Thinking Out Loud

September 28, 2020

Lost Embraces: A Lament


by Capt. Sheldon R. Bungay

originally published as The Phenomenology of Embrace; used by permission

I see the images flicker across my news feed and my heart yearns for justice,
yet another unnecessary black death, another riot, another shooting,
another political party fueling the fire and building a platform founded on a lack of truth.

I see the vitriol, the hate, and hear the cries of the oppressed,
I see the disease, the hunger, the lonely, and the dirty faces.
I see the mother who named her child, “Jihad” so that he will never forget.
I also see the sign that reads “stay six feet apart,”
and I cannot help but feel:
If I had the ability to wrap the whole world in a vast global embrace,
I would.

Alas, I cannot.

There is much that I miss from the time before now,
Near the top of that list is the simple embrace.

Why?

Because a hug is more than a form of greeting, or a nice gesture,
It is a drama that unfolds in four acts that has the power to convey much about the relationship between the participants and walks a fine line between love and oppression depending on the intentions of the one who initiates the contact.

Act One: Opening the Arms

This act is an opening of one’s self to another that says “come, be part of who I am.”

Found within these open arms are both a twinge of pain because we feel incomplete without the other, and a welcome sign that suggests I have created space within me for you!

Like a door left open that requires no knock, you are invited in.

Act Two: Waiting

What humility and risk! What courage it takes to extend your open arms to another without guarantee of acceptance or a reciprocated act. The other cannot be coerced or manipulated to respond if the embrace is to have full positive effect;
We have no confirmation that this is what the other desires, or longs for,
and so we…. Wait.

Act Three: Closing the Arms

There it is — goal achieved!

Isn’t it wonderful to think that a hug is only possible when what is being offered is fully reciprocated?
Do you ever think about the beauty of that moment when you are offering yet also receiving?
A true embrace cannot be one-sided, it only works when what is being given is also taken.
And it just feels right.

Act Four: Opening the Arms Again

Notice that an embrace is only love when it is released, if one does not let go the embrace turns to oppression and things get uncomfortable fast.
In a weird twist, an embrace can only be appreciated for what it is when we let go,
only to begin the longing process all over again.
And so, I open my arms to you, and know not if I will be
misunderstood,
despised,
appreciated,
or reciprocated.
But “embrace is grace, and grace is gamble, always.”

Anyone need a hug?


Based on Miroslav Volf’s concept “The Drama of Embrace”
Embrace is Grace Quote – Lewis B. Smedes.

Capt. Sheldon Bungay is a Salvation Army Officer currently serving in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada as Divisional Youth Secretary. Husband, Father of two, student, persistent question-asker and listener.

Graphic: File image, credited to James Sword

September 9, 2020

Making God’s “Plan A” Known

Filed under: bible, Christianity, Church, current events, social issues — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 10:49 am

The focus of my writing over the past six months has been Christianity 201, where I’ve been sharing more original content than in times past. This one is appearing later today; you’re seeing it first!

Acts 20:27
For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. (NIV)
For I didn’t shrink from declaring all that God wants you to know. (NLT)

Many times in the church, the leadership is asked to comment on the social issues of the day; including things that simply never existed at the time the scriptures were written; but also including things which were the same in their day as they are in our own.

A pastor may feel pressed to comment on homosexuality, but I guaranty that a minister who is in the least compassionate will temper that message, or at the very least phrase things very gently, if he knows there are lesbian or gay people in the congregation, or people who are related to (by being parents or brothers or sisters) someone with that orientation. Even the most conservative sermon approach will, I hope, offer God’s “Plan A” in loving manner; and hopefully some will allow for the possibility of other interpretations where their theology and convictions permit.

When it comes to abortion, in a congregation of any measurable size, there is even more likelihood that someone listening to the pastor’s words have walked down that road. The sting of those memories is still strong, and dredging that up in a weekend worship service may seem like the last thing they needed.

This bring up the question of, ‘Why bother to address these things at all?’

There is some wisdom which must be credited to those who follow a Lectionary approach to preaching. Prescribed readings for each week offer a compendium of scriptures over a three year cycle. There aren’t “sermon series” topics running consecutive weeks, or room to maneuver the preaching focus to social issues or political ones.

