Let me preface this by saying that I hate masks. I think they are ridiculous and not as effective as we think they are. Even more so since I had Covid myself and know that I’m presently not at risk of catching it, or more importantly, passing it on to others.
I travel, go to the gym, and coffee shops and restaurants and don’t cower inside my home in fear of the big, bad Covid.
However, last week, two of my favorite YouTubers posted a video where they infiltrated a Christian church worship service. It took me approximately 0.04 seconds to realize that in this video, the nonchristian outsiders who were poking fun at Christians were far more correct than the Christians they interviewed who ended up looking like, well, fools.
The YouTubers showed up at the service with hazmat suits, masks, and face shields, while the ENTIRE Christian congregation bared their faces to the crowd. Multiple times, they asked the churchgoers why ‘no one here has a mask on,’ and almost each time the response was the same: God doesn’t want us to be afraid. God will protect us from getting sick. And so on.
Let’s look at a few of the problems with this mentality, especially among Christians. Again, this is coming from a relatively non-mask dude.
Inconsiderate to, like, everyone
The vast majority of folks at the church agreed with the general anti-mask mindset. No one interviewed seemed too bothered by the naked mouths and clouds of vapor spreading around.
What if 10% of the congregation felt uncomfortable but didn’t say anything? Would it be worth it to cover their mouth for an hour to make that 10% feel more safe at their church?
What if only 5% felt unsafe—should Christians be respectful of even 5% of a population?
What about 1%? Should we go out of our way, making ourselves feel a little less comfortable, so that 1% of people present feel safer in the gathering?
It’s almost like Jesus had a parable about leaving the 99 to go out of His way to bring back the 1…
But not this church.
Swallow your health concerns or GTFO, old lady.
Or, consider everyone who stopped going to their church because they felt unsafe, and therefore wasn’t in the video. Is your personal opinion on masks more important to you than someone coming to your church? If so, you’d have an enormous amount of soul-searching to do.
This doesn’t even touch on how terribly faulty our witness would be in a situation like this; if an outsider who was nervous about the virus showed up, what would their first impression of Christianity be? Would they feel welcomed or uncomfortable? Would your reckless antics drive someone away from the church for good just because you couldn’t put a 6×6 cloth over your mouth for an hour?
You really want to formulate your argument in defense of something that doesn’t hurt you and which drives people away from Jesus? Come on.
This virus has revealed just how far many Christians are willing to go down the path of selfishness and paranoia (myself often included). We’ve done a great job of driving outsiders away from churches ever since the term ‘celebrity pastor’ came into existence; now we’re boarding up the doors and windows to be sure they don’t come back.
Faulty theology of healing
At one point, a woman tells the interviewer that God will protect her and her family from the virus so she doesn’t need a mask (then, strangely, proceeds to drop the F-word).
He brilliantly replies with, “Do you wear a seatbelt in your car?”
That’s the idea, except it’s more than that. A seatbelt protects you from injury. Not wearing one doesn’t necessarily endanger other drivers on the road; a mask or lack of one, does. This ‘Christian’ lady flaunts her divine protection as an act of rebellion against some oppressive regime, and in turn drives away many people who might think Christianity is a reasonable belief system.
I don’t know what world she lives in, but basically everything on earth is trying to kill us in one way or another. And sooner or later, something will succeed with each and every one of us, Christian or not.
100% of Christians die.
Does she think that no Christians have been killed by Covid?
More alarmingly—does she think their faith was weaker than hers? I’m sure there are some who believe along these lines, and this theology is beyond damaging. This is what happens when the prosperity gospel is allowed to take root in a culture for decades and then gets exposed by a worldwide pandemic. People start blindly exiting reality and living in some delusional reality constructed in the bubbly confines of their weird church’s pews.
Their pastors weekly feed them lies about the very world they inhabit, and eventually they end up forgetting that not only did our God come to earth to suffer Himself, but to promise that our own lives would involve suffering, conflict, rejection, and humiliation. Ours is not a Trumpian/Nietzschian religion of the victors, but of the downtrodden and the outcast.
The Bible is overtly clear in the New Testament that we should put no barrier between outsiders and the gospel of Jesus Christ. Christians who refuse to wear masks because of personal liberty, a skewed theology of healing, or just plain apathy are keeping people away from churches. They are making us all look foolish and inconsiderate.
This mindset is the opposite of the hospitality Christ embodied and which Paul spurred us toward. If someone is uncomfortable or feels unsafe because of our actions, we should bend over backward to make them feel more at home in our churches, no matter how we personally feel about masks.