Sunday, March 06, 2005

238 Discretion

In every culture there are dress standards for particular occasions. I attend church every week, and not always the same denomination or building or service style. I am convinced there is no one appropriate standard of attire for church services. God can be worshiped on the mountain top, the woods or the movie theater. However, in each location, is it unreasonable to have expectations? I'm thinking there may be no standards at all for those leading the congregation in worship.

I watched a lovely young mother approach the raised altar with one of her children, carrying the communion elements. As she leaned over with her rear to the congregation in her tight slacks, I could not only see her thong/panty line, but her cellulite dimples through the material.

I was at one service where a beautiful young woman in the worship team pranced and danced and swayed in tight jeans and skimpy shirt and seemed to be offering God a fairly good imitation of fellatio with the microphone.

One pastor I heard recently had on soiled, faded jeans and I half expected him to invite us into the woods for a campfire. When the missionary to the Indians preached in a plaid shirt and string tie, I thought it looked just fine, but if he'd been the regular pastor at that Baptist church, he would have looked odd.

Our choir offerings at the liturgical service are so lovely, I close my eyes to listen because they are all dressed in the clothes of their youth, whether they are 25 or 75. It might be a dark suit and tie, a pair of blue jeans with a shabby t-shirt, or a tight polyester dress from the 1970s. Thankfully, all the men have removed their baseball caps. I long for choir robes.

The sextet at another service comes to the front to lead our worship, the men in suits and the ladies in slacks and jeans and clashing colors, their visual cacaphony and large black music stands blocking all the lovely altar pieces of wood, cloth and metal. Their pride stops at the chin line, because all have carefully made up faces.

The "visual noise" is as off-putting as cell phones ringing in a quiet sanctuary or babies screaching into the microphone. It drowns out the music and the message.

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