This week I've read a lot about virus transmission, handwashing and social distancing. As a dad-of-four, fosterparent-of-two, husband-to-a-socialworker/Master's student, I've had to let the day-to-day take the place of any theological/spiritual processing I might otherwise be able to do. I've only begun to process the spiritual ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic, but I'm certain of this:
Church and spirituality, like our lives, are not going to be the same after coronavirus.
There is going to be before COVID-19 and after COVID-19.
Last Sunday a lot of churches jumped into facebook live, youtube streaming and various other platforms quickly turning us all into instant televangelists. Look out Jim Bakker! Maybe it was because I tend to second guess bandwagoning, or because I hadn't quite caught up with what was going on, or because technology in church gives me trepidation, that I balked at jumping in. I mean, everytime you want to play a video clip in church it always works great until its time.
Frozen video, lagging voiceover, random windows updates - it never fails.
I opted for a lower tech blog post in place of our in-person gathering with an invite for our virtual attenders to comment and interact. With a few more days of hindsight, however, I think it's something else too. My friend Chris blogged what I was thinking perfectly in a blog post titled, 'Churches Should Think Twice Before Webcasting Their Worship Services'
Maybe COVID-19 is revealing some spiritual and theological truths to us in the church that we've needed to hear for awhile. Maybe we've been too lectury and not interactive enough. Maybe we've been too showy and not participatory enough. Maybe we've mistakingly proclaimed, 'come to us and be quiet instead of 'come together and be lovingly loud and messy.' Maybe we've been consuming and watching instead of contributing and doing.
Maybe coronavirus will encourage us to wash our hands of spiritual consumerism and distance ourselves from religious capitalism. What then, will our spiritual gatherings (aka church) look like after COVID-19? Will we use this virtual time to evaluate ourselves or just 'go live' with what we did before coronavirus?
Maybe, as theologian and pastor Fred Rogers said,
“Often when you think you're at the end of something, you're at the beginning of something else.”