The Lady’s Perspective
Thank you for all the feedback on my last article on dressing for service on the altar. By popular demand, here are my thoughts on general congregational dressing…
Several weeks ago my daughter and I were driving through a College campus when we saw a young student dressed in jacket and tie (it wasn’t cold) walking to Sunday service. I commented that he couldn’t be headed to the Catholic Church – I was right! No big Sherlock moment here, just a commentary on the unfortunate lack of dress and decorum at a Sunday Mass.
The following are some reasons and justifications:
We have the freedom and right to dress as we please.
In keeping with fashion trends – everyone dresses this way these days.
In tune with our “feelings”, we need to “feel comfortable”.
The church is outdated and needs to get with the times – we are now a more casual society.
Jesus does not focus on outward appearances; He looks at the heart and He dressed in sandals and an ordinary robe.
Parents can’t expect kids to “dress up” for church – if we try to enforce this, they may not attend.
Having all different kinds of clothing for different occasions gets expensive – especially for larger families. (our kids NEED I-Tunes & I-Pads and I-Cars!)
Before I tackle the list above, I’d like to present some reasons I believe we should pay greater attention to how we dress for church.…
With the lazy, hazy days of summer upon us, I have been asked to address the topic of appropriate dress for church on Sunday. However, at the moment, I’d like to focus the attention on appropriate dress for lay people while serving on the altar in the capacity of lector, usher or Eucharistic Minister.
Last week I was addressing a group of professionals on the topic of “professional” dress and presentation. It dawned on me then, that we wouldn’t dream of griping about the heat and our comfort or lack thereof (among other things) when attending an interview or a business meeting. However, I guess church seems to be lumped in the category of “weekend” dressing and therefore we find it easier to bemoan the formality of dress that is expected. Besides, our livelihood is not connected to it; funny the role that little detail plays! In my opinion, serving on the altar is a privilege and when we are on the altar we become “presenters”. I doubt anyone would attempt a business presentation other than in business attire. So the need to modify the expectation for a presentation at church really baffles me. Further baffling is most priests’ reluctance to upset the apple-cart by addressing the topic.
Let’s evaluate some of the arguments against dressing in professional attire for church:
Affordability:… I am hoping we don’t hear this complaint from someone who regularly spends almost $5 on a cup of Starbucks coffee.
With the John Edward’s court battle splashed across the news these days, one part of the testimony has stuck with me and bothered me quite a bit. We heard that Jennifer Palmieri testified about the role she played as the friend and confidant of the late Elizabeth Edwards. She attempted to convey the emotional pain and anguish Elizabeth grappled with in dealing with the infidelity of her husband. She said “She was concerned that when she died, there would not be a man who loved her there”. Palmieri assured her that she would be there.
I cannot imagine the pain Elizabeth Edwards went through battling an incurable disease and staring her mortality in the face, the prospect of her children growing up without her, the hard fact that she had been rejected and betrayed by her husband and was the victim of infidelity, and the prospect of her children suffering through and in all this muck. More than enough to cause someone to go off the deep end. And on one occasion at least, it seemed like she did when she fell apart in an airport hangar, peeling off her clothes and crying “You don’t see me anymore”. She fought for the chance to be noticed, to change the reality, to reverse the events, to have life as she was able to cope with – yes – even if it meant denial of the facts for as long as she could endure.…
Well, Time magazine succeeded in getting its name out at the forefront of peoples’ minds again – after noticing a continuing downward trend in sales the last few years. They accomplished this by publishing a magazine with a cover picture of what would easily be considered child porn if it weren’t camouflaged under the category of “breastfeeding” – Actually challenging under the title of “Are You Mom Enough?”
Now, as predicted, comes all the debate back and forth – we have breastfeeding mums promoting the beauty of breastfeeding, the culture warriors blaming the “media” for their ability to sexualize breastfeeding, the contingency that is in favor of “freedom of expression” hailing the move by Time magazine and those in favor of the promotion of porn in all its glory, running in to get their copy.
In analyzing the cover, I noticed that the “mother” is posing quite provocatively and staring directly into the camera – no look of nurturing to be found anywhere. I would say the stance is rather defiant. The supposed “three” year old is also looking directly at the camera and his stance is nowhere near that of a breastfeeding child. His arms are straight down in front of him and it actually looks like he is being pushed toward the breast by the mother – one of the reasons it screams “child porn”. Time magazine has the audacity to suggest by the caption that if you’re not breastfeeding a “three” year old – (in this provocative manner), you’re possibly not up to the task – yes – you’re NOT MOM ENOUGH!…
A few days ago, I called someone I considered a friend and who I hadn’t spoken to in some months. Shortly after hello, they asked “What can I DO for you?” My first thought was “I don’t want you to DOanything for me – your high and mightiness!” My mental image was a visual of Nero fiddling while I waited in a corner, patiently, for a moment of his time so he could “do” me a favor. The message I received was “Do you know how important me and my time are?”
Even if we are doing someone a favor, (not that I was seeking a favor) is it imperative to let them know that? Or let the whole world know that? Or elaborate on all the effort you expended to do this favor – given your busy (and important) schedule?
Can you predict the rest of this “interaction”?
