Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday Best

Marguerite is throwing a mini birthday party at Sunday School today. The cupcakes are done, but I still need get the other things ready... That's why here I am blogging, lol. Also, "Image of the Beast" is being shown tonight as part of our movie month. Q&A follows afterward. So far, questions about what happens to babies and other innocent children during the Rapture, the status of the Tribulation saints during the Millennium, rumors of people with microchips already embedded in their person, etc. have already been raised. It has been very fascinating thus far.
Our church is pretty conservative in its values. It discourages a lot of things from habit. I mean, like stuff that was discouraged in the '50s that has become quite acceptable through the years. For instance, we still discourage going to the cinema (take note: discourage is different from prohibit). Watching movies is fine, but movie houses have a reputation for certain behavior that it's just safer to disassociate yourself from it. I remember one of my favorite YA books, "A Long Way from Chicago" by Richard Peck, mentioning movie night in a small rural Illinois town back in the '30s. The movie house I think was a makeshift tent with folding chairs and a projector inside. It was supposed to be the height of excitement and everybody came but Baptists. :) We're not Baptists. We're Pentecostals, but we're led by an old-fashioned Pentecostal (my father), so we can relate to that.
And then there's the dress code. I grew up in a time when people donned their Sunday Best for church and each member toted a Bible. In our church now, you will see a sea of denim jeans (ehem, Mark) and Tshirts (at least, he always wears a collared shirt) and many don't have a Bible to read during Scriptures. Honestly, your outfit shouldn't matter so much, but it does say something about your attitude toward worship. You want to be comfortable, but you also want to honor God with your best. There was some hullabaloo at Congress earlier about a stricter dress code (a couple of women, including former Pres. GMA had attended sessions wearing sleeveless dresses). I mean, the fuss over being in the presence of fellow humans, no matter how illustrious (I can hear your snort, hehe; let's just operate on the presumption that these elected officials are true statespersons), why can't we accord God the same honor when He deserves so much more? Why can't we present ourselves to best meet the standards of beauty in God's eyes? Decency, modesty, holiness... (the 20-yr-old me wouldn't believe that this is coming from the 33-yr-old me, lol). Of course, these are all just guidelines. You can come to worship in our church in any outfit, unless, of course, if you are in ministry, then there are rules.
I know that sounds hoity-toity to some people, and I should know; I spent many years on the other side. How many times have I engaged my dad in debate over individuality? Having attended the most liberal university in the country during a time when I was at my most impressionable, I was really confused for a long time. I think as I grew in faith and started to really seek God's kingdom (and believe me, I am far from being consistent about this), I began to see the resistance I'd put up not as a search for truth and understanding, but as what it was: a reluctance to be obedient.
Ooh, it's almost 7. I'll just squeeze in one more point and then I'm outta here. The point is that what the church can't force on young people, the parents can. I remember going to church with my aunt in the States. My sister and I hadn't brought proper church clothes with us to our vacation, so I asked if it was okay to wear jeans. My aunt said "yes" and my cousin looked incredulous. She said something like, "Really? I always thought it wasn't." And my aunt said that their family upheld its own dress code for church. I feel that's how it should be. If the church can't impose, the parents can. Not only with clothes.
I didn't really get to discuss this as well as I had hoped for. I need to get ready for church though.


The Kano said...

I used to attend a mainstream Pentecostal church in America many years ago that frowned upon the wearing of jeans and my then long hair. So I dressed up every Sunday. Did it make me any "holier" to dress nicely? Of course not, but I did it out of respect and of course always carried my Bible, too.

Now I attend Catholic Mass in the Philippines with my wife and wear my jeans and T-Shirts. As you know, what matters is what's in the heart and not the outward appearance. I enjoyed reading this article. I can relate.

Sharkbytes (TM) said...

It is so interesting to hear where your church(es) "are at" in terms of accepting dress, movies, etc. I think we've gone a little to far toward no structure in the US.

spinninglovelydays said...

@Dave: Thanks. It's always what's on the inside that counts more. :)

@Sharkbytes: Oh, so many churches are just like that here. I think we may be the only one left with that position on watching movies at the cinema.

swirlyagelessmind said...

Remember when I went to the baptist church in Fresno? I was the only one wearing dress pants, I got a lot of questioning looks from the members.
I think what's inside is what truly matters but I will quote United's song to end this comment of mine..."...and the cry of my heart is to bring You praise, from the inside out..."

spinninglovelydays said...

Oh, is that the same church we went to where we caught ourselves just in time as we were about to applaud the special trio number? They were nice folks, but ooh, I'm really just used to more energy during the service.