Visiting My Daddy

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I haven’t written a Sunday post in a long time.  My theory has always been that, if I were going to post on Sunday, it would be a post about my faith — something encouraging or something that God had really pressed on my heart.

I guess my Sunday posts stopped shortly after we began our search for a new church nearly two years ago.  We spent a lot of time visiting a variety of churches, never quite finding the right place for us.  Eventually, we got to the point where we were going only every few months or so and mostly out of guilt.  The last Sunday in June, we decided to visit one last church that we’d had in mind to visit, but hadn’t yet.  We decided because that night at dinner Brianna asked if we were going to church the next day.  Nothing like a kid asking you about going to church to make you feel like dirt for not taking them.

We went not really expecting much since we’d fruitlessly visited so many churches.  We left feeling really hopeful.  We went back the following Sunday and left knowing this was it.  We’d found our new church home.  We have loved every minute that we’ve been at our new church home.  We are excited on Saturday nights knowing that we’ll be going to church the next morning.  We all love it and I’ve never felt this excited about being in church.

The dress is casual, the music is contemporary, the people are friendly, and — best of all — the pastor preaches the truth without pulling any punches, just exactly what we need to grow as Christians.

It’s that casual dress thing I was thinking about the other night.  The last church we attended, and most of the ones we’ve visited, have been casual.  That was something that I really appreciated as we searched, especially as I began to lose weight, because I didn’t really have anything that wasn’t casual to wear.  I’ve never really felt anything negative about dressing casually for church, though it took me awhile to get used to at the last church we regularly attended because we’d never been a part of a casually-dressing church body before.

Now, let me just interrupt myself to say, this is just something I was pondering for myself, not something I’m posting to start a debate.  To me, this isn’t something worth debating over, but I know we Christians like to fight amongst ourselves more than we ought, so I wanted to be clear that stirring up anything is not my intent here.  Now, back to your regularly scheduled post.

So, anyway, I was thinking about the casual dress thing.  There used to be a pastor on the radio that I loved to listen to.  I would totally have attended his church if it hadn’t been so far away.  He wasn’t a fan of casual dress for church.  In fact, he preached a whole sermon on the topic.

The gist of his message was:  If you were going to visit the President of the United States, would you dress casually or dress up?  Well, of course, you’d dress up.  You’d probably buy a whole new outfit for the event.  Well, what if it wasn’t the president, but just the governor of your state?  You’d probably dress up.  What if it wasn’t the governor but just the mayor of your town?  Dress up.  What if it was just dinner at your boss’ house?  You’d probably still dress up.

So, his conclusion was, if you’d dress up for all those folks, why would you do anything less for the God of the universe.

That made sense to me.  I appreciated what he said and, although I enjoyed dressing casually for church — because, for one thing, it just made Sunday morning a whole lot less stressful and why should going to church, of all places, be stressful? — I would sometimes think about that message and wonder if I should be putting on the dress and pantyhose.

I was thinking about that message this week and a new thought occurred to me:  What if I weren’t going to visit the president, the governor, the mayor, or my boss (or Brian’s boss, in our case)?

What if, instead, I were just going to my Daddy’s house?

I know my daddy and he wouldn’t care what I wore to come visit him.  He’d just be glad I came and would enjoy spending time with me, talking with me and enjoying each other’s company.  I couldn’t help thinking that maybe, just maybe, my Abba Father feels the same way.

…because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.  For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.  And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”  The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.  — Romans 8:14-16
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Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.

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  1. Thank you for expressing your thoughts on this! My family has switched churches this year and we ended up at a casually dressing church. Leaving one where everyone wore their Sunday Best, it has been a bit of a challenge for me. I still wear skirts although more casual ones…never jeans…I just can't. But your post is most definitely an accurate portrayal of how our Heavenly Father loves us no matter how we dress! He made us all as individuals with different preferences, after all! Have a blessed Sunday!

