Faith in the ‘back row’- An interview with Chris Arnade

Denver Newsroom, Apr 20, 2020 / 06:05 pm (CNA).- Chris Arnade is the author and photographer of “Dignity: Seeking Respect in Back Row America.”

His book is a look at how many Americans – in rural and urban communities across the country- live. Chris got to know people who often lack a voice in American public life, and his work aims to give them a voice, and a face.  He talked with CNA about his book, his faith, and “Back Row America.”

Below is an excerpt, edited and condensed, from CNA’s interview with Arnade. The entire conversation can be heard here.

Praise the Lord

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Archbishop Smith: Trustworthy

Whom can I trust? This is a crucial question at any time, but especially in periods when things are in flux and uncertain, like the one we are in now with COVID-19. We feel the need to be led, but want to be certain that the person(s) leading us is worthy of our trust. In our current pandemic, we are blessed with public health experts, whom we do, in fact, trust to show us the way along this dark and difficult path. Our confidence in them is manifest in our common acquiescence to the directives they have put in place to keep us safe.

To their great credit, these medical experts have not taken our trust for granted. Rather, they have been at pains to demonstrate their trustworthiness. Among the signs that they employ to earn our confidence are graphic illustrations of trends and projections. They do their utmost to share very complex data in terms and pictures accessible to everyone. When we see these signs and understand them, we can then decide that, yes, these are people worthy of our trust; we can have full confidence in the direction they trace out for us.

This question of trust is of extraordinary importance. It needs to be posed not only in reference to the current, temporary pandemic but also in regard to life generally and always. The root of most of the mental anxiety that seems to be expanding exponentially among the citizenry, is, precisely, a crisis of trust. If I have no one in whom I can place my confidence, then I must necessarily fall back upon my own resources. Each of us knows we are weak and fallible. Trusting solely in ourselves, therefore, is no basis for certainty and hope; it leads only to a deep spiral of anxiety.

Praise the Lord

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