That said though, the scriptures have application to so much of every day life. A pastor who goes off on a rant on abortion at least once a month runs the risk of appear obsessed on the topic, and as stated above, may be trampling on the sensitivities of individuals in the church. A pastor who ignores the possibility* that abortion grieves the heart of God runs the risk of making the Bible seem irrelevant to social issues and practical concerns.

[*Okay, more than possibility, but this is what I meant by speaking things gently. In fact, having presented some foundational scriptures, making the point in an interrogative form — “Do you think perhaps this grieves the heart of God?” — is probably closer to how Jesus would handle this.]

But on the off-chance your church doesn’t have people who are homosexual (or leaning in that direction) or have had an abortion (or are close to someone who did), it is entirely possible that you have people in your church who have been through divorce, or are even about to proceed in that direction. Statistically, it is far more likely.

The most cited phrase is “God hates divorce;” but notice the difference in two popular translations’ rendering of Malachi 2:16

“The man who hates and divorces his wife,” says the LORD, the God of Israel, “does violence to the one he should protect,” says the LORD Almighty. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful. NIV

“For I hate divorce!” says the LORD, the God of Israel. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife.” NLT (NASB, NKJV, GNT, NET, are similar on the key phrase)

But even with the NIV rendering, it’s clear that God’s original “Plan A” was marriage for life.

“Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Mark 10:9 quoting Jesus

Some will ask, and the disciples did ask,

“Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”

to which

Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. (Matthew 19: 7 above, and 8, NIV)

Even there we see grace, and in similar fashion grace* should be at the center of our proclamation.

[*Sadly some pastors don’t read Jesus this way and prescribe that people should stay together even in the middle of a physically abusive situation. Hardliners, including some pastors and authors whose names you would recognize, would insist that saying otherwise is creating situation ethics. But that’s a topic for another article.]

I mention all these things not because today’s devotional has in any way been an attempt to cover the subject of divorce, although if you’re interested in an exhaustive 3-part research piece on the effects of divorce on children, I encourage to read the one we ran here, here and here.

Rather, I am to say here that in the course of the life of a church congregation, certain topics should eventually surface in its preaching and teaching ministry, and at that point, one cannot avoid lovingly declaring “the whole counsel of God.”

So I want to end where we began:

Acts 20:27:
For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. (NIV)

For I didn’t shrink from declaring all that God wants you to know. (NLT)

 

August 21, 2020

After 5½ Months Away from Church, Will They Return?

Filed under: Christianity, Church, current events — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 9:43 am

With most of the media focus on high profile churches which have been defying local and state laws on assembly, we can forget the many congregations which have been faithfully obeying the authorities and meeting through YouTube or Zoom.

With so much time away from their home church, Skye Jethani wondered if people had returned now that restrictions had eased and did a Twitter poll with 1,741 results; with most respones from the U.S. but some from other parts of the world. Here’s what they told him:

Many also added comments. Here’s a sample:

  • It was great to be in-person. But it was not normal.
  • we won’t be comfortable with in-person services for awhile anyway. And I never felt like I could get on board with virtual church.
  • I’m currently hired by a church to make their service videos, I’ve become somewhat burnt out by it. Having said that, the reason I’m burnt out is because the video follows more or less exactly the same as the service and disregards all the amazing possibilities media offers.
  • it feels like we’re herded to our seats and out the building like cattle.
  • I think we all have to just come to the realization that the old “normal” is gone forever and we have to just appreciate and be thankful for whatever semblance of normalcy we have right now
  • Our family uses @bibleproject Church at Home instead of streaming our service. The mandatory quarantine gave us the opportunity to step away from serving at the coffee bar every Sunday and reconsider church. My teenagers prefer the deeper discussion over 4 part sermon series.
  • Went to a live service for the first time in about 5 months. To be honest, I spent a lot of time wondering why most people weren’t wearing masks and how it showed a lack of concern for others there.
  • During this season our house church gathers and participates together online, we don’t “watch online” ;) – This moment seems a perfect opportunity to shift from church being a spectator sport into an actual conversation of a community.
  • Sometimes watch church online while multitasking. Used to be regular attender. Miss the in person fellowship. Huge loss in worshiping God.
  • In- person. But no where near back to normal. We ended up leaving our church and finding a new church body.
  • I’ve mostly tuned out the digital Sunday stuff and just listen to the sermon on podcast, but our missional community has continued to Zoom every week.
  • I selected that I’ve tuned out. In reality I attend when I am scheduled to run the sound board and stay home and stream services from other churches when I’m not.
  • In person with masks, limited to 30% of building capacity. I’m grateful that I was able to be there all along though – when gatherings in my province were limited to 5, I was one of those 5 who still got to go to each service to help with music etc for the livestream

And then there was this one:

  • Wish I could go, but too many people at my church aren’t taking it seriously. 1/3 singing without masks. Some showing up sick. Some even showing up with pending COVID tests. Trying to determine what faithful involvement can look like.

