Friday, July 20, 2012

Week 2: 7: Clothing

Welcome back. This week we’re going to be discussing the chapter about clothes. To be honest, this is not an area I feel like I struggle with. I tend to have an affinity for tank tops, hoodies and flip flops, but I’ll wear them to death. If I have clothing that I haven't worn in a while it's probably due to the vicious cycle of being normal sized, getting pregnant, post pregnancy chubbiness, working my way back to being normal sized, and then getting pregnant again. And repeat. Once I’m sure that the baby making is all done, and that I can hopefully stay in the same size shirt and pants for more than 6 months, I plan on whittling down the wardrobe further. I do tend to overbuy clothes for my children, but 90% of what they own is from yard sales or consignments. Also, I know that most of their clothes will be passed on to my friends (with Gabbi’s old stuff then coming back to me so Evie can wear it). By the time all is said and done, whatever I buy for Gabbi or Micah goes through at least 2 other children. Not too bad, especially when I try not to go over $5 per piece of clothing.

But that’s just me. I am blessed to be able to stay home and dress comfortably all the time. I’m also blessed with little to no fashion sense, so I don’t really have the desire to look current and cute.

What interested me most about this chapter (and about the discussion on Marla’s Blog, which you can find here) was her thoughts on how we should dress at church.  Here are two passages that really stood out to me.

                “As we worshipped and studies the Word and enjoyed good weather and even better company, God reminded me that gathering the saints is powerful not because we look our finest or make a big production of the details but because we unite to seek Jesus. That’s the magic. I suspect God is more glorified in a humble room of earnest worshippers than a massive production designed to sound “relevant” to the listeners but no longer relevant to God. When the worship of God turns into a “worship experience,” we have derailed as the body of Christ.”

“Finery and opulence never impressed Jesus; quite the opposite. He lambasted religious leaders for their fancy robes, strutting around as if their ceremonial dress had any bearing on the condition of their hearts. There is something noble about an assembly of believers in simple clothes, where the lobby isn’t filled with people saying “You look pretty” to one another. Maybe looking pretty isn’t the catalyst for the Spirit’s movement. Perhaps an obsessive occupation with dresses and hair and shoes detracts us from the point of the gathering: a fixation on Jesus. When the jars of clay remember they are jars of clay, the treasure within gets all the glory, which somehow seems more fitting.”

Here are your discussion questions for the week:

1. Where do you fall of the clothing continuum?
  • Don’t really care about clothes.
  • Love clothes but consider yourself more creative than excessive.
  • Sense you might have a clothing addiction.
  • Other.

2. Another quote that really hit me was this:
“We cannot carry the gospel to the poor and lowly while emulating the practices of the rich and powerful.” What do you think about this?

3. And now for the more controversial question: What do you feel is appropriate church attire? Why? I may play “devil’s advocate” in the comments section, so please don’t be offended if I question your position. I’m just trying to get some good discussion going. 

Seriously, this random white highlighting might just make me nuts. Oh well. 


  1. I'm not sure where I fall on the clothing continuam. I feel I spend next to nothing on clothes but compared to the rest of the world I realize I'm probably once again in the top 1% in this area too. I do care what I look like and I especially care about what I look like at church. We dress up for a few reasons: George is required to as part of his job and I feel as a pastors wife I should also look "nice." Our relationships with God are our most important priority and the fellowship at church is an important part of our obedience to God. When we do important things with important people we dress up. We don't wear the same clothes to softball games that we do to go out to dinner and worship is more important than both those things. One of the ways we show our kids how special something is to us is how we dress. Dinner at chick fil a? Where what you want! A birthday party? Let's wear a sun dress. A wedding? Dresses definetly but maybe not new. Easter Service? Your best. This is super important.
    Now all that being said, I completely agree with what Marla said. It's our conviction. It would be a sin for me to wear sweats and a tank top on a Sunday morning. I feel convicted to dress myself and my family special on Sunday mornings. I feel like I am a distraction when I don't dress up because of my role in the church. If you don't feel convicted about what you wear to church than by all means wear what you want and what you feel best glorifies God.

    Ok, I know I'm making this forever long but just another "quick" thought. I have been thinking that in the same way that I want my clothes to please God on Sunday mornings maybe my appearance should be focused on what my husband finds appealing. Maybe clothes shopping or $ spent on hair/nails/etc. should only be spent on those things that are pleasing to him. If he doesn't care one way or another what my toes look like then maybe the $ spent on pedicures could be better spent elsewhere.

    Oops I skipped question 2. Ummm, word and amen.

