For years, when people thought about etiquette, the name that came to mind first was Emily Post. Her 1922 book Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics and at Home quickly became a best seller and was the go-to manual for how to behave in polite society. Her daily newspaper column on etiquette made her a household name.
There was a time when, if you wanted to be a respected member of high society, a rite of passage involved attending a “finishing school” where you would learn the rules of etiquette. Knowing which fork to use at a dinner party or in which kind of elevator it is proper for a man to remove his hat sends the signal to the other elite members of society that you have the proper refinement to be accepted into the club. Old movies like Mr. Deeds Goes To Town poked fun at the stuffiness of the high society lists of dos and don’ts.
My perspective on etiquette changed many years ago when I sat down to interview June Hines Moore. She was a local author who had her own syndicated newspaper column called Moore On Manners (which I impishly referred to as Moron Manners for a while). But in the interview, June won me over to seeing good manners and proper etiquette as having a gospel root to them. These were not mindless rules, she said. Instead, good manners were all about valuing others.
“Rules of etiquette are in our head,” she said. “Our manners are in our heart. Together they shield us against embarrassing ourselves or others. Etiquette rules tell us what to do and what not to do; however, if we correct someone’s table habits in public, we embarrass them, so the manners in our heart keep us from doing that. To keep the rules and observe the manners in our heart we can set a good example and hope others will notice.”
We are all, by nature, rebels to rules. When someone tells us the right way to do something, there’s a voice in our head that says “don’t let someone else tell you what to do. Be yourself. Be authentic. You do you, no matter what anyone says.” At the center of that kind of advice is “you.” And anytime you are at the center of anything, you need to be careful. Human thriving doesn’t happen when we put ourselves first, no matter how much our heart tells us otherwise.
At the same time, rules can be a problem. Rules – even religious rules – can become the “yoke of slavery” that the gospel came to free us from (Galatians 5:1). Adherence to a set of rules can lead easily to self-righteousness and a proud, haughty spirit.
What brought all this to mind this week was something I saw posted on Twitter. It had the heading Church Etiquette and it was passed along by a pastor friend who I respect. When I saw the title, I expected this would be something that would poke fun at some of the legalistic standards of the past. Instead, what I found was a helpful listing of suggestions for how we can value and serve others as we come to church each week.
Here’s the list.
At the end of the day, as I learned years ago from June Moore, at the heart of good manners and proper etiquette is a heart that wants to honor and serve others. How would coming to church be different for you if your goal each week was to honor the Lord by putting the needs of others ahead of your own?
homecoming for deana mae lee
As you saw in my earlier email today, we’ll be gathering at church tomorrow night at 7:00 to remember and thank God for the life of Deana Mae Lee who died Monday. I hope you’ll be able to join us.
|Guys, next weekend is our time. Time to getaway for our Men’s Retreat. Click here to reserve your spot. Do. It. Now.|
COUPLES NIGHT OUT
|Marriages matter. Your marriage matters. And that’s one of the big reasons for our upcoming Couples Date Night. It’s just over two weeks away now.|
It’s time to say no to FOBO (fear of better options) and decide to join us for Date Night.
Here’s all you have to do.
Sign up (at $40 per couple, it’s the best dinner date value in town! Child care is free! And you don’t have to tip your waiters!).Invite a couple to join you (at $20 per couple for guests, it’s a really amazing date night deal!).
That’s it. It’s easy. You just have to act now.
|Holy Week begins on April 2 (that’s two and a half weeks from now). We begin on Palm Sunday morning, with our elementary aged kids singing a special song. Pro tip: arrive early that week so you don’t miss the kids!|
Easter weekend begins on Friday night with our Good Friday service.
|About the Resurrection Rally. It’s a great kid-friendly event to invite guests to.|
|And don’t forget, if you have any spare plastic eggs (the small ones – 2.5 inches) that you can donate to the cause, bring them with you to church this Sunday.|
And finally, be thinking about friends or co-workers you can invite to join you for our Sunday morning service on Easter Sunday.
Ladies, here’s a “save the date” notice for you. Saturday morning, April 22, plant to be part of a Spring Women’s Gathering from 10:00 am – 11:30 am. Food, fellowship and fun. The event is free, but we need to know you’re coming. Click here to sign up.
|Pilate declared Him innocent. The crowd demanded He be executed. Pilate caved. And Jesus was led to Golgotha to be crucified, while His mother looked on and the Roman soldiers cast lots for His clothes. The darkest day in human history saw the King of the Jews finishing the work He came to do. |
See you in church.
Soli Deo Gloria!