Churros, Coffee and Covid: Outbreak at Grace Community Church, part 2
If Beth Moore is not going to mince words, neither will I.
Throughout the Twitterverse, there is talk about Christian Nationalism, Christian Trumpism, Regular Trumpism, Extra Crispy and Cajun Trumpism. It’s definitely not what I came on here to talk about. You can get enough of that on the Parlers, the Facebooks, and the Twitters. What is applicable is this sense that things have been deep-fried and presented to us in such a way where we have to be one or the other: a Trumper or a Liberal, a patriot or a coward, a Republican or a Marxist. They leave little room for you, don’t they? It is very us against them. You either fall in line and believe how they do, or you’re tossed into the heap with the “Libs”.
The cognitive dissonance is utterly deafening. At any rate, it’s Christmas. But, do they know it’s Christmas after all? (worst. song. ever.) Last Sunday was the second Sunday after John MacArthur returned and attendance was down. Fewer in the tents, and even fewer inside the sanctuary. I cannot account for that except to say that the newest attendees had been there for the drama and intrigue of a “Goliath” v. slightly smaller “Goliath” legal showdown only to come and see that it’s fizzled a bit. I know that over 400 new members had been welcomed recently, so maybe they will soon replace the ones who left. Perhaps they’ll go to Newbury Park and see “Magic Rob” McCoy do a little razzle dazzle at Godspeak Calvary Chapel. The less said, the better.
Currently, the Southern California Region (a small collection of several neighboring counties) has reached the dreaded 0% capacity. Mobile morgues and Mash-style outdoor hospitals can now be seen on the local news. This is the situation before Christmas and New Year’s gatherings because Lord knows that flat Coke and cold sweet potatoes, with Christmas ham is more important than staying home.
2020: The Worst Christmas of Our Lives
I’m not really one for Christmas. I made that decision about 5 years ago to stop with the gift giving and some of the other trappings and just focus on family, the cooler weather, the Hot Chocolate and the time off. It’s been a blessing ever since. Tremendous to just listen to “O Holy Night” or sing, “What Are you Doing New Year’s Eve?” and not get caught up in other rituals of the season.
So, this year, with everything going on, I thought it would be nice to splurge a little and get a gift or two, or to get that Espresso machine, but then I stop myself after watching stories about miles-long food lines, 40 million facing eviction because of the end of the CDC moratorium, and ultimately, after watching Los Angeles news knowing that we are now the epicenter of the pandemic or close to it.
Who cannot be moved by seeing the tireless work of the frontline workers, nurses who are working double shifts, and quarantining away from their families? The psychological toll that must present. We complain when we go to the break room and see they’re out of our favorite Keurig flavor! Well, the reality is that if you aren’t in California, it is difficult to understand or empathize to the extent that one should. The guys I call “TheoBros”, usually Reformed Baptist and Calvinistic-types who deny COVID’s dangerous and think the rest of us are fear-mongering, will not be moved. Fair enough. The irony does not escape me when I now see that some of them do actually have COVID. And nowhere is that evidenced more than at Grace Community Church.
Let’s get this out of the way: The #’s on the LADPH site for GCC and TMUS are dreadfully low and inaccurate. They should be higher because of the occurrence of exposure and the number of people who still continue to gather and expose themselves to COVID+ people. They are leaning into the misinformation that COVID is something “we’re all going to get” and that it’s symptoms are not that bad, easily born. That’s a heck of a thing to be wrong about.
So, two weeks ago at the Grace Staff Christmas party lunch was served and maskless elderly and Elders sat shoulder to shoulder, hugged and shook hands and along with the Filet Mignon, were spoon fed the following from John MacArthur:
- COVID PCR tests are inaccurate and should not be trusted.
- Don’t take the vaccine as it’s just a money ploy.
- Grace is welcoming 400 new members.
- The giving is the best it’s ever been.
- There are no long-term side effects to COVID.
Then, he acknowledge and thanked Clayton Erb for his many years of service, and that was that. Everyone there was exposed to COVID:
Bill Brandenstein, Mark Zhakevich, Clayton Erb, Elders and staff. John MacArthur.
- **One week later, 7 in attendance, now have symptoms and have tested positive for COVID.
- Yes <hits mic and blows into it> 7 people, elders and staff, have COVID symptoms and have subsequently tested positive as a direct result of going to a Staff Christmas party.
And we can build this Dream together…Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now. Amen?
I make two mistakes a day: I read Youtube comments and I respond to Youtube comments. When Youtube become Parler? Not to change the subject, but I think it’s something we should all be aware of. Someone should have warned me of the changes. I say that because there is a small cottage industry of Youtubers who are taking John’s sermons and making some serious coin off of the grift. I’d like to report it, but frankly, I don’t have the heart.
The people who comment on the videos regarding John have nothing but the highest admiration. They cannot be convinced of anything otherwise, and that’s the sort of world that they have created for themselves. I don’t understand it myself, but this year has exposed a lot of irrational people and the Conservative group mind, devoid of the talent of taking things into quiet consideration. One of the things that I keep seeing over and over is: “well, Grace Community Church in California gathers together and no one there is sick”. Despite the fact that there have been major news articles to the contrary, that’s the reality they are holding onto.
I don’t understand the contradiction. They are always swatting away the reality.
“No one at Grace is sick despite meeting for ______ weeks”.
Then, it becomes,
“Three is not an outbreak and they could have contracted that anywhere” to
“Ok, fine, they’re sick, but everyone’s going to get it and you’re not going to die”
Then, to the news of mobile morgues, 0% ER Occupancy, and CHILDREN’s COVID ICUs,
“Doesn’t affect me. Enjoy your fear porn”. (I can’t tell you how many times that’s been told to me. Amazing how people speak to each other and then pray at night to God and fall asleep onto their MyPillows).
FINALLY, the truth: He that loveth not, knoweth not God, for God is love! We’ve got people who simply appear like they care, but truly when you drill down to the bedrock, their hearts are unregenerate.
On Sunday evening service, the intro graphic shows that there will be a shortened Christmas Music service, with coffee and churros on the patio. At this point, it is unclear of whether that show will go on as so many have recently been confirmed to have COVID. They…wouldn’t lead music if they have COVID, right? I mean, that would be insane. Who lead music tomorrow for the AM service, the “Christmas message”?
That’s probably a good thing that Grace members don’t ask questions because Grace staff won’t answer. Que sera, sera. And if you, dear Elder, continue at a church and a pastor that doesn’t care about your well-being, or minister to you when you’re sick, and even goes far enough to tell you, order you NOT to cooperate with the contact tracers, how will you proceed going further after all of this is over, greeting each other in the patios knowing that none of those suits ever cared for you? If you think that’s harsh, you should see what I deleted.
You learn who your friends are when you are sick, wrongly accused, or broke.
- *Dr. Will Varner and his wife announced on Facebook that they had been sick for a week now. Please consider praying for them. He is a TMU professor, Leader at GCC, and fixture at the Shepherd’s Conference.
- Please also considering praying that God will turn hearts and minds to empathy and Truth now as ever as hundreds are home suffering with COVID and many have taken a turn for the worse having to be hospitalized.