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Chuck Kralik

Writing During a Pandemic

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Hi, everyone in the ChristianWriters family. I have a few questions for you in this age of the coronavirus pandemic. Feel free to respond to any or all of the following questions...

 

1. How are you doing? Are there prayer or ministry needs that you have?

 

2. Do you find that you have additional time for writing? I am posting about a blog a day to social media. Not all of my blogs are recent, but I'm trying to find some of my past writing that seems to apply well to our current situation. My goal is to provide encouragement. There's understandably so much fear and negativity. I want to be a voice of hope.

 

3. How might your writing ministry be influencing and/or strengthening the faith of people these days?

 

I'd love to begin a conversation. Ready, set, go!

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3 hours ago, Chuck Kralik said:

How are you doing? Are there prayer or ministry needs that you have?

I'm a fulltime caregiver. Going to church is very difficult, and I don't know how to find a good online ministry. (I'm not a tech person) 

 

3 hours ago, Chuck Kralik said:

Do you find that you have additional time for writing

No, not personal. In fact, I found less than normal, because, with a large family and everyone limiting supplies, I have to go to more places just to get what we need for a few days. We don't have city water, but well water. After the flood got into the water, it made it undrinkable. At this rate, we will be boiling pond water soon. Not that we can't, just that it is a time-consuming inconvenience that is made harder with the dementia family member we have. 

 

3 hours ago, Chuck Kralik said:

How might your writing ministry be influencing and/or strengthening the faith of people these days?

I'm working on some stuff about being a caregiver. This will likely be a good time to do a "what did we learn today?" Series. 

 

🤨 You know you missed some of your own questions. 😋 

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Thank you so much for responding, Alley! It sounds like you have your hands pretty full with everything. I want you to know that I'm praying for you. You are an inspiration to the members of this group!

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Thank you for your prayers! They are appreciated. 🙂 

 

Is there anything you need prayer for. If my memory serves right, you're a pastor...? Are you guys still able to meet? 

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We could definitely use prayers for our church. We had our first online Worship today. I'm still learning the ropes when it comes to technology, being in front of a camera, etc. I appreciate your thoughtfulness, Alley!

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48 minutes ago, Chuck Kralik said:

We had our first online Worship today.

😃 We should start a thread for online services! Everyone could chip in their church or one they like. 😊 

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Our little church has been canceled. The pastor is calling everyone weekly to find out how they are doing physically and spiritually. So far, the virus has not made it to the area, but we expect it any time.

 

Chuck, good luck with your technology learning curve. Prayers for you and yours.

 

Alley, I have not forgotten you. you are always in my prayers.

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I’m no stranger to “lockdowns,” but losing the opportunity to meet with even our little church group was a blow, as completely unexpected. Why didn’t I see this coming? I find myself retroactively grieving the also sudden (and violent) loss of our church group some years ago, so that complicates things.

 

However, I’m very thankful for this online community. It’s the only one I’m part of, and very encouraging. 

 

Since my my life revolves around classrooms, teaching, and informal social welfare and interpretation services, yes, I do find I have more time to write.

 

It’s one of the things I can really look forward to while in partial isolation.

 

Thanks for your concern!

 

 

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 The Church of England has prohibited all public services to be held in churches nationally. So Sunday was very surreal for me with no congregation.  Most of my people are over 70 & many have underlying health  issues so there are only a few of us who are able to get about.

 

I am putting prayer packs to deliver over the next day or two. They have our weekly readings, orders of service, prayer sheet and a newsletter in them. I am keeping in touch via email, whatsapp & phone.

 

Depending on what happens this week ( likely that churches will closed down completed as nation goes in to lock down). I may try doing an online service this Sunday.)

 

Praying for all of you not able to go to church or pastor in your normal way. Strange days indeed.

 

At present not getting much writing done but might if we go into lock down. 

Depends on whether I can come up with a story worth writing.

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16 hours ago, Chuck Kralik said:

1. How are you doing? Are there prayer or ministry needs that you have?

Actually this shutdown has been positive in odd ways for us, as well as negative.

Truthfully, this is our life most of the time, except going out grocery shopping once a week was our big adventure. And the rest of the time is seeing one doctor or another about one thing or another. Suddenly, doctors don't want to see us as much. We're hoping they get that doctor appointments can be phone calls more often when this is over. (Even willing to pay for the phone call.) So, for us, this feels like snow days after a blizzard. Some unscheduled time off, but knowing it's creating eternal problems for many others.

