Monday, May 18, 2020

Entertainment Industry??

Clergy in New Zealand are complaining because movie theatres are allowed to operate under Covid19 restrictions, while churches have been kept shut by the government. I am puzzled why they are comparing what they do with movie theatres, as it implies that they see themselves as providing entertainment that people turn up to observe.

When the Prime Minister announced the situation, she said that church “meet for fellowship”. She did not spell it out, but that means personal contact:

  • Listening intently to someone who is struggling
  • Hugging someone who is hurting.
  • Talking to people who need encouragement
  • Sharing a word of knowledge with someone.
  • Praying for someone who is sad.
  • Laying hands on someone who is sick.
  • Casting out demons.
  • Giving to someone who is in need.
This kind of fellowship cannot really take place with two metres separation under social distancing rules. Gathering large groups of people together while remaining socially separated is only sensible if the people are just listening to a pastor preach and praying or a music group worshipping.

Jesus said that people would know his disciples by the way that they love one another. He seemed to have more in mind than passive listening at a distance from other people (see One Another Stuff).

According to our TV news last Sunday, a church in New Zealand gathered with people sitting in their cars in the car park, with security staff checking that they stay in their cars. They watched a big screen with worship leaders singing and the pastor preaching. If that is what some Christians need to do to keep them strong in their faith, that is fine with me, but I wonder what impression people watching the news get. People watching stuff on a big screen gives a false idea of what it means to follow Jesus and belong to his body.

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