I have attended church and worked/led in churches for over 30 years now. In March of 2021 that all changed. I have not attended anywhere regularly since then, for over a year… shocking to consider but true.
Typical church leadership drama played out at my most recent position but that wasn’t the issue. My recognition of reality is what hit me.
The churches that I see are fully committed to their building, their programs and their existing group of attendees. They expect the rest of world, community to fit into their way. This is fundamentally and perhaps irreparably broken.
Covid exposed the reality viscerally. Most of them are already dead and just waiting for the current member to physically pass on. In Covid, Churches retreated from fellowship and faith into consumerism watch on TV telechurch. They embraced the concept that watching a sermon and writing a check was enough. Sunday schools in most shut down. Fellowship Meals disappeared. Choirs stopped rehearsing. Funerals and wedding were not allowed because government said so. Catastrophic does not even begin to cover it.
Reality check. This model was already entrenched in minds of nearly all. Covid devotion must accelerated and exposed the death curve. Bold leaders and faith communities were judged and cancelled. It happened and it is done. It is finished.
So now what?
A church at its core must exist as a fellowship of believers choosing to serve together. Sermons, education, choirs, and the myriad of programs are important but secondary to the people. A church can exist and worship without almost all of those. Think : where 2-3 are gathered… The programs are derived FROM the fellowship, not to the fellowship.
I’m actively looking for a community like this. Alive and committed to one another above all. But that commitment must balance to some unbalanced number in service to be true to great commission. Maybe 70/30 external/internal. Maybe even 90/10. Every fellowship community must decide for themselves what their devotional notion is.
When the balance tips to managing and maintain the internal above the capability to serve outwardly, the church is officially dying.
That 2 or 3 number is conceptually more of a maximum for me rather than a minimum. Smaller numbers of believers gathering and loving and serving are the foundation.
I don’t honestly know if God will provide me this fellowship regularly as I’ve conceived of it in the past. I long for a place to devote my musical skills to encouragement and service. We shall see.
If you read this, Contact me. Is your church dead or dying. I’d like to put them on my prayer list and you as well. I’m sure God has answers and I don’t. The obstacle we face are our way forward. #1 obstacle I see is authentically LOVING one another. We don’t love a place or a class. We love one another and we then must put that love into practice with bold passion and resolute discipline. Love ya. Jeff
Assigning a moral value to public health policy is a particular insidious development of the last 2 years. It is now common place and must be countered.
We all agree that medicine and public health have become far too political and partisan. The fix is available.
1. Government (Biden) must publicly communicate that the only goal is for people to live healthy and happy lives in their own terms.
2. He must say that vaccine mandates are bad but he believes that they are saving lives. That train has already left the station.
3. He must accept that natural immunity is a thing, vaccines don’t last, vaccines can’t beat Covid, and treatment of the disease both proactively and retroactively is the way forward. People ARE going to get sick. The messaging should be : we have the knowledge and technology to help you stay alive and it is getting better every day. Restoring trust in local doctors is the best and ONLY real path forward. The political leadership and bureaucrats must empower doctors and get out of the press. Period.
4. He must remove the masking mandates. They are too invasive and divisive and are distracting from the goal to save lives and make lives better. Pulling the explosives from this ongoing feud is critical. Leadership must focus on results. Masking doesn’t meet the standard of proof. It isn’t sustainable and consistent.
Restoring any level of trust in government messaging will take years. It needs to start now.
FWIW. I don’t think that he will do any of this because it requires honesty and integrity and it isn’t politically popular. He doesn’t care about results in my opinion, he and the political ruling and academic elite only care about power and control.
This is why you MUST test daily weekly and anytime your overseers dictate.
If the powers that be can focus the population on tests then they can control you via administrative policy. Enforcement will of course be executed by non MD administrative functions. This is lunacy as it disintermediates medical professionals.
Public health policy politicians that essentially ignore the impacts to mental health, cancer screenings, trust in medical establishment/system, access and hospital hesitancy, in favor of do what I say demigod delusions are a scourge upon the world. They prioritize the many over the few and they fail.