What about you? Comment here, or click the link if you have a Twitter account and comment with everyone else.

Churches will need to identify that 20.2% and reach out to learn if they’ve relocated or encourage them to return as things stabilize.

Photo: ABC News

August 19, 2020

When the World Baits Us for Knee-Jerk Reactions

Filed under: books, character, Christianity, culture, current events, Jesus, reviews — Tags: , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 9:31 am

Review — A Gentle Answer: Our Secret Weapon in an Age of Us Against Them (Nelson Books, 2020)

While 2020 will best be remembered for its top health story, the year will no doubt also be marked by the increase we saw in both online hostility and public protest. There is no middle ground and no room for nuance as things because increasingly more polarized; more black and white.

What is the appropriate response for someone who is a follower of Christ?

Anecdotally, it is not much different than that of the general population, but Jesus — and the whole compendium of scripture — teaches us that as citizens of another place entirely, we ought to formulate a different type of reaction.

When Brant Hansen wrote Unoffendable, which I reviewed here in 2017, one pastor mentioned that this was a topic he had been drawn toward covering, but felt it was no longer needed, as Brant had done an excellent job.

But three years later, the world (and especially the U.S.) finds itself in a situation where it would seem someone was monitoring all the yelling and reached forward to turn up the volume button. From mask-wearing to racism to political candidates, everyone has both an opinion, and an opinion as to why their opinion is correct.

Maybe it’s time for another book on the subject.

Scott Sauls is a name unfamiliar to me even 60 days ago. Someone had asked me about A Gentle Answer but it was a few weeks after that I discovered a previously-received review copy. Around the same time I learned that Scott Sauls had served for many years alongside Tim Keller in New York City and was better known to people in the Reformed community.

There are many similarities between Sauls’ work and Hansen’s; but also many areas where Hansen is more of a journalist and Sauls writes more as a pastor. If I were asked to recommend either one to someone who needs to hear what scripture can teach us about our character in such heated situations, my choice would depend on who the recipient might be. They are equal but different.

Scott Sauls divides his attention between the gentle spirit of Christ which all his followers have experienced (the first three chapters) and how we ought to allow that to change how we respond (the remaining five chapters).

Although the book doesn’t often address the specific issues of the day (of which I mentioned three, above) it is certainly written with social media outrage and public confrontations in view. A few times he reminds us that this is a lesson which Martin Luther King, Jr. knew well; an arena whereby (to paraphrase Paul) we would do well to imitate King as he imitated Christ.

In the title of chapter two, Scott Sauls reminds us that Jesus, “reforms the Pharisee in us;” making us a people who can do anger righteously, receive criticism graciously, and forgive thoroughly.

I’ve posted some short sections from Sauls at Christianity 201 including an excerpt from the book at this link, and also included a shorter section that grabbed me as I wrapped up reading at this link.

I encourage you to also check out scottsauls.com.


Thanks again to Mark H. at HarperCollins Christian Publications in Canada for an opportunity to read A Gentle Answer. I’m going to miss those advance review copies!

August 8, 2020

Thoughts on John Ortberg’s Farewell Sermon

Filed under: Church, current events — Tags: , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 2:32 pm

After watching the sermon from Menlo Church earlier in the week, I thought I might write something. But I find my thoughts are still scattered, so I’m going with a bullet-point format.

