And so here I sit, considering our cracked world with the tea in my cracked cup long-grown cold. I breathe my prayers, find my balance, and re-affirm my determination to live with integrity and generosity.
Daily, I choose the same cup for my morning pot of English Breakfast tea. It is always the one with the chip around the edge. I do so to remind myself that, just as is this cup, I, too am a cracked vessel, one that ever so imperfectly seeks to live out what it means to follow Jesus.
Daily, I also peruse a couple of print newspapers. This is both a life-long habit and an intentional choice to stick with print, however so much more convenient online news may be.
Reading a physical newspaper means I see articles not chosen for me by some algorithm that decides what will most fit my interests. Instead, I find myself perusing reports that don’t particularly fit my interests but do expand my understanding of this difficult world we live in.
What have I learned today about this cracked world?
Egypt: Cracked Ethics
If an Egyptian woman reports a rape to the authorities, it is likely those very authorities will egregiously violate her again in the process of the exam.
It was a scorching summer day, and the door kept swinging open as more medical personnel joined the small crowd slowly forming around the lower half of her body. The bedsheet offered as a cover was filthy, so she opted to lie naked instead. The doctor, she said, asked her detailed questions about her sex life.
Without explanation, she said, they began inserting instruments into her vagina and then made her turn over, get on her knees, hug the bed and conducted an invasive anal examination.
By the time the exam ended, she was sweating profusely. She struggled to pull her pants up over her clammy skin. But just as she was set to leave, a new doctor walked in and told her to undress again. The inspection, they said, was inconclusive. They started over.
Lebanon: Cracked Economy
Reflecting a cracked world, the nation of Lebanon is nearly completely imploding.
Lebanon is suffering through a financial crisis that the World Bank has said could rank among the world’s three worst since the mid-1800s in terms of its effect on living standards. Its currency has lost more than 90 percent of its value since fall 2019, and unemployment has skyrocketed as businesses have shut down. Imported goods that were once commonplace have become scarce.
Florida: Cracked Buildings
Living up to a cracked world, the owners of the condo that collapsed on June 24 in Surfside, Florida had been pressing the town for nearly two months for approval to create a new parking lot so repairs could get started to the building. But apparently, the town officials were too busy to get back with them.
As early as May, condo owners had requested approval for additional parking and a gas line, the records show. Frank Morabito, an engineer hired by the condo association, wrote in a May 20 email to town officials that resolving the parking issue for residents was critical to commencing 40-year recertification-related construction, including repairs of deteriorated concrete. Engineers have pointed to damaged concrete as a contributing factor in the building’s collapse.
“The scheduled work will include numerous improvements that must be made to assure that this building structure remains safe,” he wrote.
A month later, he and the condo board still hadn’t reached a resolution with the town.
Oh, by the way, anguished pet owners in the part still standing who had to get out immediately begged officials to delay the demolition of their units until they could check for their pets. The petition was denied.
Brazil: Cracked Brains
And then there is the Covid-19 situation. Let’s just briefly mention Brazil, lead by the fascinating Trump-wanna-be Jair Bolsanao who, by the way, is now under investigation for having, among other things, apparently turned a blind eye to a deal by his health officials to buy a supply of an Indian vaccine at 10 times the quoted price.
Anyway, 500,000 deaths later, most of the population in Brazil still thinks the entire thing is a big fake.
But there is something special about Brazil. An interdisciplinary group of Brazilian researchers discovered not only that the country has among the most false claims in the world- only India and the United States have more – but also that Brazil ‘s disinformation is remarkably isolated from other countries. This could be, the researchers conclude, “strong evidence that the country is distancing itself from the ongoing scientific debate.
It’s pretty much correct. In Brazil, some lies have taken precedence over common sense, and there is nothing we can do about it. Every time you walk into a supermarket, store, or even a doctor’s office, for example, someone will measure your temperature with a forehead thermometer, but point it at your wrist. This is the overwhelming triumph of a fake news that infrared thermometers can damage the pineal gland .
Trump Country: Cracked News
Oh, by the way, the same thing is happening in the US in our own Trump-loving country:
On a Friday night in May, Christy and Tony Statzer were shopping at a Kroger supermarket a short drive from Johnston Memorial. The couple had at times relied on local doctors and nurses: Christy went to Johnston’s emergency room after a car accident last year, and their 6-year-old daughter had a corrective surgery on her legs at Ballad’s hospital in nearby Johnson City, Tenn. But when it came to the coronavirus, they falsely accused the same hospitals of perpetrating a fraud.
“I just think there’s a lot of people who had the flu, and they’re saying it’s covid to get money from it,” said Christy, who is 47 and works as a janitor at a nearby college. “It’s publicly known that if the hospital says it’s covid they’re getting kickbacks from the government.”
What was in it for the government?
“One World Order. That’s what they’re after,” Christy said. “The Democrats want it.”
“They’re pushing people to see how far they can get,” said Tony, 48, a disabled former sawmill worker. “They used this as a test to see what they could get away with.”
And so here I sit, considering our cracked world with the tea in my cracked cup long-grown cold. I do what I have done most of my life, breathe my prayers, find again my balance, and re-affirm my determination to live with integrity and generosity.
My hope: alI I do is suffused with grace and at least some humility, for I know that I, too, have in ways unseen to me contributed to the cracking of the world.
I also know, behind these stories of agony and corruption and ignorance and blindness are masses of people pushing for holy justice and real truth to emerge as they work with courage and determination to right the wrongs and relieve the suffering.
May they be sustained by grace and stay on the side of the freedom of truth.
© Christy Thomas, “Cracked cup in a cracked world,” all rights reserved