Category: Christianity

Christians are being propagandized into a surreal bubble of nonreality, extremism, and hate

In the past few days, I’ve posted a couple of comments on blogs that I want to reproduce here:

[First post, a few days ago on the claytoonz blog:]

I had to unfriend a couple of Trumpers on Facebook on Saturday after the race was called. It was upsetting because they weren’t old high school classmates–They were people I see a lot (or at least, used to, in the Before times). I liked them, stuck up for them in other contexts. And here they were harassing me on Facebook with snarky comments.

One had been doing this for the past year, ever since I started posting about immigrants in 2019.

The other–Well, once he called one of my other friends [Enema] “slime” on Facebook for supporting abortion rights.  [Enema recently died of COVID; he was an awesome person who loved kids.]  Then he dissed modern Goth literarature/music/art (grrr).  Then one day I posted the Benjamin Corey post which starts by tongue-in-cheeky comparing the Antichrist prophecies to Trump (and ends feeling “unsettled”).  This person wrote, “My church teaches that the Catholic Church is the Antichrist/Whore of Babylon.”  That was a red alert right there, because the churches that teach that tend to be the extremists of the fundies.  I was fundie once, and we didn’t say that.

Well, yesterday I changed my cover photo to Love Trumps Hate.  I come back a short time later and find a comment that says (paraphrasing), “If PERVERT love is what the Greek Orthodox Church teaches, then I’m glad I was never a part of it.”

I’d been ignoring a lot of his comments lately; I wonder now what the other ones were like, if he could post this jaw-dropper.  And there he was with the other guy on another post, exchanging things like “I’ll never accept Biden as my president” and “I agree” with each other.  I’d had enough.

I’d heard from people in different minority groups that my town has issues.  Here it was right in front of me, which I didn’t see before because I mostly kept quiet on Facebook and in real life about politics/race/LGBTQ/etc.  Kept my mouth shut at church and at club, and as a white person, people treated me fine.  I start speaking up about minority groups, I start talking in opposition to Trump, and look what happens.  People start unfriending me, I start unfriending others.  I start to see the ugliness.  The blinders of privilege are real.

And these people are unapologetic about what they’re doing and saying.  These two people are not blocked; have they messaged me with apologies, asked to restore friendship?  Nope.

[Second post, today:]

In 2003, in the EFCA church, there were people who wanted the pastor to preach about politics, but he said no.  He wanted people to make up their own minds.  I was a Bush fan, but we had at least 3 staunch Democrats in the church.  But the church was also tilting Calvinistic at this time, and Evangelicalism had been getting crazier and crazier (Halloween, Harry Potter, etc), so shortly after, we left.

2004 was the turning point for me.  There was Gitmo, stories of Bush allowing torture, the Patriot Act, doubts about the Iraq War–so I voted for Kerry.  I went first to a liberal church and then became Greek Orthodox, so there was no idolizing of Bush there.  The church was mostly cradle, not converts, so they weren’t affected so much by Evangelical nationalism.  But I saw it elsewhere, especially on Jesus Camp.

However, the couple who first influenced me into Orthodoxy–a convert couple I found online, who later moved to my town–was also right-wing.  *He* was a Libertarian and didn’t like Bush, but *she* was a Republican and sounded very much like the extreme side of Evangelicalism that I’d been trying to escape.  And *he* became a Tea Partier.  Even though he didn’t like Bush, he still hated Obama, thought he was going to outlaw Christianity.  So even though they were Orthodox now, they brought that Evangelical extremism with them.  At the time I was upset that they didn’t like my church and went to another one in a different county.  Now I’m glad.  That church closed, but they never started coming to mine.  We have Republicans and conservatives, but we also have Democrats, and usually conversation is about gardening or arguing over who left what mess in the basement.

Then over time, the right-wing converts in Orthodoxy have been bringing in the extremism, so I see it online.  I haven’t seen it in my church so much, fortunately.  Though for the past 8 months, I haven’t been to church….

