I actually got a reference call once from a church looking to hire a friend as their worship pastor. At the time, he lived in Florida and attended a church that was quite laid back in its wardrobe.
The lady interviewing me asked if my friend ever wore sandals on stage. I told her that I didn't know (at the time, I didn't) and asked her why that was so important. She then equated sandals on stage as being unclean and unGodly thing. Apparently proper Christians don't wear sandals. I asked the lady for Biblical backing, which of course she didn't have. I asked her what would happen if somebody came into their church with sandals, she said they would be sent home.
I ended the interview, called my friend and told him to decline the job.
Verah, would you be willing to post a similar discussion to this in the African Worship Leaders group? It would be interesting to see what is said over there.
If you don't think that's a good idea, then maybe you can explain why here. A lot of posters are wondering about the culture thing, and I think you could give us some insight here. Please comment.
I will be in Africa (Mozambique) in a couple of weeks. I'll ask people there what they think of things like dreds and the church.
Hi sister Verah,
How is your situation now?
I encourage you to press on no matter how people thinks of you after all God looks at heart than man who looks on the outward appearance.
2 Corinthians 4:8-9 "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed."
So be strong sister.
Verah, I know a woman who got out of fellowship with her church and never got back into fellowship.
She has difficulty relating to people, preferring to be with her dogs. When she was growing up, she was working from a young age and missed out on socialization, and seems not to realize that she does not understand the world around her the same way that others do.
Do you have someone you can talk to who can tell you about yourself, and about your elders? Is it just one man or woman you have a problem with, or is it a group? Perhaps your hairstyle and actions are getting you labeled wrongly, or perhaps your approach to people is messed up? You need a peacemaker!
Are you in Kenya?
Does anyone fear, as I do, that Verah's internet has been cut off? It really sounds oppressive where she is.
Let's not panic here. I doubt Verah's internet has been cut off, other than you must remember that it's not cheap to go on-line in Africa. Quite likely she has to wait until she can afford it to check back in. We run into the same problem over in the African Worship Leader's Group. Also, Verah lives in Naivasha, not as cosmopolitan as Nairobi - i.e. internet may not be as easy to find (cheaply). Also, she mentioned that she had been sick lately; maybe she still is.
Having lived in Kenya before, I would say that her church situation is not oppressive in the way it would be in a muslim country or perhaps in China or North Korea. But it will be oppressive in the sense of being male-dominated, and those men hold a lot of sway. Problems can come in the form of abuse of the money entrusted to them, abuse of women and children for sexual pleasure, abuse of authority to gain things and priviledges for themselves or family members, and the like (yes, I'm talking church leaders that I have known). It would be a rare thing in Africa where a young girl could safely stand up to her elders without fear of reprisal of some sort, even if it was only being kicked out of the group. Not saying there aren't good churches out there, but Africa is Africa.
I have tried to engage the African members here on WTR to dialogue more about what life is like over there, but for many reasons (lack of money for internet, power outages, poor english skills, etc) only one or two have been able to take part (and I'm so thankful for them). So we really need to be careful about our advice and "answers" that we post on issues like this. Remember, "we're not in Kansas anymore, Toto."
Yes, I don't mean oppressive as in Muslim countries. Thanks for brining that up.
Your description of Kenya is about what I was thinking - very male dominated. Of course we can't know what her situation is, but it really looks very African to me. My only experience with it is through Ethiopia.
As for the internet being cut off, I was thinking more in terms of being told not to use the internet and/or being restricted to a place that doesn't have it.