Before We Reopen: A Question for the Church

4 thoughts on “Before We Reopen: A Question for the Church”

  1. Great thoughts, James. In answer to your question, “Does holding large church gatherings in defiance of public health orders help people move towards caring for and protecting the most vulnerable?” NO.
    Large gatherings are the preference of some leaders which put the most vulnerable at risk, and expose the selfishness or those called to be selfless.

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    1. Thank you, Bob! I agree, that flaunting health orders to hold large gatherings is a selfish decision. I realize that not everyone in every church would agree with that, but I think it’s an opportunity as leaders to disciple people towards selflessness, and caring for the most vulnerable.

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  2. Your question has particular interest in this season of Pandemic with health restrictions, and the reactions of some leaders-congregations to those restrictions. However, I believe you would have us wrestle with the question in light of ‘whenever’ we will have a chance to gather as we once did, or at 30% or 15%.

    We are infected by a consumeristic mindset, where if we are not careful we gather and settle for what we get out of it. That can be true of both the congregation but also the leader, after all, we are the ones on the stage, getting the attention, which raises another concern.

    I think of Eugene Peterson’s introduction in “Working the Angles,’ where he observes that pastors have become ‘religious shop keepers,’ therefore the focus is to keep them coming, keep them happy and keep them spending, or should I say giving their money.

    Your inclusion of Hebrews 10: 19-25 is helpful, where the full instruction is not just to gather, not to neglect meeting together but to careful of what we do when we gather. ‘Consider how to stir up one another to love and good works (v24 ESV).’ I honestly like the sound of some of translations with the word ‘provoke.’

    ‘Love and good works.’ That sounds like a gathering where we have the opportunity to become more like the one we worship.

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    1. Great thoughts! Yes, I think this question is appropriate even with having only 15 or 30% of people in person. Even as we continue to gather online the question could be of value.

      Thanks for bringing in Eugene Peterson to the conversation. That is a key struggle for the church today and absolutely relevant to the question of idolatry.

      “Provoke’ is the most accurate translation of the original Greek, and I love it as well. It makes me think that the process of encouraging one another to love and good works is not always a comfortable one. Sometimes it needs to give us a push, give us pause, as we reevaluate life.

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