I see it online, though: People I used to know in college or in the church where I grew up, posting about guns.  I don’t remember them ever mentioning an interest in guns before this past decade.  One person just posted a picture of herself with an AR-15.  One was in my church youth group; we never talked about guns back in the day.  Christianity was about peace and love, not shooting people, though shooting deer was okay.  Then I found one of my exes [Shawn] and friended him on Facebook; his wall was covered with memes about guns and Sean Hannity quotes.  I knew he was conservative, but I knew him for two years and he never mentioned guns!

Ever since I came out and started posting political things on Facebook after a 5-year break, the claws started coming out.  I was tired of people posting their conservative memes and assuming that I agreed with them because I never said anything.  People I thought were nice, started to actually harass me for my posts.  On Saturday I had to unfriend two people.  One of them made a nasty, homophobic comment that insulted me and my church as well.  When did this become Christian?

This could’ve been me, if not for the crises of faith I experienced in college.  Many of my beliefs on many things were tested in a college I thought would be a safe Christian bubble.  (They actually let everybody in and didn’t care what they did.)  Pat Robertson said God told him Bush would win re-election; that didn’t happen.  I learned that what he said about a LOT of things wasn’t true, everything from politics to Dungeons and Dragons.  Media class taught me that Rush Limbaugh was manipulating people.  My eyes were opened and, while I was still Republican for a while, I was moving away from it.  When Fox News came out, I knew better than to watch it, and stuck to the newspaper, news magazines, and occasionally CNN.  While everybody around me was starting to go nuts, I still kept my head.  Now I look at people’s social media posts and it’s like they’re in a totally different reality.  It’s surreal.

But I keep reminding myself that the Church has survived 2000 years of political upheavals and religious wars.  The German church turned Nazi for a time, but many Christians kept their faith.  The Church survived Soviet Russia.  I can’t let American fascism turn me away from it.

More on Jeff Durbin who calls woke Christians “sluts” and “Marxists”

Regarding my last post, about the guy, Jeff Durbin, who says that so-called “woke” Christians are evangelical sluts opening their legs to Marx etc.: I’ve been googling him this evening to find out more about him.  He is a postmillennial theonomist; not quite sure what that means, because the sources I saw disagree and get all word-salady, but it seems to be a form of theocracy.  Here you can find more information about his ranting sermon, and that he is buddies with Doug Wilson of Christ Church–which the Spiritual Sounding Board and Wartburg Watch blogs have covered as an abusive, patriarchal church that covers up abuses and tells abused women to stay put.  Durbin himself is the pastor of Apologia Church in Arizona.  Along with a couple of clips, on the Protestia post you can also read some of Durbin’s words in the sermon:

So in light of these issues, BLM, LBGT, and the abortion issue, evangellyfish woke pastors – you say ‘homolust is not a sin,’ even though Jesus said sin begins in the heart. You say ‘we aren’t under the law, we’re under grace. We don’t need God’s stipulated standards of justice.’ Yet you throw up your Marxist communist fists shouting, ‘No justice, no peace!’ You swallowed the member of the Marxist denying what God says about our unity and identity in the Messiah, and you teach people that our identity is in our color. Shame on you. You deny God’s own word, accusing people of guilt for the sinful color of their ancestors. Thus, you invalidate the word of God for the sake of your woke bullshit.

…The woke evangelical whore is a slut who lies down in the middle of a burning city, spreading her legs to the rioters and looters, spreading her legs to Marx, Engels, Alinksy, and Soros. Only she knows the history. Marxism and Communism plunge nations into poverty. There’s no money in this for her, but she wasn’t looking for payment anyways. The evangelical woke slut is a slut whose behavior makes Cardi B’s WAP ( A filthy song whose acronym is ‘Wet Ass Pussy) look like performance art for preschoolers.

…Pray that God removes these pimps from the pulpit and fills it with prophets who will keep his bride pure and faithful.

