Would Jesus wear a facemask?

OK today, or this month or maybe it is this year, I am going to tackle one of the most pressing issues facing Americans today. It has long-reaching effect and has just been predicted that if things do not change this entity will not exist in 30 years. Our Sundays we will be left to X Games, golf, and long bor– I mean exciting soccer matches.

No, I am not talking about church. I think that will remain, although I’m not sure in what form. I am talking about the National Football League.

Head injuries … rule changes … it is slipping fast. Sooo, I have a plan that will save the game for future body painters and strange dressers.

Ready? It is radical … and simple.

Take away the huge, cagey facemasks. There, that is it. Brilliant, huh?

So you might be thinking or asking yourself, “Why would this help?” Think about it.

Let's do away with facemasks in the NFL -- and in church, Bill Herzog says.

Let’s do away with facemasks in the NFL — and in church, Bill Herzog says.

Would Pretty Boy Floyd the linebacker launch himself at another big burley dude leading with his face wide open?

He would be thinking, “If I hit his helmet with my face, my nose will be over by my ear … hmmm … let’s change my approach here.”

Genius! Go ahead, you know you think I am a genius.

Think of the changes it would make — significant changes. Let the linemen, the guys in the trenches, have the cages because they are already trying to poke each other eyes out and more, so let’s protect the “bug uglies” as Keith Jackson would say. But let’s strip the other guys down to bare necessities as far as facemasks.

All righty then … I settled that problem, didn’t I? Now on to something very different.

I came across this quote the other day and I cannot shake it:

“It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare.” — Mark Twain

Now I am not going to go off on some religious right rant here, but I am going to point to an elephant in the room: Morals. Morality. Moral values.

There, I said it. With our culture’s scientific worldview and humanism so prevalent, we are quickly approaching — really we are already there — the idea that there are no moral values based on religious or other ideas.

We, on our own, get to set the course. If it is good for me … cool! (I know that is way too simple, but work with me here). Simply put, our values of life and living have eroded to a simple statement of, “If it makes me happy, do it.”

Mark Twain observed that moral courage is rare.

Mark Twain observed that moral courage is rare.

And as we see the results of this type of living, some of us want to say this: It is not working.

I will put this put on the table before I get too far here: We in the Church, and I mean those who will say we call on the name of Jesus for salvation, have not done much better than those who don’t believe what we say we do.

Statistics show that our divorce rate is the same, that we have the same issues with drugs and alcohol, teen pregnancy, and abortions. We steal and lie and much more.

You can see that what Twain wrote is true today: Moral courage is rare.It is hard to build lives based on values and truths that are so different from what culture would teach us. It is always easier to swim with the current than against it. Always. So we cannot come to the table on a moral high ground, judging harshly those around us.

But we still can come to the table knowing that our God does have a better way to go about living.

The difficulty will be here: Any time we lift up our voices to say, “Hey this is not such a good idea,” the hammer falls. Narrow minded … mean … judgmental … old fashioned. We have been all of these things for sure, but who will have the courage to say, “This is wrong,” or, “This is a bad idea,” and not just throw out the line “'cuz the Bible says so.”

We do not live in a place anymore that recognizes biblical authority. Get a grip on that. The question becomes, do “we” believe in the authority of Scripture? Again survey says … a lot of us don’t.

We all cry over the images from Sandy Hook but most have quit crying over the scenes every day at nearby abortion clinics where so many lives are taken each and every day … for the sake of the mom’s … well not mom’s … a woman’s choice. We can’t teach that person to say no. She should know about contraceptives by now, they are not new, so her choice is end the life … just tissue anyway. No tears … no news reports … just death. Moral courage, hmm….

Soon gay marriage will be accepted and that is the way it is going. Many of us in the church — not all, but many — think this is not such a good idea.

We feel like the Bible is clear here … not much gray area … though some would argue differently. I am at the stage of life where I think if this is where culture wants to go then it is where they will go. But do I have to go there also?

I am told to not impose my Bible standards on them. Fine. But can I say the same back? Do not put your standards on me. Don’t force your morality on me. Isn’t that fair? Can I have moral courage? Can I hold true to my faith? Is that OK with you? Maybe not.

The President asked an evangelical leader to say a prayer at his inauguration. It was discovered that 13 or so years ago he preached a message on why the gay lifestyle was wrong, and might even have mentioned something about a gay agenda.

The firestorm of complaints was incredible … not surprising, but incredible. Imagine that. It was not a series of talks, or even a theme he talks about a lot. One message. He probably does not even remember the sermon. But someone else did, or at least dug until they found it. Amazing.

He took the high road and backed out so as not to become a newsworthy item during the President’s day. I wish the President had the moral courage to say, “No, I picked you.” Oh well.

That is where we are … as a country … as a people.

I know right now that this article, if it makes it online, will be held against me. No Presidential invites for me!

I do not think as the church we have done a very good job of modeling Jesus to a culture that rejects what we believe. He said turn the other cheek, love those who hate you, love and pray for your enemies … and so much more.

We have spent much energy accusing others of their sins (I know, not a politically correct term). Jesus didn’t.

We have to find the balance of Jesus … living in a biblical life style … and loving with biblical proportions.

Pilate asked Jesus, “What’s truth?” Church, can you hear culture ask the same question? What’s truth? They may tell us they have their own truth. We do too. It is not really a list of rules, do’s and don’ts. It is a person. Jesus.

Jesus told us we would be hated here because he was. My hope is that we are not hated because of our angry tirades and judgmental ways. I hope we are hated because we refuse to give up on people. And, like Jesus, we will cry over people … we will pray for them … serve them.

Jesus would have…and he had moral courage. Do we?

So remember: No facemasks for the NFL … or the church.

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2 Responses to “Would Jesus wear a facemask?”

  1. bill herzog

    Denis that was a great article and I so agree with what you are saying. In the west we have made the image of Jesus one of a blue eyed European…pretty far from the truth. Also, on many occasions, we read the scripture from an American, western world view so we miss a lot of the meaning of Jesus words,,,and Paul. They were writing an Eastern culture much different than ours.

    Thanks for your comment and taking time to read the article…and I can fall in love….and I have, with this messiah from the Middle East. Like Peter I can say, “Master, you have the words of life. Where else could I go?”

  2. Denis Eble

    Rev. Herzog included this reference to the life of Jesus in his article above: Pilate asked Jesus, “What’s truth?”

    While the article is all fine and dandy and a worthwhile read, I wonder if he and other Christians here in Toledo imagine the face of Jesus [without the helmet] is like that photo seen on one of the banners of ToledoFavs- the one depicted as red-headed, long flowing locks down his back, an English nose and prominent chin?

    Of course, that depiction is from a stained glass work, perhaps quite ancient, when European artists were imagining what the face of Jesus might look like. In their parochial view, he is often portrayed as ‘one of them’ rather than the Semite he was.

    In 2001 Richard Neave, a retired medical artist, decided to put his forensic skills to work in an attempt to reconstruct the face of Jesus- assuming that he was a typical
    swarthy Middle Eastern man with features typical of Galilean Semites. The article about this reconstruction was published in Popular Mechanics:


    The question occurs to me: Can ‘regular’ Christians fall in love with this non-European face, a face that looks amazingly similar to faces we often see on the nightly news demonstrating in the streets of cities in the Middle East? You know, the faces of ‘those people!’

    Pilate asked Jesus, “What’s truth?”

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