So What Is Under the Kilt?

Christianity has become a religion of activity, commotion and constant activity. Just read the lawn signs of those assemblies that have buildings and it is one event after another, one program after another, one guest speaker after another… I get tired just reading the signs.

In some of my better moments I wonder what is really under the kilt? What kind of life exists under all that activity – involvements, contacts, fellowshipping, attendance at specials, worship services and committees and …?

What is under the kilt?

Many years ago when my local church was still fairly young we were running events and activities seven days a week almost year-round. We were an active, growing, and dynamic young congregation with our first building and enjoying a moderate measure of success. However, I felt the whole thing was missing substance and that we were all too busy – me included.

Now, that may be because I love my time alone (with God and with just me). I am an introvert – extreme. I think a good time is being by myself and being reflective. My favourite words are silence, stillness, solitude and Spirit. But, I really felt this time it was a leading of the Lord and that He was telling us that something was wrong. He was asking me to look under the kilt!

So, for a number of months I spoke with people about this issue – and talked from the pulpit about it. I observed people, their activities, their behaviour, their involvements. Then one day I announced that, for a season, we were going to slow events down – have fewer services, fewer meetings, fewer Bible studies, fewer socials, simply fewer events… And about 1/4 of my people left the Church and joined other churches who were not doing “such a stupid thing”. Worse – 1/2 my leadership left as well.

This was not because we did something abruptly – we didn’t. This was an 18 month process. This was not because we stop pastoring people – we were still there and still available. We simply told people that for a “season” we were slowing things down so they could spend more time with their spouse and their family.

Ah! Here was the problem. People did not want to have to spend time with their husband or wife – let alone their kids. Things were not good in the marriage and in the family. Never had been in reality. And here I was telling them that I had looked under the kilt and didn’t like what I saw. It was time to fix some basic foundations so that we could then move forward in strength and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It was time for them to look under the kilt (of constant motion and Christian activity).

Those who stayed with us benefited greatly from this time to focus on what was under the kilt -under all the surface activities of church, life, and family. Those that left – most 20+ years later are divorced and not attending any Church regularly.

Well the season of slowing down to allow a look under the kilt has not been as short as we thought. We are now a quarter century into the slowdown – that’s right – 25 years. And it has been great, is great and, I know, will continue to be great.

We are not a large church. We are not a well known church. We are not a church that uses hype to move services along or emotion to make people feel the presence of God was really there in the service today. We worhip and express our hearts; we listen and feed our spirits from the Word of God; we drink coffee and fellowship with one another … But it is real and alive – and families have time to be families and people have time to be people.

St. Athanasius once said (a great Church Father in the early Church) “He became what we are that He might make us what He is.”

For us to take on the very nature and character of Jesus we need quality time with Him and a quantity of time daily. Major activities all the time at the local Church does not allow this. It requires silence, stillness, solitude and the Holy Spirit helping us to look at our own hearts to allow us to become like Jesus. We need time to look under the kilt!

Oswald Chambers is quoted as saying: “It is the unseen and the spiritual in people that determines the outward and the actual.”

In my words – what’s under the kilt? For what is on the inside (under the surface) determines the true value of a life and the true quality of the life lived on the surface where the rubber meets the road.

I don’t like the “outward and the actual” that I see in most Christians and most Churches. It is time to sneak a peek under the kilt. Afterall, the Christian faith is not a religion – it is a relationship (John 17:3) with God and, as a result of that healthy relationship, solid relationships with others in our world.

4 replies
  1. Bill Shiers
    Bill Shiers says:

    Evolution of revelation, strange eh! Have you noticed that over time all churches tend to evolve and most don’t lead. It takes a very strong leader at the top who believes in theocracy to pull all churches under them along with the revelation according to God. Even that strength sometimes fails.
    I look back over the past years that I’ve been saved and marvel at where the church was when I first joined to where it appears to be today.
    But what’s next another evolution or are we now grounded in the basics,”The Word of God”.
    It seems to me that the older I get the more settled I am in that which has been taught to me. The questions of the past somehow got answered (no credit to me) and I became more sensitive to the teachings that are now before me, thank God. It has been a tumultuous trip and it is far from over, but now, at last I sense that I’m on the correct path, under the right teachers and so happy to have left the past where it belongs – in the past.
    Maybe, just maybe, what’s under the kilt is best left under the kilt, after all we’ve discovered He who wears the world. Now maybe we can all concentrate on the one task left to us, the dying world.

  2. Ralph
    Ralph says:

    As a teacher and preacher I see many different churches and Christians from many different streams of the faith almost on a weekly basis. In almost every case I would say that the believers are not mature and do not know the basic tenants of the Christian faith. And, this is often the focus of the conversation with the leaders of the local churches over lunch after the service.

    It is good, Bill, that you feel you are “settled” in what has been taught to you and, in reaching a certain level of maturity, that you are now able to discern which teachings and teachers are actually helping you to grow and mature and which are not. Very few Christians can actually say that.

    You have reached this stage in your Christian journey because you have applied yourself and took the initiative to learn and to grow and to become a stronger believer and follower of Jesus Christ. And, that has been tremendous to see. However, most Christians apparently are not interested in maturing and developing their knowledge base of the Bible nor their relationship with the Lord. They seem satisfied with “just being saved”.

    So, as a result – when you look under the kilt – there is not much to see. They are “surface believers” who are not changing on the inside. They are following Jesus at a distance if they are following Him at all. So, they are not seeing any tremendous transformationaal life-change going on in their heart and the world is not seeing them as any different than the unsaved. Until the inside begins to be transformed (under the kilt) then there will be absolutely no permanent change in the outside – their daily life-style.

    So, I agree with you that it is time to get on with the mandate of the Church to seek and save the lost. However, most believers (less than 2% will lead anyone to to the Lord in their lifetime) are not interested in doing that as they are still self-centered and “in the faith” for what it can do for them and have not looked at what it requires of them.

    In other words, they are looking for quick fixes and surface adjustments so that life is easier and more successful. They are not looking under the kilt for permanent transformation resulting in a radical lifestyle that will focus on others and win the world for Jesus.

    We have a problem, Houston!

  3. Bev Wensel
    Bev Wensel says:

    It’s 2:24 AM and I’m still here…reading…and enjoying all these past blog topics!
    We have a problem, Houston! it..:-)
    A provocative title, Ralph & I’m surprised that there aren’t more comments,ha!
    Hopefully, the leaders,elders,pastors(whatever)aren’t too tired &/or frustrated with this people problem that they’ve given up, hence, few replys.
    The journey you were led to take your church congregation on was {new info to me} courageous,
    even if born out of desperation & getting too tired,ha!
    I’ve often wondered why some seem to prefer the larger churches {ie. more programs for all ages}
    but they also can get ‘lost’ in the crowd & be invisible & so they feel safe…no one gets too close to ‘read their mail’ or as you like to put it, to see what’s under their kilt.
    There is no hiding in the smaller fellowships!!
    But you get much closer relationships + and – ‘s
    which is not always easy, but well worth it.

  4. Ralph
    Ralph says:

    We need to take a long and hard look at character and heart issues – look under the kilt – so that our witness is real and solid. People spot the phonies a mile away and run fast in the opposite direction.


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