A Call to Prayer and Fasting

I’m heavily burdened, as I’m sure all Christians are right now, to pray for this country. We are all concerned for Trump’s safety, and for the safety of the estimated three million patriots who are headed to Washington D.C. to show the strength of our numbers. Those few members of our state and national governments who are still trustworthy are deserving of our prayers for their safety and courage, as well.

Since I can’t show my support in the crowd Wednesday, I’m going to support them the most effective way I know how, by fasting and praying for our country from sundown tonight, January 4th, until sundown on January 6th. I ask as many who can and will to join me. This is not a political battle, my friends. This is spiritual. Our opponents are not driven by political differences, but by spiritual enmity. We’ve always known this, but the truth of it has never been more apparent. Because the spiritual aspect is closer than ever before to the surface, where it is impossible to deny, I believe our prayers have also never been more necessary or effective.

Please pray, my friends. Sitting here and trying to guess what will happen next will not benefit us at all, if we’re not also using our Spirit-given influence to implore God for mercy.

That said, I do have a few guesses as to what is going to happen, none of which forebode a peaceful ending. Trump is a peaceful man, and wants to leave our country not only better off, but better, no longer bloody and beligerent, meddling in the affairs of other nations for the sake of a few economic kings whose names most of us don’t even know. However, I believe he will do what it takes to see that no wrongs are allowed to slide by and multiply. That means we’re in for a bumpy ride.

I think Ted Cruz’s idea of a commission on election fraud (which sounded good at first blush) is a ruse to get the three million patriots marching on Washington D. C. to go home with the feeling that their march was a waste of time, and that they weren’t really needed. I think that he intends to pack it with jellyfish and wolves, not honest people, and that he, perhaps subconsciously, expects it to end in a Biden “victory”. Ted Cruz enjoys being the opposition, not the one actually having to work things out and lead. He also has some deep, festering wounds caused by Donald Trump’s calling out of some of his own vote fraud during the primaries of 2016, and the rumors that swirled around about him and a staffer, which came from Trump supporters. Trump trounced him. He has publicly supported Trump despite all this, and I think he is sincere about it, but something tells me that no matter how good his better angels have been thus far, he is still primed to turn on Trump at any time that he looks weak.

I still have no idea what to think of Pence. I don’t know if there is a plan between him and the president, or if he is being left to his own conscience. Trump definitely knows if he’s loyal, and is prepared for any eventuality. I pray that he is as loyal as he seems, because he could cleanly end this entire discussion on the 6th so we can move on to the next phase of getting our nation back from her betrayers.

I think Biden is going to have a virtual, fake inauguration no matter how the count of the electoral college vote goes down. He could be the only person inaugurated, but it is more likely to me that Trump takes the public, real inauguration, and Biden fakes one for the Shadow Government. Before he is arrested, he will be “president”, at least fohttps://www.getalonghome.com/2021/01/04/a-call-to-prayer-and-fasting/r the CNN-watching crowd. He has already cancelled his in-person parade, ostensibly due to Covid-1984, but really because he would have no support whatsoever. It would be one long line of hecklers from start to finish. It would be dangerous and humiliating for him to be in public, and he knows it.

Rather, they know it. Biden himself has no authority. Obama made that abundantly clear. He will never concede or capitulate, because his masters won’t allow him to. I do believe the rumors that he has been wearing an ankle GPS monitor, but I don’t think it’s because he’s been under house arrest by white hat law enforcement. I believe his own side is making him wear it to keep him from running to Trump for mercy. They did that to Hillary, too, in my opinion, though I don’t think she’d have ever flipped. Isn’t it lovely how these people trust each other? Wouldn’t it be great for them to get back the reins of power?

If Trump is officially in the White House, with our loyal military, it will be a short cleaning-out of traitors. Justice will be done. That’s why they’re so insane. It’s pure panic. If Trump is somehow rooted out, as can only happen through an outrageous act of treachery the magnitude of which has only rarely been witnessed in history, our side–that of Core America–won’t have a clue which direction to shoot, or who to trust, even while we’re being further oppressed by tyrannical governors and illegitimate national leaders, so it will be a smoldering, long, ugly thing.

