I think of that whenever I drive past the modern industrial style buildings most churches in my state call home. While I appreciate that it is the people who make up a church and not the building, I see the failure to invest in and maintain beautiful churches as symptomatic of the larger lack of reverence in modern culture.
"We want everyone to be comfortable."
"Love the sinner, hate the sin."
Although I appreciate the loving hearts behind those messages, I believe they're wrong to give these ideas blanket application in churches and ministries.
We live in a world in which children are no longer taught boundaries and principles; many adults struggle in their jobs and families because no one ever taught them the basic rules of respect, appropriate speech and dress or reverence for sacred things. If the church does not step up and teach these things, who will?
I was both pleased and frustrated by this story about a Sacramento church that posted sign-age at the door clearly (but politely) delineating what was and was not appropriate attire for church, titled with the statement: ""Give God Your Best, Dress in A Dignified Manner When You Enter His House."
It's fantastic that the Priest supported the parents and parishioners who approached him about other attendees' skimpy and distracting club-style clothing on Sunday mornings, and that he was able to provide the instruction these people should have gotten from their own fathers. Plenty of church families struggle with their teens over what they can and cannot wear, and it's awfully hard to hold the line on modesty when other "church kids" are freely running around half-dressed like their favorite rock stars.
It appalls me that the other pastor sought out for quotes by the journalist writing the article above was dismissive and un-supportive:
"[Pastor] Ray Johnston... said he is just glad to see people in church. He has not worn a tie to worship in 10 years. He prefers golf shirts.
"I think God cares about what's in our heart, not what we are wearing," said Johnston.
He added that he does not want to be critical of churches that have dress codes. "There are all kinds of churches for all kinds of people," he said. "But I don't want to put up barriers to church. After all, from everything I know, Jesus wore sandals."