It Shouldn’t Be This Hard

I just wrote a global email to my fellow parishioners. I mean, someone’s got to do it and hey, why not me?

We welcomed our priest in September of last year. There’s an adjustment period – no honeymoon period for priests; they are either hated or loved instantly, it appears. He is the most evangelical priest I have ever had and sometimes, I’m ashamed to say, that’s a little grating but gosh, he’s on fire for the Lord, he’s wonderful with people, and he’s a learned man. What’s not to like.

In January, he and I seemed to ‘click’ – I saw great humility in him and a sincere heart and without even realizing it, I was behind him 100 percent. I have done varied things to help him and he is kind enough to refer to me as his ministry partner.

Ok, so then the ‘you-know-what’ happened and things got closed right quick, very suddenly, closed faster than a door in a hurricane – including our churches, all across America. What’s a priest to do? He has even less electronic savvy than I do but I’m retired and have time so I did some research and his first stepping out into technology was doing live stream broadcasts of Morning Prayer on FaceBook. He did very well, considering he’s sitting in his home office talking to himself. There was no self-consciousness and any minor household distractions didn’t phase him. He did a great job.

When it became glaringly apparent that it was going to be some time before we could go back to church, he stepped up his game and started presenting what would have been his Sunday sermon in church to giving the sermon on Facebook. Again, he did a very good job and I was proud of him.

I went back into research mode at his request. He wanted to be able to do Bible study but wanted it interactive (or why bother? study needs give and take). I wasn’t wild about Zoom because it had only recently (at that time) been hacked and people with more time than brains were crashing meetings with porn and other types of offensive stuff. Someone other than me had suggested he use Zoom and he decided to go with that. Not a problem – it’s his message and his room, he can do as he sees fit.

Every week I send a global email to the parishioners reminding them about Zoom Bible study (including the meeting id# and the password, as well as the time we meet). Never, at any time during the Bible study have we had more than four people. One of our parishioners is a Ph.D in marine biology and a devout Anglican and he’s our official unofficial resident Koine Greek expert. I ask a lot of questions because no one else does. Fr. Ellis gives it his all and it’s really quite a good Bible study.

Today, there were only three of us at Bible study and one of the three was the priest! Give me a break! And take a wild guess how many showed up to watch the FaceBook sermon? C’mon – you can do it … Right! Three people not including the priest.

Why is it so hard to get folks to do Bible study? Surely they don’t all think they know everything they need to know about the Bible, about Jesus, about our relationship with God?

There’s only one thing I know for sure – it shouldn’t be this hard.

 

28 Responses to It Shouldn’t Be This Hard

  1. Scoop says:

    I’ll take a stab at this, Audre. People tire of virtual Church quickly. First it is so impersonal and secondly people are constantly distracted in their homes. Also, if one member of the family is interested in Bible Study or whatever the spouse and children may not be and therefore they don’t participate at all.

    I’m the same. Going to Mass virtually and virtually receiving the sacraments is like looking at a picture of a guy with a tall cold beverage while you are withering in the sand dunes dying of thirst. There is nothing satisfying about that. It only makes things worse.

    Closing of Churches is an offense that seems designed by Satan to empty the Churches and the hope (I am thinking), that after this is all over, many will continue to stay home and abandon going to Church altogether.

    Just a hunch.

    Liked by 3 people

    • audremyers says:

      I can’t deny what you’re saying, Scoop. I think there’s a certain amount of wisdom in your comment.

      For me, the fact that we can be together while miles apart is heartening; the give and take and laughter at Bible study enhances our critical look at Scripture and I really enjoy it. Believe me, there’s no else for me to talk Bible with and it makes me happy to be with the folks who do – occasionally; sometimes; every once in awhile. Sigh.

      I don’t watch our Mass on YT or Face Book. That, indeed, is depressing and you’re quite right with your cold beer/hot desert analogy.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. 39 Pontiac Dream says:

    Maybe it’s not the Bible study it’s hard to get people to but Facebook – there are many of us who don’t use it – or Zoom. More and more folk might be becoming more tech savvy but there are some who just don’t like using it. Also, when it comes to Bible study, many might prefer doing it in person than over a computer.

    Just saying. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 3 people

    • audremyers says:

      Like anything else that’s new, folks were excited at first to be able to do the Zoom meetings. It’s when they realized it was still the Bible we were talking about, that’s when interest seemed to tank.

      I’ve noticed, in the couple of years I’ve been at our mutual UK site, that resistance to Face Book is stronger there than it is here. People have been enjoying the Face Book video option because it saves them from having to get Skype (which is free but has to be downloaded).

      And we do have a couple of parishioners who don’t have any devices of any kind. But we certainly understand that you can’t participate if you don’t have the equipment. It’s the folks who do have the equipment and the savvy and still don’t come.