  • Over the years, I’ve really enjoyed John Ortberg’s teaching. It’s hard to be objective.
  • Ortberg has also mentored another west coast pastor who I’ve frequently quoted here. I’m sure that pastor and his congregation are reeling from these developments.
  • In the bookstore where I hang out, I counted 16 titles by John Ortberg this week, and I know there were at least a half dozen DVDs in another section. (The listings on his Wikipedia page are sorely out-of-date.) But those numbers pale in comparison to all the things he has written, including the forewords for other writer’s works, and the number of times he is cited.
  • His connection to Dallas Willard made him a go-to source on the issues of spirituality, spiritual rhythms, spiritual practices, etc.
  • At least he got to do a farewell sermon.
  • I thought he did well. He took the high road. He encouraged his church’s members and adherents. He was being pastoral even at the end.
  • As often happens, a pastor’s home life can be more chaotic than what you’d expect. The Ortberg family dynamics are less than ideal. Much healing is needed.
  • He was at Menlo for 17 years. The church had, I believe, 6 campuses.  Megachurches with an iconic leader have a much bigger challenge when it comes to finding a replacement.

You may watch the entire service at this link. Or if you prefer, watch the 20-minute sermon only.


When I went to post the above screenshot of last Sunday’s sermon, I discovered this one, including Bill Hybels was in my picture files. John led the charge against Bill when the latter was facing his own crisis in 2018. We used the image in this commentary.

August 6, 2020

Someone’s Story is Worth a Thousand Arguments

Filed under: Christianity, current events — Tags: , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 8:06 am

Various editions shown here of The Negro Motorist Green Book can be accessed in the digital collection of the New York Public Library with the earliest from 1937, to the most recent as late as 1966. Click here to link.

 

As I mentioned a few days ago, I have a friend who keeps emailing me the latest podcast or video dealing with Critical Race Theory, Black Lives Matter, and other similar topics.

Because I live in the real world, I am concerned, but I find myself ill-equipped to deal with the subject matter at the level he is processing it. I’ve suggested some other forums.

It’s like my friend wants to play chess, and I do not play chess (at any appreciable level) and I suggest getting together with the guys in the park and yet he keeps saying, “I want to play chess with you.”

I am however increasingly convinced that much of our rhetoric about race (and gender, and politics, and so on) would resolve if we would just take the time to listen to each other’s stories.

There is a story I want to insert here, but I don’t want to do this without the permission of the person involved, but rest assured it would make you think twice about a lot of things that people of color face, especially in the U.S. (In some cases only in the U.S.)

But this one is also helpful. It appeared in The New York Times and other newspapers the third week of June and was written by Tariro Mzezewa. I would expect a search of the author’s name would include links.

It was about road trips and told the story of Nisha Parker, a special-education teacher in California who yearns to go on a road trip. But she needs to plan it out 100-times more carefully than you or I would consider.

Did you ever hear about The Green Book? It was a real thing, but it was also made into a movie. The guidebook told African Americans where it was safe to go; where they would be well-received. And where to avoid. Because that level of painstaking preparation was absolutely essential.

Here’s the part of the New York Times story that got to me…

…But Parker, 32, said that she can’t imagine just being able to pack up and go without a plan, like some white families might be able to do.

So for the past six months, she has been meticulously planning their journey. She knows which towns her family will stop in which they’ll drive straight through, and which they’ll avoid entirely. She also knows which stretches of the road her children won’t be allowed to drink juice or water on, to avoid bathroom breaks in towns where the family could encounter racism or violence based on their race.

“We try not to stop in places that are desolate, and we try to only stop in cities for gas,” she said. “If we have to stop for gas in a rural area, we use a debit card so we don’t have to go into the gas station store. If we are going to stay somewhere overnight, we look at the demographics to make sure we aren’t going to a place where we would be the only Black people or where we would be targetted, especially at night…”

Things you and I wouldn’t worry about. That’s the reality she and her family face…

…It’s August now. I hope their trip happened and went well.

I hope there’s a day they can just go like any other family.

 

July 27, 2020

John MacArthur vs. The State of California

Filed under: Christianity, current events — paulthinkingoutloud @ 10:04 am

“That was unusual.”

Those were the first words from John MacArthur yesterday when, after walking to the pulpit at the beginning of Sunday morning’s service, he was met with a round of applause from a fairly packed house of congregants joining him for worship in defiance of an order by the State of California banning such worship services.

It was also the phrase going through my mind when I watched a service from Grace Church in Sun Valley for the first time. It’s not my usual routine. Not even close.

