Saturday, April 29, 2023

Does dress matter. . .

Apparently over in the ELCA melodrama, their first transgender bishop who was removed from office is suing for discrimination.  According to Rohrer, on the first day of work somebody had the nerve to use the wrong pronoun toward the bishop (misgendered) and ridiculed the bishop for featuring drag queens at his ordination.  Curious, the ELCA does not ordain bishops but installs them; you might have expected a bishop to know the difference.  Or, it could have occurred at the ordination as pastor, which, if memory serves, was not official but done by another group outside the ELCA and then affirmed by the ELCA after the official sanctions for GLBTQ in 2009.  It does bring up the matter of appropriate dress.  

For the drag queens, the appropriate dress is self-expression -- to the nines as they say.  Of course, there is no such thing as gender neutral drag attire, is there?  We are full of ourselves to the point where we get easily offended by anyone who does not feel as we feel.  Even Jesus should be as happy with our chosen means of self-expression as we are.  The crimes of not appreciating drag queens at an ordination or being misgendered are made more significant by the value we place on self-expression.  But how is this unlike much of what passes for dress at worship?  

The truth is that we have people with nice clothes in their closets who intentionally dress down for worship as much as we have those who dress up for it.  We have people who wear revealing clothing at worship as might be more appropriate for other occasions.  We have brides who sometimes dress to catch the groom not because they have him and we have men who think a faded tee shirt with beer advertising and some faded jeans is high style.  So what is the difference?  Is the drag queen inappropriate because of being a drag queen or is the dress itself inappropriate?  The truth is we have have trouble actually saying why.

If we say that clothing as self-expression is bad, not only drag queens are affected.  If we say that clothing does not matter, how can we say anything is inappropriate?  If we say they do matter, are we elevating what you wear to a higher plane than should be?  It would seem to me that St. Paul is clearer than we might first admit.  St. Paul says modesty is always the standard.  Modesty is always appropriate and this applies especially to worship.  We do not cover up because the body is bad but out of concern for the neighbor.  We do not cover up because we are ashamed but because we are not the focus of worship.  That seems to be a principle lost to our age.  You honor the person being buried with your dress.  You honor the bride and groom with your dress.  You honor the special restaurant not only with its extra cost but with your dress.  Why would we do anything less to enter into the Lord's presence?  Again, this is not about the clothes but about you and me and our attitude toward where we are why we are there.

My point is this.  In worship your dress should be modest (not humble here but modest -- not drawing attention to the parts of your body that attract that kind of attention).  If you have good clothes, what is a more fitting time to wear them than in the presence of the God who has become your salvation?  As our Lord said, externals do not make up for an empty heart but neither should they be in conflict with the posture of that heart. 


Timothy Carter said...

Scripture is all sufficient.
2 Timothy 3
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
8 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.
9 But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as their's also was. 10 But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,
11 Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; 15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
Timothy Carter, simple country Deacon. Kingsport, TM.

Janis Williams said...

I would suggest that one of two things is happening here: 1. Our heads and hearts have become so disconnected to the point the one that should rule over the other (head over heart) has atrophied. We live in an age where the head/mind is denigrated, even in so-called science, where the virtue-signaling emotions kill the reality of science (think masks). Or 2. Large swaths of us are teetering on the edge of becoming un-Christians. The Word, the Sacraments, and even our attitudes toward and reverence of those two are being slowly suffocated by our desires to either feel good, or at least comfortable.

We can easily reference the 50s, where women wore hats and gloves, men wore suits and hats, etc. That is not Scripture. Instead read St. Paul: likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire…. (1 Timothy 2:9), Or St. Peter: Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— (1 Peter 3:3)

Sure, the feminist will cry, “unfair!” I say not. I don’t like to see shorts and sandals on men in church, but do you really believe a woman will lust after hairy legs? Men don’t have the issue of trying to attract the opposite sex visually (at least not until recently!). If, as Christians and Lutherans, we are to think first of our neighbor, then it’s not just in the spiritual matters, but the physical. We commit to pray for each other (spiritual), but we also aid each other physically, like cooking meals for the sick/injured/family of deceased. We loan or give each other money. Why else would God include all those rules and regulations for Israel, and even in the Commandments, physical things? They matter.

Carl Vehse said...

It's the XXXA. Were you expecting something other that blatant apostasy from this organization?!?