If you’ve been following my blog you know that I’m a Christian as well as a barefooter. I’m presently engaged in an email conversation with a young Christian man who wants to go barefoot to church but is facing intense social pressure from the congregation and church leaders. This mystifies me on so many levels.
There is nothing anti-Christian about going barefoot. Indeed, strong biblical arguments can be made that it’s more Christian to go barefoot than wear shoes (Exodus 3:5, Joshua 5:10, Matthew 10:10, for example). There are no dress codes proscribed in the New Testament and, in fact, such rules and regulations are discouraged in the Scriptures and were shunned by the early church. Judging others who come to worship is forbidden in no uncertain terms (James 2).
Okay, we all know that religious people can be nutty and inexplicable. They often embrace weird beliefs for no good reason. But what about everyone else? Even in the secular world bare feet remain a volatile subject.
Bob Neinast recently wrote a captivating blog (as usual) about a librarian who was fired for refusing to post a NO BARE FEET sign at her library. This happened in 1972, but sadly, things have not improved since then. Indeed, things have gotten worse; Bob has himself lost several court cases for simply wanting to use his public library sans shoes. Anyway, the fired librarian, Joan Ford, captured the lunacy of this dispute so exquisitely that I have not been able to shake her words from my head since I first read them:
“There’s something explosive about the issue I don’t understand. It arouses intense passions – especially among the no-bare-feet partisans – as inexplicable to me as was to Gulliver the deadly political strife in Lilliput over whether to break the big or small end of a breakfast egg.”
What is it about bare feet that ignites people so? Mrs. Ford went on to speculate, “Maybe some sexual nuance that escapes me?” I don’t know if that’s the answer (because it escapes me, too), but clearly there’s something. If most of the world has a secret foot fetish it might at least explain the fear religious folks have for baring them. Perhaps passions are aroused because the feet are so sensitive to touch, but then so are the fingers and lips but we have no qualms about exposing those. One might think that bare feet are taboo because they’ve been locked out-of-view in shoes for so long, but sandals and flip flops reveal the feet and are socially acceptable, so that can’t be it either.
The war between Big-Endians and Little-Endians.
A mountain out of a mole hill.
Much ado about nothing.
Can some foot-hater out there explain to us why bare feet are such a big deal to you?