Social Isolation & the Churches
'Why the churches decided to comply is beyond me.'
Part 1: Jonker Brotherhood
In this video, shortly before the police crackdown began, the men on stage lead everyone in singing a Christian hymn. When posting it to YouTube, Tim Jonker wrote: ‘In difficult times we turn to God…’
Some things that happened in Ottawa are hard to forget. Tim Jonker remembers one man, whom he thinks was in his early seventies:
He came up to me, we chat for a while. Then he started crying, telling me how alone he's been, thanking me for giving him hope.
I asked if he needed a hug. He goes, 'Yeah, I need a hug.' And he held on so tight. It was an embrace, not a hug. And you go, 'That's just crazy. An elderly man who feels so alone. It should never happen.’
On another occasion, a woman told him she was from a small town, population 400. "She goes, 'I went to the local bridge to see the Convoy and I couldn't believe how many of my own town were there. I thought I was going to be alone on that bridge.'" After years full of fear, years of social isolation, Tim feels the trucker protest "unified these little towns."
In his view, churches should have been doing that. "The government deemed going to church on Sunday non-essential. Why the churches decided to comply is beyond me," he says. "In my mind, worshipping God in the community is essential. I can't do without it. If my wife passes away from a virus, who am I gonna need? I'll need my community," for solace, for support. "What's it gonna do to me if I'm stuck at home alone for months? I'm actually really disappointed in the churches in general."
One of the unexpected bonuses to spending three weeks in Ottawa was that many of the protesting truckers were either Christian or unusually respectful of religious expression. Meetings, such as those in which block captains gathered to exchange info and receive updates, often began with a prayer. In Tim's words, "I was able to pray and read scripture with 80 men and women every morning."
People were far from home. They were being smeared by the media. The protest was dragging on and on. The outcome was uncertain. Non-religious protesters may have been more receptive than normal to spiritual points-of-view. They may have admired the strength, serenity, and big picture perspective that religious faith provides.
In this short video, posted to YouTube five days after he first arrived in Ottawa, Tim encourages people to pray for the Convoy. ‘Without God, we will not win…God bless you. God bless Canada.’
next installment: A Beautiful Thing to See