Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Is Quarantine Biblical?

I still disagree with this guy's doctrine, but he actually does make a lot of sense:

Here is an article dealing with the issue from a Reformed perspective:

Rebellion Is Rebellion

Rebellion without a cause, currently glamourised in the West, is the result of the Revolutionary Spirit in my opinion (feminism is a part of it, strangely enough many internet personalities spend a lot of time decrying it while having a generally rebellious attitude themselves).

BTW, in my country religious gatherings aren't officially prohibited, because our Constitution guarantees freedom of worship and the government doesn't have the authority to cancel church, but they had a meeting with representatives of different religious confessions, including Moslems and they all decided to voluntarily submit to government recommendations to save lives. So this Sunday we followed a live stream (with video) from our church with 4 people present in the building: our preacher, the organ player, an elder and a deacon.

Catholics and some Evangelicals cancelled church gatherings even before we did, though Catholic churches will stay open for prayer/burning candles. In general, every country will have its own approach to the situation which is fine, because we are all different. Up till this point, I'm generally content with the way our government has handled the situation. They made some mistakes in the beginning, but started taking measures early enough which apparently work fairly well. Tonight our Prime Minister will tell us more. I'm curious!

P.S. I guess I should explain why denialism triggers me so much. Imagine you just lost a beloved relative. Funeral is going on, people come in and say, "condolences", "we wish you strength", "we'll pray for you" etc. Then some person comes in and tells you: "Well, I don't get it why you are so upset! Your relative was older and not that healthy any more and anyway, people are dying every day!" I don't know how you would feel, but my first reaction would be to slap them. Whatever your thoughts are on the issue and how different countries are handling in, please have a bit of respect for our dead.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Friday Update: Your Friendly Neighbourhood Edition

We had a robbery in the next street a couple of days ago. It was the 4th in our town, but three others were supermarkets, not a family with small kids. The neighbours on WhatsApp expressed the opinion that the robbers should be summarily shot and I'm inclined to agree. Overall though it was less crime since people are staying home more. Less traffic jams, less accidents, cleaner air etc. I guess every cloud has a silver lining?

Well more than hundred deaths per day today (yesterday was 78), but still far cry from Italy and Spain. One of my overseas relatives got stuck in Spain, btw, but luckily was evacuated just in time. We still can go outside over here, but with no more than 2 at a time not counting kids. I guess we are lucky, since my husband hears from his Polish colleagues that in Poland you aren't allowed out at all, unless for essential shopping or work, with a fine of 1000 euro (the fine here is 400).

So I went to my garden yesterday and we went for a walk this evening, because I'm getting kinda crazy from sitting inside all the time, especially when you consider the fact that it's sunny and warm. Everybody was nicely keeping his distance and there were in general few people. I guess we are pretty disciplined in our town, unlike some other places:)

Of course, we also have a roof terrace and I spent quite a bit of time there this week. Overall, I sort of got accustomed to the new way of life, and since my social life got reduced to phone calls and messages I discovered I finally had time to clean the house. Since housekeeper doesn't come any more I kinda have to do everything myself and overall it's going better than I thought (though it's a bother, of course:)

In other news, Prince Charles of UK tested positive but as far as I know has no symptoms, but Boris Johnson is sick with virus and has fever and coughing. Cats are quarantined, too, not sure, if I allow them to go outside since now they are saying a cat can catch it from humans, but not transmit, but who knows??? When outside they come in contact with other cats, so...

Well, that's all our news for today.

How are you all doing?

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Heroes Among Us

An Italian priest who gave a respirator to a younger coronavirus patient he did not know has died of the disease.

Father Giuseppe Berardelli, 72, died in hospital in Lovere, Bergamo - one of the worst-hit cities in Italy.

Read the full story over here

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Friday, March 20, 2020

Keeping A Stiff Upper Lip

So we are all trying to do our best, though the circle is narrowing. There was a suspected case in the next street, and a friend's daughter had a contact through her work with an officially confirmed case. My husband has had a cold for more than 2 weeks but is still going to work, well, somebody has to keep industries of the country going I guess:)

The official advice is to stay home and only go out to work or store or walk your dog, with no more than 2 people at once. and as I have heard they are preparing a total lockdown including the German and Belgian borders (Germany still hasn't closed its border with us). So there is nowhere to run, either, it's just keep calm and carry on.

