Can You Really Call It A 'Revival' If Everyone Comes Out Of It With Coronavirus?
Last week, the Warrior Creek Missionary Baptist Church in Alabama had a "revival," and since then, 40 members — practically everyone who attended — have tested positive for COVID-19. So far, only two cases have been severe, although it is entirely possible that it could have spread beyond the church and infected other people who could get severely ill or even die from the virus. Because that is how this works.
The church's pastor, Daryl Ross, also contracted the virus, though he has not had many symptoms yet. "The whole church has got it, just about," he told AL.com in an interview.
The man believed to have brought the virus to revival also had no symptoms, Ross said. "He had three guys at work that came down positive," he said. "From work, they made him test, and he came back positive. No symptoms."
The man still has no symptoms, Ross said, but his "entire family" has the virus now. "I ate lunch with him," Ross said. "No nothing. Not a sniffle. Not a headache. Nothing."
As for himself, Ross said, "I can't smell or taste, a little sinus, that's all I've had. The whole church has been running fever and headaches and terrible respiratory (issues), and I've been building fences and bush-hogging."
There have, of course, been many cases where symptoms are very mild at first and then turn real fast. That's one of the reasons people are being careful and not, you know, deciding to spend a week in church with 40 or so other people. It is also one of the reasons why people who have it quarantine themselves and don't go out building fences or bush-hogging, or otherwise unnecessarily touching things that other, non-infected people might also touch.
Just in case you, like me, do not really know what a revival is (even though you've seen the documentary Marjoe, in which they were prominently featured, but it's been a long time and honestly you don't really remember), AL.com helpfully included a description of them:
Baptist revivals are week-long events usually featuring a guest evangelist. Their purpose is to bring church members closer together and encourage professions of faith from attendees who have not been baptized into the church. "We have day and night services and, after morning services, families carry the pastor and evangelist home to eat dinner with them," Ross explained. The visiting evangelist followed that pattern and has reported no symptoms, Ross said.
Honestly, I thought it was super weird that my grandmother had to drive nuns around all of the time, but at least she did not have to carry them anywhere. Yikes!
In case you were wondering, masks were not required. Like, they held week-long church services in a pandemic and decided to make masks optional.
"We let everybody do what they felt like," he said of those who came. "We social distanced. Most of them sat with their own family. If you were comfortable shaking hands, you shook hands. If you didn't, you didn't."
And you see how that worked out! It is definitely a good idea, in these times, to rely on what people are "comfortable" with. Because that definitely matters.
As someone who is not morally opposed to physician-assisted suicide, I am not mad at these people for putting themselves in danger. People should be able to risk their lives or have death wishes or do whatever, under most circumstances, I think. I am, however, pretty mad at them for putting the lives at risk of of other people with whom they interacted during this week. Especially if they went out to other places not wearing masks. Places where other people were perhaps not as "comfortable" getting coronavirus as they were. It was also pretty crappy if they happen to have children who were not old enough to consent to being put at risk in that way.
But good news! They — at least according to the pastor — have no regrets and would do it all again, even knowing that they would all get coronavirus.
"We knew what we were getting into," Ross said. "We knew the possibilities. But, my goodness, man, for three days we had one of the old-time revivals. It was unbelievable. And everybody you ask, if you talk to our church members right now, they'd tell you we'd do it again. It was that good."
Oh, well how nice for them. Guess they really got in touch with their God who doesn't care if they go around infecting people with a deadly virus so long as they do some really good praying for a week.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse