October 27, 2020

CoVid-19 and the future of Church – Part 2

I wasn’t expecting to write a followup to my initial post on CoVid-19 and the future of Church, but that is what has been on my mind today. It has been nearly three months since I last touched on the topic.

Over the last couple of weeks, there have been a few new developments in our understanding of CoVid-19.
1. The highest risk for spreading the Corona virus is sustained contact with a group of people in an indoor facility with poor ventilation. (Describing most churches that I have visited over the years.)
2. Herd immunity (other than a vaccine) may be a pipe-dream. It seems that those who have milder response to the virus do not maintain the antibodies needed for immunity. Post updated with link.
3. Type-1 Diabetics, those whose bodies no longer produces insulin (of whom I am one) are 3.5 times as likely to die from the Corona Virus if infected. Being male, obese, and older are also all significant risk factors for me.

As a result of the three items above, I do not intend to step foot back into a church building (for the purposes of gathering) until there is a safe and effective vaccine. I would encourage all readers to do the same regardless of their risk factors.

I think a lot of people will be drawing these same conclusions.

I have also found that I am zoomified out. I hear others saying the same things. I wonder if the initial technological excitement that I wrote about earlier, and the bump in virtual attendance numbers that it generated, is starting to fade. I believe from my initial survey of YouTube sites that it is. Check out the views that your own churches are getting. Are you seeing a trend there as well? I know for myself that I miss congregational singing big time.

So here are some further thoughts that come out of this.

1. Most of us are not going do be doing in person church for quite a while yet.
2. Many will have gotten out of the habit and may not return.
3. Church when it does resume in person is going to have to look different.
4. Certain traditions are going to be going by the wayside. Their will be opportunities to also discard some traditions that should have been discarded long ago, but we should be careful in doing so. People will have gone through a lot of change, personal struggles, financial issues, and grief. We need to be careful not to add to those struggles.
5. Churches need to be very intentional, deliberate, and thoughtful as they move forward. There will be opportunities for ministry that weren’t there before, and ministries that will have to end. To try and replicate the same-old same-old will be a recipe for failure.
6. I think there will be an opportunity for participatory vision: In one-on-one sessions asking church members how God has opened their eyes through this crisis, and what they think that this means for the church.
7. This is going to be a time for tremendous shake-up for the church, and what comes out of it could look very different.

As usual, your thoughts and comments are welcome.

Comments

  1. Wife and I were talking about returning to in person church assemblies recently after our present church (PCUSA) had sent out a reopening for Sunday notification which detailed a plethora of actions–wearing mask, distancing, no in-person study classes, bring your own communion…and more.

    The only “draw” that we identified was seeing people and friends. However, we are so DONE with church in general. And, we realized that in reality we haven’t missed “going to church.”

    Yes, a lot has changed. It will be interesting to see how things play out in the next year or so.

  2. Robert F says

    >Herd immunity (other than a vaccine) may be a pipe-dream. It seems that those who have milder response to the virus do not maintain the antibodies needed for immunity.

    I had not heard this. So, if one gets a mild case of COVID-19, after recovery one could not only get it and be contagious a second (and third and fourth) time, but possibly get a more severe case?

    • Michael Z says

      It’s still an unknown, but we know that with other coronaviruses you can get sick again as soon as 3-6 months after you were first infected. There’s also evidence that antibody levels in some people who are exposed to covid-19 (especially if it’s a mild or asymptomatic case) drop to very low levels a few months later. But I haven’t heard any confirmed reports of someone being re-infected.

      As with other viruses, there’s also the risk that it will evolve enough that our immune systems need to learn to fight it all over again. The risk of evolution becomes much greater when there’s so much of the virus circulating – that means that many more chances for it to learn a new way to sneak past our immune systems.

      • Corona viruses are one of the major players in the common cold. To the best of my knowledge no successful vaccine has been produced against a corona virus–and I think that is because the viruses mutate so quickly. Maybe, just maybe, if a successful vaccine is produced (and I’m not holding my breath) we may cure the common cold also.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      > contagious a second (and third and fourth) time, but possibly get a more severe case?

      Yes.

      The assumption that COVID19 is like the Chicken Pox was a strange thing for people to believe in the first place. Yet that seems to be presumed by most people I know.

