Amy Poehler wrote in her book Yes, Please that her motto is “Good for you. Not for me.” She considers it part of her feminist code. If you want to breastfeed until your child is five, do it. But it’s okay if I don’t. If you want to go to church on Saturday night in a laundromat , that’s great. But if I want smells and bells on Sundays at 11 am, that’s great too.
I’ve written before that – in the 21st Century Church – there is no one way to do things. What works for Church A may not work for Church B. It’s okay. It’s good, even.
A few months ago, I was doing a gig about 21st Century Church for a church group and at the Q&A part at the end – after all I’d said about culture shifts and generational trends – a lovely retired man bedecked in a jacket and bowtie asked:
How do we get men to start wearing suits to church again?
It would be easy to slam palm to forehead and say, “Didn’t you listen to a word I said?” But the better answer is about personal devotion.
If that gentleman loves God by wearing a suit to church, he should keep wearing suits to church. But if the little girl down the pew wears a soccer uniform to church because she was at a soccer game before worship, good for her. She and her family made a special effort to show up.
This is a surprisingly huge shift for some of our congregations.
While the sight of seeing a man in a tee-shirt sitting beside a woman in Ann Taylor sitting beside a homeless man who smells a little sitting beside a millennial with a cup of coffee all on the same row in church might make some worshipers feel judge-y, it would make others feel like they were seeing the Reign of Heaven up close and personal.
And it’s not just about clothing. Some devout believers are Republicans and some devout believers are Democrats. Some go to shopping malls on Sundays and some practice Sabbath by staying home and playing board games with the kids.
There is more than one way to worship God. There is more than one way to show devotion to God. If I don’t understand your way or you don’t understand my way, can we simply see each others with the eyes of Jesus and appreciate that we are together as sisters and brothers in Christ? Maybe what’s good for them is not for us, and that’s okay.
Image from this article about What to Wear to Church.