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My church's response to COVID


MercyA
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36 minutes ago, regentrude said:

How then will they grow up to be critical  thinkers instead of blind followers?

It is of utmost importance to me that my DD12 is a critical thinker. We've tried to cultivate that all of her life.

I am less confident openly rocking the boat with other people's young children. Perhaps if my students were young adults I would feel differently. 

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10 hours ago, MercyA said:

I agree with you all. I strongly believe I should tell the leadership that I will be requiring masks in my classroom and that it is non-negotiable for me. I have no problem doing that, especially since I believe I am fully in the right. 😉 We have no Sunday School coordinator at the moment, so the pastor has taken on that job. It would just be a matter of emailing him. 

My husband does not think this is a good idea. He thinks I should just hand the kids a mask when they come in, say simply "we'll be wearing masks in our class," and explain "it's the law" if questioned. I think this may blow up.

Here's the deal--the kids' parents are, for the most part, my close friends (and one of them is my sister!). Up until this point, they have loved me teaching their kids. The kids love me. These are not, I don't think, people who are likely to turn on me. 

Still I think it's the right thing to do to be open about it, and it may end up solving my problem entirely. 😞 

I'll speak to my husband about it tonight.

Some unsolicited advice on your email from someone who twice wrote letters to pastors/church leaders and regretted both down the road:

Skip the email and speak by phone instead. 

And if you decide to go ahead with the email, be brief and to the point. Don't dump everything that's into your head into that email. 

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Some people also believe the earth is flat. Those people shouldn't be in a position of church leadership, were qualities like wisdom and discernment are job qualifications. Neither should people who are unwilling or unable to realize that a mask is not capable of harming on's neighbor. Especially given that the OP already tried to have a conversation with him about this and was blown off. 

She can pray for him, offer information, but if he's unwilling to examine it or think critically about the issues, it's a giant red flag as to his qualifications for spiritual leadership. I don't need my dog groomer or my hair dresser to have the critical thinking skills to dive into the research and stay up to date on recommendations. I DO require that of someone I expect to dive into research on ancient texts, explore tricky theological issues, etc. 

7 hours ago, square_25 said:

@Heartwood — yes, that’s the prickly bit. People genuinely believe things that aren’t true, and then what?

I would assume that’s the case here, frankly. But genuinely believing that something doesn’t endanger the vulnerable doesn’t actually make it so. And it doesn’t make it right to participate if you yourself know better.

This as well. 

Edited by Ktgrok
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9 hours ago, Spy Car said:

Into which category of "wrong" do you place willingly and negligently exposing vulnerable people to a deadly virus?

I don't see how these actions are anything but profoundly wrong on the basis of morality. Not to mention illegal.

Bill

I would put them into the category of careless and selfish.

In my state, which I believe is Mercy's state as well, there is an exemption to the governor's execitive order for religious services where social distancing is in place. Whether one agrees with that exemption or not, it's there and so not illegal.

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8 hours ago, Ktgrok said:

 

And I hope that if you are around someone who is mistaken in a way that could harm you physically, or even cost you your life, you will take yourself out of that situation. 

So should I stop the driver and get out of the car and never ride with them again when they speed on the Interstate? That puts my life in danger too, and it's against the law. I think there's a difference between people who are willfully and intentionally committing moral wrong and people who have a different assessment of risk than I do. And I think these types of situations are where the Biblical concept of forbearance comes in.

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1 minute ago, square_25 said:

We evaluate our own risk. I wouldn’t ride with a drunk driver again, however well-meaning they were. The reason I’d ride with someone who speeds again is that it’s not that dangerous in my estimation.

That's exactly what I'm saying. We all evaluate our own risk, and although I disagree with Mercy's pastor about his estimation of risk and his resulting behavior, I don't think I'm morally superior to him in such a way as to justify cutting ties to the church.

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50 minutes ago, Pippen said:

And if you decide to go ahead with the email, be brief and to the point. Don't dump everything that's into your head into that email. 

