So Tie One On, or throw one on….

Just thinking.

Sometimes I think it would be much easier to just throw a dead animal on the altar and go on my merry way. Don’t get me wrong; I really don’t want that system of self imputed righteousness, and I am grateful beyond words for the gift of salvation from Jesus Christ. But don’t you think that we humans have made some things very complicated? I’m wrestling with the trappings of religion right now: those things that humans say are necessary for worship, or to be a good Christian, or what one must DO or BE or SAY to find favor with God.

I was recently reading the website of a pastor who I do not respect at all. He seems to be pompous, full of hot air and stuck on himself. He “ministers” by ridiculing and calling names. His writings make me angry and upset, but I continue to read them to try to and understand where he is coming from (and where he is going). I also read them because some folks that I care about are caught up in his cult.

One of his big points is that he will not turn anyone away from attending his church, based on how they are dressed. But (and this is a big but) if they wanted to join his church or to serve in any way, then they must dress a certain way. For example, if a man wishes to be an usher, he must wear a suit and tie. I have nothing against a suit and tie. Some suits look like leftover rumpled zoot suits, but I happen to think the Hubs looks rather dashing in his funeral suit. (Funeral suit? Yes. It’s what he wears when he works at the funeral home….). But is it Scriptural to require this outfit as a prerequisite for membership and service? The so-called pastor said that the business world requires “the uniform” (note the funeral suit), so why not the church? I don’t think that is sound reasoning. He also says in other writings that Christians are not to imitate the world. Now we have a bit of contradiction going on. Isn’t the suit/tie requirement imitating the business world?

My early morning Bible reading today was from James (my fav book of the Bible). James is warning the early church to not place more favor and recognition on those who dress well, and to not regulate those in rags to the back dark corners. The afore-mentioned pastor seems to be doing just that. Want to come to my church? Fine. Want to give money to my church? Fine. What to really be one of us? Then dress up. Uh……… our thinking hasn’t changed much in 2000 years, has it?
(And by the way, he calls it “MY” church, which is whole ‘nuther can of worms).

I firmly believe that there is a difference between not dressing up, and dressing immodestly or immorally. Scripture does speak to this, and it’s not just in the context of church attendance. However, Scripture does not spell out exactly what the offending garments are, nor the size, nor the color. It simply gives general guidelines. This “pastor” forbids women to wear anything except dresses and skirts, on the basis that women are not to wear men’s clothes. OK. The bit about women not wearing men’s clothes is in Scripture. But Scripture did not specify exactly what makes up men’s clothes. For the record, I wear dress pants to church. Once I asked my husband if he would like to wear them. His reply was a look of horror. There was no way he wanted to wear this swishy pair of pants with the cute belt, and the matching jacket with the lace top. It simply was not manly. I was not at all worried that I might be breaking Scripture. And I don’t go along with private body parts being exposed to the world.

But none of this has to do with wearing a polo shirt and jeans to church, does it? Just seems to me that the trappings of religion are overtaking the gospel truth. Who decreed that wool outweighs denim in importance? Who decreed that a tie is the adornment of choice? If one seeks to worship with a sincere heart, then I say you are welcome, suit or no suit. And if one wishes to serve the Lord, I say you are welcome, tie or no tie. I want to live a gospel life, not an extra-biblical life.

Father, make Your ways known to us. Make Your ways and truths absolutely clear. Convict me where I need correction, and fill me with joy as I seek You.

To God be the glory,

Published in: on November 1, 2010 at 10:55 pm  Comments (3)