Thursday, May 19, 2005


I was stationed in Southern California while in the Marines in the late 80's. When I got out, I went back to Minneapolis where I grew up.

I started attending a small evangelical church a few blocks from where I was living. I ended up having a problem with the Associate Pastor though which has amused my friends and I for years.

I picked up a habit out here in SoCal. In the late 80's it was fashionable to wear deck shoes (aka, boat shoes or top siders). As per the fashion of the day, I didn't wear socks with those shoes. Apparently no one in Minnesota would ever have contemplated such a thing, especially during the winter. But I liked my deck shoes and I even wore them in the winter if I wasn't going to be out in the snow too much.

The Associate Pastor of this church came up to me one day and told me I had to start wearing socks with my shoes to church. Whatever. I ignored him.

A week or two later, he approached me again and told me that I had to wear socks to church. I immediately commenced to ignoring him again. He seemed to me to be one of those people similar to those I encountered in the Marines who, never having had a shred of authority, much less respect in their lives, abuse their rank the first chance they get because they don't know what to do with it. To compound the problem, this guy was short, skinny and not much older than me. He was well on his way to a Napoleonic Complex.

Another week or two goes by and yes, he approaches me again, the anger flashing in his eyes as he keeps glancing down at my feet. So he pulled me aside and scolded me once more. "This is the third time I've had to talk to you about this. If you don't start wearing socks with your shoes to church, we're going to have to have a meeting with Pastor John."

I could ignore him no longer. I looked him in the eye and asked, "What possible reason could you have for requiring me to wear socks with my shoes to church? It makes no sense at all. Is there a verse in the Bible I missed where this is required? Please educate me."

"It might be a stumbling block to someone," He told me with a straight face and a serious tone.


"Look," I replied and I hiked up my pant leg a bit, "If anyone gets turned on by my ankles, that's their problem. I can't be held accountable for that."

Needless to say, he was not pleased about having his 'authority' questioned nor my response to him. I was only at that church for a few more months but I only ever wore socks (or other shoes) when the temperature fell below zero.