So it’s come to this. I can’t imagine why a dog would allow herself to be so demeaned by a 12 year-old who claims to love her, however this is too good not to share.
But there is another reason I’m posting this photo. It may be a stretch, but it illustrates something I’ve been tossing around in a jumble of thoughts over the past couple of years. Those thoughts have slowly taken shape and led me to believe that I’ve spent too many decades of my life wearing a cupcake necklace and bow headband when I should have ditched the whole ensemble. Okay, hopefully you get the point. I’ve actually never worn these accessories, but I’ve worn others. Haven’t we all? I would blame this on my gender, the part of the country I live in, and my childhood churches, but this is not unique to female Evangelicals who live in the Bible belt. Those of us who fit into those categories, however, just might have a harder time believing that God could have a different ensemble for us to wear.
Here is a for instance:
In college, I majored in journalism and went on to work for our city newspaper as a desk reporter, and then features writer. I loved the world of journalism. I was a newspaper fanatic and still treat myself to the occasional print version of The New York Times on a Sunday afternoon. But back in the days when I worked for the newspaper, I almost never talked about my job with church friends because I didn’t want to have to defend myself as a part of the “liberal media.” So when I moved in those circles, I donned my cupcake necklace and my bow headband and pretended that I wasn’t passionate about things I was passionate about. And conversely, I pretended I was passionate about things I wasn’t passionate about because they seemed more “right” than being a newspaper reporter.
Another for instance:
I don’t like Women’s Conferences. There. I said it. And I should tell you that if you love them, I have no problem with that. There isn’t any principle involved, I just don’t care for them in the same way others don’t care for New Year’s Eve parties (not saying the same things go on at both events). I would just rather stay home. But, once again, I spent a decade donning that necklace and bow and going to some Women’s Conferences because there were a bunch of Godly women there and I thought that maybe if I went it would make me Godly too. It didn’t.
It’s interesting how we assume everyone in our spiritual circle likes the same things we like, or that they believe in the same things we believe in. We’ve come to expect that we’re all on the same page, and so those who aren’t either end up slinking away or donning the ensemble to keep the peace. There was an older gentlemen in the church I grew up in who would say, “Let’s just keep the main thing the main thing.” These days, however, it’s hard for many discern what the main thing is because we’ve taken so many things that don’t matter and made them paramount to being “people of faith.” The result is that most of us think, act, and look oddly similar. For the record, the “main thing” is Jesus Christ, but do you really, really think that Jesus would slip into any of our churches and fit in?
What if our circles consisted of variety and diversity? What if our churches were filled with people of differing passions, opinions, ideas, styles of clothing, likes and dislikes? Is it okay to turn up Mumford & Sons and turn off Casting Crowns? Can I admit that I care about the environment? What if I’d rather hear Rachel Held Evans than Beth Moore? Can I like some different things? Have some different opinions and persuasions and not feel like I have to wear the accessories that everyone else has on? Or will I just end up looking out of place without them? I hope not, because I’m in the process of ditching the accessories that don’t fit me and am trusting that all of us who say we are following God will allow one another to do the same. I want to encourage the people around me to be who God has made them to be, even if that looks different. Even if it makes some of us uncomfortable. Let’s not force anyone to wear things that don’t fit them. Sometimes, as you can see from the photo, it just looks wrong.