Now 'virtually' - The Place to Be

Keyworth Baptist Church

Any other year, unexpected freedom from end-of-term lectures and exam timetables would surely be cause for celebration. But this year, many students’ terms have ended with a tremendous anticlimax.

Spare a thought for those who, whether they’re sixth-formers or prospective grads, will have no summer term, no celebration party, no opportunity to hug their friends goodbye. Many had to leave their student houses and head home suddenly, now figuring out how to complete their degrees from a distance. It wasn’t meant to be like this. And there’s nothing they can do about it, except sit in the disappointment.

This article is one in a series (Connecting with Culture) from the the London Institute of Contemporary Christianity

Editorial Note: In this unusual season of social distancing, disruption, and deep health and economic concerns, many of us are discovering disheartening cracks in our personalities. Jokes on social media about binge eating, drinking, or series-watching make us laugh because they are so telling. News outlets report that both pornography usage and gun sales have spiked—two evidences of the unhealthy ways humans attempt to deal with boredom on the one hand and profound anxiety on the other.

On the flip side, there is also the hopeful sense that the current disruption could be a chance to reset direction or cultivate some new habits. When the online learning platform Coursera advertised a free Yale course called “The Science of Wellbeing: Psychology and the Good Life,” over 2.2 million people enrolled. There is a deep hunger to live a rightly-ordered life, and a sense that this cultural moment could be a defining one.

Dr. Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung has written helpfully and extensively on this topic.

This article by her was originally written for the Renovaré Book Club as an introduction to a six-week study on Glittering Vices (Brazos Press, 2009). This essay has been modified from its original version. Renovare.

Contagion, a 2011 disaster movie about a viral pandemic, has soared in downloads and rentals. The 1995 film Outbreak has seen a similar surge in views. Even tales of zombie armageddon like 28 Days Later and World War Z are more popular than ever.

You might imagine we would be desperate for escapism now, but instead many of us are choosing to watch our worst fears play out on screen. As one BuzzFeed headline despaired: ‘The Only Thing I Want To Do Is Binge-Watch Apocalypse Movies.’

This article is one in a series from the the London Institute of Contemporary Christianity

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