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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Hymns Not Heels

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Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them, you are a mile away from them and you have their shoes.


I was listening to my mom and some of her friends chit chat the other day – yes, kind of eavesdropping because I feel like her friends give me funny looks sometimes and it makes me wonder what my mom is telling them about me - but that’s a WHOLE other story. Anyway, their conversation was about whether or not it was proper to wear a skirt or dress without stockings – you know – nylons, especially to church. The general consensus of these ladies was that indeed it was not appropriate to have bare legs at church. I realize that this is probably a generational thing. That generation – like the ladies in Steel Magnolias – just didn’t go out without lycra on their thighs and nylon on their knees. And actually I can remember going through a lot of plastic-egg stockings about 20-25 years ago myself. But times change, and while tights are ok, most women don’t wear the flesh colored nylon tubes so much anymore - and personally I’m ok with this. I don’t think bare legs are akin to discarding the corset and tossing away all ties to virtue.

However, I’ve noticed a trend lately that has pushed me closer to the cranky Victorian Prude Club. This isn’t a club I necessarily want to join, so I could use some feedback…just to see if my crank-o-meter is overreacting.

I live in a ward (a church boundary area) that has quite a few upwardly mobile relatively affluent young couples. These couples all seem to be very fashion forward and the women have some really fabulous shoes –the men too actually, but my beef is really more with the women. If fashion is your thing, I think it’s great to have fun with shoes – colors patterns, prints, heals, buckles, bows and all of that. But I do find myself wondering if every type of shoe is appropriate for a church setting. I know how this makes me sound, but I can’t help but wonder if church is really the place for an elevated peep-toe, 6 inch heel leopard print pump. Can you really teach primary in black thigh-high leather stiletto boots? And it seems to be hard to chase a toddler across the foyer in scarlett patent leather stacked-heel strappy sandals – especially when there’s 6 inches of snow outside.

Leggings are another thing I’m wondering about. Leggings are like tights without the feet – usually black, and often popular with teenage girls. They wear an extra long top or really short skirt with leggings underneath – kind of like pants – and it can be a really cute look on some people. But, like my mom’s blue-hair crowd and the stockings, I find myself wondering if wearing the mini dress with leggings is really ok for church. For a date - Yes. For the movies - go for it. For dancing - you betcha’. But for studying the word of the Lord? I’m not so sure.

I’ve probably crossed way over into crank-a-potomas-land and I do realize that at the end of the day attending church is more important that what you wear to church (for those who are believers). But I guess that’s kind of my point too. Maybe Church shouldn’t be about the fashion as much as it is about the message. And maybe skewing towards the more conservative end of the closet and passing up the stripper heals just once a week wouldn’t be such a bad idea.

What do you think?


Gerb said...

Mel, this post right here describes perfectly why you are awesome. Stripper heels? Exactly. I agree with it all. And can I add... flip-flops don't seem appropriate, either.

I could go on and on, but I'll stop there. I. Love. This. Post!

Mamma has spoken said...

Wait until they get older and have the spider veins, liver spots, and all the other skin discolorations out there. Then they will revist the wearing of nylons and short skirts.
As for the foot wear, have you ever tried to kneeled in those 6 inch stripper shoes before? It's not the going down but the coming up!
Oh and I'm of the group that God doesn't care what you wear to church, he's happy your there.

Anaise said...

Yeah, I don't like to see that stuff at church either, but I think it's because I'm secretly jealous that I can't/don't wear it myself.

And I'm of the group that God does care what you wear to church--it doesn't have to be fancy or fashionable or perfect--He just expects us to treat the worship opportunity with respect. If peek-a-boo toes and stiletto heel are how you show respect, then so be it. Same to flip-flops. And no matter what, He's happy when we're there.

The Not So Perfect Housewife said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I love this post!! I love going to church to raise my voice, and I don't want to be distracted by body parts hanging out.. but I also want to love those people because I don't know their story.. God loves them as they are.. and so must I..
But I love the funny way you looked at this topic!

Dacia said...

