After Paul, I say to each and everyone grace to you, and peace, from God.

I am glad to tell you also that on September 13 next, we will start our Seminar year at Seminole United Methodist Church in a well appointed and comfortable room that accommodates about 30 people and has quality audiovisual equipment.

For the header of this letter, I could not resist using Gail Wynne’s felicitous designation for this year’s membership drive “We Are Better Together” because it speaks truth to several important issues.

1. WHO WE ARE. The human story, like the story of creation as a whole, begins with a divine word: “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness” (Gn. 1:26 NRSV). With this word God indeed consummates his work as Creator. He had summoned the light into being; gathered waters into seas; placed the sun, moon, and stars in the heavens; and filled the earth with living creatures.

Although one among many creatures, we humans are somehow different. When God made our species, he began by taking counsel with himself— “let us make humankind.” As a diamond cutter contemplating a priceless gem pauses before the initial stroke, so the Creator paused, as one especially engaged in what he was about to do (1:26).

And God did not simply command the dust to bring forth but stooped to gather it in his hands that he might form the person (2:7), breathing into his nostrils the breath of life. Thus the man became a “living being” from whose side God made the woman as man’s counterpart, a companion “fit for him” (2:18-23), and brought her to the man (2:7, 22).

In their reciprocity and complementarity, this man and this woman are the humankind to whom God gives stewardship over all the earth, the male and the female made in his image and likeness (1:26-27).

By such a studied deliberation and intimate involvement, the Creator commends to us the dignity of our nature as human, our human spirit. This is the true origin of our self-esteem that no psychology textbook has apprehended!

God’s act of creation is the basis of a Christian understanding of humanity. Human existence is by definition an existence in relation to God. We are given our existence as a gift of love in order that in love we may respond to the Creator’s love with gratitude and obedience.

Our first parents were summoned —and we with them—to a life of responsive and responsible love toward God and one another (Gn.2:16; 3:2-3; 1:28-29). Such love toward God and neighbor is not simply a desirable attribute of our existence as human; it is rather the very essence of that existence.

Our being–in-responsiveness-and-responsibility is fulfilled in our being-with-and-for-others-in-love, first the divine Other who is our Maker and also the human other who is our neighbor.

The irresistible and unavoidable, the ineluctable encounter with the human other, our neighbor, entails responsive and responsible behavior toward the other.

The basic human act is to affirm “I am.” And to posit our sense of self as “I” in this way is to posit the other who is a “thou.”

I am “I” not in isolation but in encounter with all of you. We humans contextualize one another because God and human contextualize each other.

Our being as being-in-encounter is evidenced particularly by human language, both verbal and nonverbal. Language is not the making of sounds like a talking parrot, or the stringing of arbitrary symbols linnearly like a computer.

Rather, it is the disclosing of the our selfhood to others and placing our self at the disposal of others, for language is the best example of heart and mind in action.

2. THE UNRELENTING COVID NARRATIVE. In sharp contrast, the covid-19 edicts and mandates totally lack regard for human beings and for human life, let alone any caring or support for us. There is only self-interest. Administering toxic injections as bioweapons to exterminate, or maim and enslave us, seems to be all the pandemic organizers and supporters care about.

The method they use to achieve that goal is a psychological and spiritual warfare narrative that induces fear and terror, intimidation and coercion.

They are being enormously successful. And we are paying a terrible price: the destruction of human fellowship which is of the essence for our humanity. And so we are:

ty or intensity of the painful feelings evoked by an injurious event. Traumatic emotional states can be grasped only in terms of the relational systems in which they are felt. Emotional trauma originates within an intersubjective context whose central feature is malattunement to painful affect, a breakdown of the relational interaffective system which leads to the loss of affect integration capacity and thereby to an unbearable, overwhelmed, disorganized state.

Emotional pain is not pathology. Painful or frightening emotions become traumatic when the attunement we need to assist in its tolerance and integration is profoundly absent.

For example, the four devilish dilemmas (right) purposely created by an unmitigated fear-inducing covid-19 narrative, in combination with muzzling and isolating measures, powerfully trigger off self-perpetuating terror and derangement.

Aimed at decreasing resistance and inducing edict compliance, this psychological form of torture can interfere with our FREE WILL’s ability to discern the moral quality of mandates and to choose and act accordingly, and can thus put us at risk of becoming initiated into the COVIDIAN CULT.

3. THE ONGOING VIOLATIONS OF OUR CHRISTIAN PRINCIPLES. As those in power continue to violate our Christian principles, NCC is always A RELATIONAL HOME where we can affirm one another in our endeavors, celebrate our efforts, and find sustainment in our struggles. Where we can strengthen, preserve, and protect our faith as we resolutely continue to face, with God’s help, this decisive spiritual warfare.

Ernesto Vasquez, MD

August 17, 2021