Faith: COVID kaleidoscope


On May 5, Forbes posted an article titled, "An Unhappy Ending For Movie Theater Chains AMC And Cineworld," by Larry Light. In the article, Light lays out that the end of movie theaters is close at hand, if not right around the corner.

Back when the United States began to shut down due to COVID-19, Universal Pictures, and several other movie production companies, released movies on demand only. No stopping at theaters. This meant these new featured movies could be watched through an online streaming format. No one knew what to expect since this had been tried before and didn’t work well.

Times have changed, and the movies did extremely well! In fact, "Trolls World Tour" did better than it was expected to do if it had only been released in theaters.

This cultural shift led many production companies to say all future movie releases would include both a theater release and a Premium Video On Demand (AKA: stream it at home) release. Within minutes of the announcement from production companies, theaters made a fear-based announcement of their own. They said any production company that simultaneously released movies in theaters and on a streaming service would have all their movies banned.

In other words, “If you don’t play what I want to play, I’m taking my toys and going home."


While I think production companies could have handled this differently, it's obvious that movie theaters missed that a cultural shift has taken place. They missed that things were different and wanted to pretend that things were going to remain the same and would always remain the same.

I agree with Light’s assessment that movie theaters are on their way out because they are focused on, “Preserving the past and ignoring the present …” and that they, “should not be afraid of letting go of the old way of doing business."

Why does this matter?

To me, it illustrates that things before COVID-19 and things after COVID-19 are going to be different. I know, “Wow, that’s a surprise,” (said with the inflection of Ben Stein). Seriously though. Have you truly considered that life post-COVID will be different from life pre-COVID?

We know that life post-COVID will be different from life in the midst of the pandemic, but are we ready for how the future will be different from the past? Are we afraid of letting go of the old way for fear that the future might not be what we want?

It’s not all doom and gloom though. The future is open and we have a chance to define what it looks like. Not completely as some things won’t change, but for the most part the future will be different from the past; how different is up to us.

The analogy I’ve been using is one of a kaleidoscope. Life before COVID-19 gave us one image with a vast array of colors. Life has now shifted, and the kaleidoscope has moved, and the crystals have shifted. Once we get through this, the final image will be different.

It won’t look like it did before COVID-19, but all the pieces will be there. All the things that made life vibrant, colorful and exciting will be there. They’ll be in a different order; they may be rearranged in a different order; some things might look the same, but they will be there.


Maybe when this COVID-19 is over, we keep turning the kaleidoscope wheel so that we place more importance on family, and less importance on work. Maybe we keep turning the wheel until relationships are valued more than money. Maybe we keep turning until hope lands next to grace so that we see everything through a lens of loving our neighbor.

More than ever before, we get to define the future and define what life looks like. How are you going to define your future? How are you going to define what’s important and what’s not? What will the kaleidoscope of your life look like, or will you still be clinging to the old way of life afraid of what the future might hold?

Me? I'm excited to be able to have a hand in defining what my future looks like.

Tony Oltmann is pastor of Crosslake Presbyterian Church.

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