Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Some Good Points


Someone sent me this link to a very well-written piece about respectful dress for church.  It addresses all the challenges about the subject in a very tasteful and peaceable manner.

Please note: The post was not written by me, nor do I necessarily personally sanction all aspects of it. However, the major points of her article are worth considering.

I have forwarded it to several people. One of the replies I received was this:
"This explanation makes a lot of sense-- of course if they are in grungies all week (and doing actual work in them) they would want a day off from that! And why shouldn't it be continued in their culture-- what a lovely tradition! As housewives, we don't have to dress "down" every day, but it is still more special for Sundays-- we have clothes that we set aside for that special day."

Perhaps the modern boredom of church could be somewhat alleviated with the practice of making it a special occasion by dressing our best. I can only suggest you give it a try.

As per usual, a couple of the comments following the article gave the old tired excuses about dressing up being conceited or causing others to feel inferior, or dressing your best not being affordable.  Have you seen the price of casual, trendy tee shirts and jeans these days?  It is not exactly cheap to dress down!

You might also like this video from World Bible School which tastefully and kindly and gently addresses the subject "Does it Matter What We Wear to Church?" Please click this link and view the video.

Naturally whenever someone blogs about this subject they get the usual comments about how we need to be more casual in order to get people interested in Christ, but I think it shows they did not actually read the link.  If you feel you have objections to the article the author wrote on that link, please watch the World Bible School video I provided to get the entire picture. 

People sometimes become very PROUD and yes, high-minded about how casual they dress for worship. In fact they seem to be saying, "Look at me: I am not as stuffy as you are; I can come in my pyjamas as that's better, since it is my heart that counts! At least I am being myself. I don't care what you have to look at or what it does to YOUR heart, as long as I'M happy!"  A thoughtful, sacrificial and selfless person will want to offer God and others "the best of the flock", so to speak, by dressing respectfully.  The problem is, the moderns have gone about changing the meanings of words like "best" or "better", "formal" or respectful.  I suspect advertising twists our senses until we do not know the difference between refinement and savage. Dressing decently, orderly and beautifully has been labelled and libeled and lashed at as high-minded or affectatious. It has been given bad press. There is a reverse-snobbery taking place!

Casualness being the tradition these days, perhaps women feel awkward when dressed a bit more carefully. To alleviate this, try dressing better at home. It is after all, your "castle on the hill" where you preside as its queen in its daily functions and order.

Below: photo of Church of Christ Ladies Group in Lowell, Indiana, circa 1910.  This photograph is a treasure, for it tells a history. Please leave a comment and tell me what you can observe in this.  I have photographs of a very poor family (mine) in the late 1940's and early 1959's dressed up for church. My mother managed to find all the special clothes we needed.


Christine said...

When our children were little, I would start on Wed. to figure out, sew, wash, hang, our outfits to be ready for Sunday. Dresses and dress slacks were a rule!

"You can never be OVER dressed, for any occasion."

Lydia said...

and I was told when I was 16 that a dress was always appropriate and that you can find the right kind of dress for every occasion.

Amy B said...

What an amazing photo. I see that everyone is dressed beautifully. The young girls looks much older than I would guess because of the mature modest dress they wear. All are below the knee with stockings to cover the rest.

Just last Lord's Day we walked into a congregation and the first young lady I saw, walked by my family in a skirt so short and flouncy I almost gasp aloud! I have seen inappropriate clothing on church-going folks before, but I was completely unprepared for what I saw that morning. I made sure to sit my family ahead of her to protect the eyes of my young adult son and husband.

Lydia said...

Notice in the photo as the women are older their dresses are longer and their hair is put up. The younger the lady, the shorter the dress, with hair not done in an up style. It was the rule that as you got older you got more modest and less awkward and more able to walk and sit in a long dress. Girls wanted to be grow up enough to put up their hair and wear a long dress. Now we have girls in pretty dresses from Costco, and nothing for the grown up ladies except jeans and tee shirts.

