Has all that evolution talk got you in a tizzy?
A discerning reader asked a question a while back, and it’s something that’s been on my to-blog list ever since. It’s a very important question, and one I’ve spent a bit of time thinking through.
Well I do wonder what you think about why the Lord created man in the garden of Eden and told Adam and Eve in Genesis 1:29 ~ “Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. (and verse 30: And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.)” It wasn’t until after the flood that He told Noah and his family that they could eat meat. …I’m not against meat. I eat some beef, some turkey, and chicken, and salmon… I also eat vegetables and fruit. It just seems to me that in light of the verses quoted above, that we humans were created to eat vegetables originally. (And I don’t believe in evolution so I don’t think we’ve “evolved” to eat only one thing or the other. ;-)) Just tho’t I’d ask you what you think about those verses and what you think they mean in light of eating various foods.
In His grace, Mrs. O
Thank you so much, Mrs. O! I don’t know what I’d do without comments like this.
I pointed out that after we left the Garden of Eden, God gave us animals for use as clothing immediately, and it is implicit therein that humans began using them for meat soon after leaving the garden. Cain and Abel didn’t have their little scuffle because Abel was sacrificing something he barely needed. This was his best. That very likely means it was his food. God had clearly commanded animal sacrifice, and nothing else would suit Him.
It would seem very odd to me if they were raising and sacrificing animals and wearing them as clothing, but not eating the meat also. But maybe they did waste the meat and righteously consume only plants. I think you come away with a very different meaning–and an anti-Gospel one, at that–by reading the Cain and Abel story that way, but let’s roll with it. I can’t say for sure that they were eating meat, if I’m being very, very pedantic with only the explicit text, so let’s just say that the first generation of Man never had even a thought of eating meat, and the only killing of animals that they did was for sacrifice and possibly clothing.
All I can come up with is: So what?
That was then, this is now. Things changed after Eden, and then they changed again after the flood. There was, for one thing, a cleansing of the human race, wiping out the offspring of the Nephilim and the human race (about which, I won’t elaborate further, but oh, my, the things they don’t tell you in Bible school!). The earth itself also was laid waste, and the plants and animals that were preserved underwent that same culling. These genetic bottlenecks likely introduced even more corruption to our genome, and that of the plants and animals we ate, than was already there. This would (theoretically, but logically) have made us even less able to digest the plants than before.
Noah was told explicitly after the Flood to eat (clean) meat. The restriction on eating meat, if there was one, was lifted at that point regardless. Later on, in the New Covenant, the distinction between clean and unclean meats was also voided. We need to eat meat. I think all of this taken together establishes that a strictly carnivore diet is at least permissible to the Bible-believer. There may be some angle I’ve missed and that’s what the comment section is for, so let me have them, please.
But what about eating only meat? There’s something just flat-out worldly and unbelieving about that. Underneath the health objections, which don’t hold up very well in my experience and opinion, there’s just this visceral reaction to the idea that we evolved this way, and anything built on that foundation must be wrong, wrong, wrong. When I came across the carnivore way of thinking about food, I wanted to reject it out of hand, too. It’s all evolution all the time with these people!
We did not evolve this way. We devolved this way.
I listen to a lot of diet and lifestyle podcasts while I’m doing less mind-intensive things like weeding and running. I also read a lot of nutrition and metabolism-focused blogs. It is by-and-large a Godless conversation, sadly, and it can be very tiresome even to weirdos like me who are energized, rather than discouraged, by a good dose of cognitive dissonance.
I’m with you, Mrs. O. (At least, I think I am.) Since starting the carnivore way of eating, and for the first time in my grain-glutted life, my teeth are now in extremely good shape, but I’m grinding them down to pitiful nubs having to listen to evolution-this and ancestral-that all the time.
