Restrooms and the State of the Church

Locker Room SignThis is the sign I see every time I walk into the men’s locker room at my neighborhood gym (please stop laughing—I work out every chance I get, spare tire not withstanding). I don’t know about any of you, but I find this policy a tad disconcerting.

I don’t know if it’s that I’m “old school.” It could be I’m a bit self-conscious. Is it possible I’m a prude? Or maybe I’m just “a guy.” In any case, I’m always bothered by what it says. I don’t want ANY females in my locker room. I don’t care how old!

It always reminds me of an old Bill Cosby routine. A guy takes his two-year-old girl into a men’s restroom, and all the other guys are embarrassed and mumble about a female’s presence. A woman takes her son into a restroom, and all the women make a fuss over him. When asked how old he is now, she replies, “Thirty-seven.”

Much to my relief, no females have yet to enter the locker room while I was in there. The closest I’ve ever come was when a young boy’s mother stood at the door and yelled for him to come out. I got a little tense when he refused. I thought for sure she was going to barge in on my less than modest state of dress.

No Females Allowed

It didn’t happen. Yet, I was definitely panicking as I quickly plotted my route of escape. I’m not sure if I’d fit into one of those lockers. I should probably practice that one, just in case. One never knows when these fire drills will pay off.

This is, of course, a minor thing. Who cares if some loving father brings in his four year old daughter (well, I guess I do)? It’s not an earth-shattering thing.

In our society, signs like this are everywhere. They invite people in, and they keep people out. The church is no different.

With the church, however, it seems that our IMG_1038signs are invisible. We say things to “outsiders” that are as loud and as visible as any printed sign. Because of that, a lot of those folks remain outside.

Often, our written signs on the exterior of our buildings are welcoming. They invite people to worship. They tell folks we’re a loving congregation. They attempt to excite the senses and draw the curious.

The signs once inside are too often very different. On the inside we begin to flash signs that send a different message. With our looks, body language, tone of voice, and actions (or non-actions) we say entirely different things.

We say things like:

  • You’re different than me!
  • Who invited you to come here?
  • Couldn’t you find a place better suited for your type?

I’ve experienced this myself on occasion, so I know it’s true. It all begins with attitude. Have we developed the welcoming attitude of Christ, or are we protecting our little club?

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