Yes, thank you!! My husband is an amazing communicator and he encouraged me to be as succinct as possible. I shortened my email to about 25% of what it was after receiving his input. 😉 

Sending now. 🙏

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14 minutes ago, MercyA said:

Yes, thank you!! My husband is an amazing communicator and he encouraged me to be as succinct as possible. I shortened my email to about 25% of what it was after receiving his input. 😉 

Sending now. 🙏

Good. Needless to say, that's not what I did. :huh:

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Earlier I equated to poison Koolaid and that the pastor and many people in the congregation behavior is only less bad insofar as the fatality rate of the virus is much less than the poisoned Koolaid .  But it is in other ways much worse.  The Jonestown poison drinkers only decided on personal death.  Law Enforcement, Health Care Workers, and their families did not further become endangered due to the Jonestown congregation deciding to accept the risk of drinking poison.  The damage was limited.  With a virus it goes on spreading outwards to others who have not chosen it.

By the way, on “accepting risk,” I wonder if behavior we see that deems taking health risks in re SARS2 is purely personal, and just fine to do, will result in fewer people choosing to go into medical careers.  I would think that is likely.    

 

 

1 hour ago, Heartwood said:

The elderly attending the church are making their own decisions on how they want to live.

 

Not everyone is emotionally strong enough to stand up to authority.  Older and vulnerable women may in particular not feel able to stand up to a male pastor.

and many people are influenced by peer behavior as well as by what someone in s leadership role does

1 hour ago, Heartwood said:

I imagine people at church aren't going with the plan to spread sickness either. There are other sicknesses that endanger the vulnerable as well. People have to weigh the risks and decide for themselves what they want to do.

 

 

 

 

Possibly more people than just Mercy are struggling with the situation. 

Or perhaps people weighing risks and deciding for themselves results in exponential growth of cases again. So instead of leaving it to people to do the right thing voluntarily, mandates are issued. And then perhaps  people don’t follow mandates until perhaps there have to be substantial criminal penalties...     🥶

 

 

 

Edited by Pen
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1 hour ago, Momto6inIN said:

I would put them into the category of careless and selfish.

In my state, which I believe is Mercy's state as well, there is an exemption to the governor's execitive order for religious services where social distancing is in place. Whether one agrees with that exemption or not, it's there and so not illegal.

I forget where Mercy is. I'm in Ohio and I *assumed* churches were exempt and then someone here said no as an inference from it exempting officiants. So I haven't seen it in something official. I think they were for local orders but not state. I think churches could be incorrectly assuming they have choice. Or else the media is portraying it as no choice when there is.

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36 minutes ago, square_25 said:

But this is about risk to other people. And it's not cutting ties to the church to not come or teach right now. It's just saying you won't participate in something you consider immoral. 

The thing is, in a small church especially, if you think you ever want to come back I personally wouldn’t say it was immoral.  Phrased that way, bridges would likely be burned severely enough to not be rebuildable.  I don’t feel comfortable right now would be a better approach.

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1 hour ago, square_25 said:

But this is about risk to other people. And it's not cutting ties to the church to not come or teach right now. It's just saying you won't participate in something you consider immoral. 

All kinds of actions include risk to other people, including my speeding example.

I think Mercy is perfectly justified in not teaching, but some on this thread (I don't remember if you were or not, but some) were telling her to leave the congregation. Or at least I thought some were, maybe I misread. I think that's an extreme response, and that's what I was referring to.

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3 minutes ago, square_25 said:

But I do know that one thing that makes me want to make peace with people who I think have acted immorally is my own convenience... and then I question my motivations. 

I think most reflective people will have hindsight LATER. 

To me the question is whether the goal is to be right (unclear, debated) or safe. If it's just SAFE, then we're all doing our best and making our call.

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3 minutes ago, square_25 said:

I, personally, wasn't saying that :-). Just that I wouldn't participate for now.

I don't know whether I'd come back afterwards or not. I've been having this debate with myself about something that's perhaps less important, which is whether I should come back to our homeschooling center, which has very active members who think this is a hoax. (The director, however, does not, which also makes it different.) I don't know if I will, but I'm sure there are going to be lots of different factors that go into this decision. But I do know that one thing that makes me want to make peace with people who I think have acted immorally is my own convenience... and then I question my motivations. 

I guess that's where my Christian faith comes into play. I don't see anything wrong with making peace with people who have acted immorally because that's exactly what Jesus did and He is my example. I recognize that I have acted immorally and selfishly and so has everyone else, so to say that somehow the particular sin that someone else has committed is so much worse than the ones that I have committed that I can be justified in no longer being willing to worship God with them is nonsensical and hypocritical.