Most Christians aren’t going to even entertain the thought of the carnivore approach if the only supporting narrative–and friends, it is nothing but a narrative, a just-so story–is the modern creation myth of millions of years of evolution. For what it’s worth, the same evolutionary nonsense is also trotted out to justify vegetarian eating, i.e. our monkey brains were only able to grow so large because we learned to farm the extra calories required for such intelligence. They can and do stuff just anything into that evolutionary box.
I have something a lot less flexible, but thankfully perfect and infallible, to base my life choices on: the Word of God. Like Mrs. O., I believe that the Genesis account is literal: six days, two sexes, and only one No-No Tree. I’m one hundred percent in agreement that Adam and Eve were put in a garden and told to eat the plants, except for that one. I further believe that everything that God gave them to eat was good.
And then something happened that changed our very DNA, and that of the entire living world. I don’t know what Eden was like, whether there was any entropy, how long it was meant to last, whether eating was a mere pleasure rather than a physiological necessity. So many questions arise when you start wondering how the metaphysical and the physical met in that place.
But once we’re out of that Garden, meat makes plenty of sense.
I can’t say for sure what happened over the millennia on a physiological level, but my guess is that, because Earth became corrupt, and the entire creation began to groan, much of the nutrition that was available to us through plants became less and less accessible throughout the generations. Our genetic makeup didn’t permit perfect processing of the foods anymore, and the foods themselves developed hardier defenses.:
17And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
18Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
19In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
Think of lectins as thorns, and you’ll see why grains might not be the best thing for us.
As for the bizarre-sounding fact that many carnivores have discovered they have to eat only meat, I observe that we are at the end of many millennia of devolution, and we are less and less able to process these foods as our DNA inexorably declines in quality. Except in times of plenty such as we’ve enjoyed for my entire life in this country, needing “the herb of the field” is a hard fact of life, and in many ways a detrimental one, or it wouldn’t be part of the Curse, as it clearly is in the quoted text.
As I said before, I might myself have to eat something besides meat in order to get enough calories to survive someday. I don’t look forward to that, because my health would suffer, but hard times do come. As a nation, we are long overdue for some collective judgment, which I expect will rain on the just and the unjust. Plate me up some lentils, in that case. My soul will survive that just fine. In the meantime, I’m storing up as much health and strength as I can by eating what works best for my body.
Praise Him for providing meat!
I love my brothers and sisters in Christ and would dearly love to see them in better health, so that the Lord’s work can be done with vigor, and his Word elucidated by clear, unclouded minds. Through use of the evolutionary narrative, Satan is convincing many of his enemies to become weak, both physically and mentally, by turning them off on a gut level to the notion that animal nutrition is superior to plant nutrition before they really get a chance to think about it.
Hopefully you can see by now that a carnivore diet, at the very least, does not fail to fit in with the Gospel narrative, aka the Truth. It certainly provides a better explanation for why we need to eat meat than “Monkeys with tiny brains dropped out of trees and started eating brains, so their brains got bigger.” (I know, evolution-worshippers, that this is a gross over-simplification of your beloved stories. But if you believe in evolution, I’d far rather talk to you about your soul than your food.)
Life requires death, on both a physical and a metaphysical level. Animal sacrifice is done away with, but animal eating is not…yet. The Good News here is that all things are being restored. Until that day, we receive with thanks the sustenance that God provides.
What think you? Anybody here looking at that pb&j sandwich a little bit less lovingly now?
This post is a chapter from my ebook,
ConDeceived. I want to republish it sometime, but I’d need to rework a great deal of it. Guess who has time for that? Not me! But it was a useful little work. I might dust it off. If you want a copy, let me know and I’ll share it with you directly.
Lie: A Child is A Choice
“How many kids do you want?”
This is often the first question a newly married couple will find themselves answering. In fact, it is often the first question they ask each other before even agreeing to tie the knot. It is, after all, the height of irresponsibility to go into our marriages without a clear idea of how many years will be taken up in diaper-changing and face-washing. These things must be planned for, lest we end up in the poorhouse! It’s right there in the Bible in the twentieth chapter of…oh, wait. No, it isn’t.