People apparently complained about his cussing.  But it’s not the cussing that’s offensive: It’s the misogyny, racism and homophobia! My searches led to this article, which contains a video of Durbin explaining his views on abortion.  He believes that women who have abortions should be subject to the same penalty as someone who, say, murders her teenage child–which can be the death penalty.  If you watch it, you can see him and his friends with long beards, apparently “hipsters.”  They’re trying to look cool, and Protestia compares his manner to “Mark Driscoll and edgy Youth Pastors everywhere.”

So–Mark Driscoll, Doug Wilson–both names that ring bells because they’ve been all over the spiritual abuse blogs in the past decade.  Is Durbin another spiritual abuser? Pulpit and Pen would say yes.  They have a whole post describing Durbin’s tendency to tape-record conversations and then use them against people later, including a private confession.  Not only that, but his church has membership covenants, which the Wartburg Watch and many other sources warn against.  One person left the church, and when he tried to join a different church:

Rod Boyd was an attender but never a member of Apologia Church, and yet Jeff Durbin was insisting that Jesus Christ himself would condemn both Rod and Daniel on the Day of Judgment for not recognizing Apologia Church’s discipline upon a non-member.   Luke Pierson reminded Daniel that Apologia members who left for Daniel’s [church] plant were not being “faithful unto death” to Apologia, as required by their membership certificate.

The post also describes incidents in which a 12-year-old girl was getting “sinful” texts from a member of Durbin’s household.  It doesn’t go into detail, but it seems clear they were sexual.  A member of the household also engaged in “inappropriate behavior” with her at a sleepover.  The Durbins initially slandered the girl as a predator, until they saw the “sinful” texts.  It isn’t clear who the member of the household was; was it an adult, or one of the Durbin children?  Was it statutory rape, or was it typical consensual behavior between kids of the same age?  I don’t know.  But whatever it was, the Durbins were spreading lies about the girl.

This video, by a Mormon who had issues with Durbin, reveals that Durbin throws around the word “Marxist” even when you’re talking theology he doesn’t agree with, and is very abusive with people he argues with.  He says at the end that Durbin and James White are manipulative liars with questionable moral character and judgment; he says their behavior (such as saying women should get the death penalty for abortion) is not normal; and that he suspects more people will start coming out with stories about them.

It is very concerning to see “pastors” such as this coming out with abusive language toward people in the churches who dare to have different political views than their own, who dare to look into the issue of systemic racism and consider whether homosexuality is truly sinful.  Basically, Durbin and others like him are setting themselves up to be the arbiter of what is the correct view to take on everything, including patriarchy, white supremacy, and LGBTQ+.  And if you disagree, they call you a wolf, say you’re antichrist, say you’re in sin, call you a “slut,” accuse you of “homolust,” call you a Marxist, and say that you need to be “disciplined” if you won’t take their “correction.” And they do it all with hipster beards and tattoos.

Hate is filling our churches as Trumpism takes over

What’s going on right now has a lot in common with the early 20th century German church.  I do my research and see lots of parallels.  Yesterday I discovered one of these hate-filled preachers named Jeff Durbin is saying crap like the following:

He’s calling me a slut who opens her legs to Marx, Engels, Soros….  I’ve seen clips of other videos he posts, and they’re full of hateful tirades against people he doesn’t even know because they disagree with him.

And this is hardly the only guy.  Some googling and reading of blog posts reveals a whole lot of pushback in the churches to people they call “woke” and “social justice warriors.”  They sound like Nazis with their patriarchal white supremacy, which includes derision for those who support gay marriage (like Durbin here, who uses the term “homolust”).  I don’t just see this on Evangelical websites, but on Orthodox ones as well.

You go into comment sections, you watch videos, you read news articles, and you’ll find a lot of people saying that these people are in “sin” and need to “repent”–and if they don’t, that they need to be tossed out of the church!

I’ve read the Bible numerous times.  I’ve studied the words of Christ.  I know what Christianity is, and this ain’t it.  It is the spirit of antichrist–yet they say *we* are the spirit of antichrist.

