Sunday, February 13, 2005


Sometimes, you just gotta shake things up. Hope you like the new colors on the blog. I got a little tired of the plain white, myself. So I'll deal with blue for a while.

Lots of changes around these parts. My almost-eleven year-old son came home with his brown hair highlighted with blond streaks. We knew it was coming, but it's still pretty freaky to look at. My thirteen year-old had some milder highlights put in too, but they are apparently too conservative for him so he's going back for blonder ones next weekend. So how are the pastor's kids being allowed to be so, um, un-conservative? Hey, it's just hair. And it's not pink, green or any other mutant color not naturally found on the human head.

I never dyed my hair (notice that I speak of my hair in the past tense). However I was always up for a new style. I picked the crew cut in third grade when I tired of the "schoolboy" cut, as my barber called it. I waxed it up and was ready for anything. It was a couple of years before anybody else tried it, but I was done with that style by then. Mostly I wore it long by 1950s standards -- even though I was living in the 1970s! I added a beard as a junior in high school, back when nobody was allowed to wear one at school. (So I got a little preferential treatment, provided I didn't abuse it.) The weirdest thing I did was let my wife talk me into getting a perm. It was fun for a while, and it helped cover my ever-increasing bald spot. Temporarily anyway. So I guess letting my boys mess with their hair may be hereditary.

The universe around us keeps changing anyway. No matter how much effort we put into forcing things to remain the same, it never works. A criticism I've often heard about many churches is that we are strategically positioned to take on the 1950s. As humorous as it may sound, it's dead-on accurate in far too many churches (and denominations). In what other building do people sit on pews? Maybe the bleachers in the ball park come close, but even those are fading away. How many times outside of church do you hear an organ played? Again I'm thinking ballpark. But then again, baseball is often accused of being a game from another era.

Realistically I have no problems with people sitting on pews -- as long as it's not me! My back can't handle those things! I figure I have a seat reserved up front and I rarely get to use it on Sunday anyway. I have no problem with a church organ or any other relics of traditional Protestant worship services. But I fully realize that it gives us a bit of a perception problem. Are seekers expected to go back in time fifty years to attend a service? Is there a subliminal message about relevence there? It might not be an accurate message, but Christianity has the reputation of being for those who haven't kept up or can't keep up. Sure it's a backhanded slap from the overtly proud and self-proclaimed intellectual crowd, but it has become an acquired stereotype.

So the problem is that we are in a changing world with an unchanging message. And many people see it as trying to sell hair gel to men like me who are follicularly challenged; too late and hopelessly out of date. What do we do? Worship the God of the unchanging message and crucify our sanctification of the means of worship. We must proceed without the "only way to do church is like this" mindset. Boy, that's tough! But it's not the hymn we are to worship, but the Originator of music. It's not the Communion cup we should revere, but the One who gave His blood for us which is symbolized in the contents of that cup. It's not the pulpit, it's the God who gave us the Word which is proclaimed from pulpits and rooms everywhere. It's not the church building we are to worship, it is Almighty God who is worshiped inside that structure and inside the hearts of His people.

God is eternal. He'll be around forever. Gregorian chants, although extremely popular at one time, have dropped off in general acceptance. Furniture styles, musical genres, white blog templates and blond highlights can be "hair today - gone tomorrow" but the message remains constant. Jesus saves. Thank God He still does.

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