The idea that that having children is a big decision and one not to be undertaken lightly is so common in our times that it has become cliché. Thanks to the language of the contraceptive culture, no responsible couple ever just gets pregnant. No, we talk about getting pregnant, then we think about getting pregnant for a little while longer, then we research getting pregnant, and then, if we don’t let our anything scare us out of it, we decide to get pregnant. After the birth, we research the best ways to stop this traumatic thing from happening to us again until the next time we decide we want to do this.
All of this sounds perfectly reasonable to non-Christians, as it should. They walk alone, and it is understandable that they feel a need to control their futures in this way. The once-born think they’ll only live once, after all, and after that, oblivion. They don’t want to mess up their one shot at perfect happiness with the wrong number of kids!
Unfortunately, this has also come to sound perfectly reasonable to a large majority of Christians.
One of my favorite quotes–at least, it used to be, before I gave it ten seconds of sustained thought–is this:
“Making the decision to have a child – it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking outside your body.” –Elizabeth Stone
I have a daughter. She has my dirty-blonde hair, my mouth (in both looks and loudness), and my insatiable appetite for red foods. The only fight we’ve ever had was over the last spoonful of cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving. She is also my husband’s daughter, and resembles his side of the family in a hundred different ways. She is a blessing to us, from the tip of her pretty head to the toes inside those ballet flats she’s always wearing.
But she is not primarily our child. She exists, physically, because my genes and my husband’s had a happy meeting and intertwined to become a unique set of DNA. However, she does not exist because we willed it. She exists because God willed it, from the foundations of the world. If you think that one can ever really choose to have a child, ask someone who suffers from infertility how much of a choice she has had in the matter.
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. -–Colossians 1:16
God exists outside of time, eternal, so this verse isn’t just referring to the beginning work of Creation. This verse means that Christ created everything that ever will exist, too. From the moment He spoke the words “Let there be light” to the Last Trumpet, He created it all, including the children that we humans like to pretend we choose to make.
My daughter does not exist for my pleasure. I enjoy her. We play dolls and talk about things that boys would never understand. She and I are great friends (unless there is cranberry sauce on the line). Barring some tragedy, I expect her to be a blessed part of my life until I die. Of course I enjoy her! I can’t even summon the image of her little face to mind without getting a thrill of joy all the way down to my toes.
If she existed for my pleasure, then whenever she failed to please me in some way, I would have the right to exact whatever harsh punishment I like. Or to end her life. After all, she would be violating the purpose of her own existence by displeasing me.
But she exists for God’s pleasure, not mine.
My daughter does not exist for my purposes. While there are many joys and material improvements that flow from the blessing of having children, she does not exist for the sake of my own purposes. There are many benefits to having a tightly-knit, loving family, but if those benefits are dampened by the effects of the Curse (illness, death, financial difficulties, stress, etc.), that still wouldn’t give me the right to reject her. She is not here simply—or even primarily–for my sake.
Does she at least exist by my will, then? Since technology gives us the option of not having children, hasn’t it finally become a big decision that we make, as the Elizabeth Stone quote says? Because we have this power, shouldn’t we use it to make the best possible world we can for ourselves and whatever children we decide to have?
“Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created.”
In this verse, the twenty-four elders are singing to God about his command of the whole universe. All things are created by His will, even when we think we’re doing it ourselves.
The language of choice has convinced us that that we, ourselves, hold the keys to our own future. The cultural attitude that springs up from this “choice” mentality is one of ownership of our children, as if they were merely expensive pets, rather than eternal souls whose existence is for purposes that we can’t even fathom. We’ve wrested the power of Creation from the One who rightfully controls these things. But we don’t really control as much as we think we do. Only God is worthy to hold the power of creation in His hands.
The heart of man plans his way,
but the Lord establishes his steps. –Proverbs 16:9
So now we have kind of a conundrum on our hands, don’t we? If God is really in control of all of this, then why do we have this ability to resist participating in that creation? If God willed this child into existence, then didn’t he also not will those lives we’ve decided not to risk forming, for whatever our personal reasons are? And the answer is, I think, yes.
