When I was younger between the age of 21 and being ordained as a Presbyterian Pastor, I used to play poker with my friends and also play in any nearby casino. I would take $100 dollars with me go to the low stakes limit Texas Holdem table, play get a little more money and then start moving my way up to higher stake tables. Get as much money and come home. If I end up losing the $100, I just go home, no harm done.
One day was like no other day. I come to a Casino I know all too well, and they were holding a No Limit Texas Holdem tournament for $100. So I decided great! (I usually do well in tournaments) I got my chips took my seat and, ready, set, GO! The cards began shuffling and were dealt out. I was in the first position, normally a good place to fold, regardless of your hand, but I had 2 Kings! That is one of the best starting hands in the game! With a full table of eight people, that's pretty good! And then I decided to go ALL IN (which means, you put all of your chips in the middle). This was a dumb move in any possibility, I have no idea what compelled me to do so... like the Holy Spirit moving in me, to teach me a lesson? I was excited though and very confident that I'd win. At the time I was hoping that there were a couple of poor suckers and inexperienced players calling me with their losing cards. I stood up, all anxious, but confident, even talking a little trash, just trying to be annoying, just to get a call. Everyone begins to instantly fold, until one guy called me! Mano-Y-Mano!!! I remember right before showing our hands, I said, "The only thing that can beat me is..." The dude showed his hands, "POCKET ACES!" He had the best starting hand in the game. The most unlikely hand to show up in the mix of pocket Kings. What are the chances that would happen?! Well chances of repeating these hands would be a very low probability. I lost, grabbed my hoodie, and went home, I lasted not more than 5 minutes in the tournament. I was in the casino for less than 20 minutes. My night was over.
The reason I am sharing this story is about when is a time we gamble with our lives in the middle of this COVID-19 pandemic. Well, my county has gone from red to yellow, which is awesome! But not much has changed for me. Two things I am considering highly, one, I am confident (holding pocket Aces felling) the other things I'm thinking about not so confident (holding pocket Kings).
Church and childcare. My church will open on June 7th if everything goes well. Our church is small, spacious and naturally we practice social distancing! We have masks ready, hand sanitizers, temperature readers, arranging seating, no singing, and a shorter service. I feel like I am holding pocket Aces, we can't lose, there is no doubt that if we do these measures properly, we will be safe. At the church we are safer than any grocery store you would go to right now. We have sanitized the church every week, everyone will be wearing masks, ushers will give out hand sanitizer, we have wipes at each pew, and movement is limited. You can't lose with pocket Aces when you play them right, and we are playing them right.
However, childcare situation. Going from red to yellow allows childcare centers now to be open. The risk is real here... You see at the church people will naturally sit down and stay in place for the duration of a short worship. Children will be all over the place running around, being kids. I tried to put a mask on my kids, Norah, who is five, and Benjamin, who is 2. Norah can have a mask on for about 2 minutes before she loses her mind, Ben, about 5 seconds the longest. Note: Kids are not required to wear a mask. My kids will be on the front line doing the most interacting compared to any adult. I feel like if I am sending my kids to daycare, I am like, holding pocket Kings... great hand to have... but not the best.
I have also hear that now, kids are getting seriously sick from COVID-19... I can't live with myself if my kids get sick and knowing that I could have prevented that. Also, lets just say, they get COVID-19, but are healthy, good, then they give it to me, fine, I'll be fine... but what about my church? I have to preach every Sunday, is my custodian going to be ok? My older congregation be ok?
What would you do? You want to go ALL IN with pocket Kings?
Hey this is Rev. Brian Choi's random thought throughout my week. Most of this stuff, will probably be about family, church, fishing, music, movies, food, whatever I think of, hopefully it will have some sort of theological reflection (maybe).