Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easter Best?


Ahhh ... Easter Sunday. The day when little girls get the frilliest spring dress they'll get all year, complete with a matching handbag and white patent leather shoes. And little boys? They'll be in their khakis, with a belt, their button down collared shirt scratching at their neck, and wearing the only pair of shoes their mom could could find without rubber soles.

That's what church is about, right? Getting all gussied up. Putting your best foot forward. Dressing the part. Let's not forget showing up for the Easter sunrise service insuring everyone you know sees you there! Yeah ... Easter sunrise service attendance earns church bonus points!

Just don't catch the scrutiny of the Easter Sunday church service fashion police. Don't get me wrong, it's not like the church fashion police aren't always on the prowl, but there seems to be some unspoken church rule that says it's OK to visibly show your disapproval on one of the holiest of Christian holidays.

From one blog I read ...

"Now I am not criticizing anyone, but here's a few religious beefs I have on my mind: I was raised that anytime you were in God's house, you dressed up. Slacks, button down shirts, ties and a jacket for men and a modest dress and nice shoes for women. So, I don't understand how people can show up in sweat pants for church. I also don't understand those "come as you are churches". If I go to someone's house, I take off my shoes, if I go to God's house, I wear respectable clothes."

**NOTE** This blogger did tell me, via email, that what she was trying to convey is that church dress should be "the best of what you have. Most of the time sweat pants is not the best of what you have."

From another blog in my reader ...

"Then there's that whore mother of three, perched suggestively in the pew to the right, who, though her desire to provide for her children is admirable, apparently forgot to change after her shift at "Clive's House of Cleavage." Let's just say her hard boiled eggs were in some serious need of being hidden."

In all fairness, it was difficult to tell if this blog post was written as satire (not the normal voice of this particular blogger) or if it was more passive-aggressive, but I'm leaning towards the latter.

I am fortunate that I attend one of those "come as you are" churches. That doesn't mean those who attend lack respect for the Church - or for God. I've seen many young men (my own son included) walk into the church atrium with a ball cap on, but once they walk through the sanctuary doors, those hats quickly come off. Young children sit quietly in their seats, comfortable in their fleece or jammies. Seldom does anyone walk into worship late.

And you know what? I'm thinking God doesn't care much what anyone is wearing or how much they spent to look nice on Sunday. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that He doesn't even care if we've brushed our teeth (although I'm sure there has been more than one Christian parent who has claimed otherwise). Nope! I'm thinking God is far more concerned with my heart than he is with my Donna Karan.

Wouldn't it be a better place if we were all a little more that way?



Mrs. D said...

I agree 100%. My church is come as you are and my husband's is just barely more formal. No one thinks twice if you're wearing jeans and a tee shirt or a dress w/heels. The important thing is what's in your heart. Worrying about how nice you look is distracting. Of course, the funbags ought to be put away, though, lol.

The AbsolutGator said...

Yes, the most important thing about church is being there and to take in the lesson being preached so you can put it into application. However, I have to be honest, I don't want to see some kid coming in like he's going to a Slipknot concert after the sermon. The plunging V-neck on the other hand...I'm okay with.

Disaster Chick said...

Aren't we taught not to judge others? We may not know why someone showed up the way they did - that maybe all they had.

I once attending Christmas service in sweatpants. We were traveling and didn't know what time mass was at the church where I was baptized, and discovered it was starting then. Our clothes were packed in a suitcase because we thought we would have a couple of hours. It was cold and wet so changing on a dirt road would have been to big of a challenge this time. Needless to say I was very self conscious. However, it was at that mass I got reconnected with my honorary brothers.

Dana said...

Mrs. D, I think there is a difference between modesty and formality ... and sweats are usually modest :)

The AbsolutGator, So, when visiting your church I should make sure my son wears a plunging v-neck with his pants on the ground? I worry about you!

