“Come As You Are”

A story at First Thoughts this week about people wearing Hooters t-shirts to mass stirred a debate in the comments section: should or shouldn’t people come to church dressed however they want?  There were some strong words on both sides.

A few miles from my house is one of those huge non-denominational fellowship churches.  It looks like a nice place that does good for people.  They have a big sign outside with a picture of casually dressed people, and it reads, “Come as you are!”  Of course, the models in the picture are dressed in professional-models-at-work casual (polos, solid colored t-shirts, new jeans, etc.), not real life causal (stained wife beaters, torn sweat pants, Hooters t-shirts). 

That’s a fine adage, that: “come as you are.”  Certainly, when Christ called people to follow Him, He took them as they were, warts and all. 

But then He taught them, served with them, challenged them, blessed them, and more.  Many fell away because of the difficulty of the discipleship. 

I’m reminded of another fine adage: the purpose of religion is to draw us nearer to God’s level, not to drag Him down to ours.  I think much of modern, mainstream religion tries to do just that in an attempt to be appealing to those they think wouldn’t otherwise be interested.  They drag God down to our level.  Part of this is encouraging people to come as they are, with no notice of anything further.  That’s not the plan. 

So yes, sure, please…come as you are.  Just don’t plan on staying that way. 

 

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One comment on ““Come As You Are”

  1. I agree that it’s good to remember that Christ wants to make better people of us all, and above all give us peace and joy in our lives. From the latter point, I think we should indeed encourage people to come as they are.

    We all know (hopefully) that spiritual development doesn’t go from outside in, but comes from inside out. Thus, as we learn to appreciate what Christ has done for us, we might feel the sanctity of the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper more strongly; this might make us wish to dress more formally for Sacrament meeting.

    However, I believe it is indeed important to encourage people to come as they are, and never, ever condemn them or treat condescendingly because of the way they look. Inside they may be closer to the Spirit than anyone in an immaculately tailored suit with a white dress shirt (or the equivalent for the ladies, which I know nothing about to be honest).

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