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DHD: Another prose in a pandemic

Greetings!

All is going well. I have a busy weekend ahead, so let’s get to this week’s DHD!

Thanks for reading!

  1. Stetzer on church openings

I’ve mentioned before that Ed Stetzer may be the Christian national leader I trust the most. He’s definitely in the top five. He gave great insight and spoke as a voice of reason when the COVID-19 pandemic was beginning in March.

This week, Stetzer gave excellent consultation on how churches should approach having in-person worship services. I enjoyed reading his article, “’You Are a Compromised Coward’—Discussing How to Resume Gathering for Worship.”

To sum up, Stetzer said there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. He said each church body leadership should consult local health and regional authorities and commit time in prayer before deciding how to resume meeting. And then communicate effectively with the church body.

Here’s my favorite passage from the article:

“If you became a pastor because you thought everyone would like you, you have chosen poorly. I have learned that if you don’t have 5-10 percent of the church mad at you at any given time, you’re probably not doing significant things.

“If you have 70 percent of the church mad at you, you probably need to slow down a little bit! You will have some people unhappy, but you will need to lead through this, and communicate with people who are restless on either side.”

  1. Include single people in regathering

My church is planning to have in-person services this Sunday. It’s a big deal with many members involved with the process. I’m looking forward to it.

Karen and I were talking this week about how these services will look from the perspective of a single person (never married, divorced, widowed). The next day, Baptist Press published Diana Chandler’s article, “’Chair for One’: Creating community for singles as onsite services resume.”

Chandler’s article gave more depth to this aspect, and I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who considered it. I have a passion for single adult ministry, or whatever churches want to call today’s groups of people who are not currently married and are a part of the church. Certain people don’t want to be labeled as “single” because it conveys an idea that they are looking to date or find a spouse. I get how the “single label” can be a negative connotation, but I also know that there are more single people than married people in society, yet it appears the local church does less to reach single people.

I confess, I don’t have any conclusions in making sure single people are welcomed. I guess I’m waiting to see what it will be like when my church meets this Sunday.

As we all know, going through this pandemic, no future gathering opportunities are guaranteed, and everybody is learning how to adjust on a weekly, if not daily, basis.

  1. Illinois churches now have no restrictions

I was so happy to hear that Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker lifted his rather unreasonable restrictions on churches wanting to gather.

Liberty Council sent a press release announcing the governor’s decision after its clients filed an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Within a few hours yesterday (Wednesday, May 27),” Liberty Council stated, “after two Romanian churches filed an emergency injunction pending appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Kavanaugh ordered Gov. Pritzker to respond by 8:00 p.m. Thursday night. Just before the deadline, Gov. Pritzker issued ‘guidelines’ for houses of worship, none of which are mandatory.”

This is a great relief and should be celebrated. No matter how you view whether or not churches should gather, no government authority should hold churches and houses of worship to a stricter guideline than businesses and other societal organizations and groups.

Pritzker was not going to allow churches to have services of more than 10 people in attendance until there was a vaccine for COVID-19. This is a ridiculous, overbearing ruling, and I’m glad the governor changed his draconian decision.

  1. Mohler and the media

As a fan of Albert Mohler’s podcast The Briefing, Thursday’s edition is a masterful education about the development of the modern media in America.

It’s worth the 23 minutes of your time to listen or read the transcript. Mohler gives a great synopsis of the Wall Street Journal editorial by a former CBS president. He also mentions Jean Kirkpatrick, the native Oklahoman who goes on to serve both a democratic and a republican administration. I especially appreciated this because my mother was a fan of Kirkpatrick during the Reagan years.

  1. Clarence Thomas documentary

I regret to say that I missed the PBS documentary Created Equal, about Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas. Judge Thomas is someone I find rather intriguing because of how he was falsely accused during his nomination hearing for the Supreme Court.

Thomas is known for remaining silent during Supreme Court trials. Mohler even mentioned Thomas’s reputation in a recent Briefing episode that the justice “went a decade without speaking” but asked an attorney a question mentioning Frodo Baggins of Lord of the Rings fame. I got a kick out of Mohler getting a kick out of the unexpected moment.

Though I missed the documentary, I did enjoy Alexandra DeSanctis’ review of the documentary.

“He isn’t afraid to be blunt,” DeSanctis wrote about Thomas, “saying that opponents of his nomination believed he was ‘the wrong black guy.’ Later, discussing the outright racism against him in the press and the treatment he received from Democrats during the Anita Hill hearing, he says, ‘If you criticize a black person who’s more liberal, you’re racist. But you can do whatever to me, or now to Ben Carson, and that’s fine. We’re not really black, because we’re not doing what they expect black people to do.’”

I hope to find the documentary on a reshowing.

  1. Becky Pippert—a cherished name from college

I was required to read “Out of the Salt Shaker and Into the World” for an evangelism class I took my freshman year at Liberty University. This was my introduction to Rebecca Pippert, the book’s author.

It’s a fascinating anecdotal book about her experiences of sharing her faith with people. It’s a great encouragement for Christians to read.

This week, I found an online article by “Becky” Pippert titled “Talking Sin to a Culture That Doesn’t Believe in It.”

Along with rekindling memories, I enjoyed Pippert’s approach of sharing her faith in today’s world. She demonstrated how the Gospel is always relevant, even in a changing world.

Chris Doyle

Author: Chris Doyle

Chris Doyle is managing editor of the Baptist Messenger.

View more articles by Chris Doyle.

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