The clothes don’t make the heart of the man…

Do you ever wonder what people are thinking?

As you probably know, I play in a Christian rock band called Boochie Shepherd. Being in a Christian band, you get to see the very things that this blog is all about on a daily basis.

I guess maybe I need to preface what I’m gonna say with this statement: I love the church. I love Jesus. I want everybody to live in a relationship with Jesus that meets their needs and fills their life. Maybe I should also say that I don’t know everything. In fact, I don’t know much of anything. I don’t claim to have all the answers to life or after life. I don’t claim to be a herald of the truth or a lighthouse of knowledge. I am not the final authority on religion. To be honest with you, I don’t really want anything to do with religion. Just give me Jesus. All that having been said, I proceed…

 

There’s a magazine called “The Gospel Advocate” that comes out every month. Sometimes they have some really great articles. I’ll be honest with you, I don’t read it all that much. But every now and then I come up with a free moment and someone else’s copy, so I’ll read some of it. This month, some of the articles are titled:

 

“The Lord’s Day is Under Attack.”

“Convenient Christianity”

“Dress Habits and Worship”

“Confusion About Women’s Roles”

“My Pilgrimage” (concerning instrumental music and it’s divisive nature)

 

Already, you can see what kind of magazine this is. The Gospel Advocate is out there to correct everybody. That’s great, but it assumes one thing: that they know every correct answer. They’d never say that out loud, but that’s clearly the implication. How can you correct someone if you yourself do not have the correct answer? And over the many years the Gospel Advocate has been published, they have covered the gamut of religious topics, spewing forth article after article about the Church of Christ and those in it who teach error. Now, let me say that sometimes there are some great and very relevant topics. For instance, in this issue there is an article about the grip that pornography is taking on America; very relevant and needed.

 

What I would like to actually talk about is the article concerning dress for worship. It’s by a fella named Ken Joines. I’m sure he’s a cool guy. He’s a retired minister, the article says. He’s not overly antagonistic or anything. But he makes some comments and puts forth some assumptions that are way off base:

 

“Our children show up for worship sloppily dressed, carrying their iPods, soft drinks, and cell phones so they can send and receive text messages during the service. 2 or 3 trips to the restroom is not uncommon. None of this is allowed at school. When your children are this undisciplined in dress habits, you can expect a corresponding lack of reverence in worship.”

–> –> –> –> 1. I have never in all my life seen a kid bring a Mountain Dew into worship service.

–> –> –> –>2. The assumption is that kids are the only ones who are not respectful during worship. Shall we discuss the adults that sleep during worship?

–> –> –> –>3. Of all the things discussed here, only one refers to dress; and that is often allowed at school.

–> –> –> –>4. The underlying complaint and problem is lack of discipline, not poor dress. Is there a lack of discipline? Yes. Is that the kid’s fault? Partially, but it starts at home with adults.

 

“When a man is being tried as a felon, he appears before judge and jury dressed in a suit and tie nearly every time. He may never have worn a suit before, but his lawyer thinks he makes a better statement when well dressed. When we go for a job interview, meet with the governor, or serve as pallbearer, we wear our best.”

  1. In each of these situations, we dress to impress (except the pall bearer). Luckily, we don’t have to impress God. We are completely unimpressive in every way. The fact that I am covered by Jesus’ blood makes me presentable, and no clothing changes that fact.
  2. Who are we to be making a statement to? God or people? God expects a broken spirit and a contrite heart, not a suit and tie.

 

He also makes the statement that Jesus had fine clothes to wear. He bases this on the fact that the Roman soldiers gambled for his garment at the crucifixion and that he can’t see Jesus showing up at the synagogue without paying attention to how he was dressed. His point is that “he had more respect for the sacred.” He says, “I resent it when someone hints that my Lord went around unkempt.”

  1. If Jesus did have nice things (probably not, but I’ll entertain it), he certainly would not have been wearing them to the crucifixion. That point is stunningly ridiculous.
  2. Just because someone can’t envision Jesus as something doesn’t really mean much. The Jews couldn’t have pictured the Messiah being born in a manager or coming without a sword in his hand, but he did it. Some people can’t imagine Jesus as anything but a white man; however, he was anything but white.
  3. Jesus was unkempt. He was poor, man. He didn’t have anything. He didn’t shave. He walked around barefooted or at the very most with sandals on. He probably stunk. He probably peed in the woods. And do you resent when the Lord says that John the Baptist was “unkempt”? He wore camel skins, ate disgusting stuff, and lived in the desert. He stunk and he was weird. Luckily, God chose to use him. Maybe we should look at that inference a little more closely…
  4. “he had more respect for the sacred.” And herein lies the problem. Our lives are our worship. Our existence is the sacrifice (see Romans 12:1-2, along with everything Jesus ever said). Our worship on a Sunday is part of that, yes. But we have become so focused on the 4 hours a week of “worship” and placed it on such a pedestal that we have missed the point completely. “Sacred” is not limited to worship. “Sacred” is a condition of the worshiper, not the worship. Until a heart can be sacred, a worship service never will be. Sunday is not sacred. But we have made it sacred via our cultural preferences and what momma and daddy always did. Therefore, we must be a little different on Sunday than we are on Monday. That, my friends, is the farthest thing from the heart-training that Jesus taught.

 

Here’s my favorite: ” ‘But our culture is relaxed-casual.’ Do we allow culture to dictate how we approach our heavenly Father?”

  1. Yes, actually, we do.
    1. We approach God in English. That’s cultural.
    2. Some approach God in suits and neck ties. That’s cultural. (The neck tie was invented in the 1880’s.)
    3. We use song books. That’s cultural.
    4. We sing in 4 part harmony. That’s cultural.
    5. We serve communion on trays from a “communion table.” That’s cultural.
    6. We have the preacher at a pulpit, elevated above the crowd, rather than seated. That’s cultural.
    7. Some of us clap, some of us don’t. That, like it or not, is cultural.
  2. If culture was not involved in worship, our worship would look very different, indeed.

 

A couple of closing statements:

  1. “Sloppy” is a very subjective term, as are “fancy”, “nice”, “proper”, “respectful”, “ugly”, “beautiful”, and “unkempt.”
  2. I respect where Ken is coming from here. He wants people to give God their best. I agree. My point is just that God sees my dress as secondary (if even that; scripture seems to indicate that he doesn’t see it at all, i.e, 1st Samuel 16:7 for Jehovah sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but Jehovah looks on the heart.) to the condition of my heart.

 

Perhaps you disagree. Perhaps you agree. I’d love to hear your thoughts. I am always open to changing my mind. I want to learn and grow; so if you have knowledge, lay it on me.

 

brandon mc


Digg!

Fat Kid Records on Squidoo.

Advertisements

~ by fatkidrecords on June 20, 2007.

One Response to “The clothes don’t make the heart of the man…”

  1. I agree that the outward appearance is not an indication of the soul’s inner life. But I will say that the current climate has gone so far in the other direction that dressing like a slob has become a symbol of holiness.

    It is exactly the same issue: if a Christian says: “Look at me – I am better because I am wearing overalls, and dressed as if I am poor”, that is just as self-righteous as a man who wears a $5,000 suit and owns three Rolexes.

    It has reached the point now where a man wearing a tie is ridiculed and mocked in most churches. Those who mock are just being cruel.

    Most men who are older look better in a suit. That’s the way it is. It is associated with mature masculinity, which is often mocked today. I think taht is going too far.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: