Do not read this!

Ha Ha! Too late.

You already did. And you cannot un-read it. It’s like a bell you cannot un-ring or toothpaste you cannot push back in the tube.

Once you read something, you can’t help knowing it. You can disagree with it and you can forget it, but it’s already in your mind. It’s like a brain-worm. Kind of makes you afraid to read anything, doesn’t it?

Well, don’t be too afraid, or else you’ll never learn anything new. The trick is to use your brain to sort out the junk from the good stuff. But that’s a problem, too.

In order to sort the good stuff from the bad, you have to think, and sometimes, think hard.

And that’s where a lot of us run into deep trouble. The “thinking machine” in your brain isn’t like your car, it does not run on gas. It runs on a special fuel called facts

Facts are very funny things. First, they do not care whether you like them or not.
Unfortunately, a lot of us are picking out favorite facts these days. Sometimes we call them “alternate facts.” In reality, there is no such thing. An alternate fact is just a ridiculous name coined by a propagandist who wanted an excuse to not know all of the facts, or worse yet, ignore the ones somebody does not like.

Opinions are made with facts. Unfortunately, lots of us are trying to make opinions without enough of them. Enough means all of them, not just our favorites.

Opinions without all the facts—only favorite facts—are too broken to even call them opinions. Those are only excuses backing up an attitude. It’s not fair to call them opinions.

So, here’s another challenge. Do not read this week’s cover story in the Jamestown Gazette.

Ha Ha! Too late again.

If you even read the headline, you cannot un-read it. This week we decided to do what we always do—we give you facts to fuel your brain—but we have recently discovered that a lot of folks are running on empty when it comes to facts about Covid-19.

That means a lot of folks appear to be running on attitude alone. That works about as well as filling up the gas tank on your car with a garden hose. Except, when it comes to Covid-19, running on attitude can kill you or somebody you know and love, or even a total stranger.

That fact has already killed about 130 thousand Americans. No attitude to the contrary will bring them back to life and certainly will not comfort their own families and friends.

One of America’s greatest leaders, Abraham Lincoln, once said it like this:

I am a firm believer in the people.
If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis.
The great point is to bring them the real facts.”

This week, your Jamestown Gazette has paired each fact with a reputable, fact-based source you can check for yourself and tell the real thing from the fake.

This is especially urgent because research on Covid is ongoing and scientists are learning new things every day. Scientific research produces facts the way a winning team keeps raising the score. Stay up to date on that score, on the facts. It’s like keeping your gas tank—your thinking tank—always topped off.

Now, go fill up and enjoy the read.

Walt Pickut

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Pastor Scott Hannon
Pastor Scott serves the people of St. John by helping the congregation welcome everyone, care for one another, and grow in the joy of God’s love through Jesus Christ. Pastor Scott earned his bachelor’s degree at the University at Buffalo and went to seminary at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, SC. He is currently pursuing his Doctor of Ministry degree with an emphasis in preaching from Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. Pastor Scott and his wife, Kate, live in Bowmansville, NY with their children Molly, Delaney, and John Scott. Scott and Kate love Western New York for many reasons, not the least of which are the changing seasons, wonderful people, and of course the Buffalo Bills. Pastor Scott’s ministry priorities are worship, preaching and teaching. Scott’s hobbies are guitar, golf, and reading. To read some of Scott’s musings visit his blog Way-ward at www.psdh.org.