And there is no good news in that answer. He has willed this generation to have that choice, and He has willed us to take it.
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate
The father of many “shall not be put to shame.” In contrast, when God’s judgment falls on a people, He takes away their sons and daughters.
25 “As for you, son of man, surely on the day when I take from them their stronghold, their joy and glory, the delight of their eyes and their soul’s desire, and also their sons and daughters…
Our unfettered control over the creation of our children is a judgment, not a happy technological boon that God has granted us. He has handed us over to our selfishness, and we are already beginning to reap the bitter fruit of that childlessness in this generation, as the demographic time bomb ticks down to zero. The next generation, the one that was supposed to carry on where we leave off, hasn’t shown up for work.
We’ve taken our Godly heritage, which is clearly explained to us in the Bible, in the very language of Creation (It is good.) and smashed it against sharp rocks, breaking it into bite-sized pieces for our own personal enjoyment, instead of taking it in its full wonder and meeting its challenges with joy and thanksgiving. We are paying for this now, as a nation, and we will pay for this in the future.
Please note that I don’t speak of any individual’s heart, as I don’t know anybody’s heart–often even my own. This is, at this late date, a collective failure of understanding. I’m speaking of a massive confusion that many well-meaning Christians of our generation have stumbled into due to a lack of confident and fearless preaching on the subject. However, collective guilt is built on individual guilt, and we must own our faults when we see them in our own hearts.
Christians don’t really, as a culture, believe any of these verses about God’s hand in creation (or procreation) anymore. We don’t seem to believe that God is in control of much of anything anymore, if He ever was. If we did, we’d beg Him to let us participate in the procreation of His own favored work: Mankind.
He has “crowned him with glory and honor”, and here we, Christians, are behaving as though people are a scourge. He has given us the blessed responsibility of nurturing these relationships, and we are treating them as if they are a burden, even to the point of preventing their very conception.
Our lifestyles may impose burdens. Our broken hearts and bodies create burdens. The brokenness of our children even imposes burdens. But our children themselves are never burdens. They are gifts. We should receive them as such.
What’s Good, y’all?
I had some links lying around here somewhere to share, and I’ll put them in a new post later. But first, I was just wondering, how good do things look right now to you, on this Good Friday? If you’re like me, you’re looking out from the little pocket of sanity you’ve tried to build for yourself on a world that’s gone mad. Maybe you’ve been building your little place for a year, since the “pandemic” (really a syndemic and a psyop) started, or maybe you’re an old homesteader from way back and you left the grid, either literally or spiritually, a long, long time ago.
Either way, what we’re living, and what the rest of the world is living, are two very different existences. While the rest of the world is either holed away and masked up because they’re terrified of a bad cold, or else they’re pretending to be terrified of it because they’re actually terrified of the people who will punish them for not conforming to the narrative, you’re breathing fresh air, making skin to skin contact with other people whenever you can find someone who isn’t afraid, and soldiering on as if nothing had ever really changed. This is because, for you, nothing ever really changed.
Maybe it got a little harder to get into a store without having to stand up for yourself, or you spent less money in stores because shopping with a bunch of masked zombies with distancing poles is nightmare material.
Maybe you filled your freezer a little bit fuller than you had in the past, and are keeping it that way. Maybe you started a little victory garden out back. Maybe your finances even took a hit. But for the most part, nothing really changed, because your frame stayed the same. You’re still looking at it all through the eyes of a believer in Christ, even while masses of “believers” are conforming to the narrative with apparently no idea of the contradictions between what they say they believe and what they’re doing.
The new normal is a big lie, and you know it. But Evil sure seems to be winning, doesn’t it? Even while some states are “opening up”, the mere fact that people waited until they were told it was safe to do so is a worrying sign. And while we’ve been building our little sanity-asylums, Satan seems to have been having a field-day making things worse and worse out there, outside our small realm of influence.
