Monday, August 27, 2007

Jeans in church!?!

Casual church has become more and more of the norm. Most churches in today’s world have at least one “contemporary” service where people can come as they are, holey jeans and all. This is something my Grandma Johnson would have never stood for. She always looked her Sunday best even if it was in her blue slacks. Her hair was always nicely done and even as the wife of a farmer I am sure she was sure to be clean.

I was considering the trend of being more casual at church at Bible study a few weeks ago. We were talking about how Jesus entered the tabernacle and overturned the tables because people had lost sight of what was supposed to be going on there. Instead they were paying money for sacrifices and if I remember right (my Bible is not right in front of me) even having sex at the church. This inflamed Jesus. He did not want people to only follow the law because it was the law; instead he wanted them to follow the spirit of the law. He wanted their hearts as well as their actions. I suppose this concept of making sure your heart is in the right place is where the “come as you are” movement comes from. Basically, what the church is saying is as long as your heart is there, your attire does not matter.

I definitely see the point as well as the value (there is not a contest to outshine the person next to you) but I wonder – have we gone too far?

The day after our study I was in court and I looked at myself. Guess what. I was dressed far nicer than I have been at church for sometime. Guess what else. I talked more reverently to the judge than I have to God for sometime. Guess what else (times 2). I was ashamed of myself.

Here was a human being that I was showing more respect than I have to God for a heck of a long time. I have come to think of God as my buddy. Someone who I can chum around with for part of the day and while I think that is not necessarily bad, I do think it is wrong. God is GOD. He deserves some amount of fear and reverence. That is sorely missing in my faith life. Man, the God of the Old Testament would have scared the crap out of me. I guarantee I would have given him respect whether he asked for it or not because I would not want to give him any reason to express his displeasure. I would not have questioned his plan (although as a human I probably would have ignored it on occasion and had to travel in the dessert for a mere lifetime) and I definitely would not try to talk him into MY plan as THE plan.

I do not really know what to do with this realization but it has given me pause. I guess the big thing is I have become more grateful for the relationship Jesus’ death has allowed me to have with my creator. I think I have spent more time listening and less time arguing lately (to God, not necessarily to humans – to make that clear before people try to correct me) and you know it might be a while before I show up at church unshowered and in jeans again. I guess other than that I am not entirely sure what I can do but I guess it is a start.