I don't know what your faith is or is not, so you might be coming at it from a different angle. 

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19 minutes ago, Momto6inIN said:

All kinds of actions include risk to other people, including my speeding example.

I think Mercy is perfectly justified in not teaching, but some on this thread (I don't remember if you were or not, but some) were telling her to leave the congregation. Or at least I thought some were, maybe I misread. I think that's an extreme response, and that's what I was referring to.

I'm one of those who advised leaving. We left our church over a combination of issues brought to the forefront due to refusal to take proper precautions against COVID. It's never just not wearing a mask or social distancing. People who refuse to take COVID seriously have a completely different value structure than I do. 

We recently spoke to a friend. She's an elderly woman and has not been able to attend church since all of this began. She would like to receive communion. In our religion (Eastern Orthodoxy) receiving communion is extremely important. Her priest, who does not take this seriously, has offered to visit people's homes to distribute communion. However, because she knows that he does not socially distance, she is not comfortable having him visit her. Because of this priest's selfish refusal to social distance he is unable to minister to his congregation. That is very bad. He is unable to conceive of the possibility that he has reached the wrong conclusion about COVID. 

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6 minutes ago, square_25 said:

Oh, your pastor's reply makes this even harder, doesn't it? 😞 I'm sorry he feels put into such a hard position. I wish he'd have the courage to do the right thing, but as you say, that's always an easy thing to say. 

Sigh.

These circumstances really do call for our LEADERS to actually LEAD.

It simply isn't enough, to try to gauge the mood of the followers and move to the more-popular option.  You've taken on this mantle, with this mantle comes responsibilities. In hard times, those responsibilities are hard. You can't just take the path of apparent least resistance.

 

(( MercyA ))

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14 minutes ago, Momto6inIN said:

I guess that's where my Christian faith comes into play. I don't see anything wrong with making peace with people who have acted immorally because that's exactly what Jesus did and He is my example. I recognize that I have acted immorally and selfishly and so has everyone else, so to say that somehow the particular sin that someone else has committed is so much worse than the ones that I have committed that I can be justified in no longer being willing to worship God with them is nonsensical and hypocritical.

I don't know what your faith is or is not, so you might be coming at it from a different angle. 

Addressing this since I advised leaving. I did not advise leaving because the sins they are immoral and should be avoided. 

We need to trust the people with whom we worship. I cannot trust people who do not understand how disease works. What we learned when all of this blew up in our church was that there were other risks in addition to COVID. Overall, there was a cavalier attitude about risk. 

And why do these people refuse to listen to scientific authority? What does that tell us about their world-view? 

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Mercy, if you know all the families personally, can you email or call them and let them know ahead of time that masks are required in your class and that if they aren't comfortable with that then you will ask the pastor to find a new teacher?

If it were me, however, I'd quit now. If you don't think the families are wearing masks other places or taking covid seriously, being indoors with a bunch of them masked or not would be a risk I wouldn't want. Masks mitigate risk but don't eliminate it.

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28 minutes ago, Seasider too said:

Mercy, I would return his email expressing your thanks for his understanding, along with a question about the best way to inform parents that this requirement will be in place. 

 

I agree.  

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2 hours ago, Momto6inIN said:

I would put them into the category of careless and selfish.

 

Which makes any deaths that follow this recklessness examples of negligent homicide rather than murder one.

This is still intentionally committing a moral wrong. A moral wrong that can get people killed.

Bill

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3 minutes ago, Acadie said:

Thought of this thread when I saw this--40 people infected at an Alabama Baptist church revival.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/27/coronavirus-alabama-covid-19-baptist-church-revival

I have no idea why they were not wearing masks.  We have a mask order in this state.  Anyway, this is the county south of us that I have said is more rural  and keeps having more cases than my more urban/suburban county and I had no idea why.  Now I know.  They were having more cases than us in April because they have chicken processing factories that hadn't updated procedures.  But now I guess it is this stupidity.  

What is even dumber is that studies are showing and my church is also experiencing, that more people are turning to churches online than ever did in person.  I think a lot of people do not understand how many people are normally shut in for any number of reasons or are not available on Sunday mornings and really want to get more services including church services online.  

