This Â is a guest post by Paula Mooney. It first appeared in LuckMag and is published here with permission of Paula Â to whom we are grateful.
The other day I was thinking about the time when I was in the basement of my old church attending some sort of training session for us â€œleaders,” as churches are apt to call volunteers who are led like sheep to the slaughter into ministry work. I had donned my favorite white sweater, one composed of yarn that was knitted or crocheted into a pattern that allowed small rectangular spacing in between each section. I wasn’t crazy â€” I knew I’d be spending time around some holier-rolling-than-thou saints â€” therefore, I probably wore some kind of tank top underneath. (Unlike the time I wore the same sweater to my former job in California with just a bra underneath, and my female boss at the time kept glancing down during our conversation.)
But back to the church basement. All of a sudden, this older geezer of a man sidled up next to me and chimed, â€œAre you cold? Are you cold?” Before I could even open my mouth to begin to formulate an answer, he responded for me to his own inquiry. â€œThe reasons you’re cold we’ve already discussed,” he said, proudly referring to a discussion the teacher had just had with us members about appropriate church attire. I couldn’t tell if his statement reflected genuine grandfatherly concern for his â€œsister in Christ” or a kind of Pharisee-like creepiness.
Either way, I probably couldâ€™ve found some guidance for dressing in the fashion section for women on Godinterest.com, if the site wouldâ€™ve existed back then. Years later, at a different church, Iâ€™d find myself being admonished a bit more gently and less directly in another ministry meeting, all because my cute white t-shirt with the â€œblinged-out” bedazzled cross on the front was apparently a little too fitted.
Ah wellâ€¦church fashions may always be a point of controversy, especially in light of all the hubbub surrounding famous Christians like Erica Campbell and Meagan Good lately, two beautiful women whom I believe dress just fine for the entertainment industry. Besides, I hate it when some places of worship go overboard with talk about women â€œtempting their brothers to fall.” At least some are progressive enough to ban the men from wearing muscle shirts. At least they realize that some of the menâ€™s Christian fashions we uncover can be just as provocative:
Okay, back from that trip to muscle-land.
My main point is that Iâ€™ve learned that dressing for church might have evolved over the years, but no matter what, just because you wear a skirt down to your ankles doesnâ€™t mean youâ€™re not a sinner in need of saving, and simply because a bit of dcolletage shows doesnâ€™t mean youâ€™re in a hand basket heading to hell.
Following the unction of the Holy Spirit guides us into whatâ€™s really proper attire for us to wear â€” whether itâ€™s for a Sunday morning service, a Saturday night contemporary celebration, or any other day of the week. In the same way that God looks upon the heart, itâ€™s more important to start there in gleaning where a personâ€™s coming from, and not sum them up in one judgment based solely on their wardrobe.