Trumpism is taking over everything: the GOP, the church.  It’s a poison that keeps spreading.  He didn’t start it by any means, but he’s given them carte blanche to say these things openly.  These are dangerous times; I study history, and I’ve seen what this leads to.  These were all Nazi beliefs: patriarchy, white supremacy, homophobia, anti-Semitic theories (such as Illuminati, New World Order, and the constant slander against George Soros).

The Nazis promised the churches that they would bring back “Christian” ideals, that they could pray in schools again, etc.  The German church embraced Naziism the same way that the modern churches are embracing this anti-woke philosophy.  They were so deluded that they saw Christ in the Nazis.  Let’s not make the same mistake.

Time to turn the tables: Conservatives do NOT define Christianity!

I’ve been seeing a lot of crap online lately about Christians having to follow a certain conservative-defined set of beliefs.  I’ve been complaining about it on Facebook and Twitter; I’ve been feeling abused, traumatized, and very, very tired.

So yet another conservative (Matt Walsh this time) is shooting his mouth off about what “Christian” means and saying,

I don’t care how you feel about Trump, if you’re a Christian you cannot support Joe Biden. The fact is that Joe Biden supports and will impose policies that contradict the moral tenets of your faith at the deepest levels. The same cannot be said for Trump. And it’s that simple.

(I replied, “NOPE.  Conservatives don’t get to dictate to us what “Christian” means.  They’re backing a monster.  I’m sick of people saying you can’t be “Christian” if you’re a Democrat.  I’M DONE.”)

And the other day I learned about a pastor saying that people in his church who are “woke” need to be subjected to Matt 18 church discipline, with excommunication a possibility.  Then there’s a poster on The Ancient Way forum–who I remember from when I posted there between 2005 and 2010?–saying this:

Well, as far as whether kooks are dealt with appropriately, I’d say it’s the general problem of people entering the Church and thinking their own ideas to be the mind of the Church, and refusing correction from the consensus of Holy Tradition. Many walk around with all kinds of ideas out of whack with Tradition. Some think divorce from other churched Orthodox and remarriage to be perfectly fine and necessary, others that same sex sexual relations or other sexual relations outside of holy matrimony are not sin, still others that women ought to be priests, some hold that the words of Christ on some issues today are not relevant, a few do think that interracial marriage is somehow bad, and even more think that a majority race ought to be prosecuted if not persecuted for imagined “privilege” and alleged inherent unconscious racism, all ideas that were never taught by the fathers. This refusal to be corrected by the Tradition of the Church constitutes sin, a failure of obedience, humility, and submission. Anything we say, including me, should be subject to such correction. —rusmeister

(I remember this person.  I saw him as a fanatic 15 years ago, too.  He’s the one who yelled at me when I came to the forum asking for advice after witnessing Tracy abusing one of her kids.  It shocked another poster, who privately messaged me with resources if I needed them.  Rusmeister is an American convert always praising Russia and dissing everything Western–and, by the way, he said that blacks have no right to complain about how they’re treated because he sees REAL oppression in Russia. 🙄 )

Then there’s the Ayn Randites who say screw poor people, screw the old, screw the sick, take off your masks and just let them all die: It’ll siphon off the excess population and be great for the economy.  (You’ll find such a person, Matthew Harvey, in the comment section here.)

Then there’s the multitudes of conservatives acting all butt-hurt because the rest of the world doesn’t want to follow their Archie Bunker ideas anymore of what makes good TV or comics or movies or books.  Maybe we got tired of how women and minorities were being portrayed.  Maybe we got tired of fat jokes and wife jokes and dumb women having to be rescued.  DEAL WITH IT.  The culture has moved on.

And don’t forget how, for many years now, we’ve been called libtards, Demoncrats, feminazis, accused of having a mental disease, because we refuse to let money-grubbing fat capitalists tells us what’s best for us or the environment.