The arbitrary and often wrong POLICY perpetrated by pseudo professionals is pathetic and the people must reject it. We need courageous doctors who care ultimately about their local patients first and foremost. Their individual patients always come first. Our MDs must stand against this idiocy.
The reporting is a big rub as well. Testing is only helpful en masse if it includes reporting. The public should not be reporting directly to the govt on private health information. This only feeds the disease which is the fear and foolish control policies ignoring the real total impact to the public’s health.
NIH, CDC and Government Public Health guidance is best consumed and managed by doctors, NOT the general public via media and social media.
Public health politicians are drunk and addicted to power and money given to them by a panicked fearful population. The Solution? Ignore them and strengthen your relationship with your doctor. Local local. Local.
I remember the first time I sang the Messiah solos of Comfort ye and Every Valley. It was in the chapel at Princeton Seminary for a wedding. I wonder how good I was as a 19 year old. Today, I heard my son sing his first pass at the Messiah solos at Ardmore Baptist in Winston Salem. He was so much better than I was at his age. Style, composure, artistic message, command, and fine, elegant singing. Tenors are a funny stressed bunch of souls. Singing comfort ye is not comforting normally. Today, I was calm and comforted for lots of reasons.
The artistry of the the PrillaKids is well known to most but today it feels like the first time I’m comfortable that the coming valleys will indeed be straight. I’ve sung that line hundreds of times, but clearly I need to listen more than talk more often. They have got this.
First time I’m comfortable saying that I’ve turned the page. Every day is a chance to step back and see that all we like sheep have gone astray and yet Hallelujah and amens still happen in spite of us. Our masks are ripped off and the face is there for all to see.
I said Omicron 3 times. I’m still not afraid. I admit that I am getting tired of so many that are. You know how to protect yourself. Do it and stop pretending that there is science to back up mandatory masking and lockdowns and mandates of every variant. Move on America. Yes we can.
Trust in the Lord… none of us is promised tomorrow. That is a fact. Straight talk reality check.
Covid is not going away. Ever. Get vaccinated, or not… wear a mask or not…. Don’t be a jerk to anyone who chooses to act differently from you. Protect yourself and start living out some of the kindness and tolerance that we all should believe in. Enough with this stupidity and insanity. Americans are NOT idiots no matter what the Dems seem to think.
Just like 9/11, the world has changed. The only thing we can control is how we go forward. The choice is individual and visceral. Words are not enough. We need to stand together for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Let’s roll.
Live out loud. Sing in a choir. Go to a football game. Shake hands and smile without the politically correct “masking”.
Sunday am thinking. I led in a local baptist church during the 2020 Covid crisis. TBH it cured me, of any desire to continue in leadership in that church into 2021. The overt willingness to do “nothing” except take care of self and institution coupled with submission to the govt authority in virtually all things, especially singing was deplorable and I could not do anything significant about it. Did i fail? Maybe. I don’t think so. For sure, I clarified the environment where we am best suited to work in vocational ministry. And it is not in a play a track, no real choir, pseudo praise team situation. I require respect for live,
elegant, structured and formed presentation. It is how I’m wired.
Will I ever seek out another minister of music and worship position? I honestly don’t know. I’m interested and passionate about the fellowship of believers, not the institutional legacy. Period. #ChoirIsLife
Cases counts and variant fear are useless at this point. We all get sick regularly and we all have immune systems. Responsibility for our health is individual period. Death is a reality that we all will face. There is no mask for this. We all die. I am shocked at how few are willing to live these insane days. Get your vaccine and stay home if you are at risk.
Ignore the fear agenda from the media and political science fanatics.
Following a science and real analytical model over the naive emotional, and manipulative anecdotal narrative approach is required. Protect yourself and we will all prosper. Period.
The metrics to be concerned about are hospitalization (if there are capacity concerns) and death (if above the normative causes). These SHOULD define the state of emergency. Remember #flattenthecurve. Even the #idiotsincharge knew this originally but they have now become drunk on their control power and the politics of policy which has new teeth due to the medical authority fear mongering.