A relative of the relative in France sent an email saying that no one over 70 is offered any kind of treatment. A la guerre comme a la guerre, I guess. After all, that's what Macron said, that we are all fighting in a war:)

One could think that since I'm chiefly staying home, I must have lots of time and the whole house is shining...I wish it were the case but I'm getting constantly distracted by calls and messages from family and friends some of whom are close to a breaking point. At least, I still manage to sleep at night which is more than can be said of some others.

About cleaning, a pro-government newspaper actually ran an article about importance of good housekeeping to prevent spread of diseases. Apparently, microbes live in dust and dirt, especially household dust.Btw, I heard advice to wash everything with bleach to decrease the viral load. Naturally, folks in comments were asking how are you supposed to do all the regular dusting and cleaning the article suggests with both spouses working.

Makes one think that there was a good rationale between the traditional labour division, doesn't it?

Woke this morning thinking about that story:

While the situation on the ground isn't quite as desperate yet, there is a certain truth to it, it's only when you come face to face with eternity that you realise how much you love life.

P.S. I think the bit about removing veils makes the nature of their relationship quite evident, something which they knew how to express in those day without getting too explicit, unlike now. If they made it into a modern movie, we'd see close-ups of them in that garden! 

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Corona Chronicles Part 4, Economy And Staying Warm

So we went to the supermarket this evening. The reason we went so late was to avoid crowds which hang there the whole day. I mean how the heck am I supposed to keep 1.5m distance with all these folks running around? Well, I was incredibly lucky to find everything I basically needed, except fresh meat, that is.

The only items I could find was a) pig's tail, b) chicken liver, c) steak for 7 euro 2 portions. I thought chicken liver suits me just fine:) There was also no bread of any sort, but I managed to find some croissants for Saturday plus I have enough flour to bake my own. Flour is totally sold out, btw.

While many other businesses are taking a hit, supermarkets have had record sales last week, only surpassed by Christmas 2018 or so I heard:) Well, for some of us Christmas comes early this year. It's an ill wind and all that. Other sectors of economy are less fortunate. Luckily, my husband can keep on working and the government has promised them a compensation for their losses though some of seasonal workers will have to leave. On the positive side, less people less chance of catching anything (our own town has 2 confirmed cases right now but I hear they refuse to test unless you are practically dying).

So what do we know about the virus so far? It's not a flu virus, it's more like a mutated common cold virus which very easily turns into acute bronchitis if you are lucky and into full-blown pneumonia if you are not. Bronchitis is a nasty thing. I've had it two times and didn't particularly enjoy the experience. On the other hand, you will usually not die from it. So I bought anti-cough syrup of 2 kinds (codeine- and propolis- based) and other medications of the sort you have to rub upon your chest and breathe the damps of which hopefully, will increase our chances:)

A book I got as a present from my mom upon my marriage many years ago about food and health says if you have lung problems like acute pneumonia and tbc you should eat lots of dairy products, fish, eggs, meat bouillon and vitamin C. I have also done some research and apparently a big factor in not catching a cold in winter is simply to stay warm, that's why there are very few sick people in summer.

Here is the link to an NHS article on how to keep well in winter.

Things in Italy appear to be stabilising somewhat so keep calm and carry on! I promise next time I'll write about something else for a change...

UPDATE: Whatever you do, don't take ibuprofen or other NSAID, they appear to make matters worse, take paracetamol instead.  That's official French and British advice, our disease control center says it's not true. I don't know who to believe, but just thought it's noteworthy.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Corona News 3, Schools And Immune System

Some good advice from Sweden, from the Golden One.

In other news, though parents are officially allowed to keep their kids from school now, schools are still not closed, unlike in many other European countries, which brought with it a lively discussion about the 2 income family model and its consequences for society. An opposition leader posted a list of parties which voted for and against school closure. All the established parties, left, right and "Christian" were for keeping school open.

Those who voted for closing of schools were an interesting crowd: Muslim and Christian fundamentalists, immigration restrictionists (we have 2 varieties, for working class and a more sophisticated one), and a party for animals which is, surprisingly, quite good on many issues.