The service itself was somewhat normal for a conservative Evangelical church. For each hymn, attendees were told to take their copy of “Hymns of Grace” and turn to the respective page number. It was repeated each time instead of the usual, ‘Take your hymnbook,’ almost like a recurring branding. I sense the books are available for purchase.

Hymns were accompanied by a small orchestra consisting of 4 violins, a viola, a cello, two clarinets and a double (string) bass, at least as far as I could see. Then the pulpit lowered into the stage for an unobstructed view of the small orchestra as they performed an instrumental piece. Later there was another hymn and before the message the orchestra accompanied a male soloist. The prelude and postlude on the organ were very high-church.

When it came time for the closing hymn, people were instructed to sing loudly, one of the issues at the very core of the ban on worship services. In some ways, that instruction was more defiant than the sermon content.

The scripture reading was from Daniel 6. It was a fairly long reading, and the congregation was asked to remain standing for the whole time it was read.

The message basically echoed the theme from Daniel 6, that Daniel would not follow the King’s edict but would follow God instead.

At this point I discovered I had scheduled a Zoom call for the same time, and cut away from the message, only to find it later posted on Capstone. I may have missed a few minutes from the middle, but the theme and the trajectory were quite evident and I’ll leave it to other sites to provide quotations.

Toward the end MacArthur focused on the fact that abortion clinics are wide open, and used the later minutes of the message to comment on the murder of unborn children, while at the same time discounting the possibility of people dying due to attending the large assembly he was conducting.

I say that because at supper, my wife asked, “What are the chances that everyone attending the service was virus-free?”

In California, not very likely.

This morning comes word from the LA Times that the State of California is threatening to cut utilities (power, water) to businesses defying the order.

Would they do that to a church? We’ll have to wait and see.

April 16, 2020

Conspiracy Theories Just Never Stop

Filed under: Christianity, current events, media — Tags: , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 12:07 pm

I was going to post something else earlier today, but I’ve just spent the better part of an hour chasing down a rabbit hole of sensationalism someone posted on their Facebook page; and more time thinking about it.

The story announced with great confidence that in the move toward online sermons, tech giants were blocking sermon content from Christian churches. [Pauses. Do I include the link? Nah, why bother. Search it if you must.] Notice that both sermons and churches are plural. The implication is that this is pretty widespread.

Instead, there was a reference to one church which had its app suspended over allegedly insensitive remarks concerning the Coronavirus. This church is headed up by a controversial pastor whose subject matter and content was probably already being closely watched. [Pauses again. Do I mention the church? Suffice it to say it’s in Moscow, Idaho. Some of you will immediately make the connection.]

Usually it’s televangelists who advance this theme. If they can unite you and me in the face of a common enemy, experience tells them that we will then reach into our pocketbooks and donate to the organization which has sounded the warning.

Fear = Funding.

I did not shoot from the hip at my friend who had posted the link on Facebook. Instead, I spent a long time trying to find other examples of this that weren’t based in countries already under a religious persecution watch. Instead, I found two other articles, one of which was an echo of the one posted, the other one of which was its source. None were major media, or even major religious media.

When you read something like this, do the research. You may not be trained as a journalist [considers temptation to add, ‘Neither am I, though I play one on TV.’] but you’ve got time on your side right now.

Check everything before liking or sharing.


We’re not doing link lists (Wednesday Connect) during this time because most items posted would have a single focus and you’re seeing those anyway.

However, it’s been announced that Willow Creek has named a new senior pastor. David Dummitt is the founding pastor of 2|42, based in Ann Arbor Michigan (where they have five services each weekend) with six additional campuses (many of which also have multiple services). He starts in June. See the full story at Religion News Service, which also links you to a formal announcement and video from Willow Creek. [Watching one of his sermons at his current church as I type this.]

Also: A longstanding teaching and music festival in the UK – Spring Harvest – was forced to become an online event this year which means you and I get to be part of it all week, April 13-17. Speakers and worship songs which may be unfamiliar to you! Refreshing! Check out the various videos at YouTube.

 

March 27, 2020

Nothing Much to Add to What’s Being Said

Filed under: blogging, Christianity, current events — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 10:22 am

“A lot of people will be home,” I reasoned, “And a lot of them will be bored.” As I have often repeated, at the ten year mark I granted myself exemption from the drive to post daily here, but I figured this would be a good time to be creating content. Unfortunately, as I tried to put pen to paper — so to speak — I found it very difficult to engage any form of creativity. I’ve thought of re-purposing older articles, which I might do yet, but again, my spirit is simply too restless. 

