Mask Madness

There are few people I’ve talked to who haven’t been shamed if they understand covid presents a real pandemic threat. The pandemic is most likely not a government operation sprayed by black helicopters with millions in on the conspiracy, yet you might hear people seriously proposing wild ideas like those.

Sadly, we’ve seen pastors and Christians proudly proclaim nonsense garbage, split church members, shame others, and bully the rest. As we’ve said before, it’s rather bizarre the American church degraded to a point we need to say pastors should not be promoting lawlessness; their job being protecting the flock, not willingly and proudly exposing them to danger.

This new movement sweeping through the church places politics over people.

What about masks, social distancing, rearranging chairs, and so on? Paul said to follow the law… unless you think it’s stupid, then you’re free to not only ignore it, but promote disobedience to others, and banish anyone who dares say people and the church should obey the law (and protect people to the maximum possible).

Oops, that’s not what Paul said.

Speed Limits and Covid

Can we ignore speed limits if we think they’re stupid and useless? After all, it gets us to church faster (and you should make good use of your time). If you think driving 45 in a 30 zone is okay, according to the lawless doctrine promoted by this new movement, that’s fine.

That is, of course, exactly the same logic as refusing to wear masks, no rearranging of chairs, holding meetings and disregarding occupancy limits, and so on — both are non-doctrinal political or society issues, not church ones.

The movement’s disciples are unquestionably out of order, as we’ve already discussed in covid crazy.

But an important distinction needs to be discussed. Following the law does not mean agreeing with it.

Let that sink in. It should be obvious, but likely not something you’ve consciously considered before.

It’s simply obeying authority as Paul said — wearing a mask doesn’t mean you agree with the law (or think masks help), only you’re following the law as Paul taught. Nothing more, nothing less.

You can believe masks are stupid, just as speed limits are. You can work to change the law as you wish. But Paul didn’t include a “ignore if you don’t like it” clause so many out-of-order pastors read into it.

Personally I have concerns with some of the actions taken by government and others, but recognize they have nothing to do with the church, its mission, or any non-negotiable doctrine; if others disagree with masks, meeting limits, or social distancing, fine — as long as we all understand Christians should follow the law.

Following the law does not mean agreement with it.

But asking (and promoting) people to break the law remains irresponsible and Godless. Worse when it’s shrouded in pseudo-spiritual terms.

Just as you can’t speed 40mph in a 20mph school zone because you think it’s okay. Paul said follow the law. Period.

Covid and Car Seat Belts

Why do we see Christians splitting and shaming others over non-doctrinal political issues?

One reason stems from lack of critical thinking and logic — did you wear your seat belt when you drove last? The law says wear it, and you do not just for legal reasons but because it protects you in crashes.

Yet covid is many times more lethal, and more likely than death from automobile crashes.

If someone shames someone for following the (mask) law, yet as they drive off fasten their seatbelt, you know they aren’t thinking clearly.

Second, the mission of the church is to stimulate love and good works — fruit of the spirit.

Is yelling at and shaming people love? Joy? Peace? Agape? Nope.

Another not-so-subtle clue those in this new movement are wildly out of order.

Why is it happening?

Those shaming and yelling at others over what they say is made-up covid might perhaps be the most fearful. That’s why they refuse to wear masks or follow pandemic protocols — they’re simply afraid to acknowledge truth.

Your failure to be informed does not make me a wacko ~ John Loeffler

As John Loeffler says — reality votes last. Denying something exists won’t make it magically go away. God gave you a brain and the ability to use logic — use it.

When someone yells, attacks, claims you are fearful, not a Christian, involved in a conspiracy and government coverup, recognize they might be under severe stress and acting from fear and strain. Studies on this are just beginning, as the following journal notes:

Beyond stresses inherent in the illness itself, mass home-confinement directives (including stay-at-home orders, quarantine, and isolation) are new to Americans and raise concern about how people will react individually and collectively. A recent review of psychological sequelae in samples of quarantined people and of health care providers may be instructive; it revealed numerous emotional outcomes, including stress, depression, irritability, insomnia, fear, confusion, anger, frustration, boredom, and stigma associated with quarantine, some of which persisted after the quarantine was lifted.

Does that sound like fruit of the spirit? Those pastors should take some time off and reflect on their mission — and it’s not bullying and splitting people over issues having nothing to do with the church, but could be signs of mental strain brought on by the pandemic.

It’s the screamers, bullies, and church splitters who might be the most afraid and scared of the pandemic (ironically while shaming those following the law). People recognizing reality of the pandemic react calmly, discuss tactics civilly, and recognize dividing Christians into with-me-or-against-me groups is, well, divisive (and most certainly neither a fruit of the spirit nor a characteristic pastors should have). Disagreements exist — why can’t this new movement discuss rationally and civil?

You will have disagreements with people. The measure of brotherhood and friendship is how you resolve those issues. Is it intolerant shaming and bullying, raising voices, splitting membership, and failure to understand the difference between major and minor issues? Or calm discussion and understanding different people can hold different views on non-critical issues and it makes no difference and must not be a litmus test?

It will take years to scientifically and rationally study the data from this pandemic and learn the lessons. We’ll likely discover some actions helped, others did not. But once again, Paul didn’t say you get a special card to ignore laws you don’t like … or simply don’t want to follow.

Perhaps people under stress and panic resort to yelling and a total lack of critical thinking and logic, perhaps acting in ways you haven’t seen before, simply because they’re suffering and responding poorly to stress.

Once a pastor goes off the rails, it’s likely many in his church will do the same. That’s why it’s doubly tragic when misinformation, shaming, church splitting, and so on, originates from the pulpit.

They’re completely out of order — politics over people and mental strain over science. Those acting outside the fruit of the spirit should tell you something.

As said previously:

However, it’s possible after the covid crazy wears off, this new movement will fade away. In that case a lot of people will seek forgiveness for their actions.

Please show grace and mercy to them. While they’re wildly off course now, if they abandon the political movement they’re trapped by and return to traditional Christianity, welcome them back. Please.

Leading people astray — it’s bizarre in 2020 we need to say pastors shouldn’t promote lawlessness, but here we are. Unquestionably they’re failing their primary mission — acting in love and the fruit of the spirit.

And it’s 2:59am.

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