Thankfully, it was the first time someone had directed that question to me. Next time I’ll be more prepared (just joking!). I tried to figure out what exactly rubbed me the wrong way and realized it was the question itself and the high handed manner in which it was delivered. I believe creating a class distinction creates in turn – class warfare. It’s a vicious cycle. I feel inferior therefore I say or do something to prove I am superior to someone else. This someone else feels put down and therefore attacked.…
I think it’s safe to say that we as humans crave recognition and affirmation and therefore gravitate to power and money and prestige which are overt symbols of this recognition. Everybody wants to be somebody even sometimes to the point of pretending. I know a man who wears hospital scrubs regularly while he is out and about; (though not required for his work) he is quite impressed that “people think I’m a surgeon!” Likewise, a draftsman I know claims he’s an architect. Attending a social event in Los Angeles, CA, I noticed most everyone was very interested in telling you “who” they know or curious to find out if you knew “anyone” (as in celebrities). Isn’t it sad that no one was really interested in the people present? Not long ago, when I was travelling, the door in the “Coach” section of the plane was opened for exit which meant the first class and coach passengers were exiting together. One passenger in first class was furious and created an uproar because she believed “first class passengers should exit first!”
In the corporate world, while we all claim to have a tremendous desire to enjoy our work, we strive to achieve the success levels and associated titles as dictated by that world. I admit I am just as guilty of this as the next person. Truth be told, I get a bit rankled when I hear a “decorator” identify themselves as a “designer”.…
Have you ever encountered a situation on the road which made you think, “People like her give female drivers a bad name”? How about in a professional environment – have you ever thought: “How did she get to this point in her career?” or “Wish she would get to the point!” If you are female voicing an opinion, have you noticed both males and females tune out? If you do take a stand and make some strong points possibly contradicting some others, you might even acquire a new title that rhymes with the word itch!
As ladies, how do we combat that? How do we make ourselves heard?
Frustrating as this can be, understanding the root helps. First of all, it is only in the past few decades that women have had any kind of a speaking platform. In the past, they were relegated to matters of the home and therefore not counted on for an opinion on social, political, religious or economic matters. Having a college degree was a rarity just 50 years ago and if women were not “educated” why would anyone in their right mind seek their council? We have certainly evolved – thank goodness. These days we have educated ladies in every sphere of life contributing their thoughts, ideas and opinions rather than relying on their legs or lashes for a second look.
Here are five ways to make a point effectively – like a Lady:
Be informed:… Know why you believe whatever you believe and be ready to defend it in a logical manner.
Jonathan Antoine has become an overnight sensation in the last week or so due to a stunning performance on the “Britain’s Got Talent” show and of course, thanks to the Internet. A similar situation to that of the amazingly talented Susan Boyle.
This obscure, young 17 year old lad is quite overweight and has been for most of his life. Something that he claims has caused him to be the object of ridicule and torment by his classmates resulting in him dropping out of school. Judge Simon Cowell is wowed by Jonathon’s singing performance and suggests that Jonathan ditch his partner who doesn’t seem to be quite as mesmerizing in her abilities. The exchange between Simon and Jonathan reminded me of Jesus’ encounter with Satan atop the hill, who promised him vast kingdoms if he would bow down and worship him.
Simon says “Jonathan you are unbelievable” “you have an outstandingly good voice” “you are a future star”. He expresses worry that Charlotte is “going to hold him back” and suggests that he “dump her”. Jonathan’s response to Simon was quite remarkable for a young 17 year old. He took a stand instead of just letting Simon opine and said “we’ve come on here as a duo and we’re going to stay here as a duo”
Other than Jonathan’s obvious talent, noteworthy were his endearing humility and his loyalty to his partner in performance, Charlotte Jaconelli, 16. He exemplified maturity by taking a stand for her and being faithful in light of an opportunity for fame and fortune.…
Last week my article “Skinny People have Feelings” created more debate than the comments suggested. Some people thanked me via email instead of posting their own painful experiences – even though they could’ve done it anonymously. One person questioned my use of “you dumb-nut”. My explanation: If someone is ignorant enough to make “jokes” at the expense of someone else’s weight, “dumb nut” is the nicest word I could use to define them!
This got me thinking that while our laws protect our freedom of speech, most of us are afraid to speak up; we tip-toe around everything and everyone. Yes, this political correctness rubbish has gone berserk! We are afraid to call a spade a spade for fear we may offend the spade or better yet, the rake! (Pun intended) I believe this beating about the bush syndrome has skewed our thinking and created a culture of relativism. Everything falls in the grey area; there are no absolutes, no black and white, no right and wrong. I was taught that a liar is someone who lies, a robber is one who steals – your actions define you. Remember the saying “Handsome is as handsome does”? Try calling someone a liar even if they’re clearly lying. (BTW, what the heck is a “white lie”?!!) Instead of condemning the lying, the media will run story after story about how you committed the crime of accusing someone. These days, when you’re drinking like there’s no tomorrow and behaving in a reprehensible way, you’re not acting like a drunken fool; you’re just “partying” and having a “good time”.…
Many a day recently, my daughter who is still in middle school, has been reduced to tears by the comments that have been made to her and about her. “You’re Anorexic!” Yes – this is just one of the multitude of judgmental statements made by her peers. Others include “you need to eat more”, “you have skinny arms and legs”, “you shouldn’t wear skinny jeans because you don’t ROCK them” – and the list goes on… Some of these comments are sometimes preceded by “Can I be honest with you?”
For all our politically correct culture, I’m wondering why people – adults, not just teens – think those who are thin have no feelings and therefore you can direct just about any rude personal comments toward them. Isn’t it funny how you can’t even refer to people as “fat” anymore without causing quite a stir? At the most you may speak in general terms of people who are “overweight”. Mind you, you certainly cannot tell any one person that they are overweight or even suggest it. Companies have lost court battles on the basis of “weight discrimination”. However never have we heard that the words used were “skinny”, “skeleton”, “anorexic”, “sick” or something along those lines. I can however, vouch for the fact that these are well used.
Sometimes the “well intentioned” may even add a “honey” at the start of the sentence; I guess, wishing to convey concern and believing they are softening the blow.…