Friday, November 06, 2009

Hmm, isn't this interesting? An Evangelical pastor's thoughts

Has Church Become too Casual? | Phil Cooke The Change Revolution

In the Catholic Church, we've never been to "concerned" about dress. I really think Jesus doesn't care all that much, myself. I'm not going to "judge" another by their clothing. I'm just glad they're there, and I think Jesus is, too. I do understand the thinking, and agree that we're much too casual in dress, at times...but to me the bigger problem is the 'casualness' we approach Jesus in Communion. It's not the clothes, (maybe a little) that change us, it's the lack of good catechesis and teaching about WHOM we are receiving in the Blessed Sacrament.

I've heard the debate on how to dress given by good Catholics, asking: "If you were invited to the White House to meet the President, you'd wear your best and look your best. Yes, I would. But God says, "Come"...that's it. He doesn't give any indication in scripture that the clothes on our backs are the "number 1 priority." I think it's wonderful that most dress up and look their best. I just happen to be a very casual woman who has nary any dresses. No joke. I hate high heels and having to accessorize my shoes/purses. I am not a fan of "dressing up." But my idea of casual, comfortable certainly doesn't mean tawdry! (as in photo below!)

I do believe women/young teens need to be modestly dressed, certainly, as that can be a real problem for men. That's not being 'hyper-sensitive' or judging their hearts, it's only reality. However, I find when people do dress up, many of them, not all, have that "look" about them, maybe a tinge of 'snobbishness' and don't have anything to do with the less well-dressed. I have respect for those who do wear their "Sunday best" but still, it's not about our clothing on our bodies, but the attitude and our hearts. "Rend your hearts and not your garments." JOEL 2:3 That speaks to me that it's the heart and what it's "wearing" that's more important than what is on our bodies.

I am and will always be a "blue jean" woman. I don't 'dress up' for Sunday, but I don't purposely 'dress down' either. I don't wear torn and worn out clothing, but we also know, Jesus never said: "Come all you that labor and are heavy burdened, clean yourselves up, put on the best clothes you have, don't wear jeans, or shorts in summer, don't look too sloppy, and I will give you rest."

I see in the poorer sections of town, at noon mass, many who make it their priority to 'get to mass.' Like my husband who manages a lake, and can't 'dress up' before going to mass/work on a weekday morning, many of those who go to midday masses across the city during the week, come while in their work clothes and their work clothes are sometimes very worn and or possibly not the cleanest. Does that mean they're less acceptable to our Lord? Or that they're too 'casual and just don't care?' No. Sundays, it's nice to make a little more effort to be better dressed, but still, it's the heart, not the clothes. Then again, maybe it's just me and my preference for my 'blue jean' lifestyle talking.

It's the extremes that people tend to end up in, in every area that is a problem. Our desire to 'remove the spec in the eye of our brother or sister, rather than removing the plank in our own that's the cause of discord. The Lord rebukes many who "judge by appearances" and that goes to judging those really finely dressed, too. I think we all need to just 'mind our own business' and focus on our own hearts and where we stand with God TODAY, not someone else's clothing. UNLESS, of course, we see anything like in the picture below!

What I found so very interesting by the Evangelical pastor was his writing about those who are seeking "liturgy" and "smells and bells." It's most curious. The longing for "mystery" that's been removed in more independent fellowships and all the 'trendy' main-line denoms, with their "upbeat" worship services given to "appeal" to the culture, when culture is really crying out for TRUTH, and not 'sham wow' experiences. Anyway, I'd love to hear some of your thoughts on this. I find it fascinating. This is ending up as a post about two different issues: one's interior heart disposition and exterior clothing.

It's one thing for a prostitute to wander in off the streets, ready to convert and repent of her sins, by some miracle touch of God's grace (and if that were to happen, she'd likely find more suitable clothing or a shawl to cover up as much as she could.) But this "shameful display" (below) in a Catholic Church is completely irresponsible! What on earth are their mothers and fathers thinking? Sadly, not much! Obviously parental authority has "flown the coop" as kids now "rule the roost" in most families. However, this is quite shocking! I found this picture while looking for a photo to post. Seems I found one! The exposure of skin on these girls is just 'wrong' and happily has never occurred in our parish! Sadly this kind of show is apparently found in many "Catholic" parishes of Europe.


Lyda said...

I’ve had a conversion of sorts regarding how I dress for Holy Mass. When I was at my old Novus Ordo parish, I would wear anything I wanted… jeans, shorts, whatever. (Hmm, I just re-read that…anything “I” wanted…it seems selfish…) But now that I go the Traditional Latin Mass and have heard our priests speak about modesty in dress, I’ve changed my mind. They have helped me to see that as a woman, I should dress as a woman and reclaim my God-given femininity. So, I’ve gone from wearing jeans all the time, to wearing skirts pretty much all the time. (I don’t wear high heels, though—ouch!) When I dress my best for Holy Mass, it mirrors my interior disposition to God (Lex orandi, lex credendi). I don’t wear anything showy, just simple and modest. I wouldn’t dress in jeans for a job interview, because it would show a certain disrespect and lack of care to the employer. In the same way, I try to give God my best. However, God does not expect the impossible, so if a person’s best is *truly * jeans and a t-shirt, so be it.

Joyful Catholics said...

Hi Lyda,
Amen. Thank you for your comment. I agree with you've said, here. I do prefer a skirt to a dress. What I'd truly prefer to wear is a Carmel brown monk's habit, but that's out for a lay woman, who's not even a 3rd Order anything... darn. :(