Saturday, August 29, 2020

Fashionistas. . .

I suppose most pastors get emails from vestment tailors offering masks in the color of the season, complete with gold crosses.  At home a direct mail vendor wanted me to order masks with my monogram on them, in fine black with gold fleur de lis!  How impressive.  But I will not get them.  And it is not because I am cheap.  Which I am.  It is because I refuse to make a fashion statement out of a mask or to turn something which is supposed to be a piece of medical equipment into a fashion accessory.  If we are wearing a mask because it is medically necessary or even just hopefully helpful, wear the mask, by all means.  But don't make it out to be another fashion statement like the clothing you wear.  I will resist it to my death -- literally!

I don't like confusing one reality with another.  I do not think we are helping anyone by suggesting that church is fun, that it is entertaining, or that it is relevant.  Those are other things, as valuable as they might be, whose purpose and end is different from worship.  Confusing one purpose with another will only come back to haunt us.  I do not think it helps stewardship to promote the idea that God will restore what you give more than the amount you gave.  Tithes and offerings are not given to get something in return.  Don't confuse the two by speaking of what God gives and what we give in the same breath.  It will only come back to bite you in the kiester.  

I also don't like making things into commands and then attaching love to them.  As a meme once put it, "First we wore masks because they might help, then we wore them or granny would die, then we wore them or we would die, and now we wear them because we love Jesus."  These directives, however good they might be, are not made stronger or helped by the idea that if we really loved Jesus or our neighbors we would wear masks.  Hogwash.  It only confuses people and confounds them and in the end it will make them angry.  If you really loved Jesus you would stay at home, wash your hands, sanitize, distance, and wear a mask.  Jesus never mentioned wearing masks or any of these other things we have come to deem as good practice in the age of COVID.  Don't put words in Jesus' mouth and, for Pete's sake, don't ever wear a mask with the letters WWJD on it (what would Jesus do, for you slow ones).

One more thing.  Don't send me daily emails on how you are dealing with the COVID crisis at Wal-Mart or Walgreens or the dentist's office or the doctor's office or the gas station down the block.  Do what you think should be done and leave it at that.  I am not impressed by your extra attention to things you should already be doing and I will not shop there because I want to reward your conscientious campaign of information telling me I can shop there and be sake.  Especially when there are governments still telling me that I can protest and riot safely but not go to Church without putting myself and my fellow man at grave risk.  Hogwash.

If you are going to make mask wearing into a fashion statement, for goodness' sake you better be prepared to keep on wearing it long after COVID's danger passes.  If it is not tied to best medical practice, then why are we doing it?  If we are doing it because it is good medical practice, why make it into something it is not.  We cannot allow or encourage masks to be taken in any other way except extreme practice for short term.  Once we normalize them, we will begin bringing in a whole host of things who are against the very idea of being together in the Lord's House.

So you caught me on a bad day.  Sorry about that.  But I am tired of the goofy stuff we do to get us do what ought not to be goofy at all.


Rev. Timothy E. Sandeno said...

I jokingly speculated a couple of months ago that in a generation the liturgical face mask would become the thing that some hold onto as a must wear item as some today view the chasuble. As there is no Christological reason for the face mask, I have found none for the chasuble. To the contrary, it began with the practical need to keep warm and developed from there. Set me straight, if anybody can.

Anonymous said...

Rev. Sanderno's comment does not really seem to work out. The chasuble is not put on until the beginning of the Canon; the first part of the Mass is said without the chasuble. Surely we don't want to wait until the priest is half frozen before providing him with a blanket.

I've always been told that it is to draw attention away from the physical body of the priest. All that it leaves visible are the head and arms. Thus whether he is fat or skinny, stands straight or hunchedbacked, etc. are all hidden.

Continuing Anglican Priest

William Tighe said...

"The chasuble is not put on until the beginning of the Canon; the first part of the Mass is said without the chasuble."

Among some Lutherans and a few Anglicans, perhaps - but this is nowhere the case among "apostolic churches" such as the (Roman) Catholics, the (Eastern) Orthodox, the "Oriental" Orthodox, or the "Assyrians" aka "Nestorians."

Rev. Timothy E. Sandeno said...

Fr. D, you make a good point. If only for warmth, why wait. In my parish, that is when I don the mask as well. I can easily see the justification for it being lost within a generation if the practice were to continue.

I do not oppose the chasuble. I think some quite beautiful. I was just hoping somebody had good information that would cause me to see it as a necessary vestment.

Carl Vehse said...

"I've always been told that it is to draw attention away from the physical body of the priest."

That's why so many are colorful and decorated with elaborate gold embroidery and other images and designs so as not to attract attention.