Then there’s the anti-Semitic conspiracy theories–Illuminati, QAnon, New World Order, Soros, etc.–which all come straight out of the Nazi playbook.

Plus there’s a multitude of forum posts, tweets, blogs, placards, bumper stickers, TV shows, magazines, articles, etc. etc. etc. telling us that “Christianity” means “vote for the GOP so they can make abortion/homosexual marriage etc./whatever we don’t like illegal!”

You know what?  You can shove it all.  I’ve read the Bible so many times I can’t even count anymore.  What you’re pushing is NOT CHRISTIANITY.  It’s your own Pharisaical, man-made Christianity.  There is no truth in it, only oppression, only white patriarchal dominance.

I’m sick of people like this telling me what “Christianity” means and–every time somebody tries to point out that Trump is the opposite of Christian–saying that Dems, Biden, whoever, is in favor of abortion.  That’s just whataboutism, ignores all the realities of the issue, and takes the focus off the real atrocities being committed in the name of Christ by an antichrist named Trump.  So we’re supposed to forget all about the kids in cages, the poor being oppressed, people losing their healthcare, women losing their hard-won rights, minorities and immigrants and LGBTQ+ feeling frightened, because Biden doesn’t believe in the government getting between a woman and her doctor and conscience?

We’re supposed to back down and say “Oh, I’m sorry, you know best, I don’t” and let you keep dominating the discussion?  We’re supposed to let you keep defaming the name of Christ?  We’re supposed to let people like this continue to smear mud all over Christianity just as they have for hundreds of years?  These people are the reason why non-Christians hate Christians!  They are the reason why we don’t get more converts, why so many people are instead leaving the churches in droves!  They see the hypocrisy and want no part in it!

It’s time to fucking turn some tables over.  It’s time to stop letting the conservatives dominate everything.  It’s time to stop being polite.  They DON’T define Christianity.  They don’t even know what it is.

This also kind of relates to another issue: A couple of weeks ago, I tweeted,

Someone else’s post on a totally unrelated incident re: abuse and shame turned on a light bulb for me: Even though I myself published on my site my stories of abuse, I still get uneasy about “exposure.” Why is that? Because the abusers made me feel ashamed, and it still lingers.

Basically, in a private forum, there was a discussion about someone who posted their abuse story, and whether it was the right of other people to share it.  Someone noted that abusers so shame their victims that they still fear exposure, even when they know what was done to them was wrong.

It explained to me why I get nervous about people reading the many abuse stories I’ve posted here, even though they are public.  You’ll note that I don’t use my real name; I also get very protective about my real name on Twitter, where a group of trolls occasionally tries to “out” me.

That’s because my many abusers tried to shame me, make me feel like it was my fault they treated me that way.  It still lingers, still comes out when I see trolls or abusers going through my site, still occasionally makes me want to take all the stories down off the Web.

But this is all part of the Shame culture perpetuated in conservatism: It permeates everything, from your sexuality, to your beliefs, to your thoughts, to any deviation from the accepted dogma on any issue, whether religious or political or social.

Shawn, for example, shamed me because he had taken in himself the patriarchal Purity culture idea that the woman is responsible for stopping a man from whatever he wants to do.  So even though it was always his idea, and I always let him lead, he turned it into MY character failing, MY fault, MY disgustingness.

Phil shamed me for not letting him be right in everything, for not letting him have his way in everything.

Tracy shamed me for not following a strict code of behavior from the oppressive Purity culture; she and Richard shamed me for not following the extrovert’s code of behavior.

All of them are WRONG.

I have no reason to be ashamed because other people abused me.  That is all on them.

I have no reason to be ashamed because I don’t fit somebody else’s idea of what it means to be a Christian.  I have my own mind, my own heart.  I can think for myself.  I can reason.  I don’t have to submit to anyone else’s ideas.

Time to turn some tables.  DON’T YOU SPEAK FOR ME.