America is the last major stop on the One-World Beast Line. There are smaller nations who are not controlled by the world system yet, but they are so, so small. It’s us or nobody, and it’s now or never.

Go to D.C if you can. If you’re staying home, pray. 

A Weekly Homeschool Schedule

It’s January. Let’s get organized.

I’ve got a couple of new homeschooling mom friends who have wondered–with much more awe in their voices than I’m actually entitled to–how I keep eight students of different ages straight in my head. Honestly, I have in the past lost track of one or more students while thinking I had everything under control. I have one child who is so quiet and clever that he can make me forget to do his lessons, like a Jedi. It would be creepy, if he weren’t so cute.

One of the tools I’ve been using for a couple of years to make sure I know where we’re all supposed to be at any given moment, is this free printable week planner. This one gives me a plan for how our time will be used, but doesn’t get into the details of what we’re doing. Details are written out elsewhere. I’ve made a sample plan for you that doesn’t resemble our own very much for the sake of our privacy:

Sample Weekly Schedule

Each person in the family is assigned a color, with my color, purple in this sample, being the base color. The “everybody” color is blue, Child #1 is green, Child #2 is red, etc. If a child is with me directly for a chunk of time, his stripe is right up against mine, so I can see quickly who is entitled to my attention at that time. If he doesn’t have a stripe on a particular block, that means he has flexible time to play or finish whatever chores or schoolwork he has. I put chores on here, too. On Monday, Child #2 will be my dinner helper. Everybody cleans the chicken coop on Tuesday. You get the idea.

Our morning meetings are the times when we do whatever we can together, like Bible study, prayers, reading aloud from Shakespeare or Plutarch, PE, art and music study. The length of that meeting varies, so I do the week schedule after the lesson plans are finished. I give each student an individual meeting time for one-on-one teaching. If you have only three students, like the sample planner pictured above, you’ll have quite a bit more free time and flexibility than I do. I try to get to everybody one-on-one at least three times a week.

Maybe you don’t even need a plan at this moment. Don’t feel pressured to be organized if you’ve got everything well in hand without the extra work! When I was a new homeschooler with only a few kids, I didn’t often feel like I needed a plan, but after a while I did start to notice things slipping through the cracks, even with just a few students. Now that I’m teaching all stages, from three-year-old preschool to almost-grown ups (oh, my!), I definitely do need a little more structure to my day.

I use this planner for lesson plans, and the older kids have their own ways of organizing (or not) their independent work.

Since the only people who even know about this blog are my old readers who kept their subscriptions active when I stopped blogging a few years ago, I’m sure you are already doing things your own way, and many aren’t even homeschooling anymore. But if anybody is interested, or knows some new homeschoolers who would benefit, I’d be happy to show more about how we follow, roughly and haphazardly, and not at all in a way that Charlotte Mason would approve, a Charlotte Mason-style education using Ambleside Online.

 

 

2021 Incoming!

Sometimes I’ll have an idea for a blog post and write a short prompt, then save it as a draft for later when I have more time, or better clarity on the subject. I did that yesterday, but instead of hitting “save draft”, I hit “publish”, so you all got a half-baked post in your inbox. Sorry about that. Well, not really sorry. It’s an interesting topic. Y’all probably do know who runs this world, right? But a lot don’t, so I may have some more words on that eventually.

Anyhow, I’d like to wish all of you a very happy 2021. I’d do a look back on 2020, but it would only cause trauma for a number of us. The political turmoil has been, for me, a pretty big drag on my attention, and for many it has been materially damaging because of the disruption to the economy. So many of my family and friends lost loved ones or had health problems crop up. There’s a particular dear friend of mine who is constantly on my heart who is going through the worst nightmare a mother could ever imagine with her child–probably worse even than losing them to death. 2020 has earned its reputation.