Now I have been following discussions on Twitter where people talk about how capitalism is detrimental for traditional family, as it's all about maximising profits, and I chiefly agree with many of their arguments. However, mainstream socialism, as we know it from the 20th century, supports the same two income model, as also proved by their voting patterns.

The conclusion: we need the Third Way. Fundie Catholics are right, distributism is probably the way to go!

Take care all of you and whatever happens, don't forget to wash your hands!


As of now, all schools and nurseries are closed till 3 April, for the parents working in "essential" professions there will be care facilities functioning in school buildings. Our neighbours are organising volunteers to help the elderly, the sick and those who need childcare. My housekeeper offered to bring medicines around. I'm quite proud of them all.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Corona News Part 2, Should We Eat Pork?

The official news for today is 614 infected people, but...the government states that the family members aren't tested any more, even if sick, because there are not enough test kits. Since an average family consists of 4, the official numbers should be multiplied by 4 (and possibly more than that) for a more realistic picture.

The schools are still not closed yet, in contrast with many other European countries because of "working parents" evidently. Two-income lifestyle strikes again, I guess.

I have been doing some research online about the origins of the virus and came across a novel version, apparently there is a theory going around that it could have come not from eating bats, but from eating pork, especially undercooked pork, which seems to be a tradition in some parts of China. After more research I found a CDC paper addressing pig farmers which says that pigs can infect humans with flu viruses and vice versa, but you can't get it from eating "properly cooked" meat.

Makes one think, doesn't it? May be, Muslims are right about pork, after all? Also, why is it that the new virus can be treated by anti-malaria medication (chloroquine). Do we really understand the general virus nature and how they work?

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

From The Home Front - Coronavirus Edition

So by the last data we have 382 people officially diagnosed with corona-virus while 4 as far have died (3 were men, one a woman, all were elderly/in their eighties and possibly immunocompromised).  The majority appear to have been on vacation in Northern Italy or their contacts but they are still searching for the source of many infections in North-Brabant, the province which seems to be hardest hit as of now.

There is also talk on the internet that many exhibit the symptoms but are refused the test so it is speculated that the amount of those sick could in reality be much higher (which is very probable). I can understand the government trying to prevent general panic, but I hardly can understand those who still chose to go to Italy when it had already been known about many cases there.

An interesting situation is developing in Brabant about schools. On the one hand, it is recommended that both teachers and students alike stay home for as much as sneezing once (kids have been sent home for that) while on the other hand the parents are threatened with consequences if they keep children at home out of fear of infection.

There are definitely two camps online: the first consists of 2 incomers who *itch and moan and demand that the government provides them with free babysitters now that the schools and after school care are closing their doors, the second gleefully informs them that school is not free daycare, that they should raise their darn kids themselves, that they love money too much, and finally that they themselves (second camp supporters, that is) will keep their kids at home whenever they see  fit.

It's been fun to watch.

Stores in town are running short on flour, sugar, salt, honey, and canned goods. I have been doing shopping trips since last Thursday and have nearly enough at home to survive for about 4 weeks, since my freezer space is very limited I'm opting for canned/vacuum-packed above frozen as well.  The nearby supermarket hasn't run out of toilet paper yet, but they've had no flour for several days which is a bother since I recently bought a new bread-baking machine and am currently trying it out.

Instead of storing on flour, btw, I chose bread, fresh loaves to freeze and vacuum-packed which are good till middle May, plus Scandinavian crispbread. We eat lots of it anyway.

Situation in Northern Italy, from what I've gathered, is not looking fine right now.

How are things where you all live?

Feel free to share in the comments!

UPDATE: We now have at least one case in our city. Please pray for us!

Friday, March 6, 2020

The Nordic Bronze Age

An interesting docu:

A couple of things to notice, first, their culture was advanced and patriarchal, it's almost like these two things go together; second, they buried their dead instead of burning them like later generations did, so anyone claiming that cremation is "our ancestral tradition" needs to finally shut up.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

The Dangers Of The Internet

Today I'm not going to talk about the (very real) dangers of kids watching p*rn (something that would be forbidden in any civilised country), but rather about a more trivial matter: various online based self-help ministries which promise to drastically change your life/marriage/financial position etc for the better.

