survival of the fittest.

This week I got a beautiful letter from my friend who has been in prison for 7 years. We write now and then, and he shared that all 200 inmates in his unit have tested positive for COVID and 11 have died so far. As I read his tender and poignant words, I thought about how so many don’t care about people in jail and COVID. Or the migrant workers where it’s ripping through their communities. Or communities of color where the numbers are incredibly disproportionate. Or the elderly who we all know have a hard time surviving this and are dying in record numbers. Or all the people with invisible underlying conditions who are living in fear for their lives or their children’s lives for good reason.

It has made me think how ironic it is that the group that’s most vocal about being anti-Darwin and pro-Jesus are the greatest contributors toward de-valuing the most vulnerable.  

Years ago, I wrote a blog post called survival of the fittest church and it came back to mind as I was reading the letter. Some of the principles of survival of the fittest is actually deeply embedded in Christianity, which we all know is also rooted in white supremacy, and ultimately is a way that that resourced, privileged people and communities keep rising. 

We see it in most every system and we’re seeing it right now related to the biggest public health crisis in our generation. 

Blatant disregard of science.

Lack of respect for essential workers because “a mask is restricting my freedoms.”

The compulsive addiction to church services.

The “Well, I don’t know anyone in my circles so they’re making it up” privileged responses. 

The ways that somehow basic public health orders have become a political issue.

The self-serving, individualistic, independent spirit that we take pride in as Americans, and unfortunately often as Christians, too.

It’s fascinating that the group that’s supposed to be the most dedicated to people on the underside of power—the least and the forgotten and the shunned and the marginalized and discriminated against —are the loudest voices to protect themselves first. 

That the faith that’s supposedly built on being other-centered, community-centered, and inter-dependent, embodies something quite the opposite. 

That those who eschew science are embodying a painful and telling form of survival of the fittest—the strong will make it through and the weak, well, it’s just part of the way it goes with a few God words sprinkled in. 

Thank you, dear friends and activists and leaders, who care for the least of these right now through your actions and advocacy. 

Who know that wearing a mask isn’t all that difficult. 

Who long for a hug but are finding a way around it for now. 

Who miss gathering in community in person but know it won’t be forever and a church service or going to a bar or throwing a big party isn’t the end all and be all.

Who honor that our healing is all tied up together.

Who are embodying the practices of loving and advocating in simple and tangible ways right now.

Who know that even though we may have insurance and food and an internet connection, there are millions of people who are making incredible sacrifices for others to keep our society running.

These things are really not that complicated and people are doing it around the world right now without complaining about it:

Wear a facial covering (If you can safely; there are exceptions for sure and it’s important to honor that reality).

Physically distance.

Wash our hands.

Find ways to connect creatively.

And most of all–wonder about other people’s survival and not just our own.

Kathy Escobar

Kathy Escobar is dedicated to creating safe and brave spaces for transformation and healing in real life and online. She co-pastors at The Refuge, a Christian community and mission center in North Denver and is the author of Practicing: Changing Yourself to Change the World, Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart and several other books.

One Comment

  • Kathy,
    I still have Isaiah 40:31 in a frame by my bed that you gave me.
    Think of you often because you are a warrior!
    Pam

    Reply

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