COVID-19 survivor to Andy Stanley: ‘It’s not a conspiracy theory,' 'put a mask on'           

Stuart Hall and his wife Kellee, being interviewed by megachurch pastor and author Andy Stanley in July 2020. | Screengrab: YouTube/Andy Stanley

A friend of megachurch pastor Andy Stanley who recently recovered from COVID-19 has stressed the importance of taking it seriously, telling the preacher “it’s not a conspiracy theory.”

Stanley talked with Stuart Hall and his wife, Kellee, in a video posted to YouTube on Monday, in which Stuart discussed his experiences battling the coronavirus.

When asked by Stanley about what people should know about COVID-19, Hall explained that people need to take it seriously, stressing that “it’s not a conspiracy theory.”

“This is not a political agenda. And more than anything, Andy, it’s incredibly disrespectful to the medical community. Men and women who are risking their own life to save lives,” said Hall.

“Wherever there’s a contradiction, we’ll set up an opposition to it. If something contradicts our certainty, like with COVID for example, it’s a contradiction in our certainty, so we go ‘well, it’s a conspiracy theory’ or ‘it’s a political agenda.’”

Stanley agreed, adding that he believed “there’s something in us” which must “reconcile everything with our worldview” or “we feel like we’re crazy.”

“But if our worldview is too small to reconcile everything with, the problem is our worldview and, for Christians, that oftentimes intersects with a problem with our theology,” said Stanley.

Hall felt that much of the resistance to medical advice on COVID-19 and politicizing of the issue revealed “what may be America’s fundamental character flaw,” which he defined as “we have a difficult time considering other people before ourselves.”

“Put a mask on,” he advised. “Care about your neighbor.”

Recounting his experience with the coronavirus, Hall first noted his symptoms in March while going on a long walk with his wife, comparing to feeling like the flu.

They went to the emergency room on March 29, but he was sent back home to self-quarantine for the time being. By April 7, he had to return to the hospital as his condition got severe.

In addition to intense coughing and being unable to sleep for days, Hall had a constantly racing heart, with doctors later learning that his main artery was completely blocked.

Kellee explained that the whole family quarantined as a result of Stuart having COVID-19, with their adult children experiencing mild symptoms but never getting as ill as he did.

Kellee talked about the ways people offered support for her husband, which included a “prayer walk” and a “Zoom call” prayer meeting organized by the Florida Gators soccer team.

“The community gathered around and tried to do different things,” she noted. “It was overwhelming, the kindness that people were trying, because they didn’t know what else to do.”

Hall remained in the hospital for nearly a month, eventually recovering thanks to a procedure involving blood plasma exchange from a COVID-19 survivor.

During the initial outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, churchgoers and church leaders were among the many that tested positive for the disease.

In late March, Hillsong NYC Pastor Carl Lentz tested positive, telling Judah Smith, pastor of Churchome, in an Instagram Live video that it was far worse than the ordinary flu.

“Let me tell you something. It is definitely real ... the symptoms are so real. It's kind of like a flu times 50 ... still don't feel like myself ... I look forward to getting my energy back,” said Lentz at the time.

“My breath is a lot shorter. Fatigue is a lot quicker. My advice to people is, try to take this as seriously as you can.” 

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