Hilarious! That’s always the only word that comes to mind when I think of Larry’s first golf experience. He was invited to meet his brother-in-law at a golf course while on vacation. They met at the club and proceeded to pay for the round when he was met by a gentleman who had a British accent. With nose slightly pointed to the sky, the gentleman kindly let Larry know that he would not be able to wear his tank top while playing. (I’m already laughing) Larry, stunned, (not only because he was an “Amuricun” and a Tennessean), proceeded to let the gentleman know that he would just purchase one of their shirts. After browsing the selection, he quickly realized that his wife would not be pleased if he took his house payment and used it on one shirt. He returned, still sporting his tank top, and told the gentleman that he could not pay so much for a shirt. So, once again, using his nose as an aiming device, he let Larry know that he could rent a shirt. Larry said “great!” and handed the man ten dollars. To which the clerk replied, “Sir, we cannot take cash. We must have a credit card in case you do not return the shirt.” Larry pulled out his credit card (to the surprise of the gentleman) and paid for the rented shirt and then walked around the eighteen hole golf course, for five hours, with a shirt on that read, “this shirt, property of #### golf club.” (Nah, I actually made up that part about what the shirt said). Now you know why I say hilarious!
I don’t want to take us down from the humor of this story too much. It is what it is. And it really has given me a good laugh for the better part of twenty years. But I just couldn’t help but wonder how many times we church folk come across as this British gentleman. First of all, we assume that everybody knows what we do and how we do it. We think they know when to stand up, sit down, and what to do with that little cup and that little white tasteless saltine. But not only do we assume everyone should know, even worse, we stop people at the door with our unbiblical attendance requirements. Unfortunately many churches have made it harder to get into their building than into God’s kingdom. But just because this is the case, it doesn’t give us license to neglect it. Just find one that doesn’t do this….. or change yours. Maybe put a sign up that says “Tank Tops Welcome.”
The irony of this story is that Larry’s dad first came to the church I pastored many years ago. He was a cussing sailor. I remember the first Sunday he was there. He sat on the second row – in a tank top. A few months later he became a follower of Jesus Christ. That may not be hilarious, but isn’t that amazing!?