๐‹๐ž๐ญ’๐ฌ ๐๐ž๐Ÿ๐ข๐ง๐ž ๐ฐ๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐š๐ง๐ญ๐ข-๐ฆ๐š๐ฌ๐ค ๐ฆ๐ž๐š๐ง๐ฌ: ๐€ ๐‚๐ก๐ซ๐ข๐ฌ๐ญ๐ข๐š๐ง ๐ฉ๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ๐ฉ๐ž๐œ๐ญ๐ข๐ฏ๐ž (๐š๐ง๐, ๐š ๐ฌ๐ฉ๐ž๐œ๐ข๐š๐ฅ ๐ง๐จ๐ญ๐ž ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ ๐œ๐ฅ๐ž๐ซ๐ ๐ฒ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐œ๐ก๐ฎ๐ซ๐œ๐ก ๐ฅ๐ž๐š๐๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ)

โ—พ In the Christian faith sphere, there is blatant anti-masking that is easy to define. Defiant anti-masking which equates wearing a mask as the mark of the beast, being faith-less, or fear-ful. Many of you already can say, “well, that’s not me”.

โ—พ But, there’s also casual anti-masking – this is when you don’t wear a mask in church (or in public) or you go to a church that does not require a mask in the sanctuary at all times (lots of evangelical churches are doing this). Casual anti-masking is also when our churches leave it up to the congregants if they want to wear a mask based on how they “feel” about it.

โ—พ Both of the above scenarios are equivalent to being anti-mask. It might not be blatant anti-masking, but it is just as relevant and impactful. Being blatantly anti-mask OR casually anti-mask has the same result of not protecting/loving our neighbors. The motivations behind not wearing a mask might be different between blatant anti-masking and casual anti-masking. But, if you are not wearing one (and you’re a Christian) in church or go to a church where masks are optional in the sanctuary, it’s the same problem. One is blatant (so it’s easy for people to say “I’m not an anti-masker”). The other is sneaky and what a lot of evangelical churches are doing right now.

Blatant = casual. Casual = blatant. The end result is the same, regardless if you don’t consider yourself to be an anti-masker. ๐ˆ๐ญ’๐ฌ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฌ๐š๐ฆ๐ž ๐ฉ๐ซ๐จ๐›๐ฅ๐ž๐ฆ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ฌ๐ฎ๐ฉ๐ฉ๐จ๐ซ๐ญ๐ฌ ๐š ๐ฌ๐ฒ๐ฌ๐ญ๐ž๐ฆ ๐ญ๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐œ๐จ๐ง๐ญ๐ซ๐ข๐›๐ฎ๐ญ๐ž๐ฌ ๐ญ๐จ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฉ๐ซ๐จ๐›๐ฅ๐ž๐ฆ.

โœ… We have known for a long time that wearing a mask is one of the best ways to protect and love our neighbors according to Galatians 5. It’s a selfless, sacrificial act of choosing to put our own allegiances and “wants” aside to protect our vulnerable neighbors – this to me (and to many of you), is choosing the way of Jesus of sacrificial love.

โœ… With vaccines rolling out more, there’s now an uncomfortable disconnect in Christian circles.

๐ƒ๐จ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐ฌ๐ž๐ž ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐๐ข๐ฌ๐œ๐จ๐ง๐ง๐ž๐œ๐ญ? Masks protect others and vaccines protect ourselves (this is an oversimplification, I know). One is a self-less choice and has been a self-less choice for months that should have nothing to do with feelings or comfort or “faith”. The other is a protective measure for us as individuals. Don’t get me wrong – I’m glad when anyone gets the vaccines. But, many of you are getting the vaccines while remaining anti-mask, whether blatantly or casually. Do you see the disconnect? It’s sneaky, but important and points out a flaw in our individualistic thinking. I just wish we would all have the same regard for our neighbors in wearing a mask as we do for our personal safety with getting a vaccine.

โญ Church, particularly the US evangelical church, please put your masks on. Let’s love our neighbors with concerted effort, not casual anti-mask responses. Jesus gave us the story of the good Samaritan who saw a need and CHOSE not to walk by. We have a choice to do that with our masks and vaccines in church and in our life. Church, let’s make that kingdom-minded-choice and not simply walk by our neighbors. Put on your masks, full of love and equity. Not fear, full of faith. Get your vaccines, yes. But, do the other parts to love your neighbors too, especially in church.

If you are a church leader, please make wearing a mask mandatory at all times for your congregants.

If you are a congregant and go to a church that does not require masking at all times, ask your leaders to change that policy.

It’s just a mask. But it is a powerful tool of loving our neighbors, not ourselves.

-FNE / Pastorโ€™s wife ๐Ÿ™‹โ€โ™€๏ธ

โœ…SOURCES:

Picture source: https://www.chausa.org/newsroom/love-thy-neighbor

Church leaders and congregants, here’s some resources to help you navigate these discussions:

  1. What if Christians led the way out of this? Redefining our freedom according to the Cross-https://tinyurl.com/y2qoow7t
  2. Who is the neighbor? – https://tinyurl.com/y9ykykve
  3. Faith over fear: Including a discussion on John MacArthur – https://tinyurl.com/yxsaatcf
  4. Masks are faith-filled and faith-ful. Faith-filled is about us. Faith-ful is about the neighbor. Both/And are important. The distinction matters. https://tinyurl.com/y2od5n6f
  5. Church webinar video with pastors – Church and COVID: A Conversation with Dr. Emily Smith – https://tinyurl.com/y3gqefht
  6. The Capitol Riots and the thread – https://tinyurl.com/y6y3oxr7
  7. 2021 guidance for churches – https://tinyurl.com/y5zgmod2
  8. Faith and vaccines – https://tinyurl.com/yb5ydlf2

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