Get vaccinated if you and your doctor agree. Wear a mask if you choose. REJECT mandates and medical authoritarianism. The liberal communists are in charge of the papers and major media and most of govt. they don’t control everything yet. Time to stand up is now. Act like you Live in the land of the free and the home of the brave or soon you won’t.
If you want the vaccine get it. If you want to wear a mask wear it. If you want to socially distance and disinfect surfaces do it. Everyone should be washing their hands a lot more regardless— Anyone that is concerned about Rona has the means to protect themselves reasonably.
The pandemic is over because we all have mitigation measures and options.
The state emergency requiring the mandatory actions and restrictions on citizens and businesses MUST stop. Most citizens I know who can have already discarded the ridiculous yoke of the govt and accepted that they have no real faith in the proclamations of the public health system. We never had much faith in the politicians, and bureaucrats and the last 18mos has effectively proved out our cynicism. They failed and continue to do so. We the people are in charge if we choose to be. The sheeple will always follow.
As to specific friends, family, neighbors, citizens… Enough with the do your part, wear your mask, sanctimonious autocracy. I repeat, protect yourself and leave me and like minded libertarians ALONE.
Let’s get on with fighting over normal stuff. Church pews, music, carpets, taxes, oppression of entire populations by socialist tyranny, genocide, hunger, climate change policy, murder, violence, guns…. There are plenty of choices.
2020 changed everything for me and for all of us. I think I managed the survival mode pretty well but the psychological trauma was real. For those of us who worked in churches it was extreme. Wounds were willfully opened. They are and were deep and spread open for continuing salt and fire. The insidious nature of the fear disease still persists.
2021 has provided some reprieve from the constant antagonistic climate. I am personally experiencing a complex and prolonged grief cycle. There is no returning to normal, whatever that was. The future is filled with uncertainty. I am certain of the loss. I have faith in the future. The internal trauma response continues in me. I am not afraid. I am angry and judgmental more often than not. Both states are toxic.
I am grateful to see each day as it is. Arianna Huffington spoke on a Cisco meeting today and said “gratitude and anxiety can’t exist at the same time.”
I think that is right. We must choose gratitude and the anxiety will dissipate. Faith teaches me to thank God for every moment. Faith is the antidote and vaccine for fear.
What do you have faith in, specifically? Therein lies the root of our hope or our fear. I choose constantly. This is life. This is just me.
If you have been vaccinated and the vaccines work… and they do…. YOU have zero reason to require another person to be vaccinated. You are free to wear your mask and remain socially distant.
All medical procedures are personal and private. Vaccine “papers” requirements are unconstitutional and should be made illegal.
Do not ask another person if they have been vaccinated. That is an invasion of privacy.
If you ask me an inappropriate and personal question, I’ll respond with something from an evolving list of questions for character contact context tracking.
Contact Character Tracing 101 —> E.g. Have you been around any unsavory people for more than 15 minutes? Are you wearing underwear? Is it clean? Recent Sexual history? Do you tithe and attend a church and do you have proof? what is your BMI? How much do you weigh? did you shower today? Are you taking medication for anxiety, depression? Last time you washed your hands? How much money do you make? Are you under investigation for… ? Please provide proof for verification.
This approach to living will get ugly quick. I’d love to hear suggestions for optional questions.
Conflicting and confusing guidance from the CDC, NIH, FDA, etc is not even remotely new. National guidelines/guidance and has always been designed to inform Doctors and healthcare professionals. It is for experts and professionals.
What is new in 2020+ is that we the people stopped listening to medical experts 1x1. This is dumb.
Why do we now choose to rely almost solely on guidance from politicians and administrative bureaucrats filtered through the insane lenses of the media? This will always be a bad idea.
Only professionals are truly qualified to judge the competency of the public health orgs and their guidelines.
Call your MD and ask real questions. Take charge of your own health. Ignore the talking heads.
There is a lot of animosity in the minds of a lot of parents who are watching school systems and government fail our children and create totally unnecessary stress and deep distrust for competency of so many teachers and administrators.
We see the futile policies, the bias and political decisons and the stark differences between results and messaging. Families are still being destroyed by the bureaucrats in the name of the utopian greater good.