      Liked by 3 people

      • the unit says:

        I’d be one, without ability to communicate (sure internet, but no Zoom or other). Only have a simple cell. Got it in maybe 2002 for checking on mother who had only land line. It (hers and mine) got ruined in nose deep (my nose, about 5’8″ at the time, 22 ft. above sea level) Gulf water floating her on her foam rubber mattress (aka Katrina again). Have a new, simple one now. ๐Ÿ™‚
        And phones important! Was in shock last evening. Hawaii police knocked on wife’s sister there, asked if anyone there knew Jack. He found in bed deceased in Blowing Rock, NC. He was brother to both. Still don’t know all details, not foul play though. Wife on phone with sister just talking, at the time of police knocking and being answered, so point blank transmission of news and shock.
        Think y’all see the point, besides keeping up and caring. Number on phone can help in times of need.
        No family had the bro-in-law in NC, old bachelor. Gonna take us all a few days to get together. First flight there from Hawaii is on the 13th.
        They all gathered nearly about this time four years ago to bury their Mom, born in ’23. Time catches up on us all regardless. For us all, mine years ago…Mom born ’14, Dad ’09.
        Not leaving yet, but will be gone a while come mid-week.
        P.S. (I’m 850-572-5195) call if you don’t hear from me in a couple weeks, or check Pensacola obits. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 3 people

        • audremyers says:

          Oh, Unit! I’m so sorry! Gosh, what kind of hoops do you have go thru’ to fly during covid? And you know for a fact you can gather at the funeral home?

          I’m so sorry, friend. My prayers are with you and your family.

          Liked by 3 people

        • NEO says:

          What Audre said goes for me too, my friend.

          Liked by 3 people

        • the unit says:

          Yep, you can speak frankly, but don’t call me Frank. ๐Ÿ™‚
          No doubt but that we’re going. Through four states. And I’ll be traveling lightly, no carrying.
          Most of trip will be in USA loving country. Will gas up before Atlanta, so as not to pull in anywhere there, especially Wendy’s.
          Been in email contact with the sheriff of Watauga County NC. He wished us good tidings and offered any help he could be in our situation. And he knows we are from LA (lower Alabama). ๐Ÿ™‚

          Liked by 1 person

      • the unit says:

        Thanks y’all for thoughts and prayers.
        Yeah, flying with Covid, and yeah, will we be quarantined coming in to NC from FL? Know for sure sis-in-law will be for 14 days when she goes back to Hawaii.
        Plus no one has a power of attorney, so don’t know we can do much of anything. Decide what to do with his body?
        I guess there are laws that’ll decide, or these day…once were.
        Bet there’ll be someone though to accept a credit card or check.
        Look, I’m just an in-law…@ 78 not looking forward to a 10+ hour drive (around Atlanta) & I’ll be staying in a Holiday Inn Express several nights (Blowing Rock rated 2.5). ๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

        • audremyers says:

          Gosh, Unit … if I may speak frankly, I’d be a little nervous about this trip. There are so many ‘unknowns’ involved. Your ‘week’ long trip could wind up being a month, considering quarantines going in and coming out. That’s going to run into big money. With there being no p.o.a., aside from emotional support, what can you achieve? For myself, I would be re-thinking this visit but I pray for you and yours as you make these difficult decisions.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. 39 Pontiac Dream says:

    From my perspective – and as a relative newby to Bible study – if I wanted to participate, I’d wait until the church was open again and then go. I’d feel much better about the actual human interaction you’d get from being there than doing it from home in front of a screen. I’ve just asked Tina about it (she’s been a Christian her entire life and knows the Bible back to front) and she also said she’d rather wait for the church to reopen before attending something like that. I think the best way I can put it is that doing Bible study online would feel artificial. I don’t know if that’s what some of your parishioners feel but it’d be like that for us.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. audremyers says:

    I mean it’s anybody’s guess, 39, and I don’t discount what you say. For me, it’s still fun and insightful but the chair is a lot more comfortable! (lol)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. the unit says:

    Good effort on your part. Devotion, faith, and character showing though, regardless of skin tone. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I wonder what the Zoom church attendance rate by politicians was last Easter, election year.
    Just remembering real services way down South back in the ’50’s. “Hey, there’s so and so, Commissioner/or what not running for office.”
    More things change…the more… ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  6. audremyers says:

    Thank you, Unit.

    No way of knowing, of course. I try – I do try! – to remind myself that not all politicians are bad, and that we are not to judge other people’s holiness or devoutness. But I agree; it’s hard to see what the truth is.

    Liked by 3 people

    • NEO says:

      Unit has a point, of course. Back in the day, when I was in Lions, we always had a pancake breakfast in the spring (yeah, I miss it and them). Funny how attendance and waste paper were about 20% or so higher in election years.

      Liked by 3 people

  7. audremyers says:

    You forget – I’m a city girl, lol.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. audremyers says:

    the unit – Whatever you decide, I’m behind you. If you look in the luggage, you’ll find my thoughts and prayers for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. the unit says:

    In my duffle bag then is where i’ll look. Yep, the sisters going. So i be’s there too. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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