All that red tape

7 Sep

Copy of 474562_23134348I definitely have a naughty streak in me, and its all the more entertaining when my friends play along. Last night, while practising for the evening’s praise and worship, Chris (the other one) came to me and asked if I’d help him to help the congregation to sit closer together in the huge empty hall.

Traditionally, we have a busy-ish morning service at St. Johns, and a less-than-busy evening service attended mostly by the more senior of congregants. His suggestion wasn’t merely to ask them to move, but to provide the means by which to pick their seating. We taped the pews in the back half of the hall up with red and white tape. Very naughty indeed…

But we discovered a very important thing. While the congregation clearly wasn’t expecting this curve-ball, they really weren’t prepared to handle it in a graceful manner. This led to a long discussion between Chris, Carmen, Liz and myself; about how set the church is in their ways. Why, after all, do we wear ties and skirts to church, and normal clothes the rest of the week?

Traditionalism certainly has a stranglehold on the church. We are consumed by what we wear – only in church – but not to our jobs and schools. We are consumed by what we are allowed to say, where we are allowed to ‘draw the lines’, how we are allowed to gossip – only at church – but nowhere else. Traditionalism is helping us become Sunday Christians.

Does that sound too extreme? When’s the last time you considered if what you were wearing was appropriate for church? Last Sunday, I’ll bet. We do it all the time. But when’s the last time you really considered if what you were wearing to that party/club/gal’s night out was appropriate? What about vocab? Do you often find yourself feeling guilty because you used words you never would were you ‘in church’? Lord, how I shame Thee; let me count the ways…

This is in part because we are dreadfully sinful individuals, but also because we are breed to have over-the-top reverence for a building to the detriment of our witness during the week. So how do we fix this?

One practical way is to bring church to the rest of our week. Huh? What I mean is, we should try to foster more fellowship with Christian friends outside of church. Become godly hosts, if you will. Look at the early Acts churches. They met together, shared with each other and had stuff in common. It doesn’t say that they did everything in the church – simply that they met together and had good old fellowship.

Have a supper, where the bible is read. Make it a communion supper even! Schedule a morning coffee with a Christian brother or sister in which you chat about your lives and struggles as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, skilfully disguised as the common working folk. Share your hobbies and interests. Pray together.

But whatever you do – just don’t tape the pews!


11 Responses to “All that red tape”

  1. Jazz September 8, 2009 at 02:46 #

    Who cares how you’re dressed? Your god probably doesn’t. And if he does, he’s a very shallow god indeed.

    • Christopher September 8, 2009 at 09:20 #

      @Jazz – All in all, I don’t think He much minds what we wear. The lackluster ceremony that gets heavily applied in most churches today is, I think, a testament to how wrapped up us people can get in our traditions. When it comes to how it affects others, though, I think it’s wise to at least consider it…

      If you take a moment or two to scan some other articles in this site, you will see another side of things. A side on which it’s clear that girls dressing suggestively distracts boys. While this natural behavior is the way we believe things were made to happen, we don’t believe they are meant to happen to everyone at any time.

      We believe that God intended this behavior to take place within the expanse of marriage. That the bedroom eyes and come-hither stares can (read: and should) happen, but that outside of these boundaries girls should respect themselves and their Christian brothers enough to know what is appropriate and what is inappropriate dress.

      The line, as can often be seen, is moved from appropriate vs. inappropriate to ceremony vs. everything else, which I think is the danger. In the end, it is up to reasonable people to make sure that common sense wins out over blanket zealously and tradition.

  2. Jazz September 8, 2009 at 14:10 #

    it’s clear that girls dressing suggestively distracts boys.

    So it’s the women’s fault then? Sounds very much like the argument fundamentalist Muslims use to keep their women in burquas. They mustn’t be seen, they musn’t tempt men, because lord knows what the men might do!!!!

    Personally I think it’s an attitude that seriously underestimates men’s self control. Men aren’t animals – at least the ones I know aren’t.

    This being said I do think that the whole thong hanging out and belly T 3 sizes to small is way overboard on anyone but a hooker and that the guys with their butts hanging out because their pants are 6 sizes to big is ridiculous, but there you go. It is what it is.

