There are places for men with really hairy backs who wear tank tops?
Sure, Such As?
- the beach
- the internet
Places They Shouldn’t Be?
- fashion shows
- bill boards
Did that last one surprise you? It did me too but then I was there in 1997.
In church when a man with Wookii like body hair walked in and sat down wearing a tank top. I noticed him right away, he was hard to miss.
Then It Was Monday Morning
I began getting phone calls, letters and not a few drop by conversations from members.
Even in 1997 tank tops were considered, by some, to be an undershirt. To go out in a tank top was to go out in your underwear. There were complaints and demands. There was a call for action, for a dress code, and that I should speak up for modesty and good taste.
It was a long and difficult week.
What Did I Do?
I took it to heart and the next Sunday I spoke against inappropriate clothing in church.
- “You wouldn’t wear your swim suit to church.”
- “You wouldn’t want your family coming in their underwear.”
- “You need to be sensitive to those around you and set a good example.”
I was thorough, clear, and effective. I was proud of myself. Good job Rick!
Then It Was Monday Morning, Again
I began getting phone calls, letters, and not a few drop by conversations from members.
They said it was inappropriate to set a dress code. They asked, “Where do you get the authority?” People were mad, and they were mad at me.
There was no pleasing them. I was either to soft or to hard. The younger people, my peers, were furious.
They said, “In a growing church we need to do everything we can to reach out to the community and the last thing we need is a dress code that makes them feel awkward and unwelcome.” Okay, good point.
The others said, “In a growing church we need to do everything we can to reach out to the community and the last thing we need is inappropriately dressed members who make them feel awkward and unwelcome.” Okay, good point.
Two sides of the same coin and I was getting flattened by both sides.
- Neither was willing to see the other’s point of view.
- The two sides were generationally divided.
- Both used church growth as the basis for their objections.
- Truthfully, it had little to do with growth and everything to do with preference.
Ultimately, I gave a sermon appealing to everyone to see everybody’s point of view. I asked us to do what leads to peace and mutual edification, and to make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit. I appealed on the basis of love.
I quit being the moderator of modesty and good taste.