Tuesday, May 26, 2020

This one's for Snowbrush

At CareyNieuwhof.com, I found this article directed at members of the clergy (many of whom, I am given to understand, have actually been ordained). I pray fervently that it is tongue-in-cheek:

THE IDIOT'S GUIDE TO RE-OPENING YOUR CHURCHES

1. Violate As Many Social Distancing Guidelines As You Think You Can Get Away With

There’s what the law says, and what you think you can make the law say.

As a former attorney, I’ve been trained to spot loopholes, or to play creatively with wording to get it to say what I want it to say.

So, to be an idiot, take the most expansive view you can of any and all guidelines and do the minimum required.

Besides, are the officials really going to check whether people are 6 feet apart or 5 feet apart? At 5 feet apart you can squeeze 100 more people in…and does it really make that much difference?

And sure, families are recommended to sit together, but nobody’s going to suggest friends sit apart, right? I mean really…

And wait, if they’re wearing face coverings (made by Aunt Beulah), does there really need to be 6 feet between them?

Oh, and don’t worry about the kids. Push all the kids into one room. It’s impossible to socially distance kids anyway.

2. Exercise Your Constitutional Rights But Ignore Your Responsibilities

You have rights the government can’t take away, and nobody can make you do anything you don’t want to, correct?

So, to be an idiot, exercise your constitutional rights but ignore your responsibilities. Strangely, the US government still educates citizens on their rights and their responsibilities.

In a hyper-individualistic culture, you should count on other people to exercise their responsibilities. You, after all, can just focus your rights.

And when you think about the Christian faith deeply, it has nothing to do with the responsibility to love or care for others. It’s all about you.

3. Open So Fast You Have to Close Again

The best way to have to close your church down after you re-open the doors is to become the source of an area cluster of infections and deaths that trace back to your church.

That will guarantee you lots of press (perhaps national coverage) and impress your unchurched neighbors, who, prior to COVID, were already struggling with you.

Plus, the quick open/close move probably means even more people will trust you next time you open your doors.

4. Make it Political

We live in an amazing age where everything is both tribal and partisan and therefore deeply inspiring.

Make sure you politicize human disease and suffering.

This is not only guaranteed to confuse and irritate people, it will immediately discredit you with people who vote differently than you do.

One of the best ways to instantly alienate half the people you’re trying to reach is to make the Gospel partisan.

5. Use Your Social Media Platform to Vent

This is a fantastic tactic.

Since social media gives everyone a platform, make sure you share your every emotion (especially anger, irritation, frustration, and impatience) on social media.

The best way to do this is to post something in the heat of the moment. Don’t pray about it, share it with a few trusted friends first, or sleep on it for a night or two. Definitely do not ask your spouse if you should post it.

Not only will this improve your credibility, but your impulsiveness will also deepen people’s trust and respect for you.

6. Abandon Your Online Advances And Make it 100% About the Building

Once you’re back in your building, even though your attendance will probably be much lower than you’d hoped, abandon any progress you’ve made with online church in the last few months.

Online ministry isn’t real ministry, and the people you’ve reached online don’t need the same level of care and attention as people you can see face to face.

For bonus points, pivot all of your staff-dollars back into in-person ministry.

The internet is a bit of a fad anyway.

7. Treat Online Attendees Like Second-Class Citizens

Because in-person attendance at a physical location is the only way authentic Christians express their faith, make everyone watching online feel like they’re second-rate.

The fact that they might be older and at higher risk, struggle with some co-morbidity risks (like obesity or diabetes), might not have access to health care, are worried about their children or aging parents they’re caring for, or are even away for the weekend and wanting to connect shouldn’t deter you.

The people who aren’t in the room don’t really count.

8. Tell People Your Faith Buys You Immunity from Disease

For bonus points, make in-person attendance theological.

Even a cursory reading of scripture shows that God never lets his people suffer. The Bible has no calamity, disease, poverty or suffering in it, and when it does, God’s people never have to go through it.

So let people know that when they show up, they have immunity because they’re far more faithful than those who aren’t in the building.

