“Best of…” 2010-b

From: G. K.

Subject: Re: What is it with barefoot & religion?

Date: Mar, 2010


[In response to a member’s question summarized by the above subject title, G. K. replied:]

Deb, I am a pastor of a church, and am a full time barefooter. In the past, going barefoot was considered a sign of penance in the Christian Church, and those who did so were seen as folks on some sort of holy mission. That sense of barefoot penance is usually no longer with us, but it remains in the thoughts of many folks; perhaps as a deep rooted sign of “what we should do” that many of various faiths are attempting to rebuild in their lives.

In my community, Summersville West Virginia, I am known quite easily as the barefoot preacher. I find this helpful when encountering touchy situations in my social justice ministry. But I never ask folks to join my church because I’m unshod. I find it really unsettling that someone is using bare feet as a “tool” in evangelizing their faith.

One’s beliefs are not seated in what one wears or does not wear, but are found in the depths of their souls and their convictions. In another area of the world you might just as easily run into a barefoot Buddhist monk, or a barefoot shaman. There are millions of folks out there who are just plain barefoot, with no religious connotation at all.

You will find me barefoot in the pulpit, ministering in hospitals, doing prison visits, running with joggers, attending high school basketball games, shopping for groceries, and doing any number of a myriad of things, things which people who are shod do all the time. My barefootedness (is that even a word?) has nothing to do with my religion or beliefs.

If you have no desire to investigate his church invitations, politely refuse them, just as you might politely refuse an invitation to attend a social event you aren’t interested in. It’s your decision.

G. K. the barefoot preacher from WV