for the love of panic

I was out of town & offline this weekend when everything started breaking loose with swine flu.  I believe it’s tragic that people have lost their lives because of this disease & I hope that people wiser than i are able to quickly and effectively provide treatment and help for those suffering from it.

929117_22204583however, i’m deeply, deeply concerned by the media and general public’s response to this disease outbreak.

a few statistics:

Swine flu deaths so far = 8 (source). Regular annual flu deaths = 500,000 (source)

I like my friend, Wess Daniels, response to this.

Some perspective – 10 children died because of poverty & related issues while you’ve been reading this post.

Does this mean we shouldn’t care about swine flu?  No.  But I think our fear of swine flu is more symptomatic of a media that’s alarmist and a public that’s easily swayed, uneducated about what’s going on in the world, and ruled by worry.

a few thoughts:

my friend Joe Troyer‘s status earlier today:  “Joe Troyer thinks fear is a powerful tool that may be used to control the masses. But we have not been given a spirit of fear.”

Seth Godin put it well recently when he said recently “if you don’t know what to do, and you’re frightened, might as well panic”.  By the way, Seth doesn’t think this is wise, and has some good thoughts.

What if we determined to be more aware of what people are facing in the world every day?  What if we sought not just to learn (though that’s an obviously needed first step that seems to have been ignored), but also to understand and to share the burden when possible?  What if we became more concerned with God’s worldwide redemptive love than in establishing our own mini-kingdoms?

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3 Responses to for the love of panic

  1. Joe Troyer says:

    It’s pretty tough i think. We haven’t been taught much to look outside ourselves or our world immediately around us. We have been taught a dangerous individualism that at times makes its way into the church.In an age where info is so accessible and so many needs reported on around the world, i think for myself it quits being real at times and becomes almost a “show” i am watching.

    youre right though. we have to become more aware and active in responding. sometimes i get frozen. do i choose a cause or do i choose many? and without being able to decide i freeze and do nothing. anyhow. my 2 cents. i have more cents but i rambled on enough.

  2. tim says:

    i blame those with wealth who paid for their kids to go or took their families to Mexico for spring break for bringing it to the rest of the world.

    i kid of course.

    but the fact is, in most western countries, i would bet that this strand of the flu virus will be able to be contained because of care and medicines that are freely available to us. the H1N1 swine flu outbreak has more to do with poverty than health.

    those that died were mostly from poverty stricken areas of Mexico City. they have less. we have more. those with more win everytime… for now anyway. but that’s not the way of Jesus, is it?

  3. joeldaniel says:

    good thoughts, tim. that’s part of the frustration with this for me. the media & the general public could have used this as an opportunity to highlight the sorts of things you shared about (how poverty destroys people), but instead it became a fear fest, with people worried only about how this would affect their lives. we need our worldviews seriously challenged so we start thinking more communally and less individualistically.

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