While there is obviously nothing wrong with trying to improve your quality of life, the problem with internet is its anonymity which necessarily means that the advice you get is (and should be) general only. For instance, you can find a lot of info about health and how to improve it, some of which can be really very good, but it hardly can substitute medical treatment when needed.

The same is true about child-rearing and marriage advice. There is no universal, one fits all technique applicable to raising children because they are all different and may need different approaches. More so, being Christians, we know that we all live in a fallen world and share a sinful nature. It means that you can do everything by the book and be the best husband or wife you possibly can, and still your marriage will fail.

Of course, there are some general principles which are too often disregarded nowadays and which, if followed consistently, generally tend to give better results than modern overly permissive parenting, but when we look at the Scriptures (and real life situations) we see that even children of the best parents can go astray (Adam, Abel and Cain; Noah and his sons etc). It doesn't mean, of course, that we shouldn't be trying to do our best, just that any manual which promises you 100% guarantee of best results is disingenuous.

When it comes to marriage, I have stressed many times that folks should be very careful in choosing a spouse. "Falling in love" is not a reason to get married when your future spouse exhibits immorality or abusive tendencies, and as Christians we shouldn't be engaging in "missionary dating". Don't marry unbelievers or people whose values are diametrically opposite to your own and who are unwilling to adjust.

Yet many people do exactly that and when their fairy tale starts falling apart, they turn to internet gurus for advice, and much too often, validation. Herein lies the problem, though: internet is not a real life. Instead of trying to use some fad technique (which are too often based on manipulation) why not ask advice from people around you, those you trust, like your parents, siblings or other relatives, and of course, your local church. It's especially true because different denominations will disagree about things like divorce and remarriage, for instance.

Yet, there is a category of people who apparently think that they are above such things like submitting to your local church authority, forgetting that it's the way NT church is supposed to function. There is at least, some degree of accountability in real community, there is none online. A pastor, priest or elder has undergone some training which includes dealing with conflicts and difficult marriages, yet anyone can set up a blog/twitter account/YouTube channel, you name it and start giving personal advice which is really a bad idea since it's impossible to get a clear picture of someone's situation in the relative anonymity of the internet.

Especially a lot of marriage advice circulating through various "spheres" is unbiblical, based on heathen understanding of human sexuality  and very possibly, dangerous. A lot of it comes from a weird fetish of some Americans for extreme libertarian ideas and opposition to every form of the government including church government. Yet, while the ideologues of this position basically are in rebellion against authority themselves, strangely they expect their wives and children to be in total subjection and treat them like Kings they are.

It just doesn't work this way, sorry guys. Little House on the Prairie recreated in modern times may sound awfully romantic, but in real life people are born into families, communities, tribes and countries, not into some weird Christian version of an Ayn Rand utopia (who was not even a Christian).

The rigid concept of marriage which many of these people promote and constant attacks on singles (unbiblical as well: I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I ...He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: 33But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife. 34There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. 3) actually cause a lot of harm and portray a caricature of Chritian marriage.

It's like some of them  took the worst  progressive anti-Christian propaganda and decided to use it as the basis for their teachings (isn't it called "agree and amplify"). There is also too often very little wisdom demonstrated in addressing social problems of our time. Being a jerk isn't a necessary pre-condition to being a right-wing or traditional. Sometimes a jerk is just a jerk and is better avoided even if technically on "our" side. 

Please use discernment when being online:)

Monday, March 2, 2020

The Power Of Prayer

This is quite amazing:

Two randomised controlled trials tested the effect of remote intercessory prayer (praying for persons unknown) on outcomes in patients admitted to an intensive coronary care unit.1,2 Both studies showed a beneficial effect...

 The purpose of the present study was to extend these observations to patients with another severe disorder, bloodstream infection. As we cannot assume a priori that time is linear, as we perceive it,4 or that God is limited by a linear time, as we are,5 the intervention was carried out 4-10 years after the patients' infection and hospitalisation...

 Remote, retroactive intercessory prayer was associated with a shorter stay in hospital and a shorter duration of fever in patients with a bloodstream infection. Mortality was lower in the intervention group, but the difference between the groups was not significant. A larger study might have shown a significant reduction in mortality.

Read about the study over here.