Faith & Encouragement | Sanctuary

Bucking the System

January 3, 2012

Hey my faithful few….

I am finally writing that thing I’ve been threatening to do for quite some time.  AND I LOVE IT!!! However, I had a question and I would totally, like, (heart) your involvement.

If you were to define the social behaviors, set of extra-biblical guidelines required for acceptance within your religious/faith circles, how would you define them?

Thanks for any input! 🙂

  • Doom

    Actually, you must start with natural fibers. Cotton, wool, linen, silk, and possibly a few others do a fine job. Synthetics tend to not breathe, burn to readily, hold odors, and such. Now that you have the correct fabrics for the outfit, you need to consider weave. Is the outfit for winter, spring, summer, or fall, and what type of activities is it to be tailored to? And, in there as well, you must find patterns that fit your body style.

    *Materials: Legitimate Christian notions. To my mind, the greatest of these is hope, faith, and charity. Start with these when defining Christian social orders. Avoid the synthetics, such as social climbing, perfectionism, unforgiving judgmentality (judge the act, not the actor).

    *Weave: Do you work with others in the Church for the common good of those outside the Church? As a part of both the body of Christ and the bride of Christ, what we do as a whole in the world is important.

    *Season: There is a time for all things, keep that in mind.

    *Activity: There is, of course, Church social structure and behavior. But what about the other 167 hours of the week? Take Church to the world, not the other way around.

    *Patterns: I am not so much a fan of “What would Christ do?”, as Christ did what we can’t. Otherwise He would simply have stayed home and enjoyed roasted chestnuts on an open fire. What I am a fan of is “What would Christ have us do?”. This is our pattern. Learn it then use it.

    Not sure if this helps. Not exactly sure what you were looking for. But this popped readily to mind. Good luck. Oh, and cheers on getting to your dream.

  • I have to admit I’m not 100% sure what your looking for either. There are some things that I’m at least slightly critical of, I understand why they are the way that they are, but I’m not a fan of either the attitude or the application within my brotherhood. Then there are other issues/common practices that I am in agreement with even though I would be hard pressed to prove the point if I was required to.

  • My apologies. When I live in my head as much as I have lately I tend to ask questions assuming that everyone is on the same page as me! 🙂

    Ok, I am writing, currently, about how we have relied on a “systematic” set of EXTRA-biblical guidelines to practically live out our expression of “religion”. Now, I understand that many of us are critical of such approaches, I get that… To quote from what I’m writing, to hopefully help you get my drift…

    “The harder we try to make our sanctuaries perfect, the less and less we succeed. Failure is inevitable for we are flawed people, incapable of living in a perfect environment, naturally inept at all things righteous.

    In what specific ways did we fail each other?

    They relied on the system to provide for the child. The child found the flaws in the system. She found a system could be manipulated. And those around her could be fooled. Those who can be fooled cannot be trusted. For if they can be deceived by one they can be deceived by another and what foundation is that to build upon? What foundation exists at all?”

    Am I clear as mud? I don’t mind a negative criticism. I grew up in an environment that heavily stressed certain dress codes. Even going so far as to call them “Holiness Standards”. As if those who looked different were less holy…

    Btw, Doom, nice analogy. 🙂

  • Funny you should mention – cause I was going on and on, in my own head, on Sunday – in the Nursery – trying to add up all of the layers of outfits these under 2 year old children were wearing. I was wondering if I came to their home on a tuesday at 2 pm – what would I find them wearing. But do all moms do this? At the park? I know I did with my eldest. Poor kid. Anyways. . . .
    The balance between – when you forgive someone, you have to restore relationship – or fake it. That you have to be “best friends” with every female because she goes to your church. You are a bad person if you do not seek out these best friends. That serving God IS serving the church buildings.
    Being that we have switched churches to those who are less narrow on “church code”, it makes it easier. We don’t have a dress or behavior code per say – but you will always appear to be more religious and more trust worthy, the cleaner, dressier, less physical addictions, nicer car that you have – but is this for any type of gathering? You’ll be less holy if you spend time on line. It used to be that you needed to have the flashiest bible cover – now you need to be able to swipe out an ipod the fastest, like a gun match – and break into the verse the fastest with the most versions. . .Bible drills are so much easier now. . . .You are less holy if you don’t know where Job is. . . .Even less if you dont’ know who Job is. . . .You’re not allowed to use the table of contents. . . .In the church on the corner, you are less holy if you need coffee for the one hour in church, in our church you are more holy if you can down 5 cups during church, even cooler if your kid in healies can deliver cups of coffee during the message. . . .
    Should I go on. Just come over and we can chat. . . .