Disaster Chick, I think one of the many things that keeps people away from church/religion is the fact that people there are human too. It's difficult not to judge on appearance, but can be so rewarding when we look past the outside and into the heart.

The AbsolutGator said...

Plunging V-neck on the ladies! Geez...I guess I need to be more specific next time.

It is about being there, but lets face it, a church crowd is no different than any other type of crowd. It is full of 'judgers', thieves, aldulturers, hypocrites, etc. The big difference is that most church goers admit that they are sinners and are hopefully doing their best to be better.

jennifer said...

This post is a breath of fresh air in the Blogosphere!

My daughter does NOT do frilly. Normally she has on jeans and a hoodie when she attends Sunday morning service. God is not looking at her attire. He sees the hidden person of her heart. The rest of us are in 'dress casual' (never a skirt or dress on any of the ladies... or guys for that matter). We are clean, kempt, and most of all, ready to hear the message! We are not there to please the people sitting around us, just the Lord.

Do I like seeing cleavage in church? No, I'm not wired that way :) But I am not going to label someone a whore because their boobies spill over the top of their dress either. You know, God has to convict the heart about what is appropriate and he doesn't need my harsh judgement to do it.

Thanks for letting me say my two cents worth :)

Jay said...

Actually I think that plunging necklines and short skirts make church more tolerable. It's pretty boring if there isn't anything, or anyone, interesting to look at.

I'm fine with the "come as you are" concept when it comes to church. I agree that Jesus wouldn't turn someone away just because they couldn't afford an Armani suit. The best you have is certainly good enough.

But, on the other hand, I think we've gone way to casual in this country. People are wearing flip-flops and ratty clothes to places and events that should be more formal. I think it adds to the loss of manners and civility in many ways too.

Also, I have a whole rant on teenagers being allowed to wear baggy pants and/or flip-flops to "formal" events by indulgent parents. But, I'll spare you that one. ;-)

Linda said...

Great post Dawn, I read you blog everyday and enjoy it so much.

Dana said...

The AbsolutGator, Thank goodness you clarified. I was concerned you might need some professional help there for a moment ;)

And yes, church is filled with the very same people that are rude, dishonest and piss you off Monday-Saturday, but for some reason, visitors sometimes expect to see better!

jennifer, thanks Jennifer! I remind myself that if I am judging others I must think I'm God ... or at least on a level playing field with him. That reminder usually puts me in my place quite quickly :)

Jay, you'd be surprised at what you'll get in a "come as you are" church - it's often visually diverse!

And you might be surprised at this, but I agree with the "too casual" concept. There is still a need to be respectful and aware of the individual environmental expectation.

snugs said...

While I fully support the come as your are casual attire for church, I also believe that since Jesus died for my sins the least I can do is dress up a little more than usual on Easter Sunday.

Karen said...

I dress for church. I sweats and short and caps are just a no-no. I guess it just depends on how you are raised, but I think there is just a difference between what you play in and what you pray in.

I often tell clients to come to court dressed as they would go to church - and I haven't had anyone misunderstand that concept yet.

Dana said...

Linda, thanks Linda!

snugs, and you know what? I'd say that if that is how you chose to show your appreciation then you should do just that! My point is merely that we should not judge those who feel differently. They may have decided to donate the money they would have spent on fancy Easter clothes to the local food bank instead. One never knows!

Karen, I dress for church too ... never have I forgotten my clothes :) What's funny is I was raised that it mattered what you wore to church, and I always questioned just who it mattered to!

HalfAsstic.com said...

Very well said! I agree completely. I think it's wonderful when I see people dressed to the nines at service, but I am tickled to see anyone wearing anything they can find to put on coming to church. They're not there to see me, but to visit God's house, so why should I be offended by them?

The AbsolutGator said...

I'm with ya, Jay. Just like our educational system, society is going to the lowest common denominator in regards to dress. Even when I do casual, it still usually means the shirt is tucked in and a belt is worn. And, call me crazy (Dana already has), I like to wear ties every once in a while, plus, the wife likes it.