  2. I have never posted before, but have been following you for a while. I LOVE this post!!! Our Daddy in heaven loves us so much!! And just to let you know….I wear jeans just about every Sunday:)

  3. Exactly. I think a lot of times, we're just putting on 'church clothes' that are meaningless. We say that we're doing it for God, but in all reality, we're doing it so that others will see and think of us differently.

    We're trying to impress others with our appearance.

  4. This is a great post. Growing up we always dressed up and it did make it stressful to get out the door for sure. I hate to wear dresses. Absolutely HATE it! So I was always not wanting to go because of the whole dress, pantyhose thing. So I'm all for casual dress. I think your analogy for visiting your Daddy is a good one. He just wants a relationship with us. He doesn't care what you wear. I can see the other argument that God is God and if you'd dress for the President(well I wouldn't for this one) why wouldn't you dress for God. But my point is you are dressing to impress those people. God is not impressed by us so what we wear is not going to help. I really enjoyed your post.

  5. I too am a fan of casual attire at church. For some, dressy is comfortable…for me, 6 kids in tow, dressy is most uncomfortable for me (not to mention the runs in the pantyhose from little shoes trying to climb up your legs). Some people, the ones who really need to be in church, don't have a suit and tie…or anything more than jeans and a t-shirt. Come to think of it, did the Bible mention anything about Jesus getting getting fancy to go to the synagogue? Great post, by the way.

  6. Great post! {P.S. We have been without a church for over a year now .. the first time in my life, really. It's a struggle for me.}

  7. what a revelation! I have also thought about this a lot here and there. Going to a casual dress church sure makes it easier to get seven kids ready and out the door, but the last church we were going to, some of the people dressed up and really seemed to look down on those who didn't. At times, I almost felt like I should be apologizing for my attire. Your realization (and your willingness to share it) just set to rest any lingering feelings of guilt I have had. Thank you.

  8. Beautiful! We live in a tiny retirement polyester town. My husband wears a "monkey suit" every day to go to his retail mgmt job. He can't wait to get the tie off.
    One sunday as we were choosing our new church, he asked if his jeans were "too dirty", as they were on the second/eleventh day or so. I said, no, I don't think these folks would care. We got to church and the whole worship team were decked out in their second day jeans – so now we laugh and call it the church of the dirty jeans. 🙂 When it really comes down to it, – it is what other people care. Offending others through our attire – that seems to come out more than Dad. If your thought toward Dad makes you grab the silk and high heels, then dress up for him. 🙂

  9. Of course this discussion has nothing to do with salvation, but it is an interesting one in terms of general etiquette. My friends and I have pondered the same, me being of the casual school (having once dressed to the nines for church).

    In the end, you are right, I think. Doesn't our Father call us without adornments? He sees way beyond our outer wear. Maybe the clothes are more of an earthly representation, an outward statement about the importance or respect we place on our faith?

    If we sing, Take Me As I Am, wouldn't that include cut-offs and/or suits?

    Thanks for a thought-provoking post. Glad you have found a "home." There is nothing like it, to know you have found that match.

  10. I like your thinking on this. I have become a little more casual in my dress at church over the years. It was hard for me at first not to get annoyed at people who were not dressed "right." It was very nice to give up the pantyhose in summer!

    Still, I can't stop being bothered by people who are downright sloppy in their dress, or by women and girls who are dressed immodestly. I am trying to remember that a humble heart is more important than the clothing.

    And I would never want someone to feel they couldn't show up at church at all because they don't have the right clothing.

  11. This is very true! God is our Father and I don't think He cares is we are casual or not. He probably doesn't want us to be slobs but casual is not slobby. It is more important that our hearts be focused on Him, not focused on what we are wearing.

  12. I have loved reading everyone's thoughts on this and of your own similar journeys.

    Kimmywizzie, you made me laugh. I wouldn't want to dress up for the current president either.

    Devina, I had the same thought about Jesus and the synagogue last night. With Him and His disciples traveling, I bet they didn't have "Sunday best" clothes. I may have to study that and see what I can find, but I thought it was interesting to see that someone else was thinking along those same lines.

    Thanks, everyone, for your comments. I've really, really enjoyed reading them.