 

Don’t force me to share a common spoon during COVID

First the American archbishop said that we should use separate spoons.  Then regional metropolitans, including ours, began to direct their parishes that no, we will NOT change any communion practices.  When people praise these metropolitans, I think, “You’re praising people for making it impossible for people like me to take Communion for a year and a half; you’re praising people for possibly condemning thousands to contract COVID.”

Yet GOARCH has published articles (see below) explaining that sharing communion spoons is NOT the unchangeable from-the-beginning Tradition people think it is.

Meanwhile, I’m stuck knowing that established science is FACT–confirmed by experiment and reproduction of results, not subject to what you think about it–and how disease spreads.  Social distancing–wearing masks, not kissing the icons, not wiping your mouth on the communion cloth, no coffee hour, sitting apart–seems all for naught if you stick a spoon in your mouth that somebody else just had in their mouth.  That’s the way germs spread!  In an article I link below, Fr. Alkiviadis C. Calivas writes,

Some who wish to retain the common spoon believe it is sufficient to teach the communicants to tilt their head back and open their mouth wide, so that the priest may drop or pour the sacred elements into the mouth of the recipient. The aim of this method is to avoid touching the communicant’s mouth and lips. However, this model is not fail-safe; it does not guarantee the desired outcome.

I’ve tried that, only to have the altar server tell me to close my mouth on the spoon.  And my mouth is small, according to my dentist; my jaw has TMJ; I simply can’t open wide enough.  The priest nearly always seems to dribble the wine all over my face, and now they say they don’t want us to wipe our faces on the cloth.  If there is some “special” way to receive that avoids all this, I’ve never been taught how to do it.  I greatly miss the communion cups I grew up with.

It feels like many in the church insist on sacrificing health for the sake of “tradition”–and will end up killing many of us, while this disease spreads without any sort of vaccine or reliable treatment expected for another year.  Even for those who survive, yes that’s most people, but we don’t know yet what all the long-term repercussions will be.  We’re already seeing the body adversely affected in other ways, in children, the young and healthy, middle-aged, and elderly.

I do know that many times I’ve come home with some kind of illness that somebody at church had.  How do you KNOW it didn’t come from sharing a spoon with them?  You’d have to do an actual experiment using the scientific method to prove this.  Has anyone ever done this?

Before COVID, I shared the spoon because I could count on my vaccinations and strong constitution to keep me safe from dying from something spread at church; not this time.  This puts us in the same camp as the Evangelicals who went to church during the shutdowns saying they’re “covered by the Blood”–and then they got sick with COVID and many died.  We have many stories of churches around the world holding services or other meetings during COVID, only to have large numbers of the congregation get sick and even die from it.  Obviously, God is not miraculously keeping these people safe after not following health guidelines.

During the Spanish Flu of 1918,

In the deeply pious Spanish city of Zamora, for example, the local bishop defied the health authorities by ordering a novena – evening prayers on nine consecutive days – in honour of Saint Rocco, the patron saint of plague and pestilence. This involved churchgoers lining up to kiss the saint’s relics, around the time that the outbreak peaked. Zamora went on to record the highest flu-related death rate of any city in Spain, and one of the highest in Europe. —The Guardian

This Thing isn’t over yet, and a second wave is expected.

Catholic churches have changed their practices to reflect the COVID risk.  They’re the closest church to us in theology and practice, and even they are taking this seriously.  The Protestant churches I was in as a young person, all had individual cups with grape juice in them.  Only the Orthodox are forcing people to share a spoon to commune, with some people making it a litmus test of faith to browbeat those of us who don’t think this is safe.  It’s not HOW the communion is given to us that is the absolute unchanging Tradition-That-Must-Never-Change: It is the elements of the communion, the bread and wine, that are important.  Everything else is subject to change.  Remember that when people started doing this, they didn’t know about germs.