Disaster Chick said...

Like you Dana, when I realizing I'm judging others I stop. It has taken a lot of stress out of life.

I do love the people that leave right after communion - especially when a whole section clears out. I was always taught you leave after the priest leaves. Think of it like a wedding - do you leave before the bride/groom?

While people may have been very humble and religious in the church the parking lot is every vehicle for itself - I'm like we just got out of church - what did you learn!!!

Bond said...

Nancy and I are exploring Churches at the moment and we went to a non-denominational service on Easter. the pastor had on a golf shirt, untucked and khakis..I saw sandals on me (well Jesus wore sandals!) and a lot of jeans and t-shirts on men and women.

For me, I still wear the jacket (no tie) and a pair of dress pants and a golf shirt - tucked in..

to each their own I guess...but on Easter, I think you should make a little effort.

Dana said...

HalfAsstic, My son and I actually went to the Saturday evening Easter service (our church has a service Saturday evening and two on Sunday) and I saw a handful of folks dressed up (and looking quite beautiful) but most weren't. I enjoy the diversity!

The AbsolutGator, great ... first you want to see my 14 year old son in a plunging v-neck and now you are "with" Jay?? Crazy doesn't even begin to touch that *gigglesnort*

Disaster Chick, don't even get me started on church parking lot behavior! That is FAR worse than the church fashion police!

Dana said...

Bond, make a little effort to dress up because? I guess this is where we respectfully disagree. I believe that Gad would rather have me "dress up" my worship on Easter Sunday than dress up my body.


Four Dinners said...

Hey! I dressed up!...well...for me anyroad.

Cleanest jeans - the ones with the curry stain - Oldham Athletic Football Club shirt.

It wasn't perfection but it was close!!!

Even drank some Easter vodka!

Jeff B said...

I'm a jeans and tee shirt kind of guy for the most part. Now given the choice between the ones I wear to work and the ones without holes and stains, I'm going to choose the later.

At our church you'll find a pretty wide range of dress, and I'd say 98% of the people don't give a rip what you wear. The other 2% will get their skivies in a bunch no matter what the circumstances.

Dana said...

Four Dinners, but did you drink the Easter Best Vodka or were you sucking down the generic stuff??

Jeff B, kind of like real life huh? About 2% of the general population will get their skivvies in a bunch no matter what the circumstances. Too bad they are the ones who usually get the attention!

Lu' said...

I think for church, of which I do not attend but have attended, tidy attire but comfortable is the way to go. i was raised to see that as a show of respect. Why dress nicer for Easter service? Why not. The service is to celebrate a huge moment. People get dressed up to go out and celebrate their birthdays and other momentous events in their lives why not dress up to celebrate the resurrection of our Saviour. When it is all said and done though the most important thing if for everyone to feel welcome whatever they choose to wear.

Matt-Man said...

One thing that the first blogger said that struck was that Church is God's House...To me, church is man's house. Designed by man, created by man, exploited by man. Churches are not necessarily God's house. Cheers Dana!!

Real Live Lesbian said...

I don't think Jesus cares what I wear....although I, too was brought up with the "Sunday best" theory.

I wanna go to your church.

Rhonda the Real said...

Let me join in and defend 'come as you are" churches. I attend one too. It was so hard dressing four kids in their Sunday best...then keeping them clean and wrinkle free and presentable while they wait for me to get ready or vice versa..By the time everyone was in place with matching shiny shoes and pressed slacks etc. We were all so aggravated that church was just a resented event! Not to mention hearing them complain about itching and lack of comfort the whole time. The come as you are is genius! It allows you to come with less stress and save your money for better things than high priced dresses and slacks. I have attended many a church where the people spend more on their Sunday attire then their rent/mortgage. It removes a big accuse from not attending church
"I have nothing to wear". I love the idea and it has certainly caused an improvement in my attendance record and mood.