Monday, July 5, 2021

Masks in Church

Are you wondering why your church is still requiring masks, physical distancing, or some other COVID precautions while the rest of the world seems almost back to normal? I can't speak for everyone, but I can share my own thinking that's informed the conversations I've had with my church leadership.

There are still people out there who are uncomfortable being in spaces where there are no precautions in place. I promise you they exist. You may not know who they are, but they've probably confided in your pastor even if they haven't been public about it. It may be because they have children who are unable to be vaccinated, it may be because they're particularly vulnerable to the virus themselves, it may be because we still don't know for sure the efficacy of the vaccines. They get to feel that way, regardless of your perspective.

Every day, these people are making hard choices about what activities they feel safe doing. Many times, they've had to make do with alternatives so that they don't have to live in anxiety, like grocery delivery, zoom gatherings, or even forgoing these things altogether. And after the past year, we ALL know what a sacrifice this can be.

Church should be the one place where they don't have to make that choice. Church should be a place that is as safe as possible for as many people as possible. It's not loving to insist that everyone think and feel exactly the same way we do, and to enact policies that make it uncomfortable for them if they don't. Christians have historically done an abysmal job at this, so this is one small opportunity to try and do better.

Think of it this way: this issue has become so divisive that the odds are we'd be likely to lose someone over it. If you were a pastor, would you rather lose someone because they don't feel safe at church or because they feel inconvenienced or annoyed?

I don't like masks, either. I also feel very safe going out these days post-vaccination. But it's not all about me. Especially at church.

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