Friday, February 6, 2015

Things that should NOT need saying

This past week, I reached a point of speechlessness. Why?

Because, apparently, there remains a need to address issues in this world that really should not need addressed. I’m going to highlight a handful of them.

First, apparently someone has stirred up a question of whether or not it’s appropriate for Christian women to wear yoga pants. Yep, you read that right. I’ve seen a few links about it on the Net. I, admittedly, have not read the articles. I am terrified that rather than just reading a misplaced, unnecessary tome about modesty I will read some ill-conceived nonsense alleging that the spiritual background of Eastern Meditation that some of yoga derives from is following the pants.

Folks, anyway you slice it: I am less than interested in what kind of pants you are wearing. I believe maturing Christians should ask these questions about their clothing: 1. Does it glorify God for me to spend money on this? (Is this shopping good stewardship?); 2. Does it glorify God or me for me to wear this?

That’s it. Your head-to-toe hyper-modesty dress can draw as much attention to you as walking through the streets in a bikini. If you are making your clothing about you—not just a reflection of who you are, mind you, but about you—then you need to rethink. Same with your nice suit and tie or your muscle man shirt. And don’t get me started on the further question of whether your t-shirts reveal a love for Jesus or a love for: politics, sports, food, beverage, hobbies, or what have you.

If someone who saw you every day would not be surprised to hear you proclaim the name of Jesus based on how you dress, then carry on. I don’t expect anyone in the real world sees yoga pants and thinks “Heathen!”

Second, let’s talk vaccines. Not vaccines that are not about dreaded childhood diseases—leave the Gardasil and that pneumonia one they advertise on Wheel of Fortune out of it—and think about Measles, Mumps, Rubella, and Polio. Throw in Tetanus.

And get your vaccines up-to-date. I do not think the government should compel vaccinations, because the question then becomes “Where does it stop?” Do they get to compel a flu shot that doesn’t work half the time?

But let’s not be foolish. The compelling evidence is that vaccinations are generally safe. There needs to be reasonable study of whether or not they are administered safely, but it’s a need-to-do. Christian folks are nearly the backwards thinkers on this that the media is making us—it’s a lot of health nut types. And there are other issues, like a massive influx of undocumented immigrants. Guess what one of the required documents is that we’re overlooking? Shot records.

People, there’s no need for your kid to get measles, mumps, rubella, typhoid, tetanus, or polio. Get the shots and be done with it. It’s not a spiritual issue. It’s a common sense one, like buckling your seat belt.

Third, let’s talk about items like “swimsuit” issues of magazines. People, if you’re stressed about the cover the latest one of those, you are haggling over inches when you’ve surrendered miles already. The purpose of these magazines is to celebrate an impossible standard of body perfection. If you would look at her in a nearly-not-there bikini if the bottoms were pulled up and not down, I think that you’re making the wrong argument.

Fourth, there is the terrorist organization ISIS in the Middle East. There’s not much to say here: these folks are wicked and evil. They are using, exploiting, their religious beliefs to justify their actions.

Yes, this has happened before. Yes, other religions have done so. At some point, we Christians have to stop getting irritated when someone brings up the Crusades. Let’s point out that, yes, indeed, that was the horrid mess that occurs when you merge church, state, and geopolitical warfare.

In view of that, let’s pull religion out of it all. Stop worrying about who is in or out, religiously, of the situation. If a group is burning prisoners alive, then they need to be dealt with decisively. If HRH King Abdullah II of the Hashemite Kingdom wants to lead that, let him. He said, based on reports, that he’d go after the bad guys until he ran out of bullets and fuel. FedEx delivers overnight. He need not run out.

That is not the call to a religious war. That’s the call to end the threat to life and liberty that exists. If King Abdullah wants to argue religion with me later, I’m available at his leisure. We can debate it peacefully over mansaf and coffee.

But the evil has to stop. And getting distracted over who said what about the Crusades just delays the necessary.

Finally: for the love of bacon, we Baptists especially, and most of us white ones, have to stop papering over racism. Folks, the words that come out of your mouths reveal your hearts. And confession is good for the soul. Cover ups are not. If you are openly repentant and contrite, I would suggest that most of the reasonable world will back you up in asking for time and continuation in your ministry to make amends.

But if your response is that not enough people saw or heard it to really matter, that’s evil.

And it’s evil for many of the other sins we keep overlooking. Let us deal with it head on.

There. Five things that shouldn’t need saying but apparently do: we are not the boss of each other, but we are here to help. And we should be willing and ready to restore and strengthen each other.

(Yes, I see the spiral that is me saying “we’re not the boss of each other” and sounding bossy.)

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