November 22, 2009

A Real Goat-Getter

OK - after my confession of yesterday...I feel much better...and thank you Farmie for letting me know I'm not the only one who has felt that way...

Now, I went to Church this morning sans BB. The kiddos were all gung-ho, and frankly, I was in that place of grumbling about how i really didn't want to go, I'd rather stay home, blah, blah, blah.

I'm glad I went. It was a great sermon. The worship was wonderful, and I had the chance to fellowship with some friends (BB usually hustles us out the door immediately after service).

However...I noticed 2 things that irked me quite a bit today, and I really had to pray and focus on the reason I was there...

Thing #1 - people who wander in 10 minutes after service starts, holding their cup of Starbuck's coffee, and nonchalantly sauntering down the main aisle to the front row as if nothing is wrong.

OK - I realize that it is better to be a bit late to Church than to not attend at all. I realize that God wants all people to come to His house and worship and be fed. But don't you think it's a bit rude to be late to God's House week after week? And it's not as though they change the start time of service each week...besides...even with the size of our Church, it is still distracting to other worshippers...

Thing #2 - People who show up in clothes that look as though they've fallen into the garbage disposal and then been used to change the oil in a vehicle...or that they are painted onto a body. Or men (regardless of age) who do not remove their hats upon entering a building (any building). Case in point - 2 people, one a young lady (although I use that term loosely) showed up in a skirt that almost looked like a tube-top she'd decided to wear on her bottom half rather than the top half, a tank top that was about 3 sizes too small, and high-heeled ankle boots with very loose and loud chains on them. 2nd person was a young man (probably 25, so not that young) who appeared in a pair of cut-off jeans that were frayed for about 2 inches, and hung a bit past his knees...but also about 4 inches below his waist. He had on a shirt that was a band shirt...and it was rather anti-Christian, I know the me, so not a "believing" band, and his ball cap at that slight turn to 1 or 11 o'clock, and his Vans slipping and slopping on and off his feet.

Again - I know that God wants all people to come to Him and be saved. But would you show up at Buckingham palace to meet the Queen and her family like that? Would you honestly show up at the White House for a State dinner dressed looking as though you'd just rolled out of bed, or out from under a car, or off a street corner????????? AUUUGGGGHHHH!!!!!! can see my conservative upbringing, and I felt rather guilty dropping my kids off in their classrooms this morning in jeans and shirts...collared on Captain Chaos, and a little ruffly baby-doll a-line type shirt that was an "iron me" shirt on DG...and the jeans were clean, and well-fitting, and they had on dressy shoes...but still...they went to Church in jeans.

Now, maybe that's not such an issue to you all, but for some reason, I can sing worship songs to a band that has an electric guitar and bass, a full drum set, as well as a piano, and the like, I can clap, and cheer, and do motions when the kids sing with us in Family Weekends...but I simply have the most difficult time getting over people being late and inappropriately dressed for something like Church.

I think it goes to my firm belief that each day of our lives, we are supposed to be giving our best for our God...He doesn't really ask for much, in my estimation, after all He's done for to give our best, and to be a temple, a living and holy sacrifice for me, that means I take care of myself - my physical self by being healthy, fit, and not choosing things that are destructive to my body, my mental self by reading, listening to, and watching things that are positive and affirming and uplifting, my spiritual self by reading His Word, praying, worshiping, spending time with Him and other believers on a regular basis. I believe that part of being a living and holy sacrifice for Him is how we appear - clean, neat, in good clothes (clean, tidy, good repair as we can make them).

I met a woman when I was SC one time, who was living working as a waitress, barely making enough to pay rent and buy food, but she always showed up to everything she did (work, Church, picking her kids up from school, errands) in clothes that were clean, pressed, no stains.

I asked her once how she did it, and she answered me that if God gave His Son to save her from eternal separation because of sin, that the least she could do was to always be neat, clean, and in good repair. It was not a matter of her own pride in her self, but her pride to be a Child of God.

And the lateness...would you show up late to your grandma's for Christmas dinner? A doctor's appointment? Your job? Why then, do we not show the same respect for God...we have formal appointments with Him at Church each week, so how is that different than showing up for our job or school each day, or your appointments with doctors and professionals? Is God less because we can't see Him? Do we think that somehow, He doesn't know that we wander in late to Church, more intent on getting that double-shot, latte with skim milk and sugar substitute, along with our pumpkin scone? And that's another thing...when did it become OK to have refreshments during a worship service?

I obviously have strong feelings on this one...but boy-howdy does it rub me the wrong way.

Again - feel free to disagree with me, or call me a snob, or hypocritical, or whatever...but trust me, the only reason you'll see me get up in Church is during the last 3 weeks of a pregnancy when I simply don't have room in my bladder to last 45 minutes between potty trips, or if I'm bleeding, or about to vomit. And I won't be chewing gum or nursing a caffeinated beverage...I'm there to focus on worshiping God and be fed His word and teaching...


Inkling said...

If you ever venture to Canada and come to our church, oh boy, well, maybe we should go to the Mennonite Brethren Church down the road. Our church meets in a hall that was probably used for a community dance the night before. I usually wear jeans. My husband has been known to wear his work jeans (clean, but stained) because sometimes all of his jeans have become his "work" jeans. He only started leaving his hat in the car because I kept telling him how handsome he looked without it. (He was self conscious about his lack of hair, I think.)

And coffee.....we all have it. Even the worship guys up front. And they even have breakfast in the back for the worship team since they've been there since 6 a.m. And sometimes our teens have bake sales or hotdog sales to raise money for their YWAM or other mission trips - actually that happens a lot.

You'd really croak during our communion service where we all get up and go to various tables they have set up down the center of the auditorium. (Oh yeah, and we sit facing each other in sort of a diamond shape with the pastor preaching at one "point" and the worship band at the other end. The middle is for us to gather during prayer time at the end.) Anyway, communion can sometimes become like a family reunion with hugging and whispered greetings. It used to bother me until I thought about what it would be like if I actually got to share a meal with a bunch of my closest friends and Jesus. I still can focus on His gift to me once I get my turn at the table, but the line up is often a special time of being loved on by people who are excited to see us.

As for the clothing.....I was shocked when the director of women's ministry was introduced to me. I'd seen her the week before - as old as my mom, bleached hair, nose ring, tight and sparkly jeans, heels, flowing top. But then I got to know her heart and fell in love with her. And when she passed down some of her clothes to me, I had to smile at the change in my crazy heart.

And still others wear interesting outfits - if you can call them that. But then I find out that they used to be prostitutes and are now in Teen Challenge, into drugs, or simply have never heard about Jesus. And yet, they happened to meet someone from our church and wanted to come and check us (and God) out.

So that's our church. We're a mess, but I love it. Or maybe I should say, "and" I love it. It sure sets me free. I never in a million years thought I'd be here, but it is so where I belong. I realized that today as I said hello to my marriage counselor, talked to not less than 5 70-something women from my old prayer group, got to meet a cute hat wearing (because she hadn't had time to take a shower) new mom in the nursing room, and then got to hear a teenager in a short skirt talk about her work in South Africa to combat human trafficking. (We've been supporting her missions work with YWAM.) It sure isn't my grandmother's church.

Kork said...

This is why I have friends like you!!!! See, I know that it's not what's outside that is truly important...and really...I don't think that God honestly cares if we wear suits and ties, or show up in jeans and t-shirts, or whatever...I know the truly important thing is that people are hearing the Word, and becoming children of God in the truest sense of the term...
It's just one of those stupid things I can't get over some days, and yesterday, it really grated on's that for a full-on attack from Satan? sheesh...