A point that I have tried to make explicitly clear is that while it is important to quarantine oneself, one needs to look far beyond the concept of a quarantine to make sense of what is happening right now, which seems to be the global alignment of a new social paradigm in order to manipulate people into accepting very restrictive social conditions for the future and well after the threat of the virus has passed. This does not mean to not take safety measures now, but that something a lot bigger is coming in the future and with far more serious consequence just like how the emergency measures established as a result of the September 11th attacks long outlived the original memory of the act.
As the virus changes how people live Church ‘leaders’ are also responding by ‘preparing for the long term’ with ideas about permanent ‘changes’ to how people worship.
Denominational executives are urging pastors to protect their mental health as well as prepare for a long-term shift in the way the church worships as the world struggles to respond to the new coronavirus pandemic that currently has no cure.
The advice came Thursday during a panel discussion hosted by Walter Kim, president of the National Association of Evangelicals at the COVID-19 Church Online Summit.
Doug Clay, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, said their mental health committee recently polled their pastors on advice for other pastors during the pandemic and they developed a nine-point list of best practices which they are now circulating among leaders. At the top of the list pastors were asked to be mindful of boundaries.
“All of us are going to be stretched in ways we haven’t been stretched before,” Clay said.
Pastors were also urged to find a trusted friend to help process decisions and leadership; intentionally manage their input, like taking a break from the news; take care of themselves by finding good physical and emotional rhythms; allow themselves a laugh break; hold to realistic expectations; have private worship; control only what they can control and don’t get stressed out by what they can’t; and seek to find hope in creative ways.
Colin Watson, acting executive director of the Christian Reformed Church, said pastors should get used to the idea that there isn’t going to be a quick fix for the pandemic.
“I think the idea that this is really a long term situation that we’re dealing with [is something that we have to get used to]. This is not just a short term something [that] will be fixed in a few weeks [and] we can go back to being the way we used to be,” he said while praising Clay’s recommendations.
“The idea of we need to establish some practices and rhythms for the long-term is very, very, important,” he said. (source)
For a long time now, there have been Catholic as well as other Christians of good will warning about a coming time in the future when religion will be restricted by any number of rules, and to be a Christian will be an act considered just like it was in the days of Diocletian and other great persecutions.
We are returning to that time, for the trajectory has persisted for a while, but the restrictions on human social intercourse and commerce that cross into religion give one to think if the world is coming to that point amid a global economic crisis and the formation of the conditions for war.
God called for His people to be in community with each other, and that must mean contact closer than six feet, and certainly a lot more than just talking to each other behind a computer screen.
I am not saying that precautions, especially right now, are not necessary.
The concern is what comes after these initial steps, and the danger of the virus passes.
Will life return to “normal,” or what people would call “normal”?
A few weeks ago, life was “normal”, then the whole world changed. It was like September 11th- there was the world before, and then there was the world after.
Will the churches be able to re-open as normal? What impact will this have on the future?
The fact is that we do not know what the impacts will be. if one virus can cause so much havoc and political changes, what does this mean for the future?
We do not know. What will be interesting to see is the effect this has on church attendance, religious practice, and the relationship of religious groups to society, and in particular as the world continues to turn away from God and His revealed teachings.