July 2021

What’s in a name?

I was intrigued a few weeks ago to see the church website referring to what I write as my ‘blog’! My blog!! I am a ‘blogger’! At my age! Who knows I may yet advance to greater heights: maybe even become an “influencer”! (Readers can rest assured however that I have no intention of becoming a “vlogger”; I don’t wish to frighten the horses (or small children)).

Some years ago I wrote a series of articles for the church magazine under the title ‘Watch your language’, commenting on phases we use in common speech and how they often have Biblical origins. Well I don’t think there’s any Biblical provenance for blogging or vlogging (though flogging appears more than once). I suppose the prophets might have come into this sort of category and I can just see Jezebel giving old Ahab a right earbashing about that blogger Elijah.

Anyway, July. this month may see the lifting of more Covid restrictions but probably not yet of mask-wearing, an activity which has many manifestations, idiosyncrasies and personal variations. Funny thing, mask wearing….

The Bible of course has a bit to say about mask wearing but not the devices we wear to protect ourselves and others from aerosol infection.

We know that actors in ancient Greek theatre wore large masks to mark which character they were playing, and so they interpreted the story from beneath their masks and actors were known as ‘mask wearers’, “hypokrites” in Greek, a word itself made up of two words that literally translate as “an interpreter from underneath.”   

Eventually the Greek word took on an extended meaning to refer to any person who was wearing a literal or figurative mask and pretending to be someone or something they were not. So beware; as God warned Samuel

‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.’ (1 Samuel 16.7)

Beware too that Proverbs points out “One who is clever conceals knowledge, but the mind of a fool broadcasts folly” (12.23). There is a difference between hypocrisy and tact!


And also beware of the old proverb ‘People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones’ so here endeth the blog on mask-wearing. Except to say that as (we hope) restrictions are lifted faces will eventually be revealed in all their beauty and glory, sharing the Peace will become slightly more than an exchange of inscrutable glances, and we will remember Jesus’ own words:


Why do you see the speck in your neighbour’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbour, “Let me take the speck out of your eye”, while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbour’s eye. (Matthew 7.3-5)


Perhaps I will keep my mask on a little longer.


Colin Dixon

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