Sunday, May 31, 2020


Many people invest into many things in their life.
Almost everyone invests into their homes, their retirement, their lifestyle, marriage, family, nation, community.
Many invest into their church.
I have done that repeatedly.

There is a practice in many churches wherein the pastor is addressed as "Pastor" as if that was his given name. I was, and am not, used to this practice.  The first churches I joined believed in the "five-fold" ministry. Evangelist, pastor, teacher, prophet, apostle.
There is some discussion as to what these positions entail today, particularly prophet and apostle.
The pastorate is an office, not a title.
The pastor is another member of the local body with his own gifts, but is often the ruler.

I have invested physically, financially and emotionally in the church I have been involved with for over twenty years.
Leading construction projects, installing heating systems, maintaining the A/C, plumbing.
Teaching, befriending, interacting.
I am a teacher. I have been asked after ten minutes of conversation to teach a congregation in another church, because that is my calling. And I did for a couple years. But then we returned to the church we are presently in. Or have been in.

With Covid-19, our church, along with others in the state (and nation), closed it's doors.
While this seemed reasonable at the start, it soon became apparent that this was not reasonable and an intrusion on our religious liberty.
An acquaintance of mine, Professor William Wagner, whom I believe is going to be a closer acquaintance (if not friend) soon, sued the State of Michigan, and Governess Whitchmer rescinded her restraints on houses of worship immediately.
I was elated. 

I'll be frank, our church has maintained social distancing for years. It has shrunk in size to where people sit together as families, but these groups have had 6' between them for years.
I thought for sure that our pastor, who I considered a friend, would open the doors, and I told him as much. He told me that he wasn't comfortable, that the surrounding community would think less of us for doing so. So we would wait.
I let him know that I wasn't comfortable being in a church that was afraid to meet together or would bow to the whim of the state.
I asked him if he had consulted the congregation and whether I had missed that e-mail.
When he said no, I asked him if he had consulted the board, the three deacons, of which I am not one because of my prior marriage and remarriage (something I believe is unscriptural and to which he later agreed).
He said no, but that he would.
He called me after that meeting and said that they had agreed with him to keep the doors closed a while longer, but that by this day (today) we would be meeting at church again.
I decided to be patient.

Today, "church" was held at the property. The worship team was in the building and played some songs to an empty room, which was broadcast on Facebook.
The congregation sat outside in their cars, watching (I imagine) on their phones.
The pastor then went out to the parking lot to preach, while the congregation listened on their car radios, or their phones.

I watched from my home. I would have been embarrassed to do otherwise.
I have embarrassed myself for Christ (and at other times because I'm an idiot) but this would be for neither of those reasons.

I hate to lose my investment in this church, but I have lost confidence in the "leadership" of the pastor.
He is a genuinely good guy. He is earnest and sincere.

But to sit in cars, watching a guy stand in front of their cars preach to them, at this point is ridiculous.

Jesus sent His disciples by twos to preach the good news, and to heal the sick. Presumably lepers were involved. I doubt they stood at a distance and yelled the good news to them. Or loudly called at them to be healed from six feet or more. With masks on. After applying Purex. 

Thanks for listening.

not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.


  1. your church has "maintained social distancing for years" WHY?

    I honestly don't understand why this is so upsetting, except for the fact that your pastor hadn't consulted elders, the Board, etc., before deciding any of this. Our pastor makes few decisions without the elders....ever.

    I don't know the laws in MI....but I suppose it would have been illegal to have opened early?

    Is it such a sin to want the congregation to feel completely safe? Or why couldn't they have met in masks and practiced the same distancing they had, which I don't understand! Some are more sensitive to the fears of COVID and nobody should be shamed for feeling how they do.

    I feel bad for you as a church family is hard to leave, I know that too well....and I urge you to consider why you feel so strongly about this. I hate to see you feeling like this. I'm so sorry.

    1. By "social distancing for years" I meant that the congregation has been sparse lately.
      We could all sit a "safe" distance from each other, and those who felt safer could wear masks, or continue to watch from home which had been the status quo.
      Thank you for your concern.

  2. Having the same issues with my church of 15 years. Very torn over what direction to take.

    1. I know. It's tough. But it is exposing some problems the church has been glossing over.
      I'm "waiting on orders" from the boss, but I think He often want us to think for ourselves.

  3. How it's embarrassing anybody, me or Christ, by watching the beauty of my on-line church service, with wonderful friends leaving comments to the prayers and sermon, singing the words we were emailed this week, is something lost on me. I believe Christ wants us to go's Pentacost Sunday today....may His Holy Spirit descend on us all, in church buildings or not.

