y'all are adjusting well and are making it work.  Stay safe, stay healthy, stay home as much as possible.  We'll get through this, even if it is a long haul.

Monday, April 13, 2020

The Monday After

Easter is now officially over.

The question is, what now?

The Resurrection of Christ is the cornerstone of the Christian faith.  If Christ is not resurrected, then what hope do we have.

"But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?  If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.  And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is worthless, and so is your faith.  In that case, we are also exposed as false witnesses about God.  For we have testified about God that He raised Christ from the dead but He did not raise Him if in fact the dead are not raised.  For if the dead are not raised, then not even Christ has been raised.  And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.  Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.  If our hope in Christ is for this life alone, we are to be pitied more than all men."
1 Corinthians 15: 12-18

The greatest hope of the Resurrection is not that Jesus was raised once.  It's that He remains alive.  He is alive and omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent.  He is alive and at the right hand of the Father.  He is alive and reigning on high.

And that is something we can and should celebrate each and every day of the year!

For too many people, Easter is the one time of year that the Resurrection is given any thought.  It may be one of only a couple of times the enter the church, likely as a responsibility to family.  It's the only time they hear the story of Jesus' death and resurrection.  And with the Monday after Easter, everything is back to normal.  Easter is over.  The obligations are complete.  Reality sets back in.

Sadly, I think this is the case for far too many Christians as well.  

Oh, they can quote the verses.  They sing "My Redeemer Lives," "He Lives," and "Resurrecting."  They are in services every week, and they would say they believe every word of the Easter story.  They believe in Jesus' death and literal resurrection.

They just don't live like it.

For far too many Christians, the Resurrection is brought out at Easter and then celebrated, but then Jesus is put back in the tomb or back on the cross.

Others may only be celebrating this one time a year; gathering with family for the annual obligation.  Without being able to gather this year, what happened to that obligation?  Did many still view a service out of habit?

Jesus on the cross is marketable.  It's fashionable.  It can be worn on t-shirts and jewelry.  It can be put on Bible covers, hung on walls, and be used as an easily recognizable symbol.  And when Jesus remains on the cross, when he remains a savior that died for our sins, then we have been saved and our present obligation ends.  Likewise, with Jesus in the tomb.

The resurrection is something different.  If Jesus not just rose again, but is alive today, then we have obligations to him.  We have to recognize him as Lord.  As the ruling King of Kings.  And we have to live accordingly.  Jesus as Lord requires more of us.

"For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus' sake.  For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.  But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.  For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.  So death works in us, but life in you."
2 Corinthians 4: 5-12

Leaving Jesus in the tomb or on the cross misses out on the power that He can demonstrate in our daily lives.  On the mission that He has for us today.  Now.  On the blessings, the comfort, and the LIFE that only He can provide.

So don't let your celebrating end.  Don't let Easter be the end of your remembrance and celebration of the Resurrection of Christ.  Don't keep Jesus in the tomb.

He's alive!


Now let's live like on more than just Easter Sunday.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Easter Sunday

"Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared.  But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb.  Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.  And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments.  Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?  He is not here, but is risen!  Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.'"
Luke 24:1-7

Today marks the greatest celebration of the Christian life.  The greatest news that could be shared.  He is not among the dead.  He's alive, He's alive, He's alive!!

We have hope because He has won the victory over death and the grave.  No matter how dark Friday was, no matter how difficult the waiting on Saturday, it's Sunday and Christ is victorious!

May the joy and grace of the Easter season be on you and your family!  If you do not know the reason why we celebrate, I pray you find yourself surrounded with friends who exemplify the good news and are overjoyed to share. There are plenty of online opportunities today to join a celebration.

God’s blessings on you today and continuing through this year.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Holy Saturday

Here the whole world (stars, water, air, and field, and forest, as they were reflected in a single mind) like cast off clothes was left behind in ashes, yet with hopes that, in lenten lands, hereafter may resume them on Easter Day.
-  C.S. Lewis - 

This year, I've been looking over a post from a couple of years ago on Holy Saturday.  The day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.  That period between death and resurrection.  The period between the event that causes suffering and the event that brings deliverance.  The eternity between sorrow and joy.

In the Easter week, Friday is definitely a difficult day.  It's the infliction of pain.  It's the day where the death occurs, the suffering is inflicted.

But to me, Saturday, that next day has to be the worst.  It's that period of waiting.  Of reality setting in.  The shock wears off, and everything is real.

On Friday, they were experiencing everything as it was happening, perhaps holding out hope for a miracle to completely change their circumstances that day.  Perhaps in complete shock through the whole experience.

Saturday is the day everything sharpens.  Jesus died.  And for all the disciples know, he is not coming back.  It's that period we all find ourselves in, where all we can do is just wait in our suffering.  And I do not know about you, but I'm terrible at waiting.  I want solutions. I want action.  I want to change things, now.   And the fact always remains that you cannot rush this time.

