Wednesday, January 27, 2010

How Plain Is Plain?

First, let me clarify and take ownership for the statements I'm about to make: This is about me, my experiences, and observations.
It is not in any way a judgement, or ridicule of anyone who is convicted differently than myself.
With that being proclaimed, I would like to ask you; how plain is plain? Every single Anabaptist congregation has a set of standards that they believe is correct, even if they have no set standards at all. This varies from every other Anabaptist congregation in the free world. How does one figure out what appropriate dress is, if say they don't belong to a plain church, but feel convicted to dress plainly, or at least unembelished and modestly?
Everyone has their own set of personal circumstances, and I'm no different. My husband has absolutely no desire to be plain. He likes the fellowship with the Mennonites... but the dress just doesn't make sense to him and that's okay too. He's not one of these husbands that wants his wife to dress provocatively... no not at all. He just thinks it's really more cultural and a bit overboard on the modesty side, since you can wear a sweater, vest or jacket and get the same effect without the LHOP look. (I personally LIKE the LHOP look *smile*) But, I like to please my husband, and living to please him is biblical. If God takes issue with it, He will deal with Scott's heart first and then Scott can address it with me.
Recently, my husband and I had a heart to heart about the plain dress issue. He explained that it is an unflattering look for me (to him) and he would rather I wear a modest, but more mainstream look. Classic is ok with him and he's still ok with my jumpers, and denim skirts. It's the 1800's prairie look that just throws him for a loop apparently.
I believe in my quest to please God, I might have inadvertently overlooked my husband and his thoughts on attractiveness. There certainly is a way to dress appropriately, minus the cape. Right?
So, I am giving my cape dresses back to the friend who gave them to me. I am putting my effots into cute, denim skirts and double pocket blouses (gives double coverage), vests, and any other classic, modest style that doesn't scream: AMISH. lol.
By doing this, I hope to please my husband and by pleasing my husband in a non-compromising way, I trust I'll please God as well.
This journey of 14 years has been unbelievable. I still will continue to persue Anabaptism as my spiritual center, even if we join another church of another denomination. I still have the option of making my own personal choices of things like: Submission, modesty, non-oath-swearing, and non-resistance. I can be a unique symbol of godly womanhood and a candle on the hill for whatever church we decide on. I will continue to fellowship with my Mennonite friends on weekends that either Scott is away or when he wants to go. He loves the church and the friends he's making. I'm keeping an positive outlook and an open mind. But the concept of *plain* seems to be less and less relavent to me. Modest and feminine seem to be taking priority. Of course I am not a fashion maven. I don't follow fashion trends to stroke my own ego. I keep it simple and simplicity seems to never go out of fashion.
So what do you consider PLAIN? How has God lead you to dress? Do you buy into the idea that dress doesn't matter at all? What would you do if you were in my posistion (that's a hard one, I know!) Do you struggle with this at all? I'd like to hear your story:-)
Blessings In Christ
Sis Kelly

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Heading In The Right Direction

My husband and I love to travel through the Ozarks. We simply enjoy finding a county map, and driving those old dirt roads across the back of a mountain, down in a holler, and back up many hills, only to find ourselves lost, but content there for the time being.
That is how I would describe our current situation; "Lost but content".
Now, before anyone takes this out of content; our souls are not lost. Just our way. We have been looking for a church for a while now. But your talking about two very different people with different concepts of how a church should be. So many churches are divided over issues that would have never been considered a line of division, even 30 years ago. Many churches are catering to the commercial desires of their congregation with Starbucks available beside bookstores. And some churches are catering to a type of Christian, such as *Cowboy's*.
I don't think any of these churches are much of a fit for Scott and I. We don't fit the profile well.
The best fit for us is; a smaller congregation of balanced Christians and a Preacher who preaches the whole Word of God. I'm not coming to hear what I want to hear. I am there to hear about what is important for me to learn and accept, and lastly; practice. Sometimes this is an uncomfortable sermon, but needed none-the-less. I want fellowship with people who feel like family. But I also want to be accepted not only for who we are, but who we *were* before we knew Christ. We hope to be able to reach out to those who feel unreachable someday when the situation arises. But before we can get there, we have to find the right church.
So far here is the consensus between Scott and I:
Baptist: Problem with *just saying that prayer and then it's all good*... OSAS, not so sure of.

Evangelical Lutheran: We do not want to be members of a church that supports actively gay ministers.
Mennonite: Neither of us are comfortable with uniform dress, and do not see this as a biblical requirement. It is a bigger distraction for Scott, but it seems to create confusion for us as a couple. Additionally, we have the whole D&R business that puts me on pins and needles. But we love the fellowship.
AOG/Pentecostal: Neither of us see tongues as a requirement for salvation, or even something that should ever happen in church without an interpretation. We do like the groups conservative nature, and the fact that modesty is practiced.
Non-Denominational: Lack of structure and accountability. Many (not all) just sort of make up the rules as they grow. I prefer a doctrinal statement to be established.
Now, this is what we've investigated so far. I know at some point you just have to go and serve and let God deal with the details, and that's what we are doing so far. We have several churches in our area that we frequent. But it sometimes feels like we are not gaining a foothold spiritually and seem to only be treading water.
And like everyone else; we are limited to what is available in our area.
So, how did you and your spouse come to the agreement over which church to join?? How long did you search? What was your criteria?
I am open to any suggestions. I am also considering not covering at church, but only in personal prayer time. This is just something I'm kicking around. It seems that since I've started covering (13 years ago) that this puts a wedge between us and the congregation, unless of course I'm in an Anabaptist Church. I do not see it as a salvational issue, but more one of reverence and obediance. It is a desire of mine to cover...but in the end, I can't let that stand in the way of us worshipping as a couple.

And I want to add that we do have several nice congregations that we visit. We have no complaints, just trying to come to terms with the finer details that seem to keep us from commiting to just one church.
I'd like to hear some thoughts on this and others experiences. Seems we've all bee there at one time or another.