Church Has Never Been Easy or Safe

6 thoughts on “Church Has Never Been Easy or Safe”

  1. Amy, I have greatly appreciated and often shared things that you post, but on this stance I’m going to respectfully disagree with you. Comparing religious persecution to the current pandemic doesn’t work for me. Yes, I too, would love to worship with my congregation right now with no restrictions, but out of compassion for those with compromised immune systems (in my own family there are many), out of respect for the medical personnel diligently caring for the ill, and out love for my neighbors, I am comfortable with following the guidelines recommended by the epidemiologies, virologists, and other experts.

    It’s not about being afraid or trying to protect my own health and safety. I may contract the virus and not suffer greatly, but I may pass it on to someone who will. This virus has affected our world for less than a year…we have so much more to learn about it. Perhaps we believers should be leading with patience instead of passion for being together physically?

    Since having to move to online worship, we’ve actually experienced growth in our church that we might not otherwise have had. Visitors who might not ever step foot physically in our worship center joined us online (it was less intimidating for them). Breakout rooms following the service allowed for deeper and more meaningful fellowship than what sometimes happens on a Sunday morning in the coffee hour. Over the summer when attendance on a Sunday may have been lower due to vacationers, attendance online was better than ever in July because they could join from wherever they were. Folks who were unable to attend an in-person Bible study on a workday evening were more easily able to join a Zoom Bible study, saving them the 30 minute drive to and from someone’s home. We HAVE continued to meet together, worship together, pray together. We are not being persecuted for our faith, but God is working this for His good. We ARE “being who God has made us to be.”

    Yes, I long for the day when I can sing at the top of my lungs, mask free, praising the Lord with fellow believers (and hugging my friends, too), but for now I am learning to be content, whatever the circumstances. I am not being persecuted.

    1. Hi Stacey! Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I appreciate your perspective!

      Just as a point of clarification, I’m not advocating for no restrictions. As you said, taking safety precautions is important for loving our neighbors! I agree! And I understand that pandemic and persecution are different challenges, my larger point was how we think about safety (and I think it’s common for Americans–even before all this–to idolize safety).

      But again, I appreciate you sharing! It is amazing how God has used this time to build the Kingdom. I praise God for all the people who’ve been exposed to the Gospel because of online church services!

      1. Thanks for your response, Amy. I appreciate your point about how safety has become an idol to many Americans—I’ve spent a significant amount of time in other countries and the differences between the US and other countries is stark. However, if that is your main point in this post, it does not come across that way to me (and maybe I’m just dense).

        The central message seems to be: Christians need to not fear the virus or the inconveniences related to it and should attend church in person (BE together), because persecuted Christians go through much greater difficulties to worship together.

        If the idol of safety is your main point, perhaps using Sunday worship as an example is not the best example. And, personally knowing individuals in other countries who have actually been persecuted for their faith, the connecting of these two things is quite bothersome.

        I love part of your closing line, “May we love the Church as Christ does, and joyfully sacrifice our comfort, convenience, preferences, for its flourishing,” — AMEN!! I don’t believe “and yes, even safety” should be part of it. It is those safety measures that are helping to keep our neighbors from getting this terrible virus, that are keeping hospitals from being overrun, etc. (Unfortunately it has hit too close to home here.) Maybe taking a step back and realizing that the discomfort some felt when churches were online (not ideal or what we were used to) instead of meeting outside (which allowed us to see our friends, have a band, etc.) was the sacrifice we needed to make?

        I do really appreciate so much of what you write and share online. I just think this one missed the mark. I do look forward to reading more from you, though, about this safety idol. It’s really something that need to be addressed.

Leave a Reply