“Too soon.” Has been the sentiment of some readers to yesterday’s treatment of Ethics. I can here that. For many in our community, life is still too raw, moving by too fast to begin the process of reflecting on past decisions. Many are still thinking about what the next step is. Many are wondering what, if anything, they should be doing next.
These questions, too, are technically in the realm of Ethics, but it is a different kind of approach. Current decisions and next steps have much more to to with practice and virtue than they do with analysis and reflection. Moreover, they feel like they are bogged down by too much discussion – too much “yaking” as my kids often say. And I appreciate that. There will be time, later, for us to discuss the development of habits and rules of thumb that help form and predict right action. For the moment, let’s think quickly about a general framework for the development of an action plan for the next couple of weeks.
Most of the folks in my tradition that I look to for advice on such things are of a single voice concerning “what should we be doing.” This is something of a novelty, given the amount that these folks have traditionally liked to argue, bicker and define themselves by hairs-bredth differences of opinion. It is refreshing, however, and it gives me the sense that the Spirit must be at work in their thinking these days.
“Be a neighbor to your neighbors,” seems to be the operative part of their advice. Reach (tangibly) out to those who come to your mind, figure out if they need anything, and, if meeting their need is something that you can do, do it, right away.
But what about “impact?” What about “the least of these?” What about “sustainability” and “stewardship” and all of the other things by which we will ultimately measure the quality of our community’s charitable response to this crisis?
The are important. But, like the ethics discussions that I proposed yesterday, they are often better suited for further down the road. As we find ourselves still very much in the midst of the crisis, figuring out how to address the “low-hanging fruit” among inumerable challenges will, ultimately clear the way for more robust, impactful, just and well-thought-out interventions in the days to come. There will be time for everything. The crisis is not going away quickly. Early days are best spent doing what we know how to do quickly. And not causing any futher harm.
So, What should you do?
- Call or otherwise reach out to everyone you can think of.
- Ask them how they faired
- If they say anything other than “high-and-dry” see if you can get them to talk about what their challenges were.
- If they mention something that you can do something about, offer to help WITH THAT THING – Offer to help today. Offer to provide a specific solution. Tell them when you’ll be there or have it done.
- No matter what, let them know that you’re thinking about them and that you’ll be back in touch in a couple of days.
- Repeat with your next neighbor.
If this is too much, that’s OK too. There are lots of other lists of relatively simple, but highly relational things that you can do out there on the internet. Do something off of one of those lists. Thats OK, too.
Get working, friends.