      • Probably because it’s one of the few infectious diseases anyone here has any real experience with.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        The assumption that COVID19 is like the Chicken Pox was a strange thing for people to believe in the first place. Yet that seems to be presumed by most people I know.

        Complete with revising “chickenpox parties” into “coronavirus parties” to deliberately infect you (or your kids) while you/they’re young and invulnerable.

    • Possible. At this point, we don’t know for sure. But that’s quite a risk factor, isn’t it?

    • Mike Bell says

      I updated the post with a link. A few have commented that this is unknown. It is now known that especially in milder cases antibodies may not appear or may disappear after a short (weeks) time period.

      • thatotherjean says

        I have read about a few cases that seem to indicate that yes, whatever immunity the first illness generated was gone in a couple of months, and the patient came down with COVID-19 again. I do wonder, though, if those initial cases might have been false positives? Since we know so little about COVID-19, though, there’s no real reason to believe that recovering from it will mean lifelong–or even medium-term–immunity. We’re going to have to develop effective treatment, whether or not we ever come up with a vaccine.t

        • David Greene says

          Here is a probable case of re-infection after really being sick, then recovering confirmed by two negative tests and then getting sick again.

          https://www.vox.com/2020/7/12/21321653/getting-covid-19-twice-reinfection-antibody-herd-immunity

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          So the only solution is “EVERYBODY STAY LOCKED DOWN! FOREVER!!!!”

          We’re going to have to develop effective treatment, whether or not we ever come up with a vaccine.

          And much-hyped Remdesivir is marginal at best (at $3000 a pop, Take It or Leave It).

          Hence all the Conspiracy TRVTH!!!!!s swirling around Hydroxycholoroquine as Miracle Cure.

          • “So the only solution is “EVERYBODY STAY LOCKED DOWN! FOREVER!!!!”

            No, other nations have done it. We just have to stay locked down long enough to halt community spread, and then EVERYONE wear masks and EVERYONE allow contact tracing. Again, other nations have done this. We won’t – therefore we are in the mess we are in.

            • Burro (Mule) says

              Have any countries with large populations done this?

              Has Italy?

            • Eeyore, unfortunately I agree — I think that horse has left the barn. We missed our chance. I have lost all faith in Americans being able to pay attention and give the effort necessary to shut this down. I live in the wrong country for this kind of problem. The U.S. is too big, too complex, too divided, and too individualistic to have everyone fall in line with any remedies imposed from above.

              I myself am not as concerned about getting the virus myself (though I certainly don’t want to, for reasons others have mentioned here), but what I am concerned about is the effect on our life’s infrastructure. I worry about my health network not being able to sustain its level of employment and cutting jobs. I worry about my grandkids not being able to go to school, and the adverse effects this will have on them and also on their parents and their work. I worry about my grandson who is a senior this year not being able to play football and missing out on many other facets of his senior year and the impact that will have on his future as he enters adulthood. I worry about the elections this fall and the chaos that could ensue if all this affects them adversely. I worry that, even if we get a vaccine, it will take a long time, and it won’t be as effective as we hope.

              Frankly, I’m a bundle of anxieties at this time and I don’t like it.

              • Welcome to the club. 🙁

              • Burro (Mule) says

                If I could rule by ukase, and could eliminate dissidents with a flick of my wrist like George Fotheringay in The Man Who Could Work Miracles, here’s what I’d do.

                Everybody goes home. People would have food, shelter, and medical care guaranteed, but nothing else. EVERYBODY, including rappers, hedge fund managers, middle management, etc.would take turns doing the necessary work of agricultural production, waste removal, etc. on some kind of a conscription basis. That would stop the Coronavirus dead, but my fear is that I wouldn’t want to give up that kind of executive power once the crisis was past.

                Anyway, Peru did just this since March, and they’re number five with a bullet this week.

                I guess its kind of a dry run a compressed climate-change crisis where the alternatives are wielding corporate/governmental power to force all the Biffs and Beckys onto public transport with the scary brown men or waiting for the free-market dieoff. Sorry to be so cynical, especially when I have as good a chance as anyone at celebrating next Christmas in an ICU.

                • We agree on this much – that the pandemic is a dry run for the troubles that lie ahead, and we will not handle it any better then than now. 🙁

                • New Zealand did something akin to this. They closed their borders. Ordered everyone to stay home. Paid everyone 80% of their income. Said no one had to pay their mortgages for 3 months. Govt leaders communicated daily about the situation.

