Original Research

Preliminary thoughts on the interplay between face, masking and self-presentation in a liturgical-ecclesiological praxeology in a pandemic time

Ferdi P. Kruger
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 78, No 1 | a7541 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v78i1.7541 | © 2022 Ferdi P. Kruger | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 March 2022 | Published: 04 July 2022

About the author(s)

Ferdi P. Kruger, Unit for Reformational Theology and the Development of the South African Society, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa


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Abstract

This article examines faith communities that have been offered a new front door during the pandemic, namely, the internet. Firstly, one should acknowledge that people called participants in the liturgy encountered a defining moment in their cognisance of the pandemic. They were exposed to the virtual domain. As identified by Erving Goffman, the role of self-presentation, with specific mention of the fact that people normally wear masks, is insightful. A liturgical praxeology deals with people’s propensity to make sense of communicators’ facial expressions. Consequently, one must ask whether virtual participation in the liturgy and the possibilities for self-presentation in the online environment could not add value to a liturgical-ecclesiological praxeology. In presenting systemising perspectives on the importance of the relational aspect underlying the ecclesiological premises and the importance of people participating in the liturgy to seek God’s face, the article reveals that there should be further refinements in this time of pandemic pandemonium. A mere transposing of the liturgy in face-to-face worship practices to the virtual environment will offer challenges. Finally, the following research question is formulated and briefly discussed: to what extent should the idea of self-presentation within a pandemic be integrated into a praxeology for a liturgical ecclesiology?

Contribution: The article aims to provide practical theological perspectives on how self-presentation in both face-to-face and virtual participation in the liturgy could be addressed.


Keywords

self-presentation; virtual participation; pandemic; masks; liturgical-ecclesiological praxeology

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