We see these decisions. We won’t forget. The excuses are no longer working. I see students in open states being given better opportunities, better education, and better examples for living. It is shameful that Virginia is not leading… not in safety. Not in liberty. Not in education. Not at all.
Lord Northam and his blackface clan have planted the seeds of incompetence and dependence and now the system is proceeding to fail over and over and over. The animosity is here. It is seething just below the surface with so many. Even the looney liberals can only say “they are doing the best they can” so many times before it is recognized as a trope and useless drivel.
The conservative views and approach to liberty and empowerment with protest in the face of power… in word and deed is superior. We must use the system and act swiftly to save a generation of students and ourselves with them.
Results are required. Lack of results require changes. Status quo is not the way forward. Too much has changed. Too much is at stake. It always was.
CYA medicine is not science.
CDC guidelines are just that. Now that govt is regularly enshrining pseudoscience unspecific drivel into law, the number of criminals will radically increase. Overreach requires protest
The pandemic response was never meant to get US to zero risk. This bar is ridiculous. The guidelines and practical implications of restrictions must be balanced and they are not. I long ago projected a protracted useless extension of governing regulation due to the #idiotsincharge. Sadly I was and am correct.
Rip off the mask of politico-medical Utopianism now. Reject these insane autocratic recurring control cycles.
Get your vaccine after consulting with your doctor. Ignore the media and political messaging and presidential posturing.
Educate yourself and live your life. Most importantly, enable your children to live their lives. They are not at a material risk. In reality, they never were. Sing. Play. Hug. Socialize.
Do not wait for permission to get on with life. You do NOT need permission to celebrate Independence Day or any other day.
Gun violence is a national crisis. Law abiding gun owning citizens are not the perpetrators. We are not even major contributors. We are simply the only viable target available to a ruling political class bent on virtue signaling over virtue.
To fight an epidemic you must target and eradicate the source first and foremost. Any solution must be rooted in policing criminals, transforming mental health solutions/care, and teaching firearm safety.
This futile exercise in creating more and more laws to restrict those who already follow the law is deplorable and misguided.
It will have no material effect on the epidemic. The parallels to lockdown mentality and subservient citizens is unavoidable. The only option available is a “we will not comply” movement. This will create more law breakers not less. The #idiotsincharge are playing more and more games with the politics of power and control, manipulating emotions of the weak.
When they fail to affect the gun violence with their new lockdown logic(as they did with The 2020+ lockdowns) what will we do and say? That is the question.
A year ago, the federal government and state governments of the United States of America locked down the greatest country in the world. We the people were told that it was for our own food, for the greater good.
Stay at home, no church, no school, no hugs, no handshakes, no travel, no exercise, no choice. No preventative and normal medical care for anyone. Why? Covid.
The “experts” used faulty projections and models to terrify the population into submission instead of leading with authority. Media fueled the panic. Toilet paper disappeared. Supply chains were disrupted globally. Families disintegrated overnight. Singing in choirs was utterly destroyed overnight.
The TRUTH: none of the countermeasures delivered as promised. The epidemic and mortality curves of the lockdown leaders are equal or greater than the anti lockdown leaders. We live and we die. This was true before. It will always be true. The mortality rate of the human race is 100%.
What happened, whether intentional or not, was the further subjugation of people’s minds and ability to think for themselves. Our bodies fought the battles with Covid. Our minds chose to surrender to the “experts” opinions over our own because we were and are afraid.
We the people fell in line. We went along to get along. We dutifully put on our masks and stopped singing our songs of community and connection.
The medical crisis is ending now. Science has prevailed with vaccines and synthetic immunity. Those of us that had the actual disease either lived or died like every other disease. The infestation of fear and dependence on government has only begun. The consequences of THIS disease will be far worse over time. Write it down. Follow the science.
We the people need community. Masks are bad things both physically and mentally. Not singing in community is catastrophic. The one societal entity that could have fought successfully was the local church. Instead, it largely proved its insignificance and irrelevance and stayed on the sidelines like it has in so many global crises of the past.
