Monday, January 26, 2015

31 Days: Why the Focus on Clothes?

As Mennonites, we seem to spend a lot of time focusing on clothes. If we really want to call people to Holiness, it involves so much more than just the way we dress. Why don't we focus on how our houses look? Our businesses? Our possessions? The vehicles we drive? Seems to me God talks a lot more about riches in the New Testament than He does about clothes! Some of the plainest Mennonites I know have the largest, most elaborate houses and the newest, shiniest vehicles and the most immaculate, manicured yards and the newest, most up-to-date gadgets. How does this fit into the 'stranger and pilgrim' mentality we say that we hold?

How come we fuss and argue over clothing, but nobody can touch our riches? We seem to view wealth and possessions as a sign of 'Good Stewardship' and 'God's Blessing' and God forbid that anyone should question that! This, in turn, makes us very susceptible to a 'holier than thou' attitude when it comes to people with less. People with less are looked at as Poor Stewards and what do you expect? We couldn't help them out with our hard earned money because *gasp* they might go out and make poor choices with it!

I don't know. Somehow I just don't think that's what Jesus meant when He said "Give to him that asketh thee...." It might be what He meant when He said "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God" though! I don't know. What do you think?

If we are called to be Holy, shouldn't that include our whole life, not just the way we dress? Is it possible that we Mennonites have focused so much on dress that we have missed the importance of living the way Jesus would have us live in other areas of our lives? Does it soothe our consciences somehow to dress plain and set apart from the rest of the world? Does it make any sense to take the verses about the headcovering, and modesty and such, literally but come up with excuses to not take the verses about riches literally?


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post. There's some really good thinking in here!

I'm frustrated by the emphasis that Christians place on financial prosperity. (It's not just Mennonites!) The word "blessing" has come to mean "Money" in Christian-ese, and if you're not "blessed" then obviously you have some sin problems! You know, other than greed and judging. Ahem.

There, too, is another problem brought to light: our tendency to point fingers at sinners as though we ourselves are no longer in that category. Of course we wouldn't *say* that, especially not to ourselves, but the heart attitude is there. "They" have Sin Issues, and *I* am more righteous. Look how God has blessed me! --and we look with satisfaction at our physical prosperity but fail to see our poverty in spirit. We pad our savings account while our hearts just shrivel up like worms on the sidewalk in July.

If we saw ourselves and others truly, what would be important to us then? Would *looking* set apart matter so much? Would money still matter?

I'm thinking probably not.

Bethany Eicher said...

A hearty Amen to this, Linda!! Thanks for commenting :)