                  Much easier in a small, island country with universal health coverage, state housing for the poor, income support for people in various difficult situations (single parents, disabled, etc.), childcare benefits, and less partisanship in the political realm. The safety net matters. I wish people here could see that.

                  • Michael Bell says

                    Canada did something akin to New Zealand. Not quite as quick or generous or severe. But it has worked here for the most part.

                  • Burro (Mule) says

                    New Zealand is a small, homogeneous country. Canada less so, but far more like NZ than like the USA.

                    For some reason, the image of a Black man standing out on the curb eating a spicy fish sandwich with an order of curly fries, and washing it down with a red Fanta that he didn’t work for, and laughing at all the White people driving by who paid for it, is so disturbing to the White psyche that they are willing to forgo any number of benefits to themselves to make certain that this never, ever happens, even by accident.

                    I think I’m on to something here.

                    Racism will be the death of us, but for some reason we just can’t seem to let it slip between our frozen, trembling fingers. For some reason, it seems to be a lot harder than just making up your mind that you’re going to treat Black folk the same as White folk.

                    • Robert F says
                    • Burro (Mule) says

                      BadWhites showing their a$$.. GoodWhites preening themselves like cockatoos. GoodWhites telling BadWhites they are Good and you are Bad. Why do I have the sinking feeling that this is not the way forward?

                      Diversity really isn’t strength. It has the potential for being, but when you’re under a lot of stress and low on resources it’s mostly a pain in the kister. People don’t act in a predictable way and you have to allot brain cycles into calibrating for that. Eventually you reach the Fuqqit Frontier.

                      But there is something about White American racism that’s different. Only the Afrikaners I knew during apartheid even came close.

                    • Robert F says

                      I thought the Goodwhites (btw there where Black people with the Goodwhites) were trying to engage the Badwhites in dialogue. And I thought they were sincere, and exhibited courage in the face of intimidation. The Badwhites otoh were intent on doubling down, using racist insults, and intimidating with their firearms. The only dialogue they seem to be interested in is the one that begins at the other end of the barrel of a gun. When both sides engage in such dialogue it’s called war.

                    • Robert F says

                      Here’s video of some of the events described in the link I provided in my earlier comment.

                    • There, Mule, you’ve encapsulated why the vast majority of my Appalachian neighbors voted for the berserk Cheeto Child.

                      I’m pessimistic on democracy, especially so when Big Money has the greatest influence. What the hell happened to/with McCain’s campaign reforms? Oh, wait, there was this SCOTUS decision about corporations having free speech…

                    • “New Zealand is a small, homogeneous country,”

                      Why is it that “small, homogeneous” is ALWAYS the excuse that the US needs to NOT do what is best??

            • David Brooks has written about how people have responded to pandemics in the past. It’s usually not good. He says that after the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic Americans just didn’t talk about it. They were too ashamed of how they responded and the way they treated each other. I’m afraid that we are probably beyond the ability to be ashamed of our actions now.

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says

              California just went back to Full Lockdown. Guess who’s screaming the loudest and filing lawsuits to stay opened up? According to morning COVID news, it’s Churches.

              In the meantime, I’m coming up on four months of work, eat, sleep, and wait to be infected. With no end in sight. Even my SIL is at the point of “why not get infected and get it over with?”

          • Headless Unicorn Guy,

            Just ask the kooks at WB’s site.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      You recover, and you catch it again.
      You recover, and you catch it again.
      You recover, and you catch it again.
      You recover, and you catch it again…

      Until you blow your saving throw vs death.

      No wonder everybody’s saying “Deliberately Engineered Bioweapon”.

      • Which is just as unfounded and dangerous as saying “It’s no big deal”.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        COVID does have two characteristics that do make a good bioweapon:
        Highly contagious with a lag time of being an asymptomatic carrier/silent spreader before any symptoms surface. Spreading for days to a week before you ever know you’re infected.

        Silent Spreader lag time is also what made AIDS so insidious; HIV is a “slow virus” with an incubation period of several YEARS, during which the infected person is an asymptomatic silent spreader.

        • Unfortunately it is not good in that it is not very lethal, especially for the military-age population segment.

