Alright as a pastor and someone who is supposed to be a teacher where do I draw the line between “not causing my brother to stumble” and educating people about their antiquated hang-ups? I mean do I always have to bow to what they believe is right or should I be able to at some point in time stand up and say, “I know you have a problem with this, but I can’t seem to see any Biblical reason why this is wrong?
That question came up because one of the men of our church walked up to our guitar player on stage and told him to take his hat off. Now when it comes to hats in church I don’t have a problem with it. Mainly because I know that the guys who are wearing hats in no way associate their hat with any sort of respect issues. They aren’t tipping their hats to ladies or anything it is just a part of what they are wearing. But for some reason some people have a weird way of thinking that is the worst offence that anyone can commit and they think that they have the right to go up to someone and ask them to change it.
Here is the reason that this fascinates me. It is only with hats and not with anything else and they only do it with students because they students are supposed to respect their elders.
So back to my original point if I thought that all people should wear suits and ties to church and that it was disrespectful to come in anything other than a suit an a tie then can I because I believe that way start telling others to wear suits and ties. Or conversely (and this is probably more likely) if I believe that wearing ties is a way of showing off and it doesn’t really reflect who we really are and church isn’t about dressing up, but rather connecting with God and the whole concept of wearing your best isn’t Biblical but from tradition and more people would come if they could wear jeans. If I believe all of that does that give me the right to walk up to someone else and ask them to take their tie off because we aren’t that kind of a church?
I guess I just think that the whole hat thing is silly. I can’t see any reason why wearing a hat is disrespectful to God or to anyone else. What I do think is disrespectful is for adults to come into the youth worship service at 6:15 and sit in the back and not participate or worse talk among themselves. That is disrespectful to the youth and to God and yet since they are adults that is OK.
But back to my question. When do I stop doing things because others believe that they are a problem and start trying to educate people and why they aren’t really a problem? Do we need to take a vote or something? (I remember the church I grew up in voting on whether or not to allow clapping in church. The final decision was you could clap along with the music, but you couldn’t clap at the end of the song. Isn’t that a trip!)
Also how do I convince the adults in my church that these guys and girls in my group aren’t perfect, but they love God and I am much more concerned about where they are with God than small parts of their wardrobe and if wearing a hat is what you want to do and you are praising God then I’m not going to get in an argument over something that I feel isn’t all that important. How do I convince adults that just because the students in our church don’t look at the church in the same way that they do (the auditorium isn’t sacred it is just a room for worship along with other things) that it doesn’t mean that they don’t love God and that they are being disrespectful it only means that they see things differently and no matter what I feel or no matter what the adults feel that different way of seeing things isn’t wrong just because it isn’t how it has always been done.
I can’t really believe I am upset about this again. I just need to understand that it is going to happen and let it go. The thing is I try my best to teach my students to respect the adults in our church I only wish the adults in our church would treat the students with the same respect.