This type of slipper was placed on the feet of Chinese women to hide the ugliness of the foot-binding that was thought to enhance the beauty of the woman.
Jesus scorched the Pharisees with His statement, "You are white-washed tombs. On the inside is nothing but dead men's bones." (Matt. 23:27)
In another place, He spoke against using the traditions of man as doctrines of God (Matt. 15:9).
Paul told Titus (1:14) that the commandments of men could turn people from the truth.
Yet, the practice continues today across Christendom, and few can see beyond the apparent beauty provided by the slippers.
Regardless of the motivation and how pure the intentions may be, the result is one of crippling the walk of the believer--much like the foot-binding in China crippled the young girl. Her gait was called a "lotus gait" after the lotus flower, which is much admired in the east. There would be a certain sway to her walk, which was admired by the men.
But, there was a much more sinister aspect of the result--a woman could not walk far with her feet in such a condition. Therefore, she never strayed too far from the man to whom she belonged.
I find this to be the desired result of those churches that produce a set of "Christian Standards" to which their adherents must subscribe.
The believer's walk is crippled so that they never learn how to be led by the spirit as long as they have a set of rules by which to govern their life.
This certainly makes for a nice and tidy church. Any mess is quickly dealt with by pointing out which particular rule was broken. Either get back in line or get out. Leadership in the modern church is not very adept at dealing with the messiness that comes with allowing freedom of the individual to answer to God.
Yet, is this not exactly what Jesus implied when He was speaking with Nicodemus about the new birth?
"The wind blows where it wants. It goes where it wants. You can hear it. You can see the results of its presence. But, you can't tell where it originated or where it's headed. So is anyone who is born of the spirit." (my rendition of John 3:8)
As a new believer tries to walk in this power, he or she will most likely "get it wrong." (By whose standards?)
It is up to the Holy Spirit to convict of sin. (John 16:8)
Out of all the ministry gifts listed in the Bible, I have yet to find the place where we are to anoint anyone as God's policeman.
The scribes and pharisees set themselves up as the arbiters and interpreters of God's law, and made it their business to point out anyone's shortfall before the law as they understood it. Even an uneducated person could not fail to see how Jesus felt about this group with just a cursory reading of the Gospels.
Yet, somehow, we have sanctified this approach, and have crippled multitudes so that they cannot move without someone telling them it is okay. They have been crippled to the point that they do not dare to try to walk in a way other than that to which they are accustomed.
We have created a nice, orderly church.
The result is a church without power.
It is time for Moses to once again demand, "Let My people go!"
Or, maybe it is time for us to respond to leading of the Lord and "Come out of her my people." (Rev. 18:4)
Your comments, questions and criticisms are most welcome.