First we were told that President Trump was overreacting to COVID, that socializing in public was completely safe.  Within weeks the story changed.  We were told to fear for our lives, that two million Americans would die, and that President Trump was not doing enough to stop the virus.

First we were told to sanitize because the virus spread via hard surfaces.  A few weeks later we were told the virus couldn’t be contracted from hard surfaces.

First we were told the virus could travel over thirty feet in the air.  Then we were told we only needed six feet of “social distance” to stay safe from infection.

First we were told masks could not possibly stop a microscopic virus.  Then we were told masks were necessary to save lives.  Later we were told it took not one but two masks to save their lives.

This kind of waffling by the experts (along with the elite’s hypocritical violation of their own regulations; see my previous blog) created opposing narratives that set people against one another.  You either believed in staying locked down or that opening everything up again was a risk worth taking.  There was no middle road.

After four months of lockdown, we completely re-opened our church.  If you felt safer in a mask, you could wear one.  But masks were not required.  If you wished to keep a social distance you could, but no one was forced to do so.

The majority of our people wanted this arrangement.  Our first reopened services were packed with happy, thankful people.  Few wore masks or observed social distancing.  We shook hands and hugged.  The return to normal felt GREAT!

A small minority held to the other narrative and believed re-opening was reckless; that if anyone caught the virus at church and was hospitalized or died from it, it was my fault.  If you’re going to re-open, they said, at least do it safely.  Require everyone to wear a mask and maintain social distance.  That way everyone can feel safe coming to church.

But our decision was not primarily about feeling safe.  It wasn’t even about being safe.  Those who wanted to come out to church knew they risked contracting the virus.  (Wasn’t that always being risked anyway?)  Our people believed that returning to normal, free of masks and social distancing, was worth risking that safety.

Our leaders’ decision was not a decision for safety, but for liberty.

You were free to feel safe by staying at home and watching online.
You were free to feel safe by coming to church and wearing a mask.
You were free to say going to church is worth the risk of getting sick.
Each person was free to choose the level of risk and safety he sought.

The few that felt reopening as we did was reckless and irresponsible decided not to return to our church.  They were free to make that choice as well.