          Anthrax or smallpox make much better bioweapons.

          But am sure the tin-foil hat brigade says it is a bioweapon and say it was deliberately released. To which I point out Hanlon’s Razor:

          “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity (or incompetence).”

  3. Adam Tauno Williams says

    > 3. Type-1 Diabetics, …

    Given demographics of church attendance this one point may do more to bring about Collapse than anything else. Yikes.

    > I am zoomified out…. I believe from my initial survey of YouTube sites

    Agree. A nearby baptist church, view statistics: 160 87 80 100 106 90 86 77 77 70 76 69 81 73 73 56 0
    If find it interesting that **zero** people viewed the message on Sunday, the day it was posted.
    Looking around at a few other nearby churches – constrained to those which have navigable websites / findable information [*1] – it looks as if that trend line is normal. Of course, churches are open now, at least minimally, so some people are probably going back.

    [*1] Church’s online presence is still generally awful, and very minimally maintained. That surprised me given current circumstances. A couple have no online content newer than 2019.

    • Mike Bell says

      You are confusing type 2 with type 1. Type 2 the majority of diabetics have insulin resistance. Type 1s produce no insulin. Both however are at risk, so your point is valid.

      • To put it another way, type 1 is something you are born with. Type 2 is what we middle aged sedentary types with not so great diets develop.

        • Michael Bell says

          Richard,

          Also not quite accurate. Type 1 is an auto-immune disease. Most are diagnosed as infants or youths. In my case I had an auto-immune response to a virus at age 48. My immune system attacked the insulin producing cells in my pancreas until it had killed them all. 3% of diabetics fall into my category.

  4. Michael Z says

    The other trend I’m seeing in the churches I’m connected with is people finding a lot more ways to connect with each other outside of Sunday worship, whether that’s phone calls or food dropoffs or socially distant walks together or Zoom Bible studies or virtual game nights. There’s definitely fewer people attending “corporate” worship, but the community is being strengthened in other ways. And, I suspect that for many people the church is a social lifeline right now that supports them far more than they even realize – especially compared to anyone who doesn’t have that sort of local community.

  5. In some discussions I have seen online, the sacraments card has been heavily played by traditionalists. “You can only get the REAL sacraments from a duly ordained minister who has performed the proper rites, and you HAVE TO come to church for that!” We’ll, even if I did still believe that, that line of argument would still make me turn against it – because what they are advocating for is little more than spiritual blackmail.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      My church (Romish Popery) has told anyone over 60-something or with comorbidity conditions to NOT attend Mass. Of course, given RCC bureaucracy, this had to come in the form of a “dispensation from obligatory Mass attendance”.

      Of the two local parishes I’ve had experience with, both were closed during the main lockdown livestreaming Mass. Now they have “limited re-opening” with Masses held outdoors. One started with outdoor Mass upon re-opening, the other tried limited attendance for a week or two then went outdoor only. Masks and keeping distance are mandatory.

      • Robert F says

        My church (Romish Popery) has told anyone over 60-something or with comorbidity conditions to NOT attend Mass.

        Wouldn’t that include most priests?

    • Burro (Mule) says

      Guilty as charged, although our church has increased its clergy’s workload five-fold to allow for smaller, more frequent services with much lower density.

      I appreciate what our clergy is doing, but the stress lines are showing.

    • Dana Ames says

      My parish doesn’t have that attitude, Eeyore. Our clergy understand the science and the seriousness. They also know that there have been extended periods of time in the not-too-distant past in certain places in the world where receiving the Sacraments was near-impossible, if not outright impossible. We’ve been live streaming on our Facebook page and nobody is required to be there, even for Confession – our bishop permits phone confession. The minimal “crew” is present in the church building for Liturgy, and if you want to come in person you have to wait outside (speaker set up). Whoever wishes to receive Holy Communion may do so, going into the building one at a time, with mask, and all doors stand open throughout the service. My pastor has noted with some dismay that some Sundays there are more views on Facebook than there were bodies in the building before Covid, but I think most of those are “visitors”, judging from the comments. So far, it doesn’t look like our parish is “going anywhere”.

      I find Zoom somewhat off-putting – not the technology, but participating in a meeting. All the little tiles make it difficult for my brain to process who’s saying what in answer to whom. Not to mention that if there isn’t some kind of order, the same talkative folks as IRL occupy more time/space.