We're all in the waiting now.  With rolling state-wide and nation-wide stay at home orders, lockdowns and shutouts, everyone is waiting on a change.  Waiting for this to end.  Waiting for hope that this too will pass.  Some of us are adjusting better than others, but we are all struggling to adapt.

The good news is that we know it does end.  It does get better.  "Every storm eventually runs out of rain."  Especially, for those that follow the Way, for those truly living the life He has called us to, we know the end.  Even if we do not see the victory here, we know who holds it in His hand.

It's Holy Saturday.  But Easter is Coming!

Friday, April 10, 2020

Good Friday

"It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two.  Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.

The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away.  But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.
The Burial of Jesus

Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea, and he himself was waiting for the kingdom of God.  Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body.  Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid.  It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.
The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it.  Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.
Luke 23: 44b-56

Today, for those of faith, represents the darkest day in human history.  The day where it seemed all hope died.  Good Friday remembers the day when Jesus Christ, Son of God, was crucified by the Roman government and died a criminal's death.

He suffered through the mockery of a trial, in which the prosecution presented trumped up charges to a judge who found no fault but still sided with the mob and gave into their demands.  He was beaten, tortured, and jeered.  Stripped and dressed in a costume designed to mock the charges against him.  He was forced to carry the beam of his cross in a walk of shame through the city where the same people who cheered his arrival now gawked at the parade of criminals as they worked their way to the site of their execution.  He was then nailed to that beam, in both his hands and feet, raised between two criminals and left to die.

Crucifixion was one of the most cruel forms of death that humans have ever created.  It was public and designed to dissuade its witnesses from perpetrating similar crimes.  Victims were sometimes left on display after death as a warning to any other potential criminals.  The death it provided was particularly slow and painful, leading to the term excruciating, or literally "out of crucifying."  The person executed was usually attached to the cross by a range of methods including rope and nails.  The executed could be tied to the cross such that the ropes would cut into his skin.  To support the weight of a body, nails would be driven into the arm just above the wrist, between the two bones of the forearm.  Nails would also be driven into the feet, also to support the weight of the body, usually without the foot-rest or the seat that is placed on our decorative crosses.  The entire weight of the body would be placed on those nails as the body would continue to pull downward in gravity, keeping the person in continual pain.

When the whole body weight was supported by stretched out arms, nailed to that cross, the typical cause of death was asphyxiation.  The executed would have severe difficulty inhaling and would have to draw themselves up by the arms, leading to exhaustion and pain at the nail sites.  This process could be sped up by the soldiers breaking the condemned's legs, preventing them from pushing up, leaving them to die choking for air.  The executed could further suffer cardiac rupture, heart failure, hypovolemic shock, sepsis, acidosis, arrhythmia, and pulmonary embolism.  The scourging before the crucifixion would exacerbate the potential for sepsis.  Add in dehydration and you have a slow, agonizing death on display for all to see.

And Jesus willingly chose that path.  He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, willingly going to cross to redeem his creation.

To his followers, this day marked a feeling of hopelessness.  It was the day hope died.  Their hope in change for the future.  The possible hope for revolution.  They saw everything they had hoped for vanishing in an instant.

For Jesus, this was also an unprecedented day.  The day when Jesus, the pure, spotless lamb would bear the sins of the world, past, present, and future.  It would be the one time Jesus was completely separated from His Father.  Where God would turn His back on him, for he could not see his son stained with sin.  Eloi; Eloi; Lama; Sabachtha.  My God; My God; Why have you forsaken me?

The first time Jesus experienced despair.

Many of us today on this Good Friday might be experiencing despair.  Might be feeling hopeless.  The physical isolation.  The loss of a job.  The loss of income.  This might indeed be the darkest night.

But we - we know dawn is coming.  We celebrate that Friday is not the end of the story.  Things may look at their absolute darkest, but morning is coming.  Friday may be death, but Sunday is resurrection.

No matter the outlook, it gets better.

It's Friday, but Sunday is coming!

Praise the Lord!

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Maundy Thursday

"On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”

He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’”  So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover.

When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve.  And while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.

They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely you don’t mean me, Lord?”

Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me.  The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.

Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi?”

Jesus answered, “You have said so.

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.

Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.  This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.  I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.

When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Matthew 26:17-30

Today marks Maundy Thursday, or Holy Thursday.  The fifth day of Holy Week, it is truly a day of remembrance.  Remembering Jesus' service.  The way he prepared for his sacrifice.

By washing his disciples feet.

By breaking bread and sharing wine.

In service and in fellowship, with those closest to him.