Susan said...

I love that photo. Do you think the woman on the right with the black gloves is in mourning? They all look dignified and feminine and I'll bet each woman had fun making up a special hat for the occasion.

A local church in my area has a small thrift store where they sell clothes inexpensively. I was just there today and they have so many beautiful coats that they can't fit them on the racks. They told me that no one wears a coat anymore, not even to church (trust me it gets cold here). They all just want to buy sweatshirts and jeans. They never have any skirts on the racks because no one has any to donate!

When I was a little girl we dressed up for church and I looked forward to Sundays because of it. I remember walking along side my mother in her pretty dresses and thinking how proud I was of her and how beautiful she was. As I got older I wanted to dress in pretty clothes just like her. Easter was my favorite holiday because I got a new pair of white shoes and a white bag to wear with my dress. We wore white shoes after Easter and up until Labor Day and black shoes the rest of the year. My mother sewed most of my clothing and laid the outfit out the night before church.

I think how we dress has a lot to do with respect for others. A young Mennonite girl explained to me that part of their reason for dressing as they do is out of respect for older women in the church. Their clothes are simple, flattering, practical and modest.

I strive every day to look my best no matter what I am doing, even sitting around the house and not feeling well. I wear nothing but skirts because in addition to making me feel better about myself they are comfortable and practical. I can no longer tolerate tight slacks and I feel very immodest when wearing them. As an older woman I feel that a long skirt is more attractive on me. I always take a good look in the mirror before I leave the bedroom in the morning and I leave the house feeling very good about myself. We need to remember that the young girls are learning from us.

The article was excellent and very informative. Thanks for sharing it.

Tricia said...

This was an excellent article! Do you have any links to online stores that sell appropriate attire? I think that would be helpful!

Finding Joy said...

Grewing up I had a selection of "Sunday clothes" that were wore to Sunday morning meeting and they were smart, elegant and modest. We didn't attend a formal church, rather family members gathered at my Uncle's home however, even then we still dressed up for the Lord and all the men wore suits. When girls in our family reached 18 we all put up our hair and it was a sign of womanhood and something to really look forward to. I was allowed (as the youngest of all the girls) to put my hair up at 16. I still think it is important to dress up to go to church and I also think it is important to put effort into one's dress when going to the supermarket etc...

I haven't had any problems finding suitable modern (modest) clothing in the stores in Australia for a woman approaching 50. In fact I have found lots of summer dresses that were very suitable this year.

Unknown said...

This is such a lovely picture. They are all wearing dresses and hats, and their dresses are all either white or a subdued color.

Unknown said...

I do think that when people come to church super casual their attitude matches it. Our church has a few like that but most of the women dress nicely. I wear dresses exclusively 7 days a week, but on Sunday I add more accessories like a floral hair clip to dress it up more. I do feel that how we dress affects how we act. The Lord deserves our personal best.

SharonR said...

I read the link and watched the film. Both very good and convincing. I will do better.

What I notice in the picture is the fact that they are almost all dressed completely in white. Also, looks like a teenage girl class (though they didn't say, "teenage" at that time). Very pretty clothes. Outrageously big hats, however. That was the style, though and thought of by most of the time to be essential in wearing to a church service.

A. Law said...

I love this photo.
The ladies are so modest and the dresses are pretty.
I wish women would take care to dress more modestly today.

Lydia said...

Since the picture is not in color, the light shade dresses could have been pastel, and not all white. Sometimes the black skirts in pictures were really burgundy, green, blue, and other dark colors. In spite of the width of the hats ladies stand fairly close together.

living from glory to glory said...

Dear Lydia, I just wanted to say that if we could just realize that the way we dress does affect the way we act and respond! We always had the saying in our home change out of your Sunday clothes so they are not ruined. Play clothes for play...
The link was very good and you did a nice follow up on it!
Thank you so much!