Sunday, December 16, 2012

What is your soul wearing?

I love wearing skirts and heels and dressing up. I have ever since I was little and came home covered in mud, accompanied by an apologetic neighbor who told my mom he was going to hose me off but I told him I wasn't allowed to get wet.

Today I dressed up in some of my best -- pants. I suspect that when I get to church, few will notice and even fewer will care. Which is at it should be.

I'm not wearing pants today because I'm a feminist or because I think women should hold the priesthood. I'm not doing it because I think there is a churchwide problem of being treated unequally, as I have not experienced that. I'm not even doing it to make a point.

I'm wearing pants today because I've felt out of place in church. I've felt alone, isolated and like I had a neon sign over my head that repeatedly flashed, "I don't fit in here." It is an awful feeling.

Now, I've been fortunate. Those have primarily been isolated incidents. But I've never forgotten the first time I distinctly felt unwanted at a church activity. And if there are people -- women or men -- who feel out of place in church, I want them to know that they are important, that the church is better because they are in it, that if Jesus Christ were physically there today he would just as happy to see them in their pants or with their unshaven faces or scraggly hair or smelling like cigarette smoke or with doubt in their hearts or knowing what they did last night or last week or last year. The true measure of discipleship is not only in how we treat people we love and who love us. It is how we treat everybody. And if my wearing my nicest pants and my favorite sweater -- an outfit that I wear when speaking to groups or if I want to look extra nice and professional and do so in a way that does not make me wonder just a little bit if I'll catch some guy's eye because it is not about that -- can in any help people to see that we are all on the Island of the Misfit Toys together, then I'll dress up for it.

I also know that the church is filled with people who befriend others and help them feel part of a group every day of the week wearing all sorts of outfits, and that at the end of the day, wearing pants isn't going to change much of anything -- not because of a movement because that is what Jesus Christ asked them to do.

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