      Dana

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        They also know that there have been extended periods of time in the not-too-distant past in certain places in the world where receiving the Sacraments was near-impossible, if not outright impossible.

        But the “GOD COMMANDS HOW WE WORSHIP! NOT SACRAMENTO!!!!” churches are NOT older Liturgical churches. Just the opposite.

    • Clay Crouch says

      Not in the Episcopal Church.

  6. My church has a plan that works for some. No singing accept a single song by a instrumentalist or soloist sitting behind a guard, plenty of spacing. We are at 20% of pre-COVID attendance. Most attendees are actually older, at risk members, they are the must lonely and reaching out for community. Young have bailed.

    • Mike Bell says

      To be honest. I find that Churches that reopen even with limited capacity are acting extremely rashly. I want to use stronger language. The virus is spread primarily through shared air through sustained contact in an indoor facility.

  7. Thank you for this post. Apart from age and weight, my risk is COPD. I will also not be doing in person church until there is a vaccine. The church I attend has put a tremendous effort into online church, of course there are glitches and it is not the same as in-person gatherings, but attendance has been pretty steady. also our small groups and bibles studies have moved online. More have been started and we are drawing people to them from diverse geographical locations.
    Our situation may be somewhat unique, we are located in Brooklyn, New York, are quite progressive, and skew mainly towards young professionals. At the height of the early surge in Covid in NYC, quite a few of our members left the city and returned to family spread across the country, but many have continued attending online.
    I am curious if churches that appeal to a younger and more computer savvy demographic are doing better than others.

  8. Christiane says

    There are pastors of churches who do not accept that the covid-19 information is anything but political and they do buy into the ‘news’ being slanted against Donald Trump.

    It is hard to see good people who are willing to ignore the science because of trumpism. But there it is. People live in information ‘bubbles’ and do not accept other viewpoints as valid. In the case of this pandemic, the results are going to be horrible, I fear.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Christians are the core of Trump’s base, the most Fanatical of Trump Fanatics, chorusing “AAAAAA-MENNNN!! HE IS LORD!!!” at everything he does.

      “I kill my own mother and still they cheer me!”
      — Caesar Nero, in Paul Maier’s historical novel Flames of Rome

      “I could shoot someone at noon in Times Square and not lose My base!”
      — Donald J Trump (Praise His Holy Name!)

      • Christiane says

        well, he did tell us ‘who he was’ before he was ‘elected’

      • That would include a lot of so-called Christian bloggers and so-called pastors who fancy themselves experts in astrophysics…

  9. For personal reasons that cannot be delayed I have to drive from Wash DC down to Georgia later this week. My destination is relatively rural and the only outside exposure I will have is what I already have here – going to the grocery, getting gas etc. Nevertheless I’m rather nervous since infection rates are spiking in the south because many folks have got it into their heads that not wearing a mask is some kind of bold statement of personal freedom rather than the foolish and reckless act it actually is. I’ll have my mask and my stylish little cobalt blue glass spray bottle of isopropyl (70% alcohol) that goes on everything I touch. To anyone who laughs I’ll wish them or their relatives a speedy recovery.

    • Hug, You are on a roll with your dumb insensitive comments. Even Hal Lindsey wouldn’t take you back

      • anonymous says

        she baaaaaaaaack

      • Robert F says

        It seems like you only comment to criticize other commenters comments.

        • Rick Ro. says

          Oh, c’mon guys… Use of that word is offensive no matter who uses it or how.

          • Robert F says

            The word is definitely offensive.

            I’d like to say more, but will refrain.

            • David Greene says

              Not to pick nits or anything but isn’t a refrain also a comment or complaint that is often repeated?

              • Robert F says

                Social grooming is an important primate behavior.

              • anonymous says

                but she no like-a da hug
                whoah

                • What I don’t like is someone who uses autistic children, faggots, and the South in their comments. If you are fine with it say no more Nothing to see here. And I am sure Hug can respond for himself if he thinks I’m wrong

    • Thanks for your concern HUG but I grew up down there. The average southerner is much too polite for that. I’m no longer a young man but It helps that I’m 6′ 2″, broad of shoulder and have a black belt in judo. (I also have developed a city-dweller’s “crisis” vocabulary, i.e., cursing.) But I doubt it will ever come to that. What they say or think is of no concern at all.