God is working indeed. He is working individually in hearts and minds. Faith over fear is the answer. Once we accept the astounding authority of God and His power to overcome death, these earthly things become nothing. Governments rise and fall. Churches form and fail. My God is real and present in my day. I am not afraid. I am sorry for when I was afraid. I will strive to NEVER be afraid of death again. You should too.
Doctrinally, I do not believe that blanket submission to govt authority coupled with the idea that safety comes from medicine and SCIENCE is correct. Forcing masking for vaccinated, and recovered patients based on nano-risk thinking is misplaced... Locking down ALL of society by force was a terrible failure and a horrific precedent which we the people have allowed.
We have swung the pendulum to politics and science and media WAY off center....
The ONLY path back is Faith over Fear.. but that is NOT popular. never was.. never will be.. such is life. PrinciplesMatter. Practically now and into the future. Be not afraid means something powerful and profound.
Best thing I’ve heard from a pulpit in a while. I’ve added my take of course...
2019- year the media and “culture” said to cancel the negative people. Don’t do anything with them. Those realists are just negative Nellies. Everything will be fine as soon as the negative voices are gone.
2020- the year where we were all encouraged to shout down the positive hopeful people because the world was ending and system is deplorable. Their support for standing up and singing loud and proud is a radical position. Hunker down and look out for yourself above all. Socializing is unsafe. If you want to see and be with people you are killing them. Be fearful.
2021- this year we are not supposed to ANYTHING with ANYONE because... there is just too much risk. Be alone. Wait for permission. Someday when it is safe the powers in the know will tell you.
I never bought into any of it. I’m sorry for the months in 2020 where I was so flipping afraid. It will not happen again from me. Be. Love. Serve. Repeat. Is not a passive sit back and watch thing done on a video stream or TV. Living is loving and loving is living. Face to face. Hand to hand. Heart to heart.
If you are out there thinking that Covid is not that dangerous you need to educate yourself.
If you are out there thinking that the Federal, State and Local government’s responses to Covid are not insidious AND dangerous, you SERIOUSLY need to educate yourself.
Different problems... related but each is a tragedy and a catastrophe in its own right. The impact of the governing authorities’ failures is just beginning to be noticed. Buckle up because 2021+ is gonna be INSANE.
The Bill of No Rights
The following was written by State Representative Mitchell Kaye from GA
We, the sensible people of the United States, in an attempt to help everyone get along, restore some semblance of justice, avoid any more riots, keep our nation safe, promote positive behavior, and secure the blessings of debt free liberty to ourselves and our great-great-great-grandchildren, hereby try one more time to ordain and establish some common sense guidelines for the terminally whiny, guilt ridden, delusional, and other liberal bedwetters. We hold these truths to be self-evident: that a whole lot of people are confused by the Bill of Rights and are so dim that they require a Bill of No Rights .
ARTICLE I: You do not have the right to a new car, big screen TV or any other form of wealth. More power to you if you can legally acquire them, but no one is guaranteeing anything.
ARTICLE II: You do not have the right to never be offended. This country is based on freedom, and that means freedom for everyone - not just you! You may leave the room (ed.: or this page), turn the channel, express a different opinion, etc., but the world is full of idiots, and probably always will be.
ARTICLE III: You do not have the right to be free from harm. If you stick a screwdriver in your eye, learn to be more careful, do not expect the tool manufacturer to make you and all your relatives independently wealthy.
ARTICLE IV: You do not have the right to free food and housing. Americans are the most charitable people to be found, and will gladly help anyone in need, but we are quickly growing weary of subsidizing generation after generation of professional couch potatoes who achieve nothing more than the creation of another generation of professional couch potatoes.
ARTICLE V: You do not have the right to free health care. That would be nice, but from the looks of public housing, we're just not interested in public health care.
ARTICLE VI: You do not have the right to physically harm other people. If you kidnap, rape, intentionally maim, or kill someone, don't be surprised if the rest of us want to see you fry in the electric chair.
ARTICLE VII: You do not have the right to the possessions of others. If you rob, cheat or coerce away the goods or services of other citizens, don't be surprised if the rest of us get together and lock you away in a place where you still won't have the right to a big screen color TV or a life of leisure.