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7 minutes ago, TravelingChris said:

I have no idea why they were not wearing masks.  We have a mask order in this state.  Anyway, this is the county south of us that I have said is more rural  and keeps having more cases than my more urban/suburban county and I had no idea why.  Now I know.  They were having more cases than us in April because they have chicken processing factories that hadn't updated procedures.  But now I guess it is this stupidity.  

What is even dumber is that studies are showing and my church is also experiencing, that more people are turning to churches online than ever did in person.  I think a lot of people do not understand how many people are normally shut in for any number of reasons or are not available on Sunday mornings and really want to get more services including church services online.  

 

I have a hard time going to church for a number of health reasons, partly because of people wearing fragrance products, bug spray, etc.

Having these issues, I have tended to meet others with similar issues and for various reasons there are a lot.  

(plus distance now that I live in rural area also makes it harder than when I lived in London or New York city and had several nearby) 

It makes sense to me that online would work for a lot of people. 

 

 

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31 minutes ago, Acadie said:

Thought of this thread when I saw this--40 people infected at an Alabama Baptist church revival.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/27/coronavirus-alabama-covid-19-baptist-church-revival

 

Also reminds me of the Union County Oregon Church outbreak—over 200 cases tied to that...

the whole county had only had 22 known cases before church outbreak, more than 380 now. 

 

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13 hours ago, Momto6inIN said:

I think there's a difference between mistaken-wrong, foolish-wrong, ignorant-wrong, careless-wrong, and selfish-wrong versus intentionally doing something morally wrong. I myself have been mistaken, foolish, ignorant, careless, and selfish at times, and I hope people that love me don't write me off.

I don't believe they are wrong, I believe they are deceived, and according to most Christian tradition, we know who The Deceiver is. There are verses in the Bible that talk about mob mentality. I think this is one: "Exodus 23:2 You shall not testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after a multitude in order to pervert justice." 

People are sharing (testifying) about an issue that is disputed (though enough data has come out that it shouldn't be), and they are doing so in order to turn aside toward whatever multitude they are comfortable following. It is perverting justice--it's making people choose (falsely, IMO) between obeying God and obeying government. It is unjust in that it puts people at risk. Religious discrimination involves treating people differently based on their religion, but yet most states are handling religious groups with kid gloves and issuing carefully worded exemptions! While allowing for the possibility that there have been specific instances of overreach, crying "discrimination" is an untruth by itself most of the time.  

The county next to me (I live nearly on the line) has a sheriff encouraging people to wink, wink, nod, nod, claim you have a health issue that isn't allowing you to mask to get out from under the mandate, and Christians I know personally are eating it up and encouraging this! So much for truth! 

Many of the people I know who are listening to the wrong sources are unaware (or don't care) that social media is programmed to show them more of the same information. Many of them don't know they are listening to conspiracy theories or that what they are seeing has a conspiracy theory as the source because it's been shortened and shared via a meme. Unfortunately, when people attempt to show them the source of this wrong information, they resist and cite more conspiracy theory reasoning, demonstrating a willingness to continue being deceived. 

1 hour ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

It's never just not wearing a mask or social distancing. People who refuse to take COVID seriously have a completely different value structure than I do. 

This. 

I feel like our pastor has handled this quite well, but it's a big church, and I am not as sure about the congregation's views--people who aren't calling out lies are not people I want teaching my children. I don't know yet what it would take to make me feel comfortable going back to worship alongside people I think are willingly throwing themselves into deception, but I do plan to talk to my pastor about it eventually. 

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8 minutes ago, MercyA said:

My husband's position is that it is not my job to inform parents that I will be following the law, and that if there is a notice to be sent out, it should be done by the church and not by me.

I'm not so sure about that, but I find that he is usually right about these kinds of things. 

 

Will you have masks for all the students?

Unless parents are informed it is likely that some of the children won’t have masks. 

If the children are sent away, they may be embarrassed and their parents may be angry if there was not warning given. 

 

Eta I agree that a directive from the church administration is better than you communicating with parents yourself, but maybe you have to insist that the administration does inform the parents before you go back to teach SS. 

 

(I would still leave the church—or at least leave for this year.  And reconsider next year.) 