It seems ‘tone-deaf’ to raise other issues. I know it’s been business as usual for some bloggers and Tweeters, but try as you might, it’s hard to ignore the elephant in the room. Hopefully the extremists and one-issue writers have found their concerns fading into the background at a time like this.

Christianity 201 reaches that 10-year mark next week. I think it’s going to be come a Monday to Friday type of devotional blog at that point, but instead of slowing down, I have written a rather large number of original articles over the past two weeks, instead of borrowing them as I normally do. I’ll say more about that on April 1st, our tenth birthday.

We’ve become locally focused. For the past two Saturday nights I’ve coordinated a community bulletin board letting our people here know who was having services, who was streaming services, and if so, where that content could be found online. The first week — when 2 or 3 churches were indeed still gathering — the service was found to be quite valuable, but last week people were settled into the new normal routine. I probably won’t bother this week.

I never realized the degree to which Sunday worship sets my personal rhythm. I wrote about this last week, but it’s truer now than it was then. We won’t be gathering this week, and as God’s people, it’s part of our DNA to gather.

We own a Christian bookstore which has been forced to close. We have an enormous rent payment due on April 1st, and the landlord has not replied to any request for rent relief. I don’t talk about the store much here because I have a separate publishing-industry blog, and furthermore, I don’t see it as the epicenter of who I am or what I do. But right now all those resources are just sitting there, literally gathering dust, and many of them would be most helpful to people at a time exactly like this. Unlike your local church — which is probably very thankful that so many of you set up pre-authorized giving — we have not one cent of revenue coming in and won’t until the day we reopen. Easter sales are lost. We were heading for a record-high month in what has started out as a strong year, but now that’s lost.

I am not bearing this time well. I find I have an undercurrent of restlessness. I spent a half-hour yesterday afternoon reading selections from an old NASB New Testament which was my father’s, but the calm it brought didn’t last. By evening, I was in full anxiety mode. I want the nightmare to end, but each item on the evening news, and each new post on Twitter seems to suggest this is going to go much longer than originally forecast. This is a particularly nasty virus.

This is how you stop a plague. I believe this works, I support the science. But it’s not easy. In the notes to an online worship set for the housebound, the band Rend Collective posted, “Social distance is good for our health and the health of others… But it’s not really good for our souls.”

I couldn’t agree more.

March 10, 2020

Churches Respond to Coronavirus

Filed under: Christianity, Church, current events — Tags: , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 9:59 am

With things moving quickly, I said to my wife this morning that who is to say, looking at it from a Tuesday perspective, that we will have a service this weekend?

The following (and today’s images) are all from a Twitter news sub-feed indicating what churches are doing, accessed at 9:00 AM EST today:

  • ‘No hugs, no handshakes’ seems to be the #1 rule in these times
  • Prevalence of hand sanitizer stations, or in one church, people receiving a pump of sanitizer from the priest before receiving communion
  • At many Catholic churches, the Holy Water has been temporarily removed
  • At other churches, no wine for Communion/Eucharist
  • At some, the priests are dispensing the wafers with a ladle
  • At Orthodox churches, parishioners are asked to honor the icons by bowing, not kissing them
  • Many churches are already streaming services online
  • People encouraged to stay at home if they’re not feeling 100%
  • Denominations and parachurch organizations are cancelling larger conferences and seminars
  • At a synagogue, the hamantaschen (triangular filled cookie; festival of Purim tie-in) are individually wrapped instead of being on a tray
  • Some LDS churches have purchased high-speed thermometers
  • Area around the Kaaba in the Grand Mosque in Mecca shut down for sterilization

While these address the more practical concern, there is also the issue of fear, worry, anxiety, etc., and the subsequent depression this situation can bring on. The ability of the capital ‘C’ Church to meet these needs will certainly be tested over the coming weeks. 

Addressing this climate of concern, while at the same time remaining transparent about urgency taking measures to not spread germs is a two-pronged challenge. 

Then there is the question if some of the things we do on a regular basis, such as the shaking of hands, the sharing of the cup at the Lord’s Table, etc., should be reexamined long after the current outbreak has passed.

Older Posts »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.