Markets in everything, Jesus vs. germs edition

by on October 27, 2009 at 6:40 am in Medicine, Religion | Permalink

A company called Purity Communion Solutions
was founded in 2007 to market "germ-free products that take the worry
out of contracting germs while receiving communion, and ultimately
increasing communion participation and church attendance." Purity
Communion Solutions already has 375,000 client churches, church supply
houses and the like, and its Web site features all sorts of information
about the H1N1 virus, as well as products that aim to keep you in
church, and keep you healthy. They include an automated host dispenser
in gold, silver, or white, as well as wafers infused with wine:
"Improved taste and texture" and "eliminates germs, spills &
waste."

And if you don't already know:

Christians [sic] not only gather together for worship at least weekly, but
they also dip their fingers in common fonts of holy water, pass baskets
up and down the pews to collect donations, exchange handshakes and hugs
at the sign of peace, and — in varying formats — share bread and wine
at communion, sometimes drinking from a single chalice or picking from
a loaf of bread. Those churches in which a priest or minister gives out
individual wafers of consecrated bread aren't much better off, studies
show, especially if the minister is dipping the Host in a chalice or
placing it on each communicant's tongue.

Here is the full story and I thank The Browser for the pointer.

Addendum: Here is a related article.

Bob Knaus October 27, 2009 at 8:07 am

I grew up in one of the churches which practices the Salutation or “holy kiss” as a sacrament (Romans 16:16 and elsewhere). It’s common among the more conservative Amish, Mennonite, and Brethren churches. Male members greet other male members with a handshake and a kiss on the lips, and female members greet other female members likewise. On a Sunday morning, it’s easy to get 50 kisses.

You’d think that would encourage epidemics! But so far as I can tell, my family and friends in this church are not sick any more often than non-believers.

michael g. heller October 27, 2009 at 8:32 am

You’d think, though, that holy communion wine would be safe. A recent book about the house-church movement (Reimagining Church by one Frank Viola, 2008), which appears to favor abolishing formal churches, states candidly in a chapter titled Reimagining The Lord’s Supper (footnote 5) that “Since wine is a natural disinfectant, it’s safe for a group to drink it from the same glass†. Such flagrant propagandizing must not sway-by-temptation the doubting pious who attend early morning services at skinflint churches with cheapskate clergy who are not averse to watering down the communion red. Heed instead a not-so-recent online article of the British Medical Journal (February 1936) that concludes “if wine is to be used for sterilizing a doubtful water supply, the mixture had better be made after breakfast if it is to be reasonably safe by lunch time†. It’s been known for a long time that midday services reduce systemic market risk.

Bob Murphy October 27, 2009 at 9:52 am

Christians [sic] not only gather together for worship at least weekly,…

Is the “[sic]” in there because not all Christians do these practices? I tried to click on the link but it didn’t work. (“Connection was reset while attempting to contact server” or something…)

MH October 27, 2009 at 10:18 am

Such flagrant propagandizing must not sway-by-temptation the doubting pious who attend early morning services at skinflint churches with cheapskate clergy who are not averse to watering down the communion red.

You do realize that in a Catholic service, the priest is supposed to mix water and wine?

Bob Murphy October 27, 2009 at 11:39 am

Anita, I didn’t interpret the “[sic]” as anti-religious, I just thought whoever put it there (and I couldn’t tell if Tyler or in the original) was possibly trying to show that not all Christians engage in these practices. Like, if the original writer had said “Theists” instead of “Christians.”

Neal October 27, 2009 at 1:21 pm

Catholic churches here in my city have stopped giving out wine for communion. They’re also not doing the traditional handshake – or at least just making it optional.

Mario Rizzo October 27, 2009 at 3:30 pm

What is this about? Just stop engaging in these germ-spreading practices until the flu season is over. Is God unreasonable? I hope not. (Actually, according to Thomas Aquinas He cannot be.)

Chris February 28, 2011 at 9:25 am

My step son’s First Holy Communion happened right around the time H1N1 was in full force. Didnt use any of these odd devices and still, no one got sick

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