I ran into some bad theology the other day. Really bad theology.
It concerned a church – I won’t say where because that’s not really the issue. The church members were demanding the “right” to worship together, without masks and without social distancing. This was their fundamental right, they claimed, guaranteed in the Canadian Constitution.
And of course, they’re right.
Except…two simple issues of Christian faith come up immediately to challenge that.
The first is the reality that masks save lives. Not so much the lives of those who wear them (although there is some benefit there) but the lives of others. When I wear a mask, I’m far less concerned about protecting myself than I am about not potentially spreading something deadly to others. Isn’t that the appropriate Christian response? I mean, did I misunderstand when Jesus said we should love our neighbours, and even our enemies? In these days of the Covid-19 pandemic one of the simplest ways any of us can love others is to wear a mask. Not wearing one puts their lives at risk – and my faith tells me I don’t have a right to do that.
The second was something bizarre the minister said – something along the lines of yelling at the police that they were stifling God. Really?
Can any of us do that?
Can any of us really stifle God? Not the God I know through my Christian faith, and certainly not the God I have met through the Bible. That God cannot be stifled by anything I can do or you can do – and I would hasten to add that that’s a good thing. I like to know my God is more powerful than me, or any one of us. Even more powerful than all of us put together.
When we espouse silliness like this church was doing, we express a faith in a cheap and ineffective god; I don’t think that has any place within the Christian community. And along the same lines, I think we need to look long and hard about where our “rights” stand when it comes to loving others. If I can save someone’s life, I’ll gladly set aside some of my rights. Does that mean I do not have those rights? Not at all – it just means I’m choosing to set them aside to help someone else. I’m shocked, frankly, when other Christians don’t want to do that.
It’s bad theology.