  4. I don't mean to sound anything remotely judgmental (I am not, not one bit); I TOTALLY understand we all have different viewpoints on this....I just have questions that might help me better understand the opinions here...thanks.

    1. We are not at odds my sister. I appreciate you opinion.
      I thought it was stupid looking to sit in cars in a parking lot listening to a speaker or a worship team inside the building.
      The "killer virus" isn't going away.
      It's also not as bad as we originally thought, by a long shot.
      This is just living in fear.
      Fear of man (and his opinion) more than the virus.
      I'm not advocating snake handling :)
      Just getting church back to normal.

  5. I don't know how God feels, but I'm uncomfortable when my faith is ignored for supposed public safety.

    1. Jess, I understand; But I don't see why it must be ignored.
      I DO understand all the political points....why liquor stores are essential and our FAITH is NOT?! That's insane.
      But I just finished our church service on line, enjoyed the chat comments...took communion at my desk here...have loved this. It's OUR safety. Of course, I suppose I should say there's no reason the church can't open and anybody who feels unsafe should stay home and watch on their computer, because churches will continue on line....And I suppose that's Ed's main point

    2. Yes, that's a point of mine.
      But the main point is conforming to this world.
      If you're a shut-in. online mass or church is great, better than nothing.
      But the sate is forbidding us to meet and fellowship, or the pastor is, now. That's a hard NO for me.
      That is not Jesus' intent for us.

    3. I can't speak for Jesus, but I believe His intent is to keep us healthy, too. He knows what's in our hearts.

    4. I understand the "healthy" part, but there is a spiritual healthy also, that calls for the assembly of the Body.
      And the danger from the virus has been overplayed.

    5. Healthy?
      He and his disciples went amongst lepers.
      Tell me again about avoiding health difficulties.

    6. Exactly! We look like weak tea instead of strong coffee.

  6. I know you will work your way through this situation, Ed. It takes a lot of faith to leave something you love, and it takes a lot of faith to create something else you love as in another congregation.

    My brother-in-law had problems with a church and others he tried. He wound up not worshipping with any congregation because of disagreements with scriptural interpretations. Good or bad? Only he could tell, and only you can tell what is right for you.

    I don't believe there is any reason for you to be embarrassed about anything. Take care.

    1. Thanks Bob.
      I had a close friend and fellow deacon who got burned so bad at a church that I had left before him that he quit church.
      Hard to believe, but he quit serving the Lord.
      I would never previously have questioned his commitment to Christ.
      I will not fall into that trap.

    2. I actually seen that happen. The man and his family found another church.

    3. That's tragic.
      Friendships and relationship broken.

  7. I'm sorry that you find yourself in this situation with your church. I wouldn't presume to advise you spiritually because I can't even advise myself in that regard.

    These insane times are hard on everyone. I take comfort in reading about the accounts of others in history who have been tested by hard times and they have overcome whatever hardships were thrown their way. I try to channel their strength to find my way.

    1. I doubt the martyrs would have put up with this.
      That's why they were martyred.

  8. One question that occurs to me is this: How's your faith in the Lord these days? The Lord wants us to gather and worship Him. Now me, I'm thinking that if this is what the Lord wants, He will offer up some protection to those who gather and worship.

    We have (supposedly) freedom of religion in the United States. I know of one pastor who remarked that this freedom probably wasn't good for us - too easy, you see. Admittedly, if Christianity were illegal, I would have become a Christian much sooner than I did. I'm like that.

    1. "The Lord wants us to gather and worship Him. Now me, I'm thinking that if this is what the Lord wants, He will offer up some protection to those who gather and worship."
      Exactly. I'm not advocating Snake handling.
      Just normal fellowship.

  9. Someone on Fox last weekend said when questioned about why it was necessary to attend church as opposed to remote "viewing".... Christianity is a team enterprise... summed it up.
    I am Moravian. My church does not carry a online version nor the main large Moravian Churches..such as Central in Betlehem PA....found one in North Carolina....
    We wonder why churches are losing memberships...

    1. I find this a weakened Christianity, "Christianity Lite".
      We don't feel the need to meet in person, engage in the laying on of hands, greet each other with a holy kiss (not that most churches I've been involved with engage in that).
      Paul blessed kerchiefs and sent them out. Now they'd be burned.
      If you don't stand for Jesus, you'll fall for anything.
      My pastor is grieved by not meeting, yet he doesn't act on it.
      The virus is real. the fear is a scam.

  10. I think this is a correct quote: “Where ever two are gathered together in my name, there am I also.” Seems to answer the dilemma in my mind.

    1. Yeah, but what if they're afraid to stand next to each other? :)

  11. Sadly true in way too many places. One wonders what they will be willing to give up to the state next?