From this article by Fr. Alkiviadis C. Calivas, I’m surprised to learn that the Orthodox church hasn’t even been doing this for 1000 years.  The practice used to be more like the Catholics, with bread distributed into the hand and then the chalice offered by the deacon.  In fact, using a common spoon was initially seen as an Innovation, which is frowned upon in Orthodoxy.  He writes,

The method by which Communion is administered is purely functional. It serves a practical purpose. Thus, as warranted by needs and circumstances, a local Church in its collective wisdom and authority is free to adapt, modify, and manage the method by which Holy Communion is distributed. Whatever method a Church chooses, the single most important concern is that it does not violate any dogmas and that it is appropriate; that it upholds and maintains the dignity of the sacred act of communing.

We learn from St. Nikodemos that during plagues priests were known to use arbitrary methods to administer communion to the sick and dying.[7] In a comment on canon 28 of the Penthekte Synod, he chides the clergy for using unsuitable methods to deliver Communion to the sick. He recommends a more appropriate method. He writes: “Hence, both priests and prelates must employ some shift in time of a plague to enable them to administer communion to the sick without violating this canon; not, however, by placing the holy Bread in currants, but in some sacred vessel, so that the dying and the sick may take it thence with tongs or the like. The vessel and the tongs are to be placed in vinegar, and the vinegar is to be poured into a funnel, or in any other manner that they can that is safer and canonical.”[8]

St. Nikodemos’ brief note is significant in two ways. First, he insists the vessels used for Communion be sterilized with vinegar, a popular disinfectant from ancient times. This is an acknowledgment that the vessels or instruments used for communing could be contaminated by dangerous parasitic microbes. Second, he insists that the instrument be fitting for the purpose.

In the past forty years several worldwide deadly epidemics, AIDS, SARS, Ebola, and MERS provoked fear among the people. Presently, the world is experiencing another more frightening global threat: the pandemic coronavirus or COVID-19, a contagion with lethal force which has upended all social, economic, political, cultural, and religious norms. People are justly apprehensive and frightened. The disease has already infected millions of people and claimed the lives of thousands globally. As with the preceding epidemics, the highly contagious coronavirus has many people wondering and questioning the continued use of a common spoon for Communion.

The real fears, reservations, and apprehensions of the people should not be dismissed with an air of superiority or a call to greater faith, as if the act of communing is void of human considerations and the limitations of the created order. People want to feel safe, listened to, and protected by their Church. They do not want to be exposed to unnecessary risks, nor should they be.

Statements like, “the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Christ, and the medicine of immortality,” or “the Eucharist is a divine remedy, a divine medicine,” may be true. But they are not sufficient to calm the fears and concerns of the faithful. People are not questioning the sacred character and identity of the Holy Gifts but the reliability of the instrument by which the Gifts are offered to them.

Orthodox sacramental theology, distinguishes between what is mystical and what is physical. The divine realities in each sacrament are distinct from the material elements by which they are mediated. We believe and confess that the eucharistic Gifts—the bread and wine—are changed into the Body and Blood of Christ through the prayer of the Church and the power and operation of the Holy Spirit. The change, however, is mystical and not physical. The bread and wine preserve their natural properties and qualities and are bound to the natural laws of their kind.[9] The mode by which the transformation of the Gifts takes place remains a profound mystery. But we know by faith that the change occurs, so that Christ may become our food in order to impart his life to us (John 6:56).

The communion spoon is an imperfect material object. It does not share in the incorruptibility of the risen and deified Body of Christ which is really present to us through the eucharistic elements. On its own, the spoon is simply a spoon, a utensil. Its dignity is derived from its use as the instrument by which the Body and Blood of Christ is offered to his people. Long ago, it replaced an older venerable form of communing. The use of a spoon to commune the people was an innovation.

From my Twitter last night and today:

ARGH–The Archbishop says to allow separate spoons, but our Metropolitan won’t let us do that. Even the Catholics aren’t doing this. >:(  ”

I guess I’m not taking the Eucharist until a vaccine comes out. I had held out hope that our Metropolitan would be sensible after the Archbishop directed the use of separate spoons.