(end of article)

In the comments, one person suggested this addition: "Don’t make any hand sanitizer available and for certain make sure you run out of hand soap in every restroom. Just tell people to spit on their hands and wipe them clean on your pews. That’s how Jesus healed a blind man, right?”

and another stood the article on its head, shouting most of the way:

"The concepts of this post could just as easily be applied to An Idiot’s Guide to Not Reopening. The headings could be aligned and say:
1. BULLISHLY ENFORCE AS MANY SOCIAL DISTANCING GUIDELINES AS YOU THINK TO CREATE
2. IGNORE OTHERS’ CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS BUT ENFORCE WHAT YOU THINK ARE OTHERS’ RESPONSIBILITIES
3. CLOSE SO LONG THAT YOU NEVER HAVE TO OPEN AGAIN
4. MAKE IT POLITICAL
5. USE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM TO VENT
6. ABANDON YOUR BUILDING AND MAKE IT 100% ABOUT THE ONLINE EXPERIENCE
7. TREAT THOSE DESIRING BUILDING ATTENDANCE LIKE SECOND-CLASS CITIZENS
8. TELL PEOPLE YOUR FAITH BUYS YOU IMMUNITY FROM THE CONSEQUENCES OF HATING THOSE WHO BREAK SOCIAL DISTANCING GUIDELINES"

I guess the moral of all this is that you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him think.

14 comments:

  1. This is priceless! What a way to begin my day ....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Helen, it is only fitting that the first comment be from Bend, Oregon, as Snowbrush in the post's title lives in Eugene.

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  2. I feel so tired. This whole virus thing is wearing me out. Why can't people simply use common sense? Why put myself in needless danger? At the same time why should I be the only one following scientific and medical recommendations? Why do we have to worry about the people we love? Why do I feel that some other people are being so stupid? I know why I feel tired.

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    Replies
    1. Emma, some days I don't even want to get out of bed. I think you feel that some people are being so stupid because they are.

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  3. I know it was tongue-in-cheek that you posted this but the sad thing is too many people actually feel this way.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sigh. Watching from here it seems that some of those rules have been religiously followed.
    I am interested in the rights and responsibilities issue though. We hear a lot about your rights (particularly the right to bear arms) but very, very little about responsibilities.

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    Replies
    1. Elephant's Child (Sue), all ten of the articles in America's Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments to our Constitution) are very important. Perhaps we need a Bill of Responsibilities as well.

      Delete
  5. My coffee's gone cold - almost. I started reading without fully comprehending so started again. I got a bit further and decided to go and visit CareyNieuwhof.com . Having discovered that you weren't pulling my leg I returned to read the article. It is a masterclass in satire.

    We are actually living in a real world which is indistinguishable from a fantasy world where it's almost impossible to tell truth from lies and reality from fiction.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Graham, it depends on ones starting point. I am a born sceptic so disregard anything that hasn't been peer reviewed. That includes most if not all media stuff and anything that is qualified by could, expected to, etc. If you then take the time to investigate further one finds unattributed sources. Sometimes sources unattributed for a little variety.
      It's always been the same, now people are beginning to realise through social media that they have been living in clown world. Education has been reduced to the lowest common denominator unless one decides to ignore 99% of teachers and learn in the real world. Then one has to ignore 99% of social media and learn from those that can do. Someone pointed out the other day that Teaching was almost unique. There is one other profession that requires no qualifications. I strongly suspect the latter one does more good.

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    2. Graham, it's bad enough to reach the conclusion you reached without your coffee having gone cold as well.

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    3. Adrian, you are so right about could and expected to, and I will add may and might to the list.

      Re sending in the clowns, don't bother, they're here.

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  6. I thought it was hilarious, but I'm afraid we have too many idiots running our country and churches for it not to be true.

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    Replies
    1. Kathy, sorry for my delay in answering. I'm sure you are correct, but often idiocy is in the eye of the beholder. One man's idiot is another man's genius. Don't ask me to give examples.

      Delete

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