Monday, October 04, 2010

Sunday Dressing

I changed clothes three times yesterday morning trying to get ready for church.

First I had on jeans. They were a tad too big and I felt sloppy. I traded them in for a pair that was a bit more fitted but still I felt as though I were going out for breakfast rather than going to church. I switched the second pair of jeans out for a pair of grey "almost jeans" and vowed to just let it be and go to worship.

See, clothes are just one more in my long list of church baggage items.

Growing up in the Baptist church I never-ever-ever wore pants to church. Not if it were blizzard-ing and 40 below. Not on Wednesday nights when we had youth group and we didn't have prayer meeting. Not even when I was seven or eight and I insisted on practicing cartwheels in the church basement. . .no sir, my mother just made me wear shorts under my dresses. You know – modesty was important. . .

There was no occasion in which it was acceptable for those of the female persuasion to wear pants to church.

And I still struggle with it. But not for the same reasons.

I don't give one whit about what someone might consider "modest" for me. I don't think that women should have to dress in a certain way in order to be considered holy or acceptable to God, or to others. I long ago gave up cartwheels in the basement so that's out of the mix. I'm quite sure that church isn't the place to show off your fashion sense or show how much money you make by the clothing you can afford. None of those things matters to me.

I changed my clothes three times this morning because I somehow still believe that I ought to offer God my best. I ought to care enough not to just roll out of bed and show up looking like something the dog drug in. I should take enough time to be respectful and reverent and actually ironing a shirt or putting on something I don't normally wear to the grocery store. And just maybe by doing that, I set myself up for something special to happen that morning.

I don't know. Maybe it's all just bullshit. Maybe I was so brainwashed from my childhood church teachings that it's all I know. I wear pants now. I could not care less what anyone else wears to church – I'm just happy that we're all there together.

But my baggy blue jeans are still relegated to Saturdays.


Frank Wilson said...

. . . and we had to wear something really special on Easter Sunday morning. Now, when I wear a tie to church, once every three years, I wear my club tie with the the democrat donkeys pattern . . . and hope everyone notices. It's the wicked in me coming out.

Tanya said...

When I was pastoring the church a young man came to worship very dressed up. We were a very informal congregation. He was so nervous about entering a church building that he propped himself up with "liquid courage" and he was very, very drunk. I told him that I liked his tie, trying to make him feel more comfortable. It had Bugs Bunny characters all over it. He took the tie off, on the spot, put it around my neck and I wore it through the whole service. . .with my skirt. It was one of the holiest moments I ever experienced.