Edited by Pen
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1 hour ago, Pam in CT said:

Sigh.

These circumstances really do call for our LEADERS to actually LEAD.

It simply isn't enough, to try to gauge the mood of the followers and move to the more-popular option.  You've taken on this mantle, with this mantle comes responsibilities. In hard times, those responsibilities are hard. You can't just take the path of apparent least resistance.

Yes. My instinct as a woman is to want to reply with something like, "Thank you so much for understanding. That means a lot to me. I appreciate the difficulty of your situation," etc. My natural response is to want to make him feel better and feel understood. But I don't think that's the right thing for me to do. If he's feeling convicted, at all, the worst thing I can do right now is interfere with that.

Regardless of the decisions of the church board, his platform gives him the opportunity and responsibility to encourage people to love their neighbor and follow the law.

I have seen him do good and hard things in the past. I'm hoping he will change direction on this and surprise me.

Our Scripture says that teachers will incur a stricter judgment. I don't envy him. And I, too, as a teacher of children, have a responsibility to do the right thing.

Edited by MercyA
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6 hours ago, Pen said:

Will you have masks for all the students?

Unless parents are informed it is likely that some of the children won’t have masks. 

If the children are sent away, they may be embarrassed and their parents may be angry if there was not warning given. 

Yes, I have many child-sized masks ready, and only about [x] students. 

I understand your concerns. I think it will help that most of these students have been my students for [some time]. I think it is exceedingly unlikely any will choose not to follow my rules.

Edited by MercyA
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1 hour ago, Seasider too said:

As a fellow believer, I see that Mercy can be in peace with fellow believers and still express her stance on mask wearing, and withdraw from a classroom setting and a corporate setting that is both violating local law and refusing to take measures like mask wearing that are proven to reduce transmission (thus showing care to congregants). 
 

Perhaps we are talking past each other. Are you suggesting that Mercy make no statement at all, and continue to participate and teach Sunday school under the current circumstances, for as long as it takes for the pastor to see the error of his ways? Please clarify. Also, if you agree with the pastor’s actions that would help me Better understand your comments. 

I think Mercy is completely justified in not teaching and not attending herself if she feels uncomfortable. I also believe the next Biblical step she should take (since she already talked to him about it one on one) is to take a 2 or 3 witnesses to talk to him about it and see if that helps. I was responding to people who seem to think that Mercy should leave her church altogether. I think that's misguided and not showing forbearance. I do not agree with the pastor's actions, but that doesn't mean I think he's making an immoral decision. I think his assessment of the risk and subsequent actions are different than mine. I think his actions are careless and selfish and ignorant, but not immoral. And even if I did agree with people that he's making an immoral decision, my interpretation of the Bible tells me that I should then go to him and talk to him about it after careful and prayerful exploration of my own motives and try to make peace in recognition of the fact that I too am sometimes selfish and careless and ignorant and do immoral things, not write him off as immoral and cease worshipping with him. I think Mercy is handling it well and Biblically.

1 hour ago, square_25 said:

I'm an atheist who's culturally Jewish, lol. But I hope that doesn't make me exempt from the conversation. 

I think realistically, we all do make peace with people who do the wrong thing. But how far does that go? At what point do you wind up tacitly supporting the immoral behavior by refusing to judge? And at what point is the right thing to do to avoid environments in which the wrong thing is being done, however much you forgive someone in your heart? 

I don't think these are easy questions, whatever your faith :-). 

Definitely not exempt! Just wasn't sure how much sense my response would make to someone who doesn't share my faith, that's all. And I agree that these questions aren't easy.

I don't refuse to judge - not at all! As a Christian I'm called to discern truth rightly and the Bible tells me step by step how to go about reconciling with a brother or sister who I think is in sin. But it doesn't tell me to write that person off and refuse to worship with them unless I've gone through all of those Biblical steps and he/she refuses to acknowledge their sin. And while I think Mercy's pastor is wrong on several levels, I don't think he's deliberately sinning. I think he's mistaken and careless and selfish, but so are people who speed on the Interstate and text while driving, and I wouldn't call those great immoral wrongs worth confronting someone over. I would forbear.

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34 minutes ago, Spy Car said:

If, heaven forbid, I were ever trapped in an speeding automobile driven by a drunk driver who was exhibiting reckless disregard for human life--at the very least--I'd put on my seatbelt.

