By Dr. Jim Ferguson

Last week I touched on the subject of education, historically designed to teach students the tools for discourse (the 3 Rs) and how to think clearly (reason). If done correctly and without indoctrination, education will provide the springboard for a lifetime of learning.

Curiosity is also integral to learning, but not the only factor. I’m not fascinated by laundry, vacuuming or cleaning toilets, but I have now mastered these skills during my retirement as part of my CHE (continuing husband education). Becky remains the manager of our home and has planned our meals for four decades, but now I do so. And I’ve learned that I like grocery shopping! Unfortunately, I missed military service and have been unable to master skills sufficient to pass Sgt. Becky’s bed-making final exam.

Despite the pandemic restrictions we’ve managed to stay busy homeschooling and managing grandkids, working our large garden, vineyard and orchard, zooming with friends, and since my church is closed, we’ve continued to meet clandestinely in small groups with other Christians. I’ve imagined our worship communities as analogous to other fearful Christian gatherings in China, Russia and Muslim countries.

I’m always in search of an essay, and recently, my CHE and Focus thoughts were occasioned by Becky’s painting project. Our home has a large wrap around porch floor which needed painting and I was pressed into service. I imagined myself as a deck swabbie with a paint roller. As I swept and prepped before rolling, I found it amazing that pieces of grit suddenly appeared like fallout on the just cleaned surfaces. We are not clean freaks, but the same happens after vacuuming. No matter how carefully I vacuum, dirt reappears. The Newman character in Seinfeld said of the mail, “It just keeps coming.” This seems true in the Ferguson household as well. In the past I could blame the dog, but we lost our beloved Jack earlier this year. Apparently “We have met the enemy and he is us” (Pogo).

Like many of you, Becky and I are frustrated by the coronavirus. Fallout of closed restaurants, churches and movies, the politicization of sports and school reopening, as well as restrictions on travel and personal freedom. As a result, we watch too much TV. Amidst the morass of the banal offerings, there are some jewels to be found. We finally got around to watching the 2019 HBO drama Chernobyl, chronicling the 1986 nuclear disaster. The troubling imagery is sometimes hard to watch, but you need to hang in until the fifth and final installment.

In common usage fallout is a consequence of a nuclear explosion. In more general terms, fallout can be a result of poor choices, modern liberalism, governmental malfeasance in the management of COVID-19, apostasy and I could rattle on. However, more important than our poor choices and the resulting fallout/consequences is the recognition of missteps and correction of our errors of judgment and action.

As we watched the Chernobyl disaster, which Mikhail Gorbachev said was the principle reason for the dissolution of the CCCP (Soviet Union), I thought of another CCCP (Chinese Communist Corona Pandemic). Radiation can be a silent killer or can be harnessed to treat cancer and provide electrical power. Respect for nuclear safety is rational. We cannot have our minds clouded with fear. I don’t see any benefits from the fallout of the coronavirus.

COVID-19 fear has become irrational with politicization, especially in millennials. I remain wary of crowds, practice social distancing, wear a mask when I can’t social distance and use hand sanitizers liberally as I did when I worked in the ER and hospitals. However, if we stay locked in our homes in fear, we’re already dead. Our country, our economy, our freedom and our churches are under attack. We must stand up and resist paralyzing fear. Paraphrasing the proverbial Borg collective chant, “Resistance is [not] futile.”

Has the world gone crazy or am I semi-retired and just have more time to think about things beyond a demanding patient care schedule? Has the invisible coronavirus made us germ freaks? Colonic flushes and intestinal purges continue to be hawked despite no science and overt risks. During my career I have probably told a thousand patients not to stick bobby pins, Q-tips, etc. in their ears since it damages the normal “elevator physiology” of the ear canal designed to trap dirt in wax and remove it. There is no telling how many ear specialist’s children have been sent to college by fees generated for the removal of wax tamped down like mini-balls with Q-tips.

And the latest in vogue remedy is nasal flushes. There are exceptions to all rules, but I believe you should listen to Mother Nature. Your body has been elegantly designed and is ordinarily smarter than those who want to sell you various apparatuses for flushing. Rational exceptions may be the advisability of Congressional flushing or a Constitutional amendment to allow for Judicial flushing.

In 410 AD Augustine of Hippo (Saint Augustine) learned that Rome, described as the eternal city by the poet Virgil, was sacked by the Visigoths. Though the western half of the Roman empire had declined by the fifth century AD, the sack of the city sent a shock wave throughout the world. As a result, Augustine wrote his famous book “The City of God” in which he argued that the fall of Rome was actually inconsequential in God’s ultimate plan of judgment and salvation of humankind. I hope and pray that the American “city on the hill” imagined by the Pilgrim John Winthrop is not likewise destined.

Do you ever become weary in this war for the heart and soul of America? I do, so I pray daily for strength and courage, insight and wisdom of the Spirit, as well as for peace and hope. I worry whether our country can survive the great evil that now shrouds our land.

It is my daily prayer that the lost will be driven upon their knees, not in homage to a Marxist Black Lives Matter, but to the Creator and Sustainer of the universe and the Savior of our souls and, hopefully, America.