But our family is sitting here basically unscathed. I’ve got a severe case of survivor’s guilt over here. Arrows are whizzing over my head and on every side of me, hitting people I know and love daily, and I don’t even have a scratch on me. In fact, I had a pretty great year. One thing I know about surviving, though, is that nobody gets out of this place alive, or lives without loss, so our day is surely coming.

Praise God, anyway, as I’ve often heard my father say!

What will 2021 hold? I am not a prophet, nor the daughter of a prophet (although Dad is a pretty compelling preacher), but I have some ideas of where I think–or hope–things are going. Wishful thinking is a thing around here, so feel free to darken my more optimistic predictions with your own brand of pessimism, if you feel so inclined. In fact, you can just look at these predictions as more of a wish-list.

My pessimist friends, we’ll all go through the same year, but some of us are going to do it with a much lower cortisol level.

  1. A Dark Winter? I do think this winter is going to be the very peak of Deep State treachery in an effort to wrest the White House from the only honestly-elected president I’ve seen in my adult life. They want their Great Reset, and they have no time to wait him out, so they will double down in every conceivable way. There will be further virus scares made up from whole cloth, lockdowns, riots and terrorism paid for Soros and his ilk, media defamation and dehumanization of Core America, especially Christians. The enemies of God have promised us a Dark Winter, but Satan doesn’t actually get to decide the outcome. Truth will always assert itself, and the lies will fail.
  2. People will rise up. Store owners are going to open up and defy governors to shut them down. A few already have, and many more will follow. They have to, if they want to survive. More people are going to unmask because they finally understand that they’re being lied to about how viruses spread. This will require individual courage, thoughtfulness, and willingness to be seen changing one’s mind and heart in public–something I’ve become accustomed to as a blogger, but that most people have literally never experienced. But I’m proof that it can be done. The more likely thing is that the masks and lockdowns will simply end because the political climate will no longer require them.
  3. A brighter spring and summer? We will see normalcy begin to return on the viral front. The biological weapon was actually a dud, taking out largely the population that was going to die of the flu regardless, but the psy-op was strong. I don’t know if people will ever be convinced of the truth about covid-19, which is that it wasn’t much of a thing, and a good many of the people who “caught” it never would have known it was anything but a common cold if the media hadn’t programmed them to look for it. I do know some folks who were laid pretty low by it, but it was the same population you’d expect to have a very hard time with any virus.
  4. Donald Trump will retain the presidency. This one I would put money on, if I had any. I don’t know if it will be via the electoral college path or some other, less peaceful, way. It does look like Georgia is going to be flipped back to its rightful winner, and Arizona and Pennsylvania look very promising in the next day or two. Regardless of the means, I don’t see any way Donald J. Trump lets the Deep State steal our nation. I think he’s prepared to face any decision necessary to free us from them.
  5. Revival is coming. I have seen so many people come to Christ or return to their first, fervent love for Him in the past year that I am confident that we’ll see more of the same. Whether driven to it by hard times, or convinced by current events to flee the coming wrath, new converts are being made daily.
  6. The media is going to lose its grip on the national mind. No need to elaborate on this, as there is nobody who doesn’t already see it happening. They are actors, not journalists!
  7. Y’all, my readers, are going to get healthier. You’re going to do this because I’m going to show you how, and I’m going to make it easy enough that you will want to make changes. You do know you’re in control of a great deal of the pain and suffering in your life, don’t you? Modern medicine would like you to believe that you’re just broken if you have a chronic illness, and that they have an expensive magic pill for that, but the truth is that it’s your environment, and especially your food, that is harming you. Your body is not the culprit at all. It’s just doing what it has to, given its circumstances. If you’re not dead yet, you can improve things drastically. If you’re already the picture of health, stick around. You can either help me encourage others, or argue with my recommendations and sharpen my iron. Either way, we all win.