Bill

 

 

Good point, but it still took decades for most people to embrace seatbelts despite some pretty clear physics - object in motion and all that.  Many early attempts (lapbelts) caused almost as much harm as good -not that they didn’t stop you from going through the windshield- and it multiple systems of design in all areas of an automobile that will allow you to survive being trapped in the speeding automobile driven by a drunk driver.  Also, don’t forget the decades of trying to get people to understand drunk driving is bad, not just to yourself, but to others.  Masks don’t have anywhere near the data as the seatbelt example.  Both are/were contentious, both had “common sense” aspects to protecting yourself and others, but we are still in the middle of the mask bit and forgetting in our hindsight that the examples cited were fought tooth and nail early on as well.

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3 minutes ago, Mom2mthj said:

Good point, but it still took decades for most people to embrace seatbelts despite some pretty clear physics - object in motion and all that.  Many early attempts (lapbelts) caused almost as much harm as good -not that they didn’t stop you from going through the windshield- and it multiple systems of design in all areas of an automobile that will allow you to survive being trapped in the speeding automobile driven by a drunk driver.  Also, don’t forget the decades of trying to get people to understand drunk driving is bad, not just to yourself, but to others.  Masks don’t have anywhere near the data as the seatbelt example.  Both are/were contentious, both had “common sense” aspects to protecting yourself and others, but we are still in the middle of the mask bit and forgetting in our hindsight that the examples cited were fought tooth and nail early on as well.

We don't have time for slow learners to be driving the decision making during a deadly pandemic in my estimation.

Bill

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5 minutes ago, Seasider too said:

Given that, I amend my post above to reply to the pastor’s email, thank him for understanding your concern, and asking HIM to please inform the parents to avoid any conflicts in the classroom doorway on Sunday. 
 

(((Mercy))) 

I just want to say the state is putting churches in an awkward position making the masnking optional. PUBLIC HEALTH POLICY should not be optional. And further, the pastor is putting mercy in the position where the masking is about her. That means then parents could be angry with her, which is outrageous. 

The church's policy is it's optional because the state said it's optional. So you're asking a favor. The church has this so backwards, just saying. 

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1 hour ago, Dreamergal said:

 Faith does not offer answers, it demands belief, blind belief. How else can you believe in the existence of God of any religion ? Take religion, any religion, it demands you believe things that a human mind can't wrap around. Almost fantasy. So why should you believe in God and not fairy tales and the existence of Goblins and fairies ? For me, faith is a bit of blind belief. 

If you don't allow questioning in spiritual matters and discernment in choosing your spiritual leader, how do you know you are not following some whacko cult leader? What makes you pick a certain faith and reject another? Just because somebody says so?

Edited by regentrude
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1 hour ago, MercyA said:

My husband's position is that it is not my job to inform parents that I will be following the law, and that if there is a notice to be sent out, it should be done by the church and not by me.

I'm not so sure about that, but I find that he is usually right about these kinds of things. 

 

I think your husband is right. 

I think if pastor agrees with you, then he should be the one where "the buck stops." I understand why he doesn't want to be. He is trying to please everyone, probably for the usual reasons: Lack of confidence in his assessment of what should be done; hoping to minimize drama in his church by placating the most divisive, controlling and powerful members (instead of championing the minority opinion that actually holds the moral high ground); desiring to keep his job and not disrupt his family's life; to keep his job and not endanger his future in his denominational milieu. Unfortunately, NONE of those reasons would nullify his responsibility to lead from the front, instead of allowing a Sunday school teacher to get out front and take the brunt of the fallout.

For me, if I felt that the pastor was walking all these lines and probably dealing with a lot of angry people, there are two things I would not do:

1. Make this all harder for him by being the sticky wicket that he's probably afraid to support, or

2. Allow him to leave it to me.

In other words, I can sympathize with his problem of having to be the pastor in this era and climate, in a church where too many are against the state's public health directives. But his entrenchment in toxicity does not have to be mine. I can't save him or make this easier for him. I can't lead the church from a Sunday school class, when the pastor privately agrees with me but placates anti-science and dangerous opinions in public.