  • Doom

    Gotcha. But I think you opened a hornets nest. I am having difficulties with that, currently, at Church. I have seen grown men, my age, walk into to Church, On CHRISTMAS EVE, wearing a heavy metal hooded sweatshirt, a t-shirt under that I think, jeans, and beat up tennis shoes. And, that wasn’t far from common. I was raised to save your best clothes for Church. And, though you aren’t Catholic, perhaps you will understand this next anyway. I was taught to have the Eucharist delivered to you, in your mouth, not in your hand. And so I do. But I think I am the only one, I haven’t seen others do this so far. Rules and notions and practices seem to have disappeared.

    But as for people being deceived? That is the way of sheep. God knows this. He told us there would be wolves in our midst going way back. And He was truthful. Rather than looking at what is wrong, the wolves (or looking for them), and such, I have tried to turn my head and only focus on Christ. I can’t do a lot else. Like climbing very high if you have vertigo, looking at anything else but Christ might cause you to take a misstep, lose your nerve, freeze. Don’t look down.

    The fact is, I don’t know. I only know what I was taught and what I choose to do. Much like cleanliness being next to Godliness? Nothing is actually next to Godliness, so it’s almost a sin to say that and yet a sin not to do it? I’m all mixed up. I will say that I just keep it simple and I do not involve myself with the choice of others. If anything, and if what I was taught was right, maybe I am setting a good example?

    The world has changed around me. People claim poverty… through twitter? People claim they have no food, yet have pets, a large screen hdtv, a car, computers, and game consoles? Even in Church, things seem so strange to me. Did I miss something? Someone is completely off the bus, and I honestly don’t think it is me. I know, not much help. And, perhaps I see your dilemma. But I can’t answer it. I merely pray to God that I can keep my sanity while I struggle to understand. Ugh.

  • Hedi,

    You are clear as mud to me.

    A couple of thoughts. I too grew up with dress codes, there is a “biblical” reason for them. In the past 15 years (adult married life) I’ve taught bible classes for teens off and on at different places I’ve worshiped. 15 years ago I had a 17 yearold girl that liked to wear very short skirts and no underwear. She also like to sit in the front row and keep her legs spread wide. Not very long after getting out of HS she became a stripper. This last year I had a 14 yearold girl ask me point blank why a boy she was interested in thought she was available for sex. I told her that it was because she showed off at lot of skin (I could actualy see her aerola when we were having this conversation) this was in teen bible class. My point to you is that sometimes what seems like “extra-biblical” realy isn’t. Rather its an attempt to put together an easy way for people to conform to a biblical standard without explaining alot of details. If you want to make the point that “codes” or “rules” short circut the learning and maturing process of a christain, and that the more biblical thing to do would be taking the time “teaching” on an individual basis, I think you will go along way.

    My second thought is that sometimes we see things from one point of view and aren’t able to see other reasons for whats going on. A “good kid” that never struggles with the things their elders warn against, seldom understands the urgancy in their voice when they are pontificating.

    As far as extra biblical things that we embrace as part of a congergations culture, I think we are all guilty of that. The only way to combat tradtion vs teaching, is by making the choice to allways revist scripture when a question comes up. I remember a man who taught a bible class that was simply tited “Questions”. Anyone could go to that class and ask any question about scripture or a bible topic and he would answer it. Don taught that class for over ten years and apparently never got tired of answering some quesitons over and over. I think I would have went nuts about the 3rd time I was asked about drinking, dancing and smoking.

    I don’t know if I’m being helpful to you or not.

  • I call them social and cultural norms. A church community is a subset of the larger community and is also governed by those same standards.

  • Arielle

    There aren’t any I can point to because my religious circle currently exists online.

    But boy, those extra-Biblical standards “traditions of men” really broil me from time to time when I witness them.

    Now, I am curious as to what your goal is here – are you looking for how to deal with those that embrace these standards? Write up a piece of critical thinking with these standards as the subject? Study how to interact with people that embrace these standards?