Christian Ethics and Issues

The Irrelevance of Sanctification

Target Audience: Evangelical Christians

Jesus said: Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. John 17:17 NIV

I go to a large, multisite, Anabaptist church in Oakville, Ontario. One of the things that I value most about this church is its stance against judging people. Being part of a marginalized group of people, this is something that is very important to me. That being said, I believe there needs to be standards with respect to worship, to how we dress, how we conduct ourselves, how we behave, that set us apart from the world. Sadly, no one else at my church feels the same way.

Last Sunday, a woman led the singing at my church. There is nothing uncommon about that. Women ALWAYS lead the singing at my church have done so for many years. Most of the time, the women who lead the singing are appropriately dressed for those leading worship in a church. Last Sunday, though, the woman that led the singing showed up in paint-splattered, ripped blue jeans and a shirt that was half tucked in and half hanging out. Do I care how she dresses? Not at all, when she is hanging out at the local bar, or wherever she usually hangs out, but when she leads the singing at my church, I believe what she wears matters.

From what I can gather, I am the ONLY person of all that watched the service that noticed her attire, and was offended by it. Not a single soul, not one other person, at least from the conversations that I have had so far, feel that there is such a thing as inappropriate dress for people who lead a church service in our day and age. One of my friends pounded me with vicious, angry comments about a woman I have never met, who was judged unfairly because of her attire. This other woman was not in leadership at the church, and from what I can gather, this incident happened years ago, long before I began attending the church. My friend made it clear to me that he felt that my opinions were not only wrong, but totally irrelevant, as he felt there is no such thing as inappropriate attire in church.

This is the only place that I can make my case without being attacked, shredded by the anger of other Christians who themselves stand against anger and judgment. This is the only place where I can post my opinions freely, without fear of being slammed into some verbal wall, made to feel completely irrelevant, brushed aside by people who think they are “progressive” because they have abandoned all standards and boundaries. I can post my thoughts and feelings here without fear of being made to feel old, irrelevant, obsolete, and stupid — which is exactly how I have been treated so far by those I have talked to at my church. It is a good church, and as long as I am a good boy and don’t disagree or venture an opinion that might be considered irrelevant, stupid, obsolete, or old fashioned, I am okay. As long as I don’t offer feedback that goes against the grain of absolute inclusivity, with the exception of LGBTQ+ couples, then I am okay. As long as I just keep nodding my head in trance-like agreement, then I am okay.

Yes, I am rather down at this point in time. That kind of thing can happen when friends, people who are supposed to show you grace and mercy devalue your thoughts and opinions, degrade you with anger and open judgment because I happen to see things differently than they do. Yeah, I am really down emotionally right now. I am seriously thinking of scrapping this whole blog. No one reads it anyway, so what is the point of maintaining something that NO ONE reads. What do I care anyway? I am too old to be relevant. Such is life, I suppose, even for Christians.

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