  2. You're probably right about the pedicure thing. Does George not appreciate pretty toes?!?

    As far as dressing for church, you know that my viewpoint differs from yours. If I'm leaving the house, my style of dress doesn't vary too much. If it does, it's all about me wanting to look good and/or conform socially rather than getting dressed up for less selfish reasons. For example, I'll get dressed nicely to go to a wedding, but only because people would be offended if I didn't (due to cultural mores) and I know that there will be pictures - so many pictures. I don't want the bride and groom to look at the pictures 5 or 10 years down the line and say "Wow. Alicia was looking pretty rough." Honestly, part of me thinks that if the guests really wanted to show honor at a wedding, we would look like we usually do and there would be no chance of outshining the bride or groom. (Take the royal wedding, for example. Kate looked pretty, but all of London went on and on about how stunning Pippa was.) Okay - sorry for the long tangent. The following statements pertain to my family - I think that we all have to decide what's appropriate for us and I don't think there could or should be any blanket statements as to how you should dress. (Well, aside from the fact that I think it's inappropriate to dress in s sexually provocative manner.) As far as church, I don't believe that God cares what we wear, so I dressing up would automatically make it more about me than about God. Also, I think part of my hesitation to "make Sunday mornings special" comes from the struggle I've been having reconciling what I see as the church of the New Testament with our current model of church. (Not necessarily Laurel Hill, but the American church in general.) I think that the tradition of having to dress/act/worship a certain way takes away from the Church's actual purpose so my gut reaction is just to scrap all of it. But, then again, I have been known to through out the baby with the bathwater. I need to be more focused on asking God what He wants me to do with my Sundays and then pray that I'm obedient. That's where I'm currently at. I think.

  3. I would have to say I agree with Shannon on the clothes thing. I tend to lean more towards dressing up as the more important an occasion is because I'm putting more effort and time to it. But I will admit that sometimes I am guilty of dressing up more for appearances which is a self centered and probably not what God has in mind. Really it is up to the individual for their reasons and convictions that makes the difference

  4. This year (thanks to Pinterest) I turned all my clothes hangers backward. As the clothes were worn and washed they were hung up the right way. At the 6 month mark anything that was still backward was donated with the exception on my dress. (Yes i only own 1 dress) It's for special occasions. I am so not interested in clothing that I was trying to institute uniforms for the teachers just to make my life easier :) Maybe this is from the years of Catholic School. I do think it is ok to enjoy your clothes and dressing up as long as that does not become your god and you do not put your family in the poor house just to keep up your habit. I do tend to spend more on Nick b/c I see characters on a t-shirt that he would like and I buy it. Most times he won't wear it when I bring it home. This is something that I became aware of during the "shopping" chapter, so I will save my comments for that time.
    Appropriate church attire: Everything must be covered, minimum stains and rips, but if that's all you have, feel free to wear it :)

  5. I really liked this chapter and (since I read the whole book already and go back and skim and check my notes for the blog) thought this would be the easiest thing out of the book for me to do. I also thought this topic gave her more time rather than less like I thought the food chapter did. I could definitely wear 7 articles of clothing for 30 days (as long as it was in the summer and not school season since I teach). The clothes I would pick are:
    1. my black $2.50 flip flops from Old Navy
    2. my jean skirt from a consignment shop
    3. a white tank top
    4. a black tank top
    5. my signed by Jamie Moyer Phillies sweatshirt
    6. a pair of jeans
    7. a Phillies t-shirt

    In the clothing continuum, I fall into a few different categories. I enjoy buying clothes. I tend to buy an article of clothing for an event (wedding, graduation, holiday) and not wear it again. I also can’t pass up a sale. $3 tank top! I’ll buy one in every color! Or it looks super cute in the store and I try it on and love it, but when I go to wear it at home…not so much. I also gained A LOT of weight when I was pregnant so I have my prepregnancy clothes, pregnancy clothes, right after pregnancy clothes, and now my not quite back to prepregnacy weight clothes. I don’t want to get rid of any because God willing I hope to have a couple more. Although I feel like I have a clothing addiction, I don’t think I have much fashion sense and I really don’t care about clothes…if that makes sense. As for my son, I love buying him clothes and like Alicia most of them are used and are from friends or consignment sales. Since he is growing so fast and I get his clothes next to nothing and he plays hard, I don’t feel so bad about his clothes.

    My church is VERY laidback. The majority wears casual and a few dress up. Our pastor is usually in khakis. I think the only time I saw him in a suit was 9 years ago at our wedding. I love the fact that I can dress casual. I feel more comfortable dressing casual. As I say to my 5th graders, “You’re here to learn, it’s not a fashion show.” That’s exactly how I feel about church.