With Covid-19 and social isolation, we may long for gatherings of 13+ people.  To enjoy a meal together and to break bread.  There are those with servants' hearts that are longing to get back out and be a blessing to those around them, helping in any way they can.

Remember this feeling.

Just before the darkest hour of his life, Jesus valued service and fellowship above all.  He spent time with those closest to him and showed them how much he cared for them by stooping down and washing their feet.  He took care of his friends.  And what he asked of them, was to remember him.

To remember him when they drank.  To remember him when they ate.  To remember him when they were gathered together.

That's our duty today.  To remember Him.  To remember His sacrifice.  Partake in your own Lord's Supper at home.  Do it in remembrance of Him.

And then, serve in every way you can.  Serve remotely and virtually.  When we can get together, serve physically.  Put that remembrance into action.  Follow his new commandment, from which we get Maundy.

Make the day count.  In remembrance of Him.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Watch Wisconsin

Wisconsin has its primary election today. Despite the pandemic. Despite its governor’s attempt to give voters more time. Despite closing numerous polling locations (only 5 out of 180 open in Milwaukee). Despite absentee ballots not being sent out to voters in time, even though they were requested timely (to the tune of some 27,000 absentee ballots not received by voters in time).

This should be concerning to every eligible voter. This should be concerning to every American.

This is voter disenfranchisement of the highest order. Giving citizens a choice between ignoring stay in place orders, risking infection to exercise their right to vote and complying with the order, staying safe but forgoing their Constitutional right and civic duty.

There were steps to avoid this. There were attempts to extend vote by mail absentee ballots. To balance civic duty and voter safety. But they were opposed on almost straight party line.

Pay attention to who opposes vote by mail and absentee ballot extensions. Pay attention to the language they use surrounding it. Pay attention when they admit that it would be a disaster for their side. It would seem clear they don’t have what is best for America in their sights, but only what benefits their side.

There is a way to win elections.  And despite the fact that this is what has happened in the past, this isn't the way it should be done.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Don't Go To Church

I had a few different alternatives for how to title this blog, but I thought that I would go with the most direct.  It's not even the topic that I would have liked to address today, but Governor Abbott's statement in his stay at home, it needs to be said.

And, so, now that I have your attention...

Please do not go to church Sunday.  And likely, please don't go to church next week.  And the week after that.

Doing so would be reckless.  It would be dangerous, and potentially life threatening.  And in these times, it would be potentially un-Christian.

I know, strong words.  But hear me out.

I'm not advocating that people just stop going to church altogether, or that they never go to church.  We should definitely not neglect "to meet together, as is the habit of some," as Hebrews warns.  But that is warning against a habitual neglect of gathering.  Not the purposeful social distancing and seclusion for public safety.  With an eventual end, I might add, no matter how bleak it looks now.

What I am advocating is that during this pandemic, during this dangerous time, the most caring and Christian thing we can do is to remember that the Church is not a building, it is not a singular location, or a single grouping of people.  The Church is the world wide body of believers.  And we do not need to gather physically in order to continue to worship and "meet" together.

I realize that Governor Abbott in his stay at home declaration made an exception for churches to be considered "essential" services.  That exception contains an important limitation.  "In particular, all services should be provided through remote telework from home unless they are essential services that cannot be provided through remote telework. If religious services cannot be conducted from home or through remote services, they should be conducted consistent with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC by practicing good hygiene, environmental cleanliness, and sanitation, and by implementing social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19."  There is no Christian religious worship service that cannot be provided through remote network.  We even had communion via the web this week with sacraments we provided, as there is no magic in the particular bread or the particular wine (or grape juice in far too many churches), but in the remembrance.  No matter how much we may miss fellowship with other believers, the preaching of the word, the singing of songs, all can be recorded and distributed.  It doesn't have to be fancy, or well produced.  A pastor recording a message on an iPhone would be completely sufficient. 

The exception in that stay at home/disaster declaration is more for the leadership of the church to be able to go to the church building to record the remote services than it is for the body to gather together in this time.  That is more explicit in the order up here in Indiana, as it is what the churches requested.  It made sure that pastors and worship leaders could continue to use the equipment they already have to continue to record and stream a service.  Whether it be a Sunday morning worship service, or a Tuesday evening prayer service.

You can also use the current "remote teleworks" for small groups or Sunday School classes.  Have a Zoom meeting or a Google Hangout.  They are free and fairly easy to use.  They allow you to see everyone together or at least hear them, if they don't have a webcam.

If you cannot web stream your local service, there are plenty of excellent alternatives on television and on radio.  There are so many different ways to participate virtually in a worship service, that attending a large gathering of people in a time when it can potentially continue to spread this virulent disease does not meet the exceptions provided.