Everything you see in mainstream media, especially mainstream social media, is still pushing, pushing, pushing this narrative that God has lost.
Corona is King!
People are unashamed to market Satanic Nikes (for which, I am told, Nike is suing them, but it’s still a symptom, isn’t it?).
A man is in jail for refusing to call his daughter a boy.
Thousands of Patriots who never did anything wrong are still under investigation for storming a capitol building that was never stormed by any of them.
Joe Biden, when he’s not napping or enjoying his afternoon jello-cup socials at the senior center, is apparently president of what we were told is the greatest nation on earth.
Russia and China are suddenly not just our competitors in the world, but are the boss of us. China owns our “president”!
People who still have the gall to call themselves our elected representatives deliberately lose every battle they claim to fight for us.
We’re bankrupt as a nation.
Suicide is rampant.
Satan is openly worshipped and God is openly mocked, and the vast majority of people call this “entertainment”, and excuse it as such.
I’m not on social media because they kicked me off (if you haven’t been kicked off yet, you’re not trying hard enough), but I have no doubt that denizens of that realm are still allowed to pass around lame memes about how they can’t get your guns, or how awful it is that you only get…what was it this time?…$1,400 when other countries are getting billions from us. Yes, you’re so brave for your nice little “molon labe” meme. Way to let them know where they can find you. I have such a clever idea! Tell them you had a boating accident…har, har, har.
You get to whine and complain, and Facebook loves it when you do that. Not only do they get your information, they get to manipulate your perception of where you stand in this world, even while you think you’re expressing your own thoughts and being truthful. They’ll let you pass around all your little memes with their “conservative” and “Christian” messages, so you get that frisson having done something rebellious (Facebook jail for a week! Oh, noes!) without ever having left the safe bubble they’ve made where you can only pretend, and complain, and lose. You can be yourself there, American, but only a demoralized and helpless version. They let you see all of that stuff, because all of that stuff reinforces the lie that they’re winning.
But here’s the Good part: Satan always plays his hand this way. It’s all lies, because lies are all he can do. Christ, praise his name, cannot be destroyed, and neither can the Truth. He died only once, for all. He does not die again every year, though we rightly commemorate His passion.
Unlike his disciples, I do not have to wait until Sunday to find out that my Savior is a Savior, and not a victim. You do not have to wait until Sunday to find out that you have, if you are in Him, lost nothing. I guess I could wrap this up with some “hope” that the political machinations and abuses of the population are going to end soon, that there will be revival, that everything is going to be back to normal soon but truly, it doesn’t matter which way temporal events go. We win. God wins.
Friends, I’m begging you to turn off the narrative. Don’t just fast from it, kill it with fire. It’s making you useless. Facebook, Twitter, television news (yes, especially Fox News) anything mainstream serves only to remind you how much we’ve lost, and how helpless we are to do anything about it. They want you to think it’s over, and Satan has won.
Open your Bible. Sing praises, right out loud, right now. Get to church. Refuse the mask. Refuse the fake vaccine. Call a friend (on the phone, with your real voice), and remind her that the gates of Hell will not prevail.
Stop sucking up the lies. Sunday is already here, and has been for the last 2,000 years.
I’ve been fishing some of my better posts from GAH v1.0 out of storage for reposting. I’m not sure how relevant they are today, but they’re mine, and I like them. This one was written December 2, 2013.
One of the constantly recurring, and frankly silliest, objections to homeschooling is the embarrassing naiveté of homeschooled kids. The implication is that a child’s growth and maturity will somehow be stunted by not witnessing the full smorgasbord of sinful behaviors and moral pitfalls that popular culture has to offer. If he hasn’t had a joint offered to him in the school bathroom by the time he’s a senior, there is simply no hope that he’ll be able to say no to it when he’s twenty!
When I put it that way, of course, the hollowness of the whole objection becomes evident, even to those who will most likely still think it’s better for a child to be “educated” in the ways of the world by his peers and (God help us) D.A.R.E instructors.
