It Was There Before

I remember hearing a minister opine about the ubiquity of American flags in church sanctuaries following 9/11, that the inability of church leaders to resist that particular wave of patriotic sentiment was a consequence of the theology in place in their churches long before 9/11. I took her point to be not that flags in sanctuaries are good or bad, but that the decisions churches make in a crisis are determined, to a very large degree, by factors that predate the crisis.

It feels like the challenges facing churches in the wake of Covid were there before. They may not have been urgent (they may well have been), but they were there, hiding in plain sight. Ambivalence about worship attendance, confusion about staffing, and inconsistency in ministry design did not begin with stay-at-home orders. The conditions of Covid have amplified and accelerated challenges that needed our attention before.

Which makes me wonder: what concerns are waiting to reveal themselves in the next crisis?

2 thoughts on “It Was There Before

  1. I grew up in a Presbyterian church with the denomination’s flag on one side of the chancel and the nation’s flag on the other. It didn’t strike me as terribly patriotic, but just the decoration of the sanctuary.

  2. My take on the pandemic in the church–a lack of leadership that steps forward and says we can do this, we will get through this, things will change but we can do it because God is with us.

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