A Brutally Honest Letter for Pastors of Closed Churches

This one comes with a rare disclaimer. If you read this and it bothers you, you are exactly who I am talking to. If you read it and think of someone else, share it with them. Part of my goal with this movement is to shine a big ass light on problems everywhere. I’m tired of hearing that churches are a hotspot for the virus while chain stores and restaurants can cram full of people. It’s the spirit of Mammon running wild. This is a call to open back up. Do whatever you feel you need to do to keep your flock healthy but open your doors, if Wal-Mart can do it, so can you.

During these past twelve years or so that I’ve been a Christian, I have heard just about every canned sermon in existence. I’ve seen all manner of lip service and manipulation in both churches and during my time at North Carolina State University while getting my Religious Studies degree, so what I’ve come to realize shouldn’t be a shock to me. Sinners leading sinners and all that. However, I can’t let this one go without calling it out. In Christian talk, my “spirit doesn’t feel right”, in Chris talk “Y’all need to get your shit together”.

Having been in various churches irregularly since I was five, and with increasing regularity over the last ten years, I’ve heard one sermon topic given across all denominations and in every style. This sermon seems to be the one thing that every Pastor, Bishop, Cardinal, Priest, Minister and Evangelist can agree on. As Christians, we must be ever vigilant of persecution and refuse to tolerate it when it rears its ugly head.

Cool story guys. We are getting there now. Where are you?

I had really come to believe that this was the one area of unity among churches. I’ve seen red faced sweat drenched Preachers slam their hammy fist on the pulpit while giving an impassioned lecture on the Martyrs of history. Simon Peter crucified upside down for his love of Christ and church. Polycarp burned at the stake, then stabbed when the flames failed to do him in. Sebastian shot with arrows and left for dead, only to be nursed back to health then beaten to death and thrown in a sewer. These Martyrs and many more gave everything for their faith, and so should we. Now here, take this basket and pass it around. If Sebastian can be beaten to death, surely you can afford to give outside of your comfort zone.

That probably stung. It was meant to. After your actions lately, I’m thoroughly convinced that you only gave lip service to the sacrifice of the Martyrs to fill your tax-exempt coffers. Many of you stood there after your now determined to be hollow sermon and reminded us that you just spoke on the horrible lives of the Martyrs who gave all for Christ. Surely, we can give something as meaningless as money.

Of course, you made sure to sprinkle in that we also should be prepared to give our lives and freedom for Christ if the time came. You assured us that you would be on the front lines with us, fighting oppression at every turn. Championing religious liberty for all. Hell, it sounded great. Giving went up and Onward Christian Soldiers blared on our internal stereos as we left the building feeling empowered enough to take on more than just Golden Corral’s endless supply of chicken. We were obediently part of something larger than ourselves with a support network to ensure we would never be told how to worship. Truly feeling free in the spirit you had awakened in us with your words, we were ready to take on injustice at home and worldwide. One body, unified for God, and ready to display His love and courage for all to see. A true beacon of not living in the ways of the world.

Well, that sounded and felt good. Then came the COVID.

Although I didn’t agree with you then, initially, I couldn’t fault you for closing your doors. We didn’t know much about this virus and the news out of China looked grim. Two weeks of lockdown were going to pass, and we’d all be fine on the other side. Whatever. You wanted to be good citizens and play the game. I think you’d be hard pressed to find someone in those initial two weeks that didn’t play along. It was wise to at that point since we knew nothing.

Now, here we are almost 5 months later with new data that shows most people are going to be fine, and you’re still scared to open because there’s penalties if you do. Really? You preached we had to be ready to give our all for God, including our freedom and life, and you’re scared of regulations. Not laws. Not the threat of harm or death. Nothing even close to what the Martyrs you hype us up with have ever faced. No, it was mandates and worthless executive orders that made you fold. Yes, executive orders are worthless. They haven’t been passed by any legislature.

I’d really hate to see how you react when something more is on the line.

It’s time to dig in and listen to your own sermons. You’ve said we are not to practice the ways of the world. You’ve said there is only one King you serve, and nobody will tell you otherwise. You’ve slammed your hands down and declared in front of God and your church that nobody will EVER tell you how and when to worship your God. Well, the state now has, and they’ve won the battle without so much as the smallest rustle of defiance from you. You’ve made excuses for the oppression and sent that message out in video form to your flock from the comfort of your own home. Look at you, mighty lion of the faith! Your roars have been reduced to the few squeaks you can manage when the boot releases enough pressure to briefly look elsewhere. Rest assured; it always comes back. Look at California. First it was not singing, then it was not gathering, now it’s indefinite closure. It’s not stopping because you aren’t stopping it.

Defiance works. It’s in the DNA of this country and on TV every day. I’m convinced that most of you are mad at BLM and the like because they are winning and beginning to dictate the course of society. It’s directly related to your silence. While they make their presence known and gain appeasement, you retreat to your mouse holes and tell yourself it’s ok, “Jesus is on the throne”. An excuse you’ve muttered thousands of time over your life when the going got tough and you couldn’t find the courage to stand up, by the way. It’s a cop-out, and an overplayed one at that.

You’ve said several times that 2/3 of God is Go. What are you waiting for?

This is a time when your flock needs you to be the lighthouse that you’ve portrayed yourself as for your entire pastoral career. Depression and suicide are rising. People are craving interaction and wanting normal life. You have the keys, literally, to the door that can provide these things. You can be the sound wave that causes an avalanche. People of all faiths in America are restricted in the freedoms provided by our Constitution simply because nobody will move. While governments lock us down, organizations that hate us are roaming freely and speaking on our behalf, determining the course of our future. If there was ever a time when your actions should reflect your words, it’s now. If you choose not to act, you will become obsolete along with our liberty to worship. Make no mistake, everyone, even those in power have noted how easily you rolled over. They won’t forget. The peaceful defiance of opening your doors and saying “No more” is the best way to get your power back.

But, remember to also stream your services for the immunocompromised. This is serious for them, but watching you live out your words emboldens them in their faith. Now, open the doors and do some work.

Noli nos calcare.

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