Fine, you’re right: I fully intend to turn my kids out into the world with little more than a theoretical understanding of the kinds of criminality and perversion that will most likely be going on right under their noses any time they walk down a busy street. By the time they leave my nest, they’ll most likely be in the same social position I am right now; people who engage in those activities don’t even want to talk to me much, let alone invite me to their parties. So I’ve just raised my children to be the kind of bland, boring, morally upright people that the unwise, unstable, and criminal amongst us shun out of instinct.
Oh, how could I be so stupid?
Like I said before, there is no way that I can keep my kids from finding out about sin, being sinners as they are. I don’t expect to. But there’s a flip side to this whole naiveté thing, and that is the fact that, when I send my naïve children off to be educated by government-employed strangers, their naiveté is a serious weakness, making them prey to unscrupulous teachers, wayward peers, and even crooked police. If I keep them either at home with me or under the tutelage of Christian teachers I know to be working toward the same goals that I am, these little ones of mine will still be naïve children, absolutely! But what else do you want children to be? Jaded? Worldly? Street smart? I thought we wanted to keep them off the streets, not familiar with them.
Where does this perverse desire to destroy childish innocence come from? Certainly not from God, who says that we must become like little children, and not the other way around, if we wish to see the kingdom of Heaven.
Several years ago, I witnessed the whole adult congregation of a church gathering around a group of teens to pray for them because of the sexual pressures and violence that they were forced to deal with every day. Now, I’m all for prayer, and I’m glad they were at least doing that much for the poor kids. But what caught me was the pastor’s words before they prayed. He said “Our children have to deal with pressures every day that we as adults would never have to face. They need God’s hand of protection on their lives in a special way.”
So we’re sending kids into these spiritual and emotional pressure cookers, even though in the “real world,” for which we are supposed to be preparing them, this stuff (bullying, sexual pressure, drug use, etc.), doesn’t happen among decent people? In the real world where grown-ups live, if these things happen there are both practical and legal steps that a grownup can take to defend himself. He can simply choose not to go there; he can prosecute wrongdoing; he can find a new job; he can find new peers. But these kids, who don’t have the benefit of years of wisdom? Meh. Just cover them in prayer and send them to learn from these people how to walk in Truth.
This little episode at church was what did it for me. It was about 8 years ago, and it was what convinced me to homeschool.
He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.
Not long ago, I witnessed a similar thing with a group of parents lamenting the sexual pressure that middle-school girls must face at such a young and inappropriate age. “Lord, help them!” they said. And they sent them back into the cesspool the very next day.
My dad is kind of a funny guy. When I was a teenager, he’d often see me doing some household task and ask “Do you need some help with that, honey?” I’d accept his offer, only to hear, “Help her, Lord!”
The difference between my dad doing that and these parents doing this is that my dad knew he was joking, and would then get up and help me. The Bible says some things about praying and doing:
If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be you warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
Now, if we’re called not just to pray, but to do for the physical needs of our brothers and sisters, how much more does this apply to caring for the souls of our own children?
My children’s naiveté will vanish, despite the foolish concerns of naysayers, but it will recede through years of Bible training, not through the hardening effects of early exposure. My son will learn how to keep to the narrow path through the learning of Proverbs and being made aware of his own sin by God’s word, not through being slammed against locker doors because he’s the only kid that won’t get high with the rest of his social group between classes. My daughter will learn to honor her body by being around those who also honor her body, not from those who belittle and objectify her.
And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.
I went to a public school, so I know how that naiveté we’re so scared to see in our children gets worn away, and it is not through the maturing of a child’s spirit, but through the breaking of it. No thank you. We don’t want any of that kind of jaded “maturity” in our family.
I spend a good portion of my life bewildered.
It seems like no matter where I go, I’m never quite up to speed on what other people are doing, let alone what they’re thinking. Bring up any topic, and you can just about count on my punk brain coming up with a completely different angle than everyone else around me. This is extremely uncomfortable.
