Aug 13, 2009

Kick off your shoes

“Children suffer from this shoe-obsessed society almost from the moment of birth… resulting in weak, deformed, unhealthy, desensitized and unhappy feet.  And the shoe companies and podiatrists have built a much, much larger business from it than they otherwise could have.”  So writes the author of the website www.unshod.org/pfbc.  This website encourages parents to let their children go barefoot and enjoy life.

There is a movement afoot to encourage people to get barefoot and enjoy life.  This isn’t as crazy as it may seem. I mean after all, we were created barefoot.  In some societies, Japan for one, it is proper to take off your shoes as you enter a house.  My brother in law does this.  When I go to his house, the shoes come off.  This is sometimes a problem for me because my feet don’t always smell that great.

Some would argue that we don’t really ever need shoes.  There are still societies across the globe in which shoes are simply never worn.  This might be because shoes are expensive or it might be because these people would never even consider covering up a foot with a shoe.

In Exodus 3, Moses heard God from a burning bush.  God said to Moses, “Do not come any closer. Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”  God didn’t tell Moses to remove his cloak or tunic.  He told Moses to remove his shoes.  Maybe there’s something to going barefoot before God.  In Ethiopia, Orthodox Christians remove their shoes as they enter church.   It is a sign of respect for a holy place.  Now if I showed up barefoot some Sunday, God might like it but I’m pretty sure that it wouldn’t go over too great.

I share all of this because of an interesting story out of St. Louis this week.  A mother entered a Burger King with her six-month old child.  There was a sign posted in the restaurant that said, “No shoes, no shirt, no service”.  The employees noticed that the baby was barefoot.  Not wanting to violate a health code, they asked the young mother to either put shoes on the baby or leave.  Since the mother didn’t have shoes for her kid, she quickly ate her food and left.  

So why not go barefoot?  Is this a social custom that has been passed down through the ages that doesn’t really mean anything?  It appears that if you normally wear shoes, taking them off makes your feet more susceptible to cuts and bruises. I might add that when I go barefoot in my house, I am more susceptible to stubbing my toes!

Ultimately it’s a matter of personal preference.  Who knows?  Maybe the unshod website people will start a movement in the United States.  Maybe in one hundred years we will all drive our electric cars barefoot.  But one thing we can know for sure.  Jesus loves us with our without shoes.  His barefoot death on the cross covers our whole body… that includes our feet.  Our greatest joy is to use our feet, no matter what’s on them, to serve Him.

Blessings,

Pastor David Hook