ARTICLE VIII: You don't have the right to demand that our children risk their lives in foreign wars to soothe your aching conscience. We hate oppressive governments and won't lift a finger to stop you from going to fight if you'd like. However, we do not enjoy parenting the entire world and do not want to spend so much of our time battling each and every little tyrant with a military uniform and a funny hat.
ARTICLE IX: You don't have the right to a job. All of us sure want all of you to have one, and will gladly help you along in hard times, but we expect you to take advantage of the opportunities of education and vocational training laid before you to make yourself useful.
ARTICLE X: You do not have the right to happiness. Being an American means that you have the right to pursue happiness - which by the way, is a lot easier if you are unencumbered by an overabundance of idiotic laws created by those of you who were confused by the Bill of Rights.
Virtual Worship is equivalent to Virtual Education in its efficacy. IT FAILS. It specifically fails over duration and at scale.
To clarify, it works a little, to augment a physically connected experience but it is a failure over time as it flips and deprioritizes the relationships and empowers a consumer driven mentality. Teaching and connection between the faithful (students) is paramount. Our society will pay a heavy price for "socially distancing" our ministries... video, TV, televangelism and worship do not make the grade. Literally.
Relationships between people.. social.. are the KEY... to love and authenticity. Jesus did not phone in or video in from heaven. He CAME DOWN to live and be with HIS family.
To mask it not to mask is a straw man for the real questions. Individuals are talking past one another. The answers to the real questions are fire to the current powers. No side has acceptable healing answers for the wounds of mask v nomask
Can I force YOU via public humiliation and scorn to comply with the public opinion. Answer: YES is the popular response as you would expect.
Can YOU choose to stand and be counted on defending principles of liberty in the face of friends and family who are afraid? Answer: YES.
Are their consequences to defying popular public opinion? YES.
Am I allowed to act in a way that YOU disapprove of? YES for now.
Is there a defined boundary for medical authoritarian orders implemented by governing authorities for the greater good? NO - even the Bill of rights is being squashed at the state and local levels...
CHURCHES are fearful to defy the government and are choosing to impose restrictions(which is their right) succumbing to tyranny of the minority and majority simultaneously. The members’ rights are non existent beyond attend or not, give or not... this is not new but it is unfortunate.
All of this bothers me deeply as I’m committed to individual liberty. Merging medical and legal authority in a collective politically charged environment is a disaster for everyone.
Is there a way to go back? The answer appears to be NO.
Are there lines that I will not cross and are they getting close. YES.
?? The Pandemic will be over when... (insert success criteria here)
??? The State of Emergency IN VA will be lifted when?(insert success criteria here)
???? The "emergency powers" granted to the supreme chancellor to restrict livelihoods, define essential business, tell us all how to best do what is for the greater good will be restored to the people when...
(enquiring minds want to know) the decision teams know the answers, and they don't want to disclose their criteria for fear of being wrong, as they have been, again, and again, and again... Having the power to control makes everything easier, but it is NOT liberty, and it is barely legal.. if at all...
What will life for a citizen of the United States, of Virginia, look like when the success criteria are met? the new normal... THAT IS THE REAL QUESTION that leaders are avoiding like the plague.. literally.
If the answer is back to normal, then they would already be answering... Instead.. they are ducking and delaying... because their motives have morphed from safety for the greater good, to opportunity to control and "profit" from the crisis... Spreading fear is good for the business of government and it perpetuates dependency and disintermediates churches, family structures, and all of those freedom loving groups...
WHEN WILL THINGS BE BACK TO NORMAL...? If the answer is when it is safe, then the real answer is never.. because living is not safe. It is living(right to choose risk, and act accordingly), and the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is granted to the individual...not to be restricted by the government, as designated and protected by the Constitution of the United States of America.
I sincerely hope that I am wrong. If I am wrong, I will take a full mea culpa lap. I do not believe I am wrong. The outcomes now are mired in a toxic brew of incompetence and malevolent intent... and we the people are losing over and over at every step. THAT is a system problem.. but it is rooted in principals, not principles...
Intersection of principles and practices...