I remember being asked the question once, “Do you love Christ enough to remove your tie?” The person was essentially saying that if dressing down in church would help people feel more comfortable in church, would I willingly forsake the traditional church attire (“Sunday’s Best”)?
To someone of my generation, this seems like a very simple and easy to answer question; absolutely! We hate dressing up as it is, so why not? To the older generation, such a question may be a stumbling block. After all, if you love God why wouldn’t you want to look your best for Him when you enter His house?
For whatever reason, this question has been on my mind lately. I keep wondering what traditions we hold onto that prevent us from being effective in our witness of the Gospel. I remember when I was younger my youth pastor getting in trouble for allowing “ghetto-youth” to interact with the “church-youth.” Tradition dictated that in church you behaved a certain way. If you wanted to roughhouse then go outside, don’t do it inside the church. Tradition dictated that you don’t wear shorts to church, unless of course it’s Sunday night, but then said shorts must be accompanied with a buttoned up shirt or a polo.
In our pursuit of the perfect church, I think we’ve missed sight of what the perfect church looks like. Just because a church has nicely dressed people sitting in the pews (or movie theater seats if your church prefers to be modern, or no seats at all if your church prefers to be Orthodox) doesn’t mean all is well with the congregation. The ideal church is one full of flaws, full of those who do dress up and those who don’t, but in all their physical differences grace and community abound.
What traditions do we hold onto that inhibit us from reaching others for Christ? What traditions are actually counter-intuitive to being a witness of Christ. Certainly we must keep doctrine and must maintain our ethics (so long as they are based on Scripture and tradition), but what of those things that lack a proper backing? How do we maintain our orthodoxy, but rid ourselves of silly traditions that do nothing to benefit our growth or witness in Christ?