Judgement is a windmill.
Monday July 13, 2020
To Honorable Governor Walz, and the Minnesota Executive Council (Lt. Governor Flanagan, Attorney General Ellison, Secretary of State Simon, and State Auditor Blaha.)
As a courtesy, allow me a brief introduction? My name is James Orvis, married to Chris with three teenage daughters that all speak Mandarin. (Thanks Yinghua Academy!) We are currently residents of the Como neighborhood in St. Paul. I worked for years as a touring drummer (Romantica), currently pay the bills working photoshoots for a large Minnesota retailer, and for a light hobby have researched and written a prayerful interpretation of Minnesota’s most significant events of the past 300 years. My wife and I both have the distinction of surviving a coup d’tat; mine in Tallinn, Estonia (’91), and hers in Haiti when Aristide was ousted in 1994.
We have seen and tasted enough politics of the world to last a lifetime, and that is why I come hesitantly to ask one question; when will you restore our freedoms of religion, and reiterate for posterity that worship is essential? My personal mourning for this loss is so deep that I began fasting and praying for myself and all Minnesotans’ since May 11, 2020. I need my freedom to worship the G-d I love more than food!
I, as most Minnesotans’, do not blame you for your initial use of emergency powers to shut down the state. We had no data and were facing a colossal pandemic. For example, on March 11, 2020, “Congress’ in-house doctor (Dr. Brian Monahan told Capitol Hill staffers at a close-door meeting this week that he expects 70-150 million people in the U.S. — roughly a third of the country — to contract the coronavirus, two sources briefed on the meeting tell Axios.”* Most of us did not envy the weight of your responsibility given such claims and expectations.
In response to information such as that, you gave the initial declaration of peace time emergency on March 13, 2020. On April 8th, you extended the Stay at Home (Executive Order 20–33) order until May 3 at 11:59 PM. Again, you extended the stay at home order on April 30th for Minnesota until Sunday May 17 at 11:59 PM.** Today, you extended Minnesota’s peacetime emergency through August 12th.
Again, I appeal to you Governor and executive council members to take off your political hats, and try to see our life through a G-d’s eye lens. What is the cause and effect since the shutdown? A few examples:
- No Easter, even in the Vatican, for the first time in 1700 years!? No Sacraments? No grace flowing from the altar into the community. Though I’m a Christian with a Swedish Lutheran, Polish Jewish and Polish Catholic heritage, I seriously mourn that Minnesotans’ felt the loss of Ramadan, Pesach or Passover, and meditating at their temples.
- A state-imposed limitation of our work. To work is to participate in Creation, and to express our human dignity. It is a primary act of worship; i.e. “I may be changing tires, but I choose to work as if the King of the Universe were my customer.”
- We have paid dearly during the Peacetime Emergency for the loss of relationship between small business owners and their customers. It is not just an economic hit, but a hit on the basic trust and voluntary connections between neighbors. We spend money where we know and trust the people.
- We have allowed the fear of Covid 19 to rob us of the things that bring us joy: going to the park, eating a meal, having a beer, watching a ballgame, going to school, playing with friends, buying a coffee, sitting in a cafe, going to the theatre, shopping in a favorite store, and going out to dance. Etc. How are these simple pleasures an act of worship? Whether we acknowledge the Deity or not, when we feel joy we are reminded that “something is good in this universe, I’m tangibly experiencing it, and I belong here. I matter to somebody, and somebody matters to me.”
- Worship, I believe, in the Old English means something akin to “worth-ship, or to call something worthy”. Simply put, worship is choosing what is valuable to us. Our choices forge our experiences, and our experiences create our sense of memory. Our memory is what creates our identity. Composer Clive Wearing suffers from retrograde and anterograde amnesia. To his psychologists, he is known as “30-second Clive” because his condition usurps his past. In effect, he has largely lost his personality.**** Why is this relevant? There is an unprecedented cessation or censorship of worship for approximately 2.9 billion people internationally because of the Covid pandemic. What are the international results? We are experiencing one of the most profound attacks on history or historical statues and symbols in recollection, primarily through youth movements. Will this result in personal and cultural amnesia for our kids? Are we raising a “30-second generation”? Dear Governor Walz, how will we build and retain a common cultural identity if we allow the trend of erasing history? Our character is shaped by both our successes and failures; shouldn’t we remember both?
- To further the point, we see a crisis of justice. We have experienced and tasted the bitter fruits of George Floyd’s unnecessary death. We have seen a huge response of justice and righteous indignation expressed in peaceful protest. Yet we also saw protest boil over and result in approximately 1500 acts of property damage and violence committed against those who were not the cause of a botched detainment! For some race, class, and gender could be construed as causal in this context; but what happens if we dig past these political labels to the heart? Perhaps it is an internal dysfunction? When we experience deep pain we have a choice; insurrection or introspection. We can choose to hold onto an offense, yet that is precisely what bonds us to our offender. Some call this principle ‘trauma bonding’. Dear Governor, how will our people heal without the introspection learned by giving and receiving both the Grace and Truth; the forgiveness and the judgment of Christ?
So now it’s time for some pointed statements based on nine years of interceding through our State’s history, four months of my experience of a worship-less Minnesota, and nine weeks of mournful fasting. I truly don’t relish rebuking you or your council, but ask that You listen to the kindness and sternness of G-d. (You may not understand or believe in prophecy, but I will share what I’ve heard in prayer and nothing more. Please test it against the Scriptures and your life experiences. Judge for yourselves if I’m wrong about the principles of sowing and reaping judgment.)
Hear the message of the Lord:
Whether You accept it or not, you are my masterpiece. You were created for this moment in history to guide the political state of Minnesota into good government. Part of this understanding is the humility to understand that all political authority is subject to the Authority of Heaven.
I have these offenses against you:
You have judged that you are the arbiter of your citizens’ health, and have stolen their rights and responsibilities for their own health.
You have judged that “Worship is not essential” to Minnesota, and still withhold the freedoms of religion and the practice of faith from my people!
You have both withheld freedom from the people of Minnesota, and added to their burdens.
Governor Tim Walz, and the Minnesota Executive Council, I will now spiritually judge you and the Minnesota Executive Council precisely in the areas of your judgements. I, too, will govern your healthcare choices. I will withhold from you what you deem worthy of value, and goals you find praiseworthy; that which you worship. Humble yourselves! Hate what is evil. Cling to what is good. May You experience my Grace and Truth as you practice these principles of good self-government. Judgment is a windmill. Return to me and I will return to you.”
The Lord, Jesus Christ, Messiah and King of the Universe
In sum, Honorable Governor Walz, we love you, pray for your success, and need you to survive. The Peacetime Emergency powers are crushing our humanity, and extinguishing the light of our heritage of faith and generosity of spirit in Minnesota. Will you lift this burden off of us so we can worship, think for ourselves, and thrive?
Just another man who loves Minnesota, James D. Orvis
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:4-5 NIV