And resolutions? Just one:

  1. I’m going to see my extended family more often. It is really pathetic how I’ve let most of my adult life go by without even contacting my aunts, uncles, and cousins. I’ve reconnected with a number of them recently and realized just how important,and how comfortable, family is. I’ll put a lot of extra miles on my big white van dragging the kids all over the country-side to get to know the people from which we come. Should be fun, especially with our new driver taking the wheel more often.

What do you think of this new year? Hopeful and exciting, or the same drag we had last year, only more so? 

 

 

 

 

Merry Christmas, My Friends!

And the rest of you, too!

He left the comfort of Heaven to come to a place where His body would be vulnerable to the same ailments as ours. He endured the same discomforts. When it was cold, He shivered. When it was hot, He sweated. He subjected himself to every temptation that we must endure. And yet with all physical and spiritual temptations visited upon Him, He sinned not, and then became the propitiation for our sins, who have failed in a million ways.

We should absolutely enjoy the Feast of Christmas, without turning up our noses at the “materialism” in the gifts and decorations, or the “gluttony” of meals and drinks shared with loved ones. There is a time for feasting and enjoying the bounty of His provision. The times for fasting and mourning won’t be denied, and they are coming. They are inevitable.

One day there will be an eternal feast, with no more fasting when we are finally with our Bridegroom. Let us look forward to that by celebrating our Salvation’s coming on this day.

Merry Christmas, all!

The Fix Still Isn’t In

This one’s for muh normies.

Normies (n.): people who have been so virtuously busy building and maintaining their lives and livelihoods that they haven’t had hours to spend reading and researching the political edifice that rules us all. Normies are often found on social media, whinging and cringing about whatever “news” finally manages to bubble to the surface in spite of media suppression, but without any understanding of how deep the rot really goes. The world could not function without normies, but we are in a time when the world will cease to function if they don’t wake up.

The trouble with people who mind their day-to-day life, and little else, is that they apply just as much emotional energy to politics as they have left after the bills are paid and the children are in bed, and not one drop more. It is, after all, all they have left. When called upon to exercise some intestinal fortitude in nearly any contest, they quickly give in and “deal” with whatever injustice has been foisted upon them this time, so they can get back to the more pressing needs of their immediate lives. The State–the one that operates regardless of which party is nominally in charge–has gotten away with much worse than murder for God-only-knows how long only because normies are honest, busy people.

And these good people are starting to do that thing they do again, far too early. With the media incessantly droning outright lies, and social media intruding on every conversation with an ominous reminder that Joe Biden has won, Trump is done for, they are beginning already to resign themselves to at least four more years of our pre-Trump status quo.

And then? Well, they’ll vote again!

This is adorably naive, friends. I hate to break it to you, but if Joe Biden is inaugurated on January 20, 2021, there will never be another legitimate election again. For that matter, we haven’t had legitimate elections in our national races for a very long time. The governor’s race in my home state of North Carolina was also, I am certain, stolen in 2016 and again this year. I haven’t looked into senators and congressmen as closely, but there’s really no accounting for the longevity of a number of unpopular senators. There has been a lot of chicanery in our elections for a very long time.

And why wouldn’t there be? We are, despite our spiraling around the financial drain, the richest and most powerful nation on the Earth. There’s still a lot of pickins on this carcass. But let’s pretend that the nation will somehow survive this insult. We do, after all, have to be back to work at 8 a.m. tomorrow.

With cheating so rampant, and for so long, the only reason we’ve had Donald J. Trump these last four years is that those whom I like to call Core America voted for him in 2016 in such overwhelming numbers that their normal means of cheating couldn’t overcome his popularity. The last four years of acrimony have not been merely hatred of a man for winning against them, or for implementing popular policies, or for his contemptible appeal to “deplorables”. They have been because an honest man in power can see everything they’ve been doing and put a stop to it.

They are panicked. At the end of this, somebody is going to prison. A whole lot of somebodies. If justice is done, Trump will be able to finally deliver on his promise to Hillary Clinton (and dozens or hundreds of others) that “you’d be in jail”.

And that is why he literally can’t leave the White House. If he gives in to their home-soil version of a color revolution, they’ll kill him or imprison him and destroy everyone he loves out of sheer spite. They’ll take down every public supporter he ever had. And then they’ll turn their sights back on the nation that, in their skeezy little minds, is theirs to buy and sell as they please. But they won’t just pick back up the rape of our country where they left off, as my less vigilant friends seem to believe. They will no longer even pretend to abide by the rules. Why should they? We’ve already proven that we’ll do any stupid thing they say, whether it makes sense or not.

They will punish us for not being the obsequious grunts they believe they deserve. They will flood our borders with hordes of immigrants, take everything we own and give it to them with a generous cut for themselves, restart their lucrative wars from which we’ve finally extracted ourselves, limit our ability to feed our families, and inflict a thousand other delightful surprises on our national body. They’ll literally starve us out.

There will be no more America if a Biden-Harris administration enters the White House, I promise. 

Fortunately, there has been another, better promise made to us by a man who has to date always delivered on his promises. (Well, we’re still waiting for Hillary’s perp-walk, but I’m still waiting for Jesus to come back, too. The promises aren’t void just because both Trump and God are exercising patience in getting us there.)

While it is true that there are enough electors to install Biden on the day the certificates go to congress, it is also true that there are enough alternate electors to elect Trump on that day. Even if there weren’t, there would still be opportunity for the Vice President to reject those electors from fraudulent states. After that, each state gets a vote, and we hold that majority. The media don’t want to tell you that part, because it scares them when people know the truth. People who know the truth know how to pray.

The more aware we are, the more they panic, and the more stupidly they behave. Why is that? It’s because they know they haven’t won yet, and they’re not at all certain that they have the physical manpower to pull it off if it comes to shooting. They’re trying to convince you so you won’t be ready to support Trump in the event that he has to use the Insurrection Act to save the country. But they are also trying very hard to convince themselves, because they–the media–are complicit. They’re rightly terrified.

There is an electoral path to victory, and you should be praying hard for that to be the way things go down. But if we find that either Congress, or Mike Pence, who has squished with great squishiness in the past, don’t have the spine (or the cleanness of heart) to stop the steal, we are left with one final option. The truth is, there is so much evidence of fraud that it is a slam dunk case by now, and there are both criminal and martial remedies available.

Hang in there and pray, normal people. Do go about your lives minding your own business, as you’ve always done, but for now, please be ready to put down the normalcy and fight for what is rightfully yours.

If the Congress doesn’t do its job, it will mean war, and Trump’s got an army.

 

Homeschooling in the Christmas Season

How did Christmas get to be a month-long thing, anyway? 

Christmas has become quite the to-do in our home, even though I never really got into the spirit of things for the first several years of our marriage. If I could put the tree up on the 23rd, then take it down on the 26th, that would have been quite enough for me, thank you very much. I guess motherhood is the Grinch-buster, because the longer I have little ones in the house, the more excited I get about all the baubles and lights. Christmas has become a treasured season in our lives, and not just a day. And that’s the way it should be!

Growing up in Appalachian mountain evangelical churches, I don’t think I ever even heard the word “advent” until I was in my twenties. Most people will find that amusing, I’m sure. Dumb hillbillies. Regardless, once I heard about it, I adopted the Advent calendar as a tradition in our home. When we only had a couple of kids in the house, I just put small candies or toys into a paper bag calendar I’d made. I’m not crafty, so you won’t see this one on Pinterest. I can’t believe this was 10 years ago.

As the family grew I couldn’t fit individual things into the bags anymore. Besides, doing things is way more fun.

Now, sometime in November I sit down and think of 24 Christmassy things to do (or eat!) leading up to the Day. I write the ideas on strips of paper and put them in the little drawers of our Advent Calendar.

