Meeting in Person During the Pandemic
September 16, 2020 Blogs by: Tim Jennings, M.D.

On September 7, 2020, Come and Reason Ministries posted to our Facebook page announcing that our Healing the Mind in a Broken World Seminar would be held October 3, 2020, at the Chattanooga Convention Center. Several people posted comments expressing their concerns that we would hold such an event during the China virus[1] pandemic (a.k.a. COVID-19). Below is my response and an exchange with an online follower.

We are reproducing it here as many don’t follow our Facebook feed.

Some have voiced concerns that we are running this event during the current virus pandemic. Of course, one variable to consider is the risk of the virus—but this is not the only variable to consider in regard to human health and wellness. Millions (if not billions) of people suffer from depression, relationship conflict, consequences of past traumas, addictions, and psychological and emotional distress and pain.

For many of these struggling people, the restrictions currently in place have served to increase their stress and, in many cases, have caused them injury and pain and have worsened their suffering—contributing to increases in depression and substance abuse. Increased stress also contributes to increased domestic and child abuse rates. More than ever, many are in need of resources that can help them cope and heal.

This conference is creating resources for hurting and struggling people. Do we respect others enough to allow them to make their own decisions in regard to what health issue is of greatest importance to them, or do we want to prevent suffering people from participating in activities that would bring healing to their minds, hearts, and families?

When we focus only on the virus, we may mean well, but we may also inflict harm on others. That is why freedom is so important; it allows others to weigh the issues and determine for themselves what action is best in their circumstances. But this requires a level of maturity and love. When we act on fear, concern for self, we are often led to seek to control others in order to make ourselves feel safer. Fear is our enemy and, sadly, it is what drives so much of our society today.

Reply from online follower:

Well spoken and if you are being so open and transparent then expose your rationale by revealing how much you expect to net in profit and how you are generating this revenue. These emotional issues are real and professional care is important but why not volunteer your services to area hospitals for those in need. This just another refit making venture that will place your expected participants in danger. Again, will yoyu accept the costs of anyone that catches covid or will the taxpayers of Tennessee be responsible. I fault the Governor for not placing a stop gate for such gatherings and. I ask the mayor of the city is there no life bigger than a print?

My reply to the above comment:

Come and Reason Ministries will not make a profit on this event. Indeed, we are a not-for-profit ministry and will expend resources to present it. Then we will create enduring materials (such as videos) that we will distribute for free.

Over the past 10 years, we have given away around $1 million worth of free materials to people around the world—and we will continue to make them freely available. We have never put on a fundraising drive, nor do we send out emails soliciting funds. Our approach is “the more you give, the more you shall receive.” So we give away resources and then accept support from those who have been blessed by those resources and freely choose to donate to help us produce more resources to share with even more people.

I am one individual who can reach and help only a limited amount of people by volunteering or doing one-on-one counseling. However, by creating enduring materials that can be widely shared, then hundreds of thousands, potentially millions, can be reached. We have received emails and letters from all over the world of lives that have been changed, hearts healed, depression relieved, and relationships reconciled because of these resources. And these lives would not have been helped had we restricted ourselves to our local community.

Finally, you appear to be overestimating the dangers of this virus, but regardless of the dangers from this or any other community virus (such as annual influenza), the mature approach with this type of a risk (more than 99% of infected recover) is to inform adults of the risks and leave them free to make their own choices. It is quite sad that a disease in which more than 99 percent of the infected recover is presented to the public as something so terrifying that people become so afraid that they are willing to not only surrender their freedoms but are eager to take freedoms from others.

[1] If you are uncomfortable with this terminology, please note that on September 15, 2020, Chinese virologist Dr. Li-Meng Yan, who worked at the World Health Organization’s reference lab in Hong Kong and has examined the genetics of this virus, which is like a fingerprint, stated that this is not a natural virus but is manmade. And the virus used is one that is known to be from the Chinese military viral research lab and had been modified to infect humans. She used the analogy of having a cow with a deer’s head, rabbit’s ears, and monkey’s hands. If you saw such a creature, you would know immediately that it was not an animal from nature. For those who understand viral genetics, that is what this China-virus is like. So, according to Dr. Li-Meng Yan, the evidence supports that this is a virus created by humans, specifically the Chinese military, and released purposely; thus, calling it the China-virus is the most accurate description.

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Tim Jennings, M.D. Timothy R. Jennings, M.D., is a board-certified psychiatrist, master psychopharmacologist, Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, Fellow of the Southern Psychiatric Association, and an international speaker. He served as president of the Southern and Tennessee Psychiatric Associations and is president and founder of Come and Reason Ministries. Dr. Jennings has authored many books, including The God-Shaped Brain, The God-Shaped Heart, and The Aging Brain.