Monday, November 9, 2009

Christian dressing

No, I'm not talking about a new salad dressing made especially by/for Christians!  I've recently become interested in the way that Christians are called to dress (as in clothes).

Picture from Garlands of Grace

On Friday I read a blog post about Christian head covering.  I didn't even know that head covering was scriptural, until I was directed to 1 Corinthians 11:3-16:

3Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. 4Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. 5And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—it is just as though her head were shaved. 6If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut or shaved off, she should cover her head. 7A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. 8For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; 9neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. 10For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head.
 11In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. 12For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God. 13Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, 15but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering. 16If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice—nor do the churches of God.

There are lots of different opinions on this subject.  I've read that some people think that long hair is considered a covering, while others believe that you should wear a fabric covering over your hair.  Some people believe you should only wear a covering when praying or at church, while others choose to wear a covering all the time.  Some people believe that only married women need to wear head coverings, while others believe ALL women should.  I'm not sure how I feel about the subject, but I plan to do some more research on it.

In any case, reading about head covering got me interested in what the Bible says about how women should dress.  I found this blog which explained more about the subject.  It cites Deuteronomy 22:5:

5 A woman must not wear men's clothing, nor a man wear women's clothing, for the LORD your God detests anyone who does this.

Picture from The Play Dress

In biblical times (and really up until about 60 years ago), women did not wear pants - only men did.  What this says to me is that Christian women should wear dresses or skirts, not pants or shorts.  Of course, only a few verses later, the same chapter says:

11 Do not wear clothes of wool and linen woven together. - Deuteronomy 22:11


 22 If a man is found sleeping with another man's wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die. You must purge the evil from Israel. - Deuteronomy 22:22

So I do see how that particular command may be seen as more cultural than as a command still to be followed today.

The Bible also says:

2 Take millstones and grind flour; take off your veil.   Lift up your skirts, bare your legs, and wade through the streams.  3 Your nakedness will be exposed and your shame uncovered.  I will take vengeance; I will spare no one." - Isaiah 47:2-3

What this seems to say is that having your thigh uncovered is likened to nakedness.  So, the dresses and skirts that we wear should be knee length or longer.

I believe that the idea of dressing modestly ultimately points to what Jesus said in Matthew 5:28:

28But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

As a Christian woman, it is my responsibility to make sure that I am not enticing any man (other than my husband) to lust after me.

After some thought and prayer on the subject, I've decided that I'm going to start wearing skirts everyday instead of pants.  This will not be an immediate change.  God made it very clear to me that I am not to use this new command as an excuse to overhaul my wordrobe and buy a bunch of new clothes.  Instead, it will be a gradual process.  I'll start wearing the skirts that I already have more often, and when I need to buy new clothes, I'll focus on skirts instead of pants.  (This goes for how I will dress Christina as well.)

The thing you should know about me in accepting this command from God, is that I am a jeans and t-shirt girl all the way.  This will not be an easy change for me to make.  But I've already noticed that just by wearing a skirt these last few days, I've thought more about God and how I'm doing this for Him.  It keeps my faith at the front of my mind - and maybe that's why God called me to take on this command.  He's reminding me once again that it's not about ME, it's about HIM.

If you'd like to read more about the subject of modest dressing, please check out these articles:
*The Bible's Dress Code
*Dresses Only


The Momma said...

It's a really fascinating subject. I find your take on it to be especially to the point... It doesn't only matter what the original intent of the scripture commandment is, or whether it is broadly applicable today. The question is, does it bring meaning to YOUR relationship with God. Does it help you to walk in His word? You know, this scripture is why my Norwegian folk costume has a head covering as part of it. A married woman always wore her head covered in Norway until the mid-1800s. And NOW Norwegians are so horrified by muslims covering their heads, not even realizing it's part of their own culture until recent history. Strength be with you on this new step in your journey with God.

Ashley said...

Interesting stuff. I don't think I've ever seen you in a skirt even once, so it will be really different to see you in skirts all the time. My church (and Miranda's) definitely promotes dressing modestly as well, and we don't wear skirts above the knee or revealing tops at all. As far as wearing skirts as opposed to pants, I'd say that's a personal choice and if you feel it's something you need to do in your life then go for it!

Bloggin' Mama said...

Very well stated! Thank you for your link back to my post!

I have gotten some really great deals on skirts at thrift stores. And some nice, name brand ones, at that. All costing no more than $4.

And there are always really cute little girl skirts out there! And I just love putting a pair of tights under a skirt on my daughter.

Chelsey said...

Great post and beautifully written. I find that whenever I am in skirts, which is about 80% of the time now, there is a completely different air about myself and how I feel. I wear my headcovering all the time and it just doesn't feel the same when I wear it with pants! :) Great post Kate!

Celestial Fundy said...

I do prefer it when women wear skirts.

A lot of women do not realise that even wearing jeans can be distracting for men. At least for me anyway.

I would love to see more women wearing headcoverings. I find it amazing that the issue is completely ignored by most Christians.

Caitlin said...

I am so thankful to find others who share my opinion on this subject. I have gone back and forth on the subject of headcoverings mostly because of social issues. I work for a government office, and the women here are... well, different. (I guess to me they are different, to everyone else, they are normal). They buy the expensive bags, wear high heels that look a bit like something a stripper would wear, and the clothes... Don't even get me started. Anyway, I tried to be like them for a little bit, and I am not proud of myself for doing so. And now, I haven't been covering myself just out of plain shame. I know that is a horrible thing to say, but it is the truth, may the Lord forgive me. I am so grateful that someone else agrees with me on the subject!
Thank you!