Outside of their usefulness in Olympic swimming, Speedo’s are perhaps the worst evolution in the history of human clothing. This past weekend, I saw a guy waltzing around an indoor pool wearing the skin-tight swim wear.
I don’t especially enjoy witnessing such a spectacle, however it is always worse when the man is in shape, but the shape is round. Every imperfection was on display for all to see. Every ounce of fat was visible from across the room. Nothing could be (or was) hidden … from anyone … at anytime.
As traumatic as witnessing all that was, it caused me to think about the Church and formulate this irreverent, but nonetheless true, statement:
The Body of Christ should be wearing a speedo.
|There was no way I was going to add the usual photo illustration for this post.
You have an image in your head, just use that one.
After reading that last statement as I typed it, I realized two things: 1) I must be reading too many books on Church when I begin to think about its health when face-to-not-face with a guy in a speedo and 2) There is no way The Speedo-Wearing Church is ever going to replace The Purpose-Driven Church as the quintessential church health manual, in fact there’s no Christian publishing house in the world that’s touching that. I shudder to think of the possible cover images.
After uttering such a phrase, I suppose I should at least describe how I came to this unlikely conclusion.
Much of the current research by LifeWay and Stetzer, along with Barna in the recent book UnChristian, indicates that many of those outside of Christianity are resistant to our faith because they perceive us as hypocrites. In their eyes, Christians act like they have it all together, but they know that we struggle with many of the same problems. Our lifestyles are unfortunately similar. The only difference is we have slapped “Sunday dress” on top of our sinfulness.
Like the out-of-shape guy wearing floppy shirts and baggy pants, we hide our mistakes, our scars, our doubts under a fresh coat of “just fine” said with a fake smile. The lack of transparency and honesty is an unforgivable sin in the world’s eyes, even if it’s one they engage in on a regular basis. The open source, behind-the-scenes generation wants everything out in the open. The public is forgiving of sins that are confessed, much less so with sins that are discovered.
Transparency is a good idea from God’s perspective as well. Throughout Scripture, we read of God’s abhorrence of pride, particularly spiritual pride. Regularly, He calls His people to open repentance of sin. John says that God is faithful to forgive our sins, if we confess them. James says that we should confess our sins to each other, not just to God. Clearly confession is not just “good for the soul,” it is vital to our relationship with God and our relevance to the unchurched.
The Church should take its cue from the brave (albeit misguided) young man I saw last week – bare it all. Remove the bulky, thick winter coat of secrecy and embrace the transparency of a speedo. Of course, we’re “not all that.” Nobody thinks we are. It won’t shock those outside the church to see that we are imperfect. They’ve known it for a long time.
The world knows spin and damage control. That’s nothing new. It’s expected in our politically saturated culture. They long for honesty and openness, but have no idea how to engage in it. We are the only ones who can demonstrate it for them. We tell them that we are messed up just like they are, but we found the Solution – one that’s not more hypocrisy. When they see Christians opening up and being honest they will take notice, just like I did when speedo-guy strolled casually into the pool room.
[This is an edited repost as I continue to fight off a recent sickness. Regular posting should resume tomorrow.]