Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Dressing up for church

Was having a discussion today with my VETAMORPHUS guys, and the topic of dressing up for church came up, particularly to be on the music team, an idea to which I'm strongly opposed. Clearly with the Huddle we don't have this issue, and having never been involved with music stuff at Franga, don't know what rules are in place, but I digress.

I'm just not a fan of any sort of putting on any 'airs and graces' for church. For a number of reasons.

I don't reckon God cares.
If we're dressing up for church, why don't we dress up everyday? Cos God is just as much in our everyday as at church.
It can make people feel excluded if they can't dress up-ie they don't have enough money.
It can make people feel excluded if they don't fit the image.
It puts unneccessary restrictions/expectations on people, and is another possible way to exclude people.
It feels unnatural and very fake to me.
It can give people the wrong idea about what God wants/expects from us to newcomers?
Dressing up, not God, can become the focus.

But mainly the first one.

Sure you don't have to dress down, or wear singlets and no shoes like me, but I'm just really not a fan of people having to dress up for church or music teams, I really can't see any reason. If you know some, please tell me.


Mim said...

I used to get told off for thongs and bear feet and thought it was funny that 'slides' were ok but not thongs!?! apparently thongs have bogan connotations. So I'm prob acceptated as the church bogan cos I walk around in both all the time- would prob draw the line at bear feet on sun morn service though to keep the peace.

The other issue is- we've had sermons that females should be careful what they wear to church so they don't distract the male worshipers from God. And while I can see their point in a way and by Vietnamese village standards my wardrobe could be considered pritty slutty- where do you draw the line on this one. If you're allowed to wear singlets in church and its assumed females will control themselves then I don't see why I can't and have to be uncomfortable and dress diff in church.

Unknown said...

Hey Digs,
I guess it can come to an attitude thing. The balance between being oppressed by feeling the need to live up to certain social norms vs having a spirit a rebellion just cos we dont like the fact that there are norms or unspoken expectations. For most i would imagine its a respect thing, both for God & the people with whom we meet with at church. If going to church was only about God & nothing to do with the people then we'd all just 'do church' by ourselves in a cupboard without the need for anybody else. But church isnt a solo venture, its done in community, so while we wouldnt judge others for their dress only a spirit of rebellion would dress to make a point. Like Paul, i change depending on whats appropriate for the group I'm ministering amongst. Its not so much a matter of dressing up or down but rather whats more appropriate (& therefore respectful) to those I'm with. If I can worship God in any situation & be comfortable in almost anything my next consideration is what will be the least hinderance to those around me.
Love your work - Ads

Digger said...

Yeah the issue of what chicks wear in church is a whole other one Mim, will get onto that one in another post soon hopefully.

Hey dunno which Ads this is, but there's some great thoughts there dude.
Really liked what you said about it not just being us n god, we do need to take into consideration other people.
Sometimes I do reckon we need to challenge people's opinions and ideas about dress codes, but not always.
Haha, I think I've definitely done the 'spirit of rebellion' thing a few times too :)
But yeah, good points whoever you are.

Anonymous said...

For me, growing up, it was always about a respect thing - respect for God, and linked with that, the whole concept of giving Him the best and the first of everything in your life - hence the phrase "wearing your Sunday best". Unfortunately, that "pure concept" of course then gets corrupted by our (sinful) human nature to judge people, leading to some of the issues you allude to Digs.

Naturally, over time, fashions, thinkings and people change!

Mim said...

yeah sorry, thought it was kind of related- kind of gets me that it's all about what chicks wear- but I'm yet to hear the sermon about what the guys should/shouldn't wear. My repressed feminist side gets cranky on the whole issue of this one so I'll shut before I get too fired up.

Was thinking though about Adam and Eve being nude in the company of God in the garden- God can handle it, it's us with the issues. Deff a human community based issue which will differ between societies. And just to clear any doubt- I'm not suggesting we all start going to church in the nude!

Anonymous said...

I'm with 'ads' on this 1. Like Paul "When in Rome do what the Romans do". If I was ministering with Muslim ladies I'm not going to where my cut off shorts (which Neale, husband loves) and my little singlets. And if I'm at the 'oldies' service at church being the 'lovely minister's wife' (I can only hope to be) then I'll wear an old floral dress with puffed sleeves. Just kidding. But I do believe respect & not offending others r important when it comes to dressing 4 anything really. God, on the other hand, as u said Digger, doesn't mind- as long as we are considering others needs (ie don't make a guy stumble etc)...

waynemus said...

This topic and many of its alternative branch offs is something which I have stuggled to come to a justified final conclusion on the matter. In one hand we should allow inclusion into others (and unforntunately many see conformity as being the easiest way to achieve this), but at the same time we should challenge people on what may be wrongly held preconceptions. We are like one another for being made in the image of God, and secondly for possesing or having the potential to posess good character, not because what we wear, or how we do our hair, etc (1 Tim 2:9, 1 Pet 3:3. Oh and Mim this is talking about people in general, not just Paul being a mesodginistic overlord on the women.)

Didn't Jesus critize the teachers of the law for "long flowing robes", which were supposedly part of religious observance? (Mark 12:38)? Aren't we not to care for what we wear because even the lillies are dressed in finer splendour? (Matt 6:28)

I respect that obviouslly Jesu may of being speaking of legalism, where as this is genuine reference.

One thing which I have being thinking through of late is does Artificial Beautification = Self Exaltation? Does self promotion run counter to living for God? Can we be sure that our humble service to Godis truly that, and not our ego in disguise, slowly furthering itself through religious observance?

Digger said...

So in that last paragraph Wayne are you saying that by making ourselves look good we're distracting ourselves from god?

And yeah, thinking about when we need to challeenge people's perceptions is an interesting one, cos I think thats a part of whats behind some of the times when I dress down for church just to piss people off-but sometimes its just to be a smartarse!

Anonymous said...

I think there are some different options and things to think about when in a situation where you feel that a standard is not appropriate, one thing is well do i really want to be involved with this group where i am in this situation, if you don't like it no one is making you stay. Another option is to stay and be enough of an influence to change the culture there. If it is not a big enough issue that you feel it is worth fighting over than you can just forget about it and get on with whatever you are meant to be doing.
PS I don't know what the problem is but i couldn't publish this comment under my blogger id as it kept telling me my password was wrong, weird.

Digger said...

Hey John are you with blogger beta? Cos if not I think u might struggle to comment, but I'm not sure

waynemus said...

Well not neccesarily just about making ourselves look good. One thing I have been thinking through is the inter relationship of the individual and God. How do we know what he wants of us? If we think we do, how do we know it's not really another option, but we favour this particular one? (i.e. do we dress up in respect, or dress down in respect and challenge).

Trying to think through it. The question isn't reserved to this topic particularly, just something I'm thinking through, and has universal relevance as far as religious observance, and hence ties into this question.

I guess I should be a bit more conservative and focussed in my blog posts.

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