· Leadership Development

This is really macho

By Bishop James E. Swanson Sr.

Old Testament writings have been terribly misunderstood by Christians today; many rules seem antiquated and have been cast aside because of our cultural biases or our lack of academic knowledge about them.

One law in Leviticus can help the Christian community have a reasonable debate about whether or not they should wear masks during this Coronavirus pandemic:

“Anyone with an infection of skin disease must wear torn clothes, dishevel their hair, cover their upper lip, and shout out, “Unclean! Unclean!

–– Leviticus 13:45 (CEB)

The key to understanding laws in Leviticus is to realize that the newly liberated Hebrews were being molded into a community and developing a community DNA that would help them live together for the benefit of the whole––something that might make us uneasy today.

Anyone who was deemed a threat to the welfare of the community was viewed with suspicion and that individual was expected to deny himself for the good of the whole.

Someone with a skin disease could spread and infect the entire community. That person was expected to isolate himself for the good of the whole. He then became, not a villain, but a hero––someone who was willing to be inconvenienced for protection of others.

In the midst, of the COVID-19 pandemic maybe we men can demonstrate that which is truly macho by wearing a mask.

Like the ancient Hebrew with a skin disease who cried “Unclean” to warn an approaching person that he might be in danger, men who wear masks today are the real heroes by caring more for their neighbors than inconveniencing themselves.

Bishop James E. Swanson Sr., president

General Commission on UM Men


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