And to be frank, I never did like the practice of sharing spoons. I have to avert my eyes to not get grossed out, have to block out from my mind where it’s been. I’ve always wished we’d do separate cups, like I grew up with.

I believe in science and the scientific method. I cannot believe that something is safe from contagion just because a religious leader tells me it is or that I have to have “faith.” We saw Evangelicals say they’re “covered by the blood” and then get COVID. Same thing.

The right keeps dismissing us as being “afraid” of COVID, of acting with “fear.” It’s not fear: It’s recognizing how disease spreads, and acting to prevent that. Sharing a spoon with a sick person makes you sick.

Fact: I have come home from church with an illness countless times.

In listening to the Archbishop’s comments about this, I am very relieved to find out that my views on sharing a spoon–not just during COVID, but generally–are actually very common among, as he termed it, the “younger generations.”

People have been condemning the archbishop lately for everything he does.  Whether right or wrong in other issues, I really don’t know (though I’ve heard some rumors).  But his support of hygienic practices during COVID is Correct, and his marching with the BLM protestors is Correct.  Supporting the closure of churches during COVID is also Correct, because churches are a prime spot for disease to spread during pandemics.

If you doubt this, just read the history of the Spanish Flu.  People complained back then about churches being closed, same as now, and when they defied the orders, the Spanish Flu spread rapidly through the congregation and lots of people died.  Science is not subject to your belief system; it is the way the world works.  We’re not supposed to test God by handling snakes to “prove” that He won’t let us get bitten.

WTF is wrong with this country lately?  Refusing to wear masks and even yelling at people who do?  Being safe from disease didn’t use to be a partisan issue!  Lately it seems like you have to check your brains at the door regarding illness if you’re a Republican–and also in some branches of Christianity.

BTW, yeah I know I haven’t posted here about the protests going on the past couple of weeks–but my Twitter is a completely different story.  I’ve been following the BLM protests and posting about them on Twitter and on Facebook.  If you want to keep up with my political retweets and rants, best to follow me on Twitter, where I’m much more active than I have been on my blog lately.  There’s just too much going on all the time, and I don’t have the time to blog about everything.  On Twitter, I can just share something or make a quick comment and get back to the multitude of tasks I have to do every day (like the housecleaning which I’m *supposed* to be doing right now).  So follow me here.

Update 6/8/20:

Eastern Orthodox priests from Russia, Belarus, and Georgia also have argued that sacramental wine contains strong alcohol in which diseases perish.

But most medical experts reject that premise.

They note that the very strongest fortified wine contains no more than 20 percent alcohol — and that most wine contains around 12 percent alcohol.

The U.S.-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the ethyl alcohol found in hard liquor can destroy less aggressive viruses. But it says ethyl alcohol should be at a concentration of 60-80 percent in order to be potent against influenza.

The Federation of Hospital Doctor Unions in Greece — home to one of the oldest and most influential branches of Orthodox Christianity — has also weighed in on the spoon debate.

It warns that no exceptions should be made to state health warnings “for religious, sacramental, or metaphysical reasons.” —Source

Also see this letter from an OCA priest about the current situation.

Update 8/14/20:

Just today I saw these guidelines from the CDC which confirm this is a dangerous practice:

Who needs to quarantine?

People who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19—excluding people who have had COVID-19 within the past 3 months.

What counts as close contact?

  • You were within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more
  • You provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19
  • You had direct physical contact with the person (hugged or kissed them)
  • You shared eating or drinking utensils
  • They sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on you

So basically, if you shared a spoon at church with someone diagnosed with COVID, you should now quarantine for 14 days!  And if you get the rest of your household sick, you’re isolated from work etc. for even longer than that:

What if another household member gets sick with COVID-19? Do I need to restart my quarantine?

Yes. You will have to restart your quarantine from the last day you had close contact with anyone in your house who has COVID-19. Any time a new household member gets sick with COVID-19 and you had close contact, you will need to restart your quarantine.