Saturday, November 11, 2006

What You Wear To Church

There are some great truths that many children of God miss. There are many sites on the Internet that provide splendid insights into these truths. There are also many others that provide lies and deceptions. Sadly, the latter is more often the case than the former. When I see an author go down the wrong path, I'll try to talk it out with them, if they're open. Sometimes they admit they didn't address the issue correctly. Sometimes they're open to the opinions of others. Too often, though, I find the attitude of "I'm right, therefore you must be wrong."

I will admit to you right here and now, that's an attitude I cannot stomach. Yes, I come off like that too often myself, but I do try to make amends when I mess up as soon as I see it. (That's why I got bummed about the lack of response to the previous iteration of this blog, I think.)

There's one fellow, Bill Keller, who lives in Florida and has been part of a live call-in show in the Tampa area, and now on the "i" network. For the past few months, he's been right on the mark with his teachings, even though he tends to over-generalize sometimes and say that "all churches" or "all Christians" are doing something that, sorry, not all of them are actually doing.

A recent "devotional" of his, which can be found here, really helped show me his true colors. Read it if you want, but know that I believe he's got some serious errors in his thinking.

I've seen too many people be put off by churches that demand you wear your "Sunday best" to church, or you're out of God's will or worse. Keller's opinion is that it shows "respect" to Jesus.

My question to him was this: how can wearing "your best" (or, rather, what our society has determined is "your best") show respect to God, when God doesn't look at outward appearances (1 Samuel 16:7)? Showing respect to someone has to involve the person to whom you're showing respect. You're not showing me any respect if you hurt someone else just because you think I think they should be hurt. For example, you're not showing me respect by crashing Keller's website. Vandalism of any type, including "virtual vandalism," is not something I condone, let alone respect.

God wants our hearts, our souls, and our lives. If the Spirit of the Lord tells you that means, for you, to wear a suit and tie, then go for it! For me, He hasn't said that. In fact, when I was part of a church that tended to respect clothes more than the person, I intentionally wore black denim pants (a.k.a. "jeans"), sneakers, and a collared "golf shirt," all of which Keller condemns in his missive. Why did I do that? I knew there were people who could've come in who may not have a suit and tie, or who may have come in off the street out of curiosity. God called me to dress down to encourage them more, to let them know that they weren't going to be condemned because of their clothing. (A secondary reason is that, being chronically overweight, button-down shirts do not work on me, nor do dress pants and shoes.)

God does want our best. He wants excellence in worship and service. As I said, He wants your heart, your soul, and your life, 24/7/365 (366 on leap years :-) ), 100%. He isn't interested in what our society considers "dress up" clothes. I feel it's safe to say that He abhors those who look down on others if their clothing isn't up to their personal standard. Sorry, there's no excuse for that.

By the way, what was Keller's response? Essentially he claimed that the Holy Spirit must've been "convicting" me (not him, of course — he's above all that), and reiterated some of what he had written earlier. Oh, well. Closed mind, hard heart, I suppose.
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