Advent Calendar

 

Each year is a little bit different, depending on my mood and how much of a mess I think I’ll be up for. There is a lazy side of me that wishes I hadn’t taught the children to expect so much every year, but the quality time is always worth the effort. There are a few things that we do every year without fail. Of course, there is always the Reason for the Season, reading the Christmas story and singing hymns. There are some less pious things, as well, like gingerbread houses made with graham crackers and royal icing. I’ll post a how-to later on for those interested. Yesterday we put together a Christmas puzzle. We’ll use some peel-and-stick sheets to stick it together and frame it. Other things we do are making and taking gifts to neighbors, singing Christmas carols, and drinking hot chocolate.

So how do we keep on schooling when it’s just one big party? Well, to tell the truth, I called the puzzle geometry and art (it’s shapes and colors!) yesterday, and when the time comes for gingerbread houses, I’m going to call that “handicrafts”. We do our morning meeting with prayer and Bible reading, a few together things like Shakespeare or Plutarch, then a little bit of copywork and math. After that we’re as flexible as we need to be, depending on how time-consuming the day’s activity is. Sometimes it’s just an extra story or song. Sometimes it’s an all-morning event.

The kids can still fit their lessons in around the edges while we center our lives around the Truth that Christ was born for us. If we skip some academic things, I can still rest easy knowing that January is coming. We can grind it out then. We have so much going on in December that I’ve learned to look forward to January as a time to accomplish much. Perhaps I’ll even accomplish a few more blog posts! Sorry it’s been sparse so far, but as long as I’m raising these kids, it’s going to be like that. You know how it is.

What are your Christmas traditions? Do you have an advent calendar? Let me know in the comments what you do so I can fill out my calendar with new ideas next year! 

Friday Link-about

Just a few things to think about over the weekend. I’m going to start keeping a better list. I know there was more that I wanted to post than this:

I was so tickled to see that my friend Dawn has a podcast now. She is truly a font of wisdom. She hasn’t had time to post new ones lately, so there’s time to catch up on everything I’ve missed! Find her at One Faithful Mom.

Watch, as Nancy Pelosi explains that a Chinese spy sleeping with a congressman is no concern to her at all, and certainly we shouldn’t be looking into the backgrounds of people who work for elected representatives. The infiltration of American patriots into Trump’s government, though, is horrifying. “They’ve got Q!”

China says private ownership of guns in the U.S. is a serious problem. Well, yes. If you want to invade a nation, it helps if there isn’t a rifle behind every blade of grass.

The L. A. Times says masks don’t work, so the mask-wearing needs to intensify. It is imperative that we remain terrified of each other at all times.

Do you read The Donald? Lots of fun over there.

I’ve been sleeping and exercising with my mouth taped shut. How my family must wish I’d commit to a 24-hour regimen! Breath, by James Nestor is another life-changer of a book.

Finally, a request. I don’t have any public-facing social media at the moment, and may not ever start back down that road, but if anybody wanted to share this blog with friends and family, I wouldn’t complain at all. Unless you shared it with people you know wouldn’t like it, which would make them and me a little bit cranky.

Leave links to anything you find interesting in the comments. You can leave your own stuff, too!

Basic Keto Layer Cake

If you’re trying to avoid carbs for the holidays, and need some cheats to get past the dessert trap, here’s a nice way to fool your brain into thinking it’s getting sugar. This Basic Keto Layer Cake recipe has zero blood sugar impact for me. It has never knocked me out of ketosis (NTTAWWT). Everybody is a little bit different with sweeteners, so I recommend using one you know is good for you. The erythritol/stevia blends are the best options I’ve found.

Like most of the things we eat around here, this cake is very specific to our family’s allergy needs. This recipe is made without nuts, grains, or dairy.

chocolate frosted chocolate layer cake

You get no professional-looking photos on this blog. 😉

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To Cover, or Not to Cover

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. 

Actual photo from worship service. I guess it would be rude to give them mouths when we’re not allowed to have them ourselves.

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 don’t do anything discernible to slow or stop the spread of a virus by healthy people. But there is something they do very well:

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.