twisted things in the church

Twisted Traditions

The climate of Winnipeg is not native for me. Where I grew up, Winter was a few days in January that maybe got down to a balmy 50 degrees (Farenheit, of course. Americans think in F, not C). Most Christmases I was in shorts, and snow was something I only dreamed of when I watched Hallmark movies. Louisiana, my home sweet home.

This time of year makes me homesick because it’s Mardi Gras season, and that means one thing in my mind….

King Cake. 

It’s one of my favorites, and it’s only available from Epiphany to Fat Tuesday and only in the south. I make them every year to share with family and friends to bring a little bit of home north of the border. 

Be honest, when you saw the words “Mardi Gras”, what did you think of? I’m willing to bet that it wasn’t what a wonderful, spiritual holiday it is. It’s known for its bawdy atmosphere, excessive drinking, and overall indulgence. 

But Mardi Gras is supposed to be a spiritual holiday. Mardi Gras, “Fat Tuesday”,  is the day before Ash Wednesday on the liturgical church calendar. The parades, fancy balls, and over indulging began as a way to symbolize “getting all the sin out” before Ash Wednesday when we repent and go into a time of Lent. 

But the world only sees it as a giant party where people show up to do whatever they want with no consequences. What happens at Mardi Gras stays in New Orleans. 

What began as something with deep religious roots became twisted into something that encourages sin.

What God creates, Satan twists. 

Whatever your beliefs about whether we should celebrate holidays such as Mardi Gras (notice I didn’t mention if I celebrate it, just that I really really like the cake. So no mean emails, please….), we can all agree that there are things in church life that started well but eventually became empty traditions that no longer resemble Jesus’ desire for his Church.

It’s time for us to reevaluate some of the things we see in the church that have become “normal”, but may not be biblical. 

Maybe things like the “order of service”, dress code, a particular type of music, the need for specific age-graded Ministers, particular governance models, deacons who are no longer servants but acting as managers, the list can go on and on…

The question really isn’t “if” we’ve twisted things in the church, but “what” it is that we’ve twisted. Before we throw the Mardi Gras revelers under the bus, let’s turn the camera around and take a good look at ourselves. 

Search us, Oh God, and know our hearts. 

Test us, and know our worried thoughts.

See if there is any offensive way in us,

And lead us in the way everlasting.

Psalm 139: 23-24


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