People. Could. Die. Including children. People of all ages could die, and people could also face long-term health problems, job loss, financial disaster from hospital bills and job loss. This is not your typical church conflict. This is about life and death. In the absence of clear, sane, loving, responsible, and law-abiding leadership, I see zero obligation to attempt to engage in church politics of any kind. 

 

 

Edited by Lang Syne Boardie
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Even a statement like "Individual RE instructors may choose to require masks, based on the layout of their classrooms and teaching methods, and how well the same allow for social distancing" would give the instructors leeway to require them and support in doing so, while others do not. This is pretty much what my community center program has said. (Our county mandate allows school systems to set their own policies-and the ones here require them on the bus and in hallways, cafeterias and settings where social distancing cannot be maintained, but not in classrooms in most cases). I require them-I can't social distance and help a child at the piano or with their mallets, and we aren't breathing heavily or exercising.  I know some of the dance instructors do not as long as their classes are small enough that each student can have their own section of Barre or block on the floor and stay within it. But if I were going to teach a primary grades RE class? Yeah, I'd want masks worn. I've been sneezed on, coughed on, etc far more than I would like with early elementary age kids-sometimes more than with preschoolers!

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1 hour ago, Momto6inIN said:

I don't refuse to judge - not at all! As a Christian I'm called to discern truth rightly and the Bible tells me step by step how to go about reconciling with a brother or sister who I think is in sin. But it doesn't tell me to write that person off and refuse to worship with them unless I've gone through all of those Biblical steps and he/she refuses to acknowledge their sin. And while I think Mercy's pastor is wrong on several levels, I don't think he's deliberately sinning. I think he's mistaken and careless and selfish, but so are people who speed on the Interstate and text while driving, and I wouldn't call those great immoral wrongs worth confronting someone over. I would forbear.

I just don't understand this -- he is a person in a position of leadership who is not enforcing masks even though Mercy has said their county has no exception in the mask mandate for places of worship.  So he is deliberately flouting a law. My daughter attends a ballet studio which is having in person, socially distanced classes. Everyone is required to wear a mask because it is mandated. They had the police come and check on them last week to make sure this was happening.  Because it is the law. 

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2 hours ago, square_25 said:

Does the sin have to be deliberate? 

From a Biblical perspective, yes, there is a difference between someone who sins as a matter of course because they are a fallible human being and someone who knows it's wrong ahead of time and decides to go ahead and do it anyway.

45 minutes ago, SanDiegoMom in VA said:

I just don't understand this -- he is a person in a position of leadership who is not enforcing masks even though Mercy has said their county has no exception in the mask mandate for places of worship.  So he is deliberately flouting a law. My daughter attends a ballet studio which is having in person, socially distanced classes. Everyone is required to wear a mask because it is mandated. They had the police come and check on them last week to make sure this was happening.  Because it is the law. 

Driving over the speed limit is deliberately flouting a law. As is texting while driving or even holding your phone to look at a map without bluetooth in my state. I think the pastor is wrong and being selfish, but I know any number of selfish people at my church (me among them) and I wouldn't leave our church because of it.

 

 

 

Not to anyone in particular ... I'm out of this conversation. 

@MercyA, I wish you well and will continue to pray for your situation.

Edited by Momto6inIN
Because I was being crabby and rude and felt bad about one sentence. I apologize.
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20 minutes ago, Momto6inIN said:

From a Biblical perspective, yes, there is a difference between someone who sins as a matter of course because they are a fallible human being and someone who knows it's wrong ahead of time and decides to go ahead and do it anyway.

 

Choosing not to wear a mask when the evidence shows that mask wearing helps slow the spread of a deadly disease isn't a premeditated action?

One that could result in spreading illness and death? 

This is a great evil in my estimation. 

Bill

 

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2 hours ago, Seasider too said:

I understand that you don’t want to appear insipid. But a basic comment to thank him for acknowledging your point of view is just basic polite communication. Just don’t go on and on about it. Follow that one short initial statement with a clear request for him to take action. Because I really don’t think you and your husband want to have a series of showdowns at the classroom door. 

I agree with you, Seasider. My comment about not wanting to sooth his feelings didn't have anything to do with your very sensible and polite suggestion to thank him and ask what my next step should be. I thought that was very good advice. Just so you know. 🙂 

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