I don’t want to to call this quality that I’m lacking “conformity”. It’s not a willingness to conform that I lack. Believe me, as a shy person, I think it would be lovely to just do it, whatever “it” happens to be at the moment. It would be cool to, for once in my fringey little life, jump right in and blend with the crowd. I’d like to be respectable for a change. It’s not the desire, but the ability to conform that seems to have been left out of the warp of my soul.
So let’s just call it alienation. I am continually alienated from the people around me by my (apparently uncommon) convictions. Whether others have felt the pull of similar convictions and ignored them, or they just don’t have the same convictions is entirely between them and God. I wouldn’t even want to know. None of my business. Since we’re all reading from the same Bible, though, it really is a wonder to me that I can be so predictably orthogonal to the rest of society. Every. Single. Time. I am clearly broken.
I’ve worn a hair-covering while praying and studying the Word for several years now, even though no one else I know does this. I don’t believe it’s strictly mandated, but it is a symbol whose meaning everyone can discern. It’s a mark of submission of a woman’s own (meager, in my case) physical beauty, her glory, to the headship of her husband, who is in turn a symbol to her of Christ as He heads the Church. There’s also that whole mysterious thing about “because of the angels” which I don’t need to fully understand in order to recognize that it is a concern. In addition to the positive reasons for it, I can’t think of any reason hair-covering would be inappropriate, so I do it.
The apostle Paul thought the covering was a good idea, and fitting in its symbolism, but “if anyone seems to be contentious about it, we have no such custom.” Let them do what they think best, in other words.
But, I note, they are being contentious.
Symbolism matters, except when it doesn’t.
Some time ago, our pastor made a joke in passing about how we wouldn’t “be having a burka sale in the lobby” later on. I can’t remember for sure, but I think he was talking about ecumenism and that weird beast called Chrislam. Certainly he was not preaching from 1 Corinthians 11 that day, so the joke was an aside, not an attack. The fact that covering one’s hair as a gesture of modesty isn’t anything like covering the full face and form because of the supposed shame of being female didn’t stop me from flinching a bit, though.
The symbolism of the hair covering means very little to this particular pastor. Fair enough, I guess. That’s pretty much all the pastors these days, after all. It bothered me enough that I still recall the sting of the joke, but not enough to ruin the rest of the message. I mostly got over it, and the joke in context was kind of funny. But there was that shameful feeling of being seen on the fringes, yet again.
I’ve continued to cover my hair because the social pressure is the only negative thing about it. There’s no biblical or practical reason not to do it.
And that brings me to my current problem: Masks.
It occurs to me that the same man who wouldn’t dream of telling women to cover their heads is fully on board with having everybody cover a large portion of their imago dei so they won’t spill their newly toxic breath all over each other. Granted, the Bible doesn’t say anything about surgical masks, but I do think on an intuitive level, this ought to give thoughtful Christians pause. If covering up the faces of God’s children, muffling their voices, and keeping them from greeting one another with a “holy kiss” doesn’t seem creepy and perverse to you, I just have nothing left to say.
I can’t get with the program. I’ve talked myself around in circles on this. “Just put on the mask. It won’t hurt you, you know. Not if it’s just for an hour, anyway. Everybody else is happy! It doesn’t seem to be bothering them. They look fine. They can still sing. I mean, it’s a little strangled, but they’re being absolute troopers about it. The governor and the town council say you have to! You don’t want to get other people in trouble, do you? You’re not affecting anything by sitting it out! You’re going to get fined!”
And you know what? God bless them for being able to let go and just do it, I reckon. I wish I could see it that way. But I cannot get past the thought that our breath is not just a mechanistic thing. It’s a spiritual thing. God breathed life into the first man, and we are all ensouled with that same breath. To stifle it invokes a symbolism that I can’t participate in during worship. (Or most any other time, though there are times I don’t mind masking up to keep the peace.)