  13. Although I am kind of divided on the dress,I feel like we should dress our best, as we come to worship the best. I dress "up" (as much as I am able) for Sunday and down more for Bible study. I would not be able to attend a church that was contemporary with music. Hymns must be a capella and teach. Col 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

  14. I have not commented on here before, but have read your blog for some time. Just wated to say I LOVE this post. I agree that our Daddy in heaven loves us just the way we are. He made us with individuality and would not expect us to be any different. I for one am a casual gal and wear jeans to church 99% of the time. It's just me being me worshiping my daddy:)

  15. About hymns – some churches, like the Church of Christ (where my parents grew up and I went to Sunday school when I was little) don't have instrumental music in church because the New Testament doesn't explicitly say they should. I was really surprised the first time I went to a different kind of church and someone was playing a guitar.

  16. LOve it Kris! Our Pastor often tells us that God doesn't care what you look like in church. He cares that you were obedient and are there to worship Him and fellowship with other believers. I used to get so caught up in the dress up part that I would let that keep me from church. It was like God was speaking to me directly the first time I heard Pastor Ron say that.

    Btw, I also have children that will call me out on not going to church. Simply put, in my children's eyes there is no reason not to be at Sunday School and church unless you are in the hospital. lol Even then you could listen by radio. rofl

  17. Great post, Kris! We, too, started attending a new church last January after searching for a bit. We all love our new (not so new now) church and it,too, is a casual dress church. I have noticed that many of the older couples DO dress up – they must feel more comfortable doing so. I particularly love wearing jeans and a nice shirt because I teach the 3-5 year olds during second service and I'm always crawling around on the ground or doing some messy craft with them! I also feel blessed that "appropriate dress" doesn't have to be an issue with my 13 year old daughter or 12 year old son.

    Thanks again for a thought-provoking post!


  18. Not to mention, I should be meeting with Him every morning, not just once a week at church.

    Therefore, I visit Him in my pjs!

  19. I have always appreciated the acceptance of casual attire at church. Matthew 6:25 says, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?" That is the best reason that I can use to justify my appreciation, because during a few seasons of our lives it was all we could do to have the money to purchase a separate wardrobe for work (nursing scrubs), and a separate casual wardrobe for all three growing children. Adding a "Sunday best" wardrobe to the budget would have broken it. For a while, NOT having the funds to buy those clothes really weighed heavily on me…until I remembered Matthew 6:25. It wrongly became my focus, my burden. And then I was also reminded about the humility of worship, which also straightened out my perspective. Was I any less joyful and sincere in my worship based on what I was wearing? No, except for when I let my attire become the focus of every Sunday morning.

    Our family's clothing was always clean, and more importantly, modest.

    I have to say though, that I LOVE to dress up…but I don't find it necessary to do so. As I lose weight, it's also a lot more fun to dress up.

    Good post, Kris!

  20. So, did you go back to said church?

    Finding the right church for your family is hard, but what a blessing it is when you find it. We found ours in February 2009 and our family has grown in the Lord. We know we are in the right place because, instead of thinking, "Ug! It's Sunday," we are wondering what will the pastor say, who will we get to talk to, what is the latest on this family or that family, what songs will fill us, etc.

  21. Nobody hates dressing up more than I do. The second I put on a shirt with sleeves or one with more than 3 buttons I start to sweat…

    BUT, c'mon this is ludicrous!

    Church hopping, your choice in music, your choice in dress…

    It's a slipperly slope to a *designer religion*.

    Sorry, still love ya!

  22. @ Capitious – You are, of course, entitled to your own opinion regarding music and dress, but I don't think you can accuse someone of "church hopping" unless you know the circumstances of why that person has found themselves without a church home.

    I don't think searching to find the church family into which you best fit has anything to do with "designer religion," but rather finding the family that you feel you can commit to for the long term. You don't marry the first man you meet either.

  23. I just loved this. Thanks again for another wonderful post! I read every word you write but am just too lazy to click through my reader and comment – I admit I am lazy!! You are a delight to read, from one homeschooling mama to another 🙂

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