      I do have a streak of the perverse. I have a beautiful shemagh, courtesy of my Indian girlfriend, which she taught me how to wear properly. I’m not above wrapping it Arabic style and wearing it into the grocery store. Up here of course no one bats an eye.

    • Mike Bell says

      I removed the thread response. The language was inflammatory, and did not advance the discussion.

    • Put your food and drinks in the car. Try and balance not drinking too much fluid with not getting dehydrated. Buy gas where others are not. Take wipes. Wipe down hands and credit cards after you pump. Don’t try and disinfect the pump. Don’t go inside. Use rest stops for toilet breaks, not gas stations. Rest stops are typically larger bigger rooms and you can wait for the crowd to thin out.

      Says he planning a 1100 mile / 19 hour (each way) trip in a week or so.

      I like driving at night and will adjust my sleep schedule to allow such. Since I’m initially driving east to west on a 2 day journey I plan to start the drive around midnight and stop when tired after noon. Find a nice open rest stop, park under some shade, and sleep till evening then head out again.

      Driving interstates into the afternoon sun in the summer south can be brutal.

      • Robert F says
      • Thanks David, most of what you advise I do anyway but I hadn’t considered driving at night. I usually make a two day trip out of my drive just so it won’t be so butt kicking so this time I’ll either drive through or follow your plan.

        • I did the east to west 10 years ago and didn’t do the night thing. It was hard. Especially dealing with things like traffic around Atlanta and such.

          A couple of years ago I did it west to east and left at midnight, stayed in a motel during the next day then left again just before dark. It was a much easier drive. And traffic around Memphis, Nashville and such was non existent.

          And unlike my college days when getting a radio signal after midnight was a real trick, my phone had plenty of music and podcasts to listen to.

          And at 4 am there’s very few people line to buy gas when you need to fill up. 🙂

    • You can also get 91% IPA in places like CVS and Walgreen’s.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        You can?
        All I could ever find find were empty shelves.
        I had to mail order from WalMart.

    • I live in Dallas where it is absolutely exploding right now and I am still painting people’s homes. I think about it off and on all day long. You get to a mild point of resignation when it’s everywhere around you. I do exactly what you are going to do though. Mask, clean hands – all day long. After that the resignation sets in. If it’s gonna git me it’s gonna git me. I’ve done what I know to do.

  10. David Cornwell says

    I have a neighbor who attends a Pentecostal style church quite a distance from here. The pastor became sick and died of COVID-19 just a few days ago. The church had been meeting, in its building, once again. This pastor was also the supervising pastor of a number of congregations (something like a district superintendent I think). The funeral was held in the church and apparently had a large attendance.

    My neighbor decided not to attend the funeral, which surprised me because he claims to believe in “when his time comes, it comes” which I suppose is true in a perverted sort of way.

    In most ways, he is a very good neighbor and is always offering me help. I’m really at a loss as to how to have a conversation with him about all of this. Most of the other neighbors kid him about his positions and have turned it into something of a joke.

    • Robert F says

      It sounds like a widespread tragedy is taking shape among the congregations of this deceased pastor. I hope your neighbor continues to decide to stay home rather than attend services at his church, and I hope when the local outbreak manifests it doesn’t reach you, David.

    • While his outward stance may seem strong his action ( not going) speaks volumes.

  11. Robert F says

    Sadly, the White House in now in the process of publicly and openly trying to discredit Dr. Fauci’s expertise and competence. They intend to shut up experts who tell the truth, and highlight those that help them spin this crisis to their own political advantage. Good luck hearing any good science about coronavirus from the official agencies from here on — they will be turned into founts of deadly disinformation.

    • Rick Ro. says

      Reminds me of Isaiah 30:10…

      They say to the seers,
      “See no more visions!”
      and to the prophets,
      “Give us no more visions of what is right!
      Tell us pleasant things,
      prophesy illusions.

    • Robert F says

      It looks like Chuck Woolery may replace Dr. Fauci.

      • Christiane says

        LOL

        you saw the tweet !

        well, another ‘winner’ joins trump’s team

        is anyone surprised?

        • Robert F says

          What a tragicomedy. Where’s this generation’s Samuel Beckett when we need need him?

      • thatotherjean says

        Chuck Woolery? May God have mercy on our souls.

