In case you missed it, we've just survived another Fashion Week, with fashion shows in major cities around the world. (And ... no ... we don't have a guest writer for this week's article.) Runway after runway, model after model marching runway after runway displaying latest design after even later design. Every time I see Fashion Week mentioned, I have the same thoughts:
- It's bizarre. Everything about it is unfamiliar ... and even wacky. How people walk is bizarre. How they wear their hair is bizarre. The seemingly angry models often wear clothes that look bizarre to me.
- It's a ceremony I don't understand. All the runway shows seem to have the same basic sequence and elements - a parade of people, someone describing the outfits, other people in wrapped attention, and then the designer being applauded.
- It's not for the common person. This is not what normal people do everyday. These are not clothes that normal people will wear everyday ... or ever.
- It's foreign. Or so it seems. They seem to have their own language that we don't speak, they seem to have their own history that we're not familiar with, and they all seem to know how to notice subtle lines and colors that I'm blind to.
- But, they all seem happy. Really happy … about what? I don't get it. They're ecstatic!
- And it seems important to them. It's their own club, and I'm not a part of it, but they seem to think it's a big deal. For many of them, it's their whole lives. But to the rest of us, it's an irrelevant oddity.
Now you know what a church service, or even the whole church culture, can be like for a visitor.
- It's bizarre. Everything about it is unfamiliar ... and even wacky. How people act is bizarre. How they sing unfamiliar songs is bizarre. The seemingly angry preacher tells people what they do wrong and they keep coming back ... which is bizarre.
- It's a ceremony they don't understand. All the church services seem to have the same basic sequence and elements - a set of songs, announcements, a few people praying here and there, other people in wrapped attention, and then someone teaching a section of a book that everyone there seems to be familiar with except them. "You're familiar with the story of Laban ..." No, they aren't.
- It's not for the common person. This is not what normal people do everyday. These are not words that normal people will speak everyday ... or ever.
- It's foreign. Or so it seems. We seem to have their own language that they don't speak, our own history that they're not familiar with (Luther! Edwards! Graham!), and we all seem to know how to notice little things to celebrate that they are blind to.
- But, we all seem happy. Really happy … about what? They don't get it. We're ecstatic!
- And it seems important to us. It's our own club, and they're not a part of it, but we seem to think it's a big deal. For many of us, it's our whole lives. But to them, it's an irrelevant oddity.
I don't fault Fashion Week for having their thing, nor do I fault the Church for having its own thing. But I do want us to always be aware of how our "thing" can exclude people rather than invite them in. Not just our Sunday morning worship service, but our lives as the church. Yes, we should make sure we make our lives and habits accessible to others, but the answer isn't to make it somewhat easier for people to adapt to us. Instead of wearing the weird Fashion Week clothing and explaining our fashion really well, we need to put on normal clothes and demonstrate how Christ followers do normal life.
(image: Life in the Fashion Lane)