Monday, 21 January 2013
The New Testament is quite consistent about this sort of thing. Jesus’ own teaching takes a dim view of those who make any form of show of distinctive religious dress (the over large phylacteries and over long robe fringes of certain scribes and Pharisees at Matthew 23.5) and later writers urge women in particular to adorn themselves with modesty and good works rather than braided hair, gold, jewels or expensive clothes (1 Timothy 2.9,10 and 1 Peter 3.3,4). One strand of the early church tradition also insists on obedience to even to a slave owner because the Lord will see the quality of the work which is done (Ephesians 6.5,6 and Colossians 3.22-24).
Drawing direct parallels between biblical teaching and modern situations is always more difficult than some strands of fundamentalism might indicate, but, nevertheless, it isn’t difficult to see that the early Christians who followed these teachings would find it incomprehensible that in later generations Christians would take their employers to court to establish the right to wear at work jewellery representing the death of the Lord.
It would be consistent for bodies like the Evangelical Alliance to be saying to them that we are not pagans, nor are we members of just one among many religions competing for equal privileges. They would say, let others sue for the right to wear yellow robes, turbans, veils or anything else. They would conclude, let Christians witness by acceptance, diligence and modesty, and not by outward signs.
The photograph was taken on the way back from Matins one day last week.