Well, hello, and sorry it’s been so long.
So, this morning, I decided to head off with my folks to my old church. And I decided to wear my new hat that I’d bought in France. We got there in plenty of time, I sat down in the ‘gallery’ upstairs, and after a few minutes an elderly Salvation Army officer leans forward and says “Have you forgotten your hat?” Unsure as to what he meant (as I was clearly wearing one), I said “sorry?”, to which he explained “You don’t wear hats in church!”. “Don’t you?” I replied, quietly collected my things and moved elsewhere.
(For those unfamiliar with the Salvation Army, officers are akin to vicars/pastors and, at Bromley, there are loads of retired ones)
Relaying this story to my mum (who’d been in the toilet), we proceeded to walk down the aisle downstairs. An elderly lady accosted me, saying “take your hat off!” and actually grabbing said cap to try and pull it off. (She was unsuccessful.)
Now, this post isn’t intended to start a debate on whether hats should be worn in a church building, or in Christian worship, or whatever. I have good friends who have different opinions to me on “head coverings”, and these opinions are the result of a genuine study of the Bible. My perspective is simply that what I wear shouldn’t lead my brothers or sisters into temptation; outside that God doesn’t give a stuff what I wear. (Although you may agree with my mate who told me after these 2 incidents that I should take off my hat because it was a rubbish hat.)
What really upset me was this: if a non-Christian walked into that church and the very first thing anyone said to him was as rude and pompous as “take your hat off!” I’m sure they wouldn’t be coming back any time soon. The elderly saint who spoke to me in the first incident later apologised to my dad, saying “I’d never have said that if I’d realised it was your son.” Which I actually find far more offensive.
Anyway, I headed into town for Bromley’s largest ever international market (400m long apparently), amongst the masses who had turned out, and wondered why on earth the church doesn’t get out where the people are more.
Jesus hung out with the wrong people, enjoying genuine relationships with them and chastised the religious know-it-all do-it-alls something chronic. That’s where I wanna be.