We are getting some profound comments on Pastor Hein’s post on church etiquette. It has sparked insight on both sides of the issue. First we have “Dutch” reminding us that we ought not to be Pharisaical in our approach to church etiquette. In response we have “Junker Jorg” taking us into the heart of his conscience for an uncomfortable look the old sinful self’s desire for anything but etiquette in church.
Here is “Dutch’s” comment:
8. I agree, but to a point. Parents of children with the host of developmental delays (once was me), elderly who have no one to care for them but live alone, people who may not have been taught morals or values, etc, do not wear signs above their heads for all to see. I have attended Lutheran churches around this world, and this article & comments do seem to have a very narrow & shallow view of what members and visitors “should” be. From the inner city Lutheran church in London, where homeless, prostitutes, & tourists outweighed the members, the small & closed in Lutheran church in Germany, where deodorant is unheard of, am I starting to make a point here? For my part, I would rather sit next to any of these, than sit next to an individual, who I know outside church, who forgets their Faith and how to they WERE taught to live once they leave the service. I know why I AM THERE, and I would like to think, that is the same reason THEY ARE. The outside dust cover, isn’t important, what is written on the heart, the part our LORD is aware of, that is what counts. Before we begin to focus on the blemishes in our brothers, let us first focus on our own, the ones that are not seen by human eyes.
Comment by Dutch â€” July 12, 2009 @ 7:56 am
And here is “Junker Jorg’s” comment, not necessarily a direct response to “Dutch” but certainly showing us the other side of this issue. (BTW – “Junker Jorg” is a great internet handle – it was Martin Luther’s alias while his friends were holding him up in the Wartburg Castle for protection from the Emperor.
14. Church etiquette involves rules and law and order, so sinful men like me are quick to rebel against it. I want a religion that revolves around me. In my religion I want to sleep in late, throw on yesterdays clothes and go read the Sunday morning paper at my corner Starbucks. If my wife won’t let me do this, I at least want to be half as comfortable as she drags me to Sunday morning services.
But then I get to her stogy Lutheran church and I, in my self centered religion, am made to be anything but comfortable. I have to sit on that hard wooden pew and then stand and say with everyone else that I am a poor miserable sinner. This does not massage my, god like, ego at all. After this I have to ask God for forgiveness and mercy. What kind of god am I. Then I hear the pastor tell me I deserve eternal punishment in hell because of my sinfulness. Get me out of here. I don’t want to be polite. I don’t want to be kind. I just want out of here. If I have to go to church I at least want to go to one that doesn’t make me feel so uncomfortable. I want to be at ease in my demeanor and my sin. Tell me about what I am doing that makes me such a good person. Give me a coffee, a lounge chair and some soothing music sung by a beautiful woman and I can adapt to your religion. Let my family play comfortably as if we were in our own living room or better yet give me a free babysitter for my kids so I can better enjoy the entertainment going on up front.
I know, I know. This is way over the top. Maybe one in a million men in church are as evil as me. It’s just too bad because I like your nice Jesus, but I don’t particularly care for the one who has zeal for His Father’s house and gets angry when people go there to be about something other than prayer. I don’t know if I like a God of order who won’t let me be disorderly. I can’t tolerate a God who demands perfection and also wants me to put my neighbor before myself. Let him sit up front If he wants to hear God’s word, and pray and thank and praise Him.
Wait, what is this I am feeling? Guilt? Can’t be. I got rid of my conscience years ago. Is it fear? I don’t like this. I am getting really uncomfortable now. What do I do. I am having a panic attack. I am afraid of an eternity of suffering in hell. Who can help me get out of this awful predicament I find myself in? Who can save me from this body of death? Lord, to whom shall I go? You have the words of eternal life. He died on a cross for sinners like me. Keep sharing that sweet and good news pastor. I am now declared righteous before God on account of Jesus. When I die I will be with Him in paradise. Let me move up front. I want to hear more of this. Let me eat and drink His body and blood, for He is good. Thanks be to God for the mercy he shows to me.
Comment by Junker Jorg â€” July 13, 2009 @ 12:36 am
You can see the original post and all the comments here.