Short Skirts and Angry Deacons


Three key factors every follower of Jesus should consider about church discipline today.

One spring night several years ago, I stood in line waiting to buy a movie ticket. The young couple in front of me was talking about the Easter Sunday “disturbance” at their church.

“Well, it was a pretty short skirt,” said the guy.

“That’s just the way Julie dresses,” answered the girl. “She needs to have people notice her.”

“She got noticed all right. One of the deacons went and got a video camera and took video of her in that outfit so that when they confront her about it they’ll have visual evidence.”

“That’s just wrong,” said the girl.

“Which?” asked the guy: “Her skirt or the video?”

Sometimes I make things up to prove a point. This conversation, however, was real. I wish it wasn’t.

Setting aside for a moment the creepy factor of middle-aged deacons running for a video camera to tape a girl wearing a short skirt, the case of the really short skirt demonstrates the reasons so many believers are done with the church. The incident makes it difficult to suggest that participating in church life is a vital aspect of following Jesus. It’s hard to be in favor of the church when the church is manifestly flawed.

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But what about Julie? What if she really does “need to have people notice her?” Who will help her, and how can it be done? The camera-wielding deacons are not the answer; they are part of the problem. Yet church discipline should exist to help believers find freedom in Christ.

“Church Discipline.”

The phrase is either an oxymoron or a neon sign warning all who see it to run for their lives because this church is nuts.

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Ray Hollenbach Ray Hollenbach, a Chicagoan, writes about faith and culture. His devotional book "50 Forgotten Days: A Journey Into the Age to Come" is available at He currently lives in central Kentucky, which is filled with faith and culture. He's also the author of of "The Impossible Mentor", a deep dive into the foundations of discipleship.

More from Ray Hollenbach or visit Ray at

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