Thursday, November 16, 2006

Church or Country Club?

Today I had lunch with some of my friends who live in a golf community here in town. They invited us to dine at the clubhouse with them and we accepted. When we got there, a matre'd asked us if we were to be lunching in the club to which we replied, "Yes, we are just waiting for our friends to get here." Then she promptly instructed us that I would not be able to eat inside the clubhouse b/c I was wearing jeans and apparently they are not permitted. I looked around and saw people in their sweaty gym clothes but I was being turned away b/c of my blue jeans. I felt the injustice. I should have known though, I have been in this predicament before and had to borrow clothes to have dinner at this club a while back. But I thought, this was lunch, surely they wouldnt be as picky during the day. I was wrong. The only response I could get for why this was happening again was, "No jeans is a rule in country clubs all over the country." Oh that made it all better for me. Needless to say, I became strong willed and started simmering at the stupidity of the situation. I was dressed nicely but because I had jeans on, I was not allowed. These were my nice jeans too! It was dumb and I was mad so I refused to change my pants just so I could eat there. They ended up seating us outside with the other outcasts...the smokers.

Through this process and because of the feelings that were welling up in me about this ridiculous situation, I started to think about how some people can feel this sense of discrimination in church environments. You cant wear that, or have that pierced, or do your hair such and such a way! If you do, you wont fit in here! You must look, walk, and talk THIS way or you wont be accepted.

Instantly my heart hurt for the people who have felt this way before and therefore turned away from the arms that should have been welcoming them but instead were pointing crooked fingers in their faces. I have been a victim of that very mindset and attitude and it didnt make me feel like a valuable part of God's family. Here I was at the country club experiencing the very same injustice and mistreatment and it was merely over a plate of food. At church we arent offering or denying people a mere lunch, but fellowship, community, and a role in the Body of Christ. Who are we to take that away from anyone?

All that to say, lets be aware of how these tendencies may creep into our church culture so that we dont look like we're selling a membership to a country club, but instead offering fellowship to whomever is willing to receive it, no matter what they look like.

DISCLAIMER: I am in no way discrediting the good food I had while at lunch or criticizing people who live in country club communities. I am merely making a correlation between the dress code associated with country clubs and the expectations some of us thrust on others in church settings. Please forgive me if I have offended anyone.

1 comment:

Iz said...

Preach on, sister! :) I have a friend who is an amazing man of God, but does not attend church anymore because he has been turned away at the door of some many...merely because of his apperance. Pierced and tatttoed does not equal headonistic sinner. And even if it DID, aren't those people who need Jesus, too?! God doesn't care what we're wearing..."Where is your heart?" is His concern.

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