I totally agree. I was having this conversation with my 9yo daughter who was wondering why she couldn't wear leggings but could wear tights. After all, "everyone else is doing it!" After we got over that battle we got home from church only to discover she also wore moccasins to church. Some days you just can't win! Apparently she has outgrown her church shoes and didn't know what to wear. Moccasins? Really?

I am glad that people come no matter what they are wearing but they also have to think about what example they are setting for their kids. One day, soon I hope, I'd just like to make it there not looking like a frumpy, frazzled, make-up less mess! Some day!

Rachel said...

I do believe.......that if this weren't a problem then the "Brethren" wouldn't have addressed this very topic in what was it.....two conferences ago? And as for the leggings....the youth have just recently been told that they are immodest and are not pants. The dresses/shirts still need to come down where they belong.

Now, THAT SAID. I personally love trashy shoes and boots. I'm sorry but I really really do. There is as you say though, a time and a place and no. Church isn't one of them BUT!!!!! It is better to be in church than not and quite frankly there's a lot of judgin' of others that goes on in our church that isn't up to us.

With that said.......I LOVE your quote up top. Oh my gosh! I'm gonna steal that. That is the funniest thing I've read in awhile. FABULOUS!

♥Miya said...

I suppose it depends on your perspective. Once, I was home visiting my family and realized I had forgotten to pack my dress, although I had a nice button-up clouse and a pair of dress slacks. I asked my mom, "Do you think the Lord will understand if I show up like this, considering the circumstances?" She said, "ABSOLUTELY NOT!" and forbade me to show up. Personally, I think the Lord would have been cool with it, but you don't invoke the wrath of a mother without suffering the consequences!

Your quote, by the way? Rocked my socks off.

PMC said...

i try so hard not to be judgmental..but i am...most of the time..in my head...but, oh, how i try not to be. i do have this thought run through my mind when i question something i am about to wear: will what i am wearing distract anyone or will what i am wearing attract attention? i don't want to distract anyone who may be having a hard time and doesn't need that kind of distraction in their lives....maybe they are going to church and just need to think and be quiet....which is what i hope church is for me one day ;)

Richard & Natalie said...

Way to stir the pot, Mel.
I love your way of thinking- stir away.

shoezimm said...

Great post Mel. I, too have thought about the footwear issue and must agree. My concern lies more along the line of flip flops though... I know its been brought up several times but why do women still keep wearing them? I don't care how comfy you think they are, you're going to church, not the beach. The most disturbing thing I saw though was a years ago when I first moved down here. This gal was following her (looks to be just starting to walk) toddler down the hall....the daughter was zipped into mini knee high boots with heels. Mom probably thought it was adorable but all I could think was what in the world was wrong with this picture.

Don't even get me started on the long t-shirt and leggings fad......

Sarah said...

You aren't too grumpy about it - I agree with it. We are dealing with young men who wear a rumpled shirt and tie with jeans and skater shoes.

Now, getting those young men there must be hard anyway, and it's a GREAT thing they're even sitting there falling asleep, but how much can a pair of loafers from Payless cost?

I'm glad I don't have to worry about what shoes to wear on Sunday, I just choose from the two pair I have; the black ones or the brown ones.

Cee Tindall said...

I live in Las Vegas, NV and go to a 'non traditional non denominational' church that ministers to the worldly, so we see a lot of 'stripper heals' and the like. Jesus ate with the sinners and was criticized by the church leaders and other 'righteous' members at that time. I think it's up to us 'old time believers' to set a good example for the younger ones coming up and also to love those with the not so lovable wardrobes. It just may be that newbie with the wild outfits may be the best person for a job in ministry one day.

You all have awesome points that you've made.

LOVE this blog and love this post!

Sarah said...

Ok, so I can't edit the comment that I already made, so I'll just post another one...hope you don't mind!

I was thinking about this, and I realized that it's not just a "church" issue - it's an "all over" issue. The last time I flew to see family in another state, my dad commented about how people used to dress up to fly. My cousin noticed how many kids go to class in pajama bottoms and flip-flops. My son noticed that people were wearing blue jeans to the last funeral we went to. For church, we are asked to wear our "Sunday Best" and as long as everyone tries to do that, then what more can we ask or expect?
Alright, I'm done. Thanks for the thought-provoking post, it's always great to hear other's perspectives!

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