    This being said, it galls me that the prevalent attitude is it’s all the woman’s fault ’cause a guy can’t help but think with the little head rather than the big one. It’s high time men started to take responsibility for themselves…

    • Christopher September 8, 2009 at 14:23 #

      Oh, guys can be very much at fault with many of the things they do to similarly lead girls on. We had an interesting discussion about this with some friends a couple of nights ago…

      While guys are visually stimulated, girls are relationally stimulated. It matters when a girl talks to a guy that listens and cares. Some guys do this intentionally, while others do it without even knowing. Over time a guy can lead a girl on to build a strong emotional connection that often times is inappropriate too. In fact, I believe that guys are more at fault here then girls have ever been with poor dress sense. I have made this mistake many times – I’m by no means an angel.

      The reason that I mentioned the modest dress of women is not because I think that’s the only problem, but because this site covers more of it than the many problems guys cause. We intend to focus a lot more on that, but I’ve only just arrived here, so forgive my sloth 🙂

      Please keep reading and commenting – we both greatly appreciate it!

  3. Jazz September 8, 2009 at 15:07 #

    I wouldn’t generalize if I were you. My relationship with Mr. Jazz was on a purely physical level for quite a while. As were most of my relationships. Lust pure and simple.

    You realize that as an atheist my comments would be challenging. Whatever floats your boat, but your boat and mine don’t even float on the same ocean.

    • Christopher September 8, 2009 at 15:24 #

      I realize, we realize, that there will be many people who do not agree with us on a spiritual level. And that some times our choices will only make sense in the context of faith, but wherever possible, we should be willing and able to explain our choices in the hopes that they help others with the same issues of faith and life.

      We appreciate your comments here because they have helped to this end. It matters more than you think 🙂

  4. Lizanne September 8, 2009 at 16:05 #

    @Jazz I’m sure you may think me a prude, or old-fashioned. But as you rightly say “Whatever floats your boat”. I appreciate the comments, and I hope that you will keep reading my blog. Luckily we are all different, or the world would be a very sad and boring place.

  5. Stacey September 8, 2009 at 16:39 #

    Chris, your comments have been really good and well thought-out. Jazz, you bring across good points too. I think that people dress the way they do to give you, as an observer, a look into who they are and what they want. Sometimes it’s more than what we want to see, but who are we to judge? I also believe that people dress accordingly for certain occasions and events, so if you dress up for church, I see it as a respect thing on the holy day. Just because you don’t dress that way everyday doesn’t mean you aren’t respecting God. My church is very chilled so I can go in a hoodie and jeans, but there are some people who dress up smarter and no-one looks down on them for doing so. When I go out clubbing, I try to look my best because when I make the effort, I feel confident and this confidence shines through and I have a brilliant time because I feel great! I don’t have all the theological and philosophical answers, but this is just my opinion. The articles on this blog are quite interesting, whether you are a Christian or not. Thanks to Liz and Chris 🙂

  6. Jazz September 8, 2009 at 19:03 #

    @lizanne – I don’t think you’re a prude or old fashioned. I never said that. Nor do I judge you. I’m sorry if you think I do – how you live your life is none of my business and it isn’t for me to judge it. Clothes wise, I probably dress pretty much along the lines of what you consider modest (from your fashion posts), even though I don’t think along the lines of it being modest or not. I just don’t think of it, I dress the way I do because that’s me.

    As I stated, we’re definitely not on the same page spiritually speaking. I don’t judge that either. Who am I to say I am right and you’re wrong or vice versa.

    Though I do not share your beliefs by any stretch of the imagination, I do respect them. And I like discussion, so questioning your (and my) beliefs comes naturally to me. I find opposing points of view endlessly fascinating.

    If you’d rather I not challenge you, ask for explanations or offer my point of view here, please feel free to let me know (if you prefer to do so privately, my email is on my blog) and I will respect your wishes and no longer comment here.

  7. Lizanne September 8, 2009 at 23:46 #

    @Jazz you’re welcome to keep commenting, I didn’t mean to sound like you can’t. Its good to be challenged to think every now and then. Its nice to hear the other sides too. I hope that, while we don’t share the same belief, you enjoy this blog. Thanks for your comments 🙂

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