Just as the only reason I can come up with to take off my hair-covering is to relieve the discomfort of being different, the only reason I can conjure to put on the mask is to relieve the social pressure. I would be wearing a mask just to make the pressure stop. That is a very bad reason to do anything.
Masks separate us.
They remind us not to touch one another. They keep us from fully reading each other’s emotions. They prevent us from even recognizing people we don’t know very well. They give us something to hide our thoughts behind. They act as a constant reminder that nothing is allowed to be normal right now.
Possibly the worst thing they do is to leave a blank spot in the impressions our smallest children should be forming right now of interacting with other people, especially strangers. As we’ve learned from studying feral children there is a window of opportunity for children to learn certain things, and those formative years cannot be reclaimed. Who knows what social effects this unprecedented year-long mandate might have? Perhaps there will be no negative effect. I hope and pray that’s so. But would you want to be the guy that signed off on that experiment?
Human beings cannot live under this kind of stress without changing their relationships with one another. And they can’t do that without affecting their souls.
And in spite of the purported benignity of the coverings, masks do make us breathe differently, whether too deeply or not deeply enough, because they bring the usually unconscious act of breathing to our constant attention, where it becomes less efficient. I know for a fact that many people get panic attacks from focusing on their breath this way. Asthmatics are very familiar with the phenomenon. We can have perfect oxygenation, and yet our very breathing is causing us to feel like we’re suffocating. There are ways to overcome these panic attacks in the short term, but it’s a powerful indicator that we should not be doing this all day long every day.
Even while failing to prevent viruses from riding out on our breath to reach others, masks can trap enough of our vapor to cause us to increase our own viral load. They definitely make us rebreathe bacteria, as well as collect it against the skin. It’s highly impractical to change or wash masks frequently enough to prevent this when we’re wearing them as an 8 hour clothing item for work. I doubt that more than a tiny percentage of mask-wearers are doing it in a sanitary way.
Breathing freely is important to human health–body and spirit! Because I know this, I am reluctant to join the rest of society in wearing a mask, even though after nine months of the madness, I am painfully aware that I’m offending some pretty strong social norms.
Here, strangely, symbolism becomes a valid argument.
Because, as you know, you have to wear the mask to show you care. The argument from science is scarcely ever even attempted, for good reason. There is very little science to support it! Instead, we’re socially shamed for even questioning the practice. Masks are there to make everybody around you feel like you care about them, even though nobody is in any greater danger without them. Comforting, ineffective symbolism is now the approved way to show you care. And don’t you dare try to hug your grandmother. ( Don’t click that link if you don’t want to cry. I had a mild confrontation with a nurse over this back in June. My grandmother was visibly upset, and I went around the table and gave her a big hug and a kiss, and I’m not sorry.)
We’re told that wearing a mask is to keep you from passing the virus on to others, not to keep you from getting it. Never mind the complete lack of understanding of such a simple thing as circulating air. Here’s a clue: if I can breathe, a virus can get out of my mask. There’s a demonic little trick in that tactic, in that the mask doesn’t show how much I care for myself, but how much I care for others. It doesn’t make me healthy. It makes me a good person. Nobody wants to go out in public and make everyone else think she’s a bad person.
I am downright allergic to that kind of manipulation, so I guess that’s my medical exemption from mask-wearing.
And that is the source of my bewilderment. After nine months of being told that good people wear masks, that breathing freely means you’re reckless or rebellious, and that you just don’t care if other people die, how is anybody ever going to be convinced by mere facts to go back to normal? And be treated like a pariah? They won’t. They’ll just wait until the powers that be tell them to take it off. I despair, because if people will fall for this–not just for a couple of weeks until they figure out the trick, but for as long as they’re commanded to by an illegitimate authority–what else will they fall for?
As someone who is used to feeling like an oddball no matter where I go, I seem nevertheless to be far more sensitive to the alienating effects of these face-coverings. Maybe it’s just the last straw after living so many years going against the flow. I’m tired. Maybe I will finally learn to love Big Brother, if this goes on long enough.