One of the most encouraging things to develop from this crisis is that I think the Church finally remembers that.  Through online worship, through the church being rapidly thrust into technological advancement, we are seeing church services reaching broader and broader populations, unlimited by physical distance.  This past Sunday, we took part in worship with our prior church from Wills Point and the church that we will likely attend in Brownsburg, Indiana.

Through this technical advancement, we're even seeing Baptists becoming a little Pentecostal.  Watching services via Facebook live, where you can see live feedback during the feed, you see more reactions and comments than you would ever hear in a live service.  Hopefully, this is something we can bring back with us when we can resume the physical meeting together. 

Now, on why I think going ahead with a physical gathering this weekend and during this time would be un-Christian, Peter gives us a little guidance here.  "Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good.  For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.  Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a coverup for evil, but living as servants of God.  Honor everyone.  Love the brotherhood.  Fear God.  Honor the emperor."  1 Peter 2:13-17.  All of the governmental recommendations, and in many cases, requirements, are to still not have any gatherings larger than 10 people.  If we want to stop the spread of this disease, if we want to protect the most vulnerable among us, if we want to silence the ignorance of foolish people, the Church should among the leaders in doing so.

We as Christians should be seen as the most caring in this time.  We should be the most physically careful, the most protective of others through our actions, not the most reckless.  We should be the ones caring for the general welfare of all those we come in contact with.  And in these times, that means making sure we cannot spread this disease any farther.  Because it can be transmitted when we are asymptomatic, that means taking extra precautions in having as little extraneous contact as possible.

It should also make us reconsider what we view as essential.  What of the churches' activities are irreplaceable, and cannot be virtual.  Worship can be virtual.  I suspect that those of us wanting to gather Sunday are missing fellowship more than worship itself.  For worship can be done alone, it can be done anywhere, it can be accomplished in many forms.  And while fellowship is important, it is something we need to be careful with right now, as it is what potentially spreads the disease.

The essential functions of the church that cannot be accomplished virtually in this time are charity, generosity, and service.  If you must meet, why not meet in small group shifts to pack care packages for your neighbors, sharing supplies like soap, wipes, sanitizer, and toilet paper.  Or meet to bring in funds to share with those who have lost their jobs, to keep their rent and utilities paid.  Meet in small groups to help deliver groceries to those who cannot get out because of age or compromised immune systems.  Deliver food.  If your churches have kitchens, open them up to make daily meals that can be delivered or picked up.

And if your church can do those things, wear masks, wear gloves, wash your hands, and sanitize.  And do it in groups less than 10.

Our response during this times says a lot about us as believers and who we are doing this for.  If we love God and we love all people, as we are commanded to, then we take this minor inconvenience in meeting together and use it for the best possible good.

I know Easter is coming up and while it makes everyone feel good to have packed churches on Easter, it matters very little in the grand scheme of things, for the quantity of people does not reflect the hearts of the worshipers.  The first Easter consisted of a small group of people gathered in a house in hiding.  We may not be in hiding, but our Easters may look a lot like that this year.  It does not change our reason to worship that Sunday, just our manner.

I know this will likely upset a few people; this whole situation is generally upsetting.  But forewarning if you are going to comment, if you come at me with Constitutional arguments, I will quickly dismantle them.  I have yet to see an argument centering on the right to assembly that actually understands how our Constitutional rights actually work.   And there have been NO issues regarding the free exercise of religion.  The two pastors who were arrested for holding services last weekend at their megachurches were not arrested because they were worshipping but because of the number of people gathered in defiance of the local laws.  The law doesn't care what you are doing with large groups of people.  They could have been all reading from 1984 instead of worshipping, the result would have been the same.  There is no free exercise of religion issue there.  Regarding the stay at home orders generally, there may be issues regarding the degree of some of these orders, but generally, the stay at home orders are Constitutional.  We recognize limits on rights when they interact with public safety concerns.

This is a trying time for all, but please don't make it worse.  Don't physically go to church this week, just because you can.  Let's care for each other, and decrease the curve and shorten this lock down.

Loving one another right now, means keeping your distance.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Apirl Fools' Day

Ah...April Fools Day.  The day when people and companies try to determine the best ways to dupe thier friends and customers with usually harmless pranks and practical jokes.  Though the exact origins are unknown, the practice dates back at least to the early 1500s, with a French reference to a canard d'avril and writings of a Flemish nobleman sending his servants on foolish errands on April 1.  Large scale pranks even date back to the late 1600s, with tickets and newspaper headlines to the "annual drying of the lions" at the Tower of London, a practice that did not exist.

In the spirit of levity, in a time that we could really use it, I recommend checking out the Museum of Hoaxes' list of the top 100 April Fool's Day Hoaxes of all time.

The top ten are pretty classic.

Hopefully you've been able to entertain yourselves pretty well today, with harmless pranks, and great comedies.  Shelter in place, but find some way to stop thinking about the virus.  Stay safe, stay happy.