The Shame and the Mask

Yesterday while beavering away on this blog, I was seated at my watering hole Hammer and Ale, and a woman was seated a table or so away. She wore a mask between sips that boldly declared, “I’m vaccinated.” There is something about this new bump from delta that has people heaving a huge sigh of relief that they get to go back to masks, or feel justified for never taking them off in the first place. And as I think about it I think it makes perfect sense as to why there seems to be such an attachment to the things. The mask is the perfect way to hide from the world and feel like you are avoiding judgement. 

America is a country wracked with guilt. Our cultural sins are so blatant that we are running out of scapegoats. Pretending that our original sin was being white and male is not going over as well as planned. Thousands have been sacrificed on the alter of cancelation, and yet our sins remain as scarlet as ever, if not continued to run redder. We have accelerated the insistence of that which is truly evil as good and what is good evil. Babies are fetuses, sex is everything and somehow nothing, the image of God is malleable and can be transformed into anything so long as it is provocative and offensive. Hatred is greater than love and more meritorious. Justice is inferior to that limited subset of social justice, and critical theories have burned cities to the ground but have no clue how to rebuild them in their own ghastly image (which is probably for the best). And no matter how loud we proclaim our inherent goodness we are under a rock-pile of condemnation. However much we demand that shame is vile, and we should boast of our sins, we can not escape the cold harsh reality of dawn and feel our guilt. Eternity has been written on the hearts of men and denial does not make it so.

For a nation drowning in a sea of guilt and shame, that knows in its heart of hearts that no amount of self medication will keep the long dark night of the soul at bay, the mask is an excellent stop gap measure. We can feel justified and meritorious and avoid the condemning gaze of others. We can disappear into the crowd and feel anonymous and unseen, not worth being picked out as a scapegoat by peers. But more importantly we deceive ourselves into thinking we are avoiding the awful gaze of the Almighty, that He will not single us out on the last day for his wrath we justly deserve. We want to anonymously go on having our fun with not consequences, and the mask is the comfortable fleece blanket that reassures us that no harm will befall us. Perhaps the good deed of saving lives by not transmitting the disease will make up for the blood on our hands of unborn infants, mutilated children, or lives sacrificed on the alter of our own pharisaism. 

People who feel shame cover their faces, it is a way to hide. The guilt is great and is becoming undeniable, for as a nation we have not sinned merely against man, but against God. 

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