The surest way to make God laugh is to tell God your plans. After seminary, I served a wonderful small church in Virginia. After five and half happy years in Altavista, Andra and I decided it might be time for a move. In Presbyterian-speak, we were “open to a call.” We duly informed the Almighty that we would go anywhere the Spirit should call – anywhere but Florida.
That was thirty-six years ago. We’ve lived in Tallahassee ever since.
When you live in Florida you get used to those “Florida man” headlines in the newspaper. You know the ones I mean:
- FLORIDA MAN CHARGED WITH ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY WEAPON AFTER THROWING ALLIGATOR THROUGH WENDY’S DRIVE-THROUGH WINDOW.
- FLORIDA MAN GETS TIRED OF WAITING, STEALS AMBULANCE, DRIVES HOME.
- FLORIDA MAN TRIES TO ROB GAMESTOP WHILE WEARING TRANSPARENT BAG ON HIS HEAD
Or my favorite:
- THOUSANDS OF GUN OWNERS IN FLORIDA PLANNING TO ‘SHOOT DOWN’ HURRICANE IRMA
Bizarre, right? Well, as I learned in seminary, you must consider the Sitz im Leben. When you live in Florida, you learn to recalibrate your bizarre-o-meter.
Florida’s governor and legislature are a case in point. The lawmakers down the street at the Capitol have declared all-out war not on Covid 19, the virus that has sickened over 5 million and killed more than 63,000 Floridians, but on health officials, business owners, and school board members who are trying to keep the folks in their circle safe. They began by outlawing mask and vaccination mandates, and when our local School Board and Superintendent pushed back, they cancelled their salaries. Even after the Supreme Court ruled that the Feds can require the vaccinations of most healthcare workers, Ron DeSantis, Florida Man in the Governor’s mansion, announced that Florida won’t be enforcing the federal requirement.
This week the high hied yins in the State Health Department suspended Dr. Raul Pino, the health officer in Orange County, for the unspeakable crime of suggesting to his colleagues in Orange County that they have a moral and professional obligation to be vaccinated.
Dr. Pino wrote an e-mail to health department staff that read, in part, “I have a hard time understanding how we can be in public health and not practice it . . . I am sorry but in the absence of reasonable and real reasons it is irresponsible not to be vaccinated.”
You probably think Dr. Pino makes perfect sense.
Clearly, you don’t live in Florida.
The last time I checked, Christians, no matter where they live, are called to love God with heart, soul, mind, and strength, and their neighbors as themselves.
But this is Florida.
The rules are different here.