Your Feelings Don’t Change the Virus. Wash Your Hands.

Your Feelings Don’t Change the Virus. Wash Your Hands. May 16, 2020

Here are the CDC Guidelines for masking, social distancing, hand hygiene, etc.

There is not one Bible verse in existence that would change them.

Over the past several weeks, I have watched Evangelical Christians–joined to the MAGA political right–claim that scripture commands them to gather in megachurches. It does not. All the books of the Christian Bible were written long before large Christian churches existed, and the writers would not have had any way to even conceive of what Ekklesia would look like in the 21st century.

Christ says, “where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them” (Mt. 18:20, NRSV). He does not say, “but only at precisely 10:30 a.m. Sunday in the buildings I specify.” I have searched the scriptures again and again, and Christ does not even mention, let alone exclude, Zoom.

Conversely, in these same weeks I have watched progressive Christians shame and blame their siblings in the body of Christ for any action that does not precisely comport with their own personal set of pandemic guidelines based just as frequently on politics or anxiety as they are on actual public health guidelines from infectious disease professionals. The exact same gospel story says just a few chapters before, “do not judge, so that you may not be judged” (v. 7:1).

Your feelings are not a good gauge of the appropriate distance between people at public gatherings. You know what is? A tape measure, and the CDC guidelines.

We live in a polarized time. I get it. But the last things that should be political shibboleths while actual humans are dying are when to wear a mask and how to wash your hands.

Wash your hands. Do your best. Use those big brains God gave us to understand and navigate the world outside.

I love you. Don’t be a statistic.

About Jim Coppoc
Jim Coppoc is a seminarian at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, and the award-winning author of three books and two chapbooks of poetry; four good plays; a forgettable textbook; and a host of articles, essays, short prose, etc. He was among the founding faculty of the low-residency MFA program at Chatham University, and he taught writing, literature and American Indian Studies for many years at Iowa State University. Jim has collaborated with groups from the National Endowment for the Arts to the Iowa and Wyoming Arts Councils to prisons, preschools, churches, bars and everything between. He currently lives in Ames, Iowa with two amazing sons and the best dog ever, and he is hard at work on a novel about angels, demons, boarding school, and what it means to be blood. You can read more about the author here.
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