My Adventures in Trying to Find a New Church While Under Quarantine
April 22, 2020
I’m a Christian, but for many years I was not healthy enough to go to church. Also, my work required me to work odd hours, which made going to church every Sunday morning impossible. Despite this, I wanted to still worship while at home. I began to find many churches that live streamed their surfaces online, so I started to watch them whenever I had the chance.
Arizona started a stay at home order at 5-ish PM on March 31, 2020. Since that meant all church services had to be held online and not in person, it gave me an opportunity to see other churches, what they teach, and if I would like to attend them. It also gave me the opportunity to see other church services in other areas, which is very important to me because I plan on moving sometime in the future.At first I really didn’t find anything different between each service. Although I mostly stuck with Arizona churches, the churches I picked are in areas I am thinking of moving to. For the most part, the church services I watched online and on local TV had the same message: Don’t worry, God’s got this. The message was very important, and timely, because of the panic and uncertainty associated with the virus that is going around and has everyone, including me, scared.
The messages of hope in the face of adversity crescendo into Easter Sunday. Although my Easter Sunday was not as exciting or fun as I hoped it would be, I was able to talk with a few of my friends which made me much happier and more cheerful. Easter Sunday provided me with numerous opportunities to watch new church services on local TV from churches I wouldn’t normally watch. Although I didn’t spend my whole entire day watching church services, it did make me happy to see my local TV channels care about Easter Sunday enough to provide a way to watch church services while social distancing.
The thing is, I realized it wasn’t important to watch church services during Easter Sunday and lent, but after Easter Sunday. For the most part, all the churches I watched preached the same or similar message, one that tied into Easter Sunday and what happened in Arizona prior to Easter Sunday. But after Easter Sunday, I started to see the churches and what the preached change a bit.
Some of the churches preached witnessing, which is, in blunt terms, converting non believers into believers. Others did not, but would frown on materialistic things. These two teachings peaked my ears not because it is something I want my church to promote and encourage, but because I had problems with previous church, more specifically their attendees, in the past pushing these ideas on me in a radical sort of way.
I’ve been a Christian my whole life, but life wasn’t very simple. I was taught at a young age there is a time and a place for expensive things and how to realize it is that time. I was also taught restraint of materialistic things and what is more important than objects. I was taught that people will believe in Jesus as their savior, but only if they are willing to believe. Forcing them to believe will do no good and may even cause more harm than good. It is best to be kind to those people and treat them as you would have others treat you. These are all things I knew about and honestly believed in, but in high school and college I encountered people that believed I was using this as an excuse for not perusing a more holy and Godly way of living my life.
These people were awful. I have horrible stories about what these people acted and behaved like, but I don’t want to talk openly about it online. I will say they took their teachings of witnessing and shunning materialistic objects so seriously, they would target me because, in their eyes, they believed my actions did not line up with what their church taught. The sad thing is, these people would find no fault in the way they behaved or in the hypocritical way they promoted these beliefs when they lived their lives the way the churches taught them not to be.
After going to their churches, I can honestly say that I didn’t go to their churches very long because of these people. But after finding the live streams of the churches I watched, I began to see a similar message in the sermons that the people I used to know believed. And that bothered me. But it didn’t bother me nearly as much as what I realized after watching the sermon: One of the churches I watched the sermon of was one of the churches someone I knew attended.
It gave me great relief to know that I was able to figure out how the teachings of certain churches will shine through their live streams. I’m still on the hunt for a new church to attend, or watch their live stream, but after the experience with the people I used to know, I think I’ll be fine. It was miserable to be around those people, who only saw me as an object to mold into their perfect image of a Christian that, I assume, will allow them the ability to show me off to their church in order to show what good Christians they are, but I’m happy I learned and grew from that experience. I am wiser now and, even though I’m not perfect, I can pick up on warning signs I would’ve ignored out of ignorance. The search for my next church is still on, but I’m moving forward with my search with a confidence that I went through that miserable time in my life with such horrible people for a reason. And it’s paying off.