 

Negative in that right before it, we're both having an end-of-life depression. We usually have our depressions at different times, enabling the one to give strength to the other, so this is worse. But we came to the same conclusion at roughly the same time. We will have no more adventures on this earth anymore. i.e., no more vacations, concerts, or even a trip to a museum. The only two exciting things we'll ever do as us again are grocery shopping and church. Both of which, have proven as iffy during this virus as before it. Still haven't figured out how to handle that one. (But please don't tell me I'm wrong. We really are towards that end of life, and he's been on borrowed time for the last four years.)

 

2. Writing wise? Bonus time during the shut down. I've had time to work, albeit, waiting around to see if deliveries are truly delivered cuts out as much time as doctor appointments used to. Finally figured out how to deal with Chapters 6 and 7. (Well, divided Chapter 6 so there is a 6 and 7.) Truthfully wondering if I'm just fooling myself with this series too, except I can't let it go. Having more trouble writing it than writing the first book too, and since the first book took 5 years, that's a problem. (Especially knowing momentum was killed during the health crisis that changed our lives permanently.)

 

3, My writing was never a ministry, anymore than my stained glass was or my garden is. God gave me talents and an ability to learn that I've enjoyed.

 

But I am giving a chuckle to a few people about this whole quarantine thing. 

 

 

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On 3/23/2020 at 7:25 AM, Spaulding said:

But I am giving a chuckle to a few people about this whole quarantine thing. 

Keep those bears busy!!!! You never know what mischief they will get into.

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Let me see.  I'm fine. No sign of illness in my house.  Lockdown is my normal lifestyle, except now I connect by phone rather than in coffee shops.  

I am writing.  Any writing I do seems like a miracle to me no matter what is happening in the outside world.

This Sunday is again going to be for prayer and fasting to ask God to relent in His Mercy.  I see His hand in many small miracles.  

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@Spaulding My prayers are with you. If you tell others of your faith, and show it by persevering in writing and your other activities, your hope can change lives. Among the people who have inspired me the most in my life were a woman named Janet from my church on her deathbed with RA, and my father Joseph, who has survived the death of his wife, two strokes, two heart attacks and a near fatal infection, all in the space of three years.

 

My dad's recent upbeat attitude, kindness, and thankfulness in the face of such hardship are a testimony to me of how faith can create a resilient life of purpose. He is 93, and still kicking. His example helped inspire me to write Job Rises : Thirteen Keys to a Resilient Life

 

Janet's faithful witness to family and friends despite deep pain overflowed into my life with the power of the Holy Spirit, and thirty years ago my visits with her set me free from a decade of depression and gave me joy.

 

You must always believe that your life has purpose. God has made it so. When we are weak, He is able to accomplish great things through us.

 

Paul

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Last year was one of the best of my life. I published a nonfiction book, got a good bonus and raise at work, and my youngest daughter got a full scholarship to UMass Boston. At the start of this year, I resumed work on a YA fantasy novel that I began writing about five years ago, The Loyalty of Trolls. I was making good progress and was very happy with how the comical story was turning out.

 

Then the Coronavirus hit. My office (like many) sent everyone home to work remotely. I cannot work on that fantasy novel; my heart is not in it. To paraphrase a line in the movie Stardust, "Comedy is suspended."

 

Towards the end of writing Job Rises last year, I stumbled upon some prophetic verses in The Book of Job and included my observations in an appendix. Due to the disruption of life caused by the virus, many people are worried about their future. A reassuring message that God is in control of history seems apropos. Thus I have changed my plans and begun researching Bible prophecy, in hopes of finding that reassuring message. I know of people who devoted decades to such study. I hope I can manage a small amount of insight in a few months!

 

While my jumping off point was my research into Job, I have discovered real treasures in Ecclesiastes. This is odd, because five or six years ago, I tried to research Ecclesiastes, a favorite of mine, but couldn't get anywhere with it, so gave up. I had no intention then of writing about Job. Then the Spirit leaned into me and I devoted several years of study to Job. The weird thing is that investigating Job helped me find patterns in Ecclesiastes that I would not otherwise have seen.