        • Robert F says

          That was a joke — though in the current climate of infernal farce, jokes can quickly become fulfilled prophecies.

    • David Greene says

      I truly the the good Dr. Fauci is being prepared to be the scapegoat.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Sadly, the White House in now in the process of publicly and openly trying to discredit Dr. Fauci’s expertise and competence.

      It’s been obvious that Fauci is going to be liquidated for Disloyalty.
      Morning drive-time radio has been expecting this for months, and wonders how he survived so long.

  12. Rick Ro. says

    Our church had in-person service for the first time two weeks ago. Temperature checks at the door, masks required, social distancing practices, hand sanitizing stations everywhere. I went, the rest of my family didn’t. 55 people in a sanctuary that holds ~600. Felt very safe.

    Yesterday, I decided NOT to go I(I’ve found it so much easier to just sit at home in my shorts, grab coffee whenever I want, etc.) Apparently only 35 showed up this second week.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      It will be very interesting to see what happens to the revenue side of the sheet minus actual gatherings – – – will “online” congregants continue to contribute at the same levels?

      • Michael Bell says

        If my church is any indication… they aren’t.

      • Mark Onstad says

        At my ELCA church, donations have actually been up while expenses have been down. Online worship is being upgraded with new equipment and increased staffing. Drive-through communion every Sunday after online worship addresses the concerns discussed elsewhere in this comments section. No in-person worship yet or on the horizon.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Sounds like your ELCA church is doing something right.

          But then if ELCA means what came up on a Web search (Evangelical Lutheran) you have the stabilizer of descent from a liturgical church.

      • I think a lot of churches have convinced many to do auto drafting of bank accounts. But I may be wrong.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Those Megas in Texas certainly have:

          “HOLD UP YOUR CHECKBOOK AND PLEDGE! IF YOU DON’T, OUR SECURITY CAMERAS ARE SO GOOD WE WILL KNOW WHO YOU ARE!”

          And then there is pressuring the elderly in the congregation to will their estate to the church as a matter of FAITH. Since these are usually the older, richer, and with comorbidites, letting COVID go wild is a Feature, Not Bug.

  13. Robert F says

    I miss congregational worship somewhat, but the practice of daily compline devotions that my wife and I have undertaken since the beginning of the church lock down has been far more spiritually formative than years of congregational worship.

    • Michael Bell says

      Could you elaborate as to what that looks like Robert?

      • Robert F says

        Each evening my wife and I read aloud the scriptural text suggested in a devotional, The Upper Room, and the short meditation that goes along with that day’s reading as preface to praying compline. Compline is the last evening service of daily prayer in the Western Divine Office; we use the Episcopal (USA) Book of Common Prayer as the source for that service. Compline includes confession, psalms and other scriptural readings as appointed in the daily office, the Gloria Patri, the Lord’s Prayer, collects, and space for a hymn as well as personal and corporate silence and intercession and thanksgiving; it concludes with an antiphon and the Song of Simeon. The service may be short and spare, or longer and more involved depending on how many reading are included, and whether other optional features are included or not. Much of the service is drawn from ancient devotions of the church, and provides a trellis of liturgical prayer on which personal prayer is lifted into places it might not be able to go unaided. There is space for the Spirit to breathe, and well as form and guidance so that the spirit does not get lost.

        • David Cornwell says

          Thank you Robert.

        • Clay Crouch says

          Thank you for sharing this. May our God comfort your wife and you during these very hard times.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          This is another advantage of Liturgical churches; they have backups if the main “Sunday Service” can’t be done for whatever reason.

          Not so Evangelicals, whether Mega or Splinter church. They have nothing EXCEPT their In-Person Praise & Worship (and Sermon). No backup, no fallback, only Back To Normal(TM) NOW!

          • Headless Unicorn Guy,

            That is the nice thing aoout those more Liturgical Churches. Glad I have moved in that direction (towards Presbyterian/Continental Reformed) and away from those SBC and Calvary Chapel (bleech) churches. The PCA church I used to attend before I recently located was more old-school high-church (with the OT, NT, Gospel readings, responses, etc.). Good stuff.

  14. Adam Tauno Williams says

    > This is going to be a time for tremendous shake-up for the church, and what comes
    > out of it could look very different.

