#BoomerRemover Trending on Twitter
I was somewhat amused to discover that there was a hashtag trending on Twitter over the past weekend #BoomerRemover. As such, it appears to be a way for millennials to express their gallows humor at seeing the older generation pass away. It is significant that hashtags are a convenient stand in for ethical reasoning.
As we ponder the issue of ethics in a time of illness, we need to have a starting point for our reasoning. I would suggest that the Bible is a solid place to begin. As I put it in another blog entry, I begin from a place that says, God has spoken, and so my ethics have to be shaped by the divine Word.
In Paul’s letter to the Romans, we find the following:
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned— (Chapter 5, verse 12)
The Presence of Sin
Sin is pervasive among the human race. We find sin in ourselves, in our children, in our parents, in our friends, and so on to the whole population of earth. No one is exempt from this terrible reality. Because that is so, Paul reminds us that death comes as a result.
Today, I am adhering to the directives of the nation and state in which I reside to shelter in place. That is, to socially distance myself from others for the next several weeks. Why? Because there is a contagion in the world which is doing great harm, even causing death, to people who are my age.
The corona virus has brought on a significant amount of reflection on ethics in a time of illness. What is the right thing to do these days? What is the wrong thing to do? How do we know? Should we simply look at this virus as a“#boomerremover”? (Referring to what we in the United States call the baby boomer generation which is now 55 to 75 years of age. See this article from India. ) Is this “Mother Nature’s” way of clearing out a bunch of people from the population of the earth? So we should just let the virus run its course? Questions, and more questions simply pile up. The answers are actually very few and look very different as those answers arise from differing age groups.
In my lifetime, I have held the hands of many dying people. Encouraged their families. Shared in the sorrow at the time of death. When these deaths came about because of an illness that had invaded the person’s body, the senseless nature of disease became more and more apparent. I noticed that when a person dies, the illness in that specific body dies with it. So, one has a contagion that gets into a person’s system. This then proceeds to kill the very system that is keeping the contagion itself alive. Or, perhaps more readily seen, when a cancer begins to ravage a person’s body, it is simply going to consume that host until it dies. But, there is no way for the cancer to reproduce itself in another body. Its only host is doomed to die due to the malignant activity of the rogue cells in the cancerous tumor.
Illness, it seems to me, is a reminder that death is the inevitable result of our life here on earth. Being sick forces us to see our mortality. Illness introduces us to the frailty of these bodies of ours. Ethics, the study of what is right and wrong, needs to soberly understand that sin is the source of this death we die.
However, Let Us Not Forget
But, and this is very important, for the Christian, for the follower of Jesus Christ, death is something qualitatively different. Jesus told us that he has gone to prepare a place for us. And that he would come to take us to our “forever home” so that we could be where he is. Paul says, for the Jesus follower to live is Christ and to die is gain. Paul reminds us that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have an eternal dwelling from God in heaven, not made with human hands. We are used to seeing our lives as lived with a beginning and an end. Actually we live from our beginning, through death, and then into life everlasting with God. That changes how we see illness, and how we confront the disease that is sweeping across the earth in these times.