 

So I have been crawling the web, reading about the history of the world from the beginning up until the present, a tall order. Honestly, I would rather research this until I die and never publish a word on the subject, because I read lots of speculative books on Christian prophecy when I was a young man, and all those writers were eventually proved wrong. (Gorbachev is NOT the anti-Christ... Psalms is NOT a year by year account of the 20th century... The European Union has NOT conquered the Middle East... Comet Shoemaker-Levy's collision with Jupiter was NOT a prophecy that Israel would go to war in 2016 or so... ) If the patterns and ideas I am finding are similarly wrong, then I can sympathize with those earlier writers. It is too easy to see what you want in scripture and  too easy to make it say what you want. But if I am right, then I must share what I have learned. I keep telling myself, "But you have no Biblical or historical support for this conjecture, so you must be wrong. Give up." Then I have an insight or make a chance discovery, my case grows stronger, and I reluctantly continue. My one consolation is that the patterns I have found do not permit anyone to predict when Christ will return. (Phew!)  

 

God never shows anyone something without a reason. Prophecies are not gratuitous fun or proofs of a peson's spirituality; I am not eager to break one of the Ten Commandments on a whim. My final hope is that I can't think of a benefit that my words will impart to a reader that is big enough to justify the effort. If learning what I have learned can actually strengthen someone's faith, then I will need to continue. (When I was younger, the Lord gave me a vision of the Romanian Revolution over two months before it happened. That scared me, because I knew it meant God was sending me there, and He did. My two mission trips there turned out well, but it really stretched my faith. If the Lord has a message for me today of this magnitude, I expect to be challenged even more.)

 

So that is the effect that time working from home has had on my writing. It has upended everything! The Zeitgeist has handed me a new assignment. I have seen "Beautiful Mind" and my wife used to joke that I was the same. I am too good at finding patterns for my own good. This pattern spotting ability enabled me to design and implement software at my employer that has saved the company $800 million in a two year period. If my application of this talent to God's word is incorrect, I risk persuading many people of a falsehood. Please pray for God to guide me. I do not want to be another Eliphaz, hearing mystical words from a lying spirit.

 

- Paul

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There are a bunch of things that bother me.

 

My writing has hit a lull.  Part of it has to do with everything going on.  Part of it was this has disrupted my Saturday routine.  I used to be look forward to going to my cigar bar, pulling out the tablet, and pounding out a chapter.  Now?  It's on hold.

 

That effort has been supplanted by posting on Facebook, telling a few people to frickin' calm down.

 

There is this insidious political undercurrent to all of this, and it only makes things worse.  Most people handle this with a certain sense of humor, and many of them are quietly stoic.  But there's always a few of them out there screaming like the sky is falling.  It's not helpful.  Like, at all.

 

I'm at risk for this thing.  The therapy for my cancer has weakened my immune system, and I have scarring on my lungs.  It is further complicated by the fact that - at this time of the year, winter to spring - I get congestion in my lungs.  I've had this problem for years, but every frickin' cough has me second-guessing.  I'm not really worried about catching the virus as I've spent years avoiding every sickness the wife and kids bring home from school (my wife works in an elementary school).  But still...there's always that doubt. 

 

And not being able to go to church bothers me a lot.  I like going to church.  I feel guilty when I don't go.  I'm not a sociable guy, and not exactly someone you'd consider community-oriented.  But there is something lacking when I miss church.  Having a livestream isn't the same.

 

I hate to complain.  There are people right now who have fluid bubbling in their lungs, wondering if they're going to be around tomorrow.  All of this may be an annoyance for me, but for them, this COVID-19 stuff is deadly serious.

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Jeff,

 

I am struggling to figure out how to respond to your frustration. All I can do is remind you that you are not alone in this. We will gather together again as a church family to worship God. Perhaps not as quickly as we would like, but this is not the end of the world. The sky is not falling.

 

Whatever happens, the most important thing is that we know that nothing can separate us from the love of God--not a closed church building, not the politicians, not the panic many people feel, not even a vulnerable body.

 

 

 

 

 

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Tomorrow is going to be a strange day for many Christians. Fellowship and collective prayer is often the bedrock of christian communities. As someone said on this site - online is no substitute.

 

I have told my church I will be doing morning prayer at 10am and invited them to join me 'in spirit'. We launch a WhatsApp prayer thread on Monday.

It's not enough and won’t help those who are not technologically savvy but it might help others feel less isolated.

 

I am realising just how big this pandemic is globally. Any previous thoughts that the powers that be were over the top are gone. And it is going to be a long haul.

 

Writing wise. I am settling down and be able to concentrate on outlining my new work. It is proving a hard one to do but is coming slowly together. I am being more of a planner this time around than previous so it is new disciple for me as well.

 

 

 

 

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