    “The coronavirus is devastating churches’ finances. Affordable housing could provide an answer. ”
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-07-13/churches-are-building-housing-developments-in-god-s-back-yard

  15. I was done with church years ago, so I’ll watch that from the sidelines. But my employer, in a conservative county with a lot of allegedly good churchgoing christians in management, is going to require everyone to return to on-site work in early August. Including many who have no need to be there in order to do their jobs. Hundreds of people in sealed office buildings all day. My colleagues are terrified and angry. I have a medical exemption for now but am also terrified and angry. They are almost surely going to get someone killed, and they do not seem to care a bit.

    • Anonymous tip to the newspaper?

      • Their investigative branch might like to interview the boss. Get his side of the story. Then get some other sides.

      • Local news outlets also tend to lean conservative and cater to the loud and ignorant. It’s an area that’s had protests at government offices against mask wearing, etc. Only about 10% of the population has a college degree. A friend was called a “snowflake” by a total stranger simply because she was wearing a mask.

        • thatotherjean says

          Ugh. That is not encouraging. Is there a larger town/city near enough that they might be interested in what’s going on where you are?

        • Adam Tauno Williams says

          > Local news outlets also tend to lean conservative

          Absolutely. I would not trust a local “journalist” to watch my dog when I was on vacation, certainly wouldn’t want them involved in risking my employment.

          I’ve had enough interaction with them to know to avoid them.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          A friend was called a “snowflake” by a total stranger simply because she was wearing a mask.

          Better than what Johnny Cash’s granddaughter got called.
          https://www.newsweek.com/johnny-cash-granddaughter-abused-wearing-mask-1506764

          And at least he/she didn’t gt deliberately coughed on, like in that “COVID Karens Gone Wild” video compilation.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      But my employer, in a conservative county with a lot of allegedly good churchgoing christians in management, is going to require everyone to return to on-site work in early August. Including many who have no need to be there in order to do their jobs.

      I’m getting to the point of “They’re CHRISTIANS(TM). What else do you expect from CHRISTIANS(TM)?”

      I am sure these Good Churchgoing Christians in Management will make sure THEY are protected from any hint of COVID.

  16. Marcus Johnson says

    I’m going back to Psalm 137 a lot over the past few months. The poet recalls the long journey from their homeland to live out the rest of their life in either slavery or exile. The temple, center of their cult, no longer exists. The priesthood apparently cannot operate. Their captors are asking them to sing songs about their God, and they say, “How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land?”

    Then they ask God to bash the head of their captors’ children against the rocks (that’s been my favorite verse for a long time).

    I think we are going to have to go back to (apologies in advance for those of you who, like me, are over Matt Redman) the heart of worship. If worship cannot be congregational, physical, intimate, tactile, etc. in such a way that the institutions that perform it can survive, then what’s left? We’re not just a church without a temple; as most people have pointed out, we may be a church without a gathering. God’s still there, though, and so are we, so the basic elements of what’s needed for worship will survive.

  17. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    Latest news from morning drive-time:

    Every day the first COVID news is “Yesterday All Time High in Positive Cases/Hospital Admissions”, breaking yesterday’s “All Time High” which broke the day before’s “All Time High” which broke the day before’s “All Time High”.
    (Of course, all these counts are FAKE NEWS…)

    My county is now officially Anti-Mask, especially when it comes to re-opening all the schools. (i.e. “Everything’s Back to Normal!”) “FREEDOM!!!!!!”

    The CDC is being Punished for Disloyalty. Henceforth, ALL Health Departments and Hospitals in the USA are to bypass the CDC and report all numbers directly to Trump Tower DC (formerly the White House).

    Don’t know if this was just the morning drive-time guy ranting about the news, but mentioned a Trump Tweet (i.e. Inerrant SCRIPTURE) that both The Democrats Caused COVID and There Is No Virus..Talk-show guy losing it or actual latest Verse in the Book of Trump?

    And in Fake News and Librul Hoaxes from Science Falsely So-Called, the amount of viral load you get when first infected is a major factor in how severe a case you get. Which is why Masks are so important.

  18. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    Latest news from morning drive-time:

    Anti-Mask is now the official statewide policy in Georgia. Governor of Georgia overrode any maskup policy like the city of Atlanta put into effect by executive order. (The God Donald must have his human sacrifices.)