The churchy blogosphere has kindly spilled thousands of pixels telling us all* what's appropriate attire† when we go to church on Sunday morning. I'm not going to link to them all, or indeed any of them, because how exhausting is that? I wasn't planning to add my voice to the cacophony, either, until a chance conversation with my grandmother reminded me that even my nearest and dearest can get a bit caught up in the minutia of life, and since I have this space for words, here goes.
|Somebody took a picture of my feet|
walking to church! Source: sanja
gjenero on freeimages.com.
So here's a little story. I've worn jeans and t-shirts to church basically since the day I moved out of my parents' house and was no longer subject to their rules.** Sometimes I wear a skirt. Often I wear a nice shirt with my jeans instead of a t-shirt. In the summer, I usually wear shorts, because I get to church via bike/bus/my own feet and it's hot outside.
Many, many years ago, I decided one week to dress up a little bit nicer than usual for church and wore a dress. That very Sunday, we had visitors sitting near us wearing t-shirts and shorts, and fortunately my husband's attire kept them from being the only ones in our vicinity dressed like that. The next week, I wore a dress again, and once again visitors (not the same ones) wearing more casual clothes sat nearby. When we got home that afternoon, I said to Chadwick, "Never again," and he agreed that twice in a row was as good a sign as we were going to get that we who feel comfortable dressing down should do it, if only for the sake of others who might be uncomfortable otherwise.
Now, I've heard the sermons and the lectures and the "but you shoulds" about why dressing up for church is giving our best to God, to which I say: baloney. If the best I have to offer God is a dress instead of a clean pair of shorts when I go visit him on Sunday morning, then my Christian walk is a sad story indeed. There's a lot more to me and my relationship with God than what I put on my body (or, indeed, than just Sunday mornings).
Do I have a problem with people who choose to dress up for church? Of course not. My grandmother, for instance, is from a generation that would never think of even wearing slacks to church, never mind jeans or shorts. It's never bothered me, nor do I plan to let it start.
Here's my personal bottom line: wear what makes you feel comfortable worshipping God with your church family. If you need to dress up to feel like you're properly approaching Jesus, on you go. If you need to wear a t-shirt so you can concentrate on why you're there instead of what you're wearing, please do that. If you're so focused on what other people are wearing that you just can't pay attention to anything happening in the church service, take yourself out to the hall, put yourself in time out, and spend some time refocusing your thoughts on why you're in the building. If you're an adult and you're that distracted, your own thoughts are the problem, not what everyone else is doing. YOU are in charge of your mind. No, seriously. You are.
Let's remember what our gathering together is about, y'all.
†basically neck-high, floor-length, shapeless sacks that are as unattractive as possible‡
‡unless you're a married woman, because your husband needs you to be attractive for him in public so he can brag about his hot wife§
§no, not that attractive, you're making other men lust; don't you have any respect for your husband at all? (I wish I were making these up. As it is, I'm not even exaggerating.)
**A reminder for the potentially confused, from a dear friend who is also a parent: Rebellion would have been refusing to follow the rules when I lived at home, not making my own once I was out. Keep that in mind if you have a kid who's just moved out and is forging his or her own identity right now.