PO Box 3425
September/October Issue 2011 - Volume 30 Number 5
A Letter to Our Daughters
What Should I Wear?
beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present
your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your
reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be
transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that
good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
Ozark Christian Camp this past summer, Brother Bryan Christmas presented a
lesson based on some things that he and his wife, Anita, wanted their four
girls to know. The message presented struck a chord in the hearts and minds
of many at camp. I asked Bryan if I could publish what he and Anita had
written for their girls because I thought other parents with young girls,
and even older girls, would benefit from it. Bryan graciously granted my
request. He probably wondered if his letter to his girls was ever going to
show up. Well, it finally is appearing in these pages. One of the reasons it
has taken me a while is that I have been doing some reading and research for
a companion article to go along with what Bryan and Anita wrote.
of the things that I have discovered in my research is that there are a lot
of folks with some very strong feelings about what we should wear. One area
of particular concern was what we should wear to church. This question was
posed on a preachers’ list to which I belong and there were quite a few
responses. One distinction that the preachers pointed out was the difference
between questions of “modesty” and questions regarding “styles” of
clothing. The responses were generated when a preacher posed this question
to the group:
fellow preachers. I am wrestling with a problem in my ministry. Our elders
are upset over the casual dress of many of our members in worship.
Specifically they disapprove of shorts. Their feeling is it is disrespectful
and even shameful to dress in a casual manner when coming to worship. A few
of our elders even believe it is sinful. They all agree that there has been
nothing immodest only a reflection of a casual attitude.
wish to comply with the elder’s wishes to teach on giving God our best but
cannot go so far as to tell the congregation that casual wear is sinful.
find it humorous that the main argument is "These people wouldn't wear
that clothing to a funeral or wedding." I asked them if they had been
to a funeral or wedding lately, casual and even immodest dress are more the
rule than exception at these occasions today.
it comes to immodest dress the preachers were agreed that we should teach
both young men and young women to follow the Biblical injunction on modesty.
However, most of the responses in this forum revolved around what we should
wear to church and the dangers of driving some people away from the church
by demanding formal attire in our assemblies.
find it interesting that even the preachers seemed to reject the idea that
the way we dress can reflect a sense of respect or a lack of respect. They
were more concerned that we not alienate people by expecting them to dress
up for church.
decided to try a little experiment so I fired up my computer and headed to
the Google website. For some who may not use computers, there is a term that
I know you still have heard. It is “googling.” What this means is to go
to the Google website and type in a word or phrase and then see what links
will show up. There are usually thousands of websites that appear when a
person “googles” a topic. I
chose the phrase “what to wear” and googled it. The first thing that
happened was in my topic field. I immediately saw some companion topics
listed and they were: 1. What to wear to a wedding; 2. What to wear to a job
interview; 3. What to wear to a funeral. I decided to explore these three
areas. As I mentioned above, when these topics were googled individually
there were thousands of links that appeared. Since I didn’t have a century
to do the research, I had to limit my inquiry to just a few of the first
ones that appeared. I believe it might be instructive to us, and that
includes the preachers and elders among us, to look at some of the
information that I found on some of the websites. I want to list them here
and I will give the URL (that is the website address) for each of the pages
from which I took information.
to wear to a wedding:
Guest Style for Her
Daytime: Short dress or suit (business attire OK for morning weddings)
Evening: Cocktail dress
Daytime: Short dress or suit
Evening: Cocktail dress
Daytime: Short dress or suit. Hats and gloves optional.
Evening or Black-Tie: Long or dressy short cocktail (beading, glam
or White Tie: Long gown, extra glitz (furs, diamonds, etc.)
and Don'ts for Her
white because it competes with the bride. There are plenty of other colors
wear black or sequins during the daytime.
worry about wearing the same colors as the bridesmaids or mothers. You can't
possibly coordinate with everyone in the wedding party.
wear something feminine and appropriate, out of respect for your hosts.
Clubwear, overtly sexy clothing (strapless, see-through, etc) doesn't belong
at a wedding. If you have to ask if it's appropriate, it probably isn't.
wear opera-length gloves (to top of arm) with anything but sleeveless or
take off gloves to eat or drink.
use good judgment if the invitation doesn't specify the formality of the
event. A pastel suit or soft floral dress for daytime or a little black
dress for evening (after 6 p.m.) will take you almost anywhere.
Style for Him
Daytime: Dress shirt and pants, preferably a sports jacket.
Evening: Dark suit
Daytime: Dark suit and tie
Evening: Tuxedo (if invitation states "black tie") or dark suits
if women wear short dresses.
Evening or White Tie: White tie, vest and shirt.
and Don'ts for Him
try to get cute with a tuxedo. A black tux with white shirt and black bow
tie is the best way to go. If "Creative Black Tie" or "Texas
Formal" or some sort of other vague formal description is used, then
going with a tux and black shirt, no tie, might be acceptable. Also,
trendier cities like Los Angeles and New York might be more accepting of
breaking with tradition.
wear a dark suit, with a tie if the wedding is after 6 PM, and doesn't say
wear a tuxedo during the day time, regardless of the formality of the event.
use good judgment if the invitation doesn't specify the formality of the
event. A dark suit and conservative tie will take you just about anywhere.
it is true that people may ignore the advice given here, it is also true
that this advice is being given to those who want to know what they should
wear and what would be appropriate.
to wear to a job interview:
have a job interview tomorrow. You've learned everything about the
company, you're prepared for any questions they ask, and you even arrived a
few minutes early. You couldn't be more ready.
when you stop in the restroom for a last look in the mirror, your mind
starts racing: "Am I dressed the way I should be for this
an interview situation, you're marketing yourself as a product, and so
you want and need to have the best image possible," says Amy Glass, a
trainer and coach at Brody Communications Ltd. of Jenkintown, Pennsylvania,
and an expert on presentation skills, business etiquette,
professional presence and interpersonal communication.
a professional image is more about doing your homework than spending
money. So as you prepare for your interview, keep these wardrobe tips in
OK to Ask What to Wear
many traditional industries, like finance or accounting, business
professional dress will be appropriate: A conservative suit, shirt and
tie if you're a man, or a conservative suit if you're a woman, with --
perhaps -- personality shown through your shirt or jewelry, Glass says. In
other industries such as advertising, public relations, graphic design and
information technology, what to wear might be less clear. If that's the
case, Glass says, ask about the company's general dress policies when you're
first contacted about an interview.
can say to the person you speak with, 'I want to make sure I understand your company
culture and dress appropriately,'" Glass notes. "It's not a
bad thing at all. In fact, it shows respect."
in doubt, err on the conservative side. "I've been overdressed at
times, and that can be uncomfortable," Glass says. "But that's
much better than being underdressed."
that the advice given here refers to the fact that one should “show
respect” when they appear for a job interview. It prompts me to wonder if
we should also consider whether our attire at church shows respect for the
Lord and our fellow Christians. Are we willing to don a coat and tie for a
possible employer but we don’t show the same respect to the Lord and his
to wear to a funeral:
nothing wrong with wearing a dressy pair of slacks to a funeral. (Good
thing, too - just about the only time I'll consider wearing a dress is
look you're going for is a quiet, dignified one: you want to show respect
for your grandmother-in-law's life, not call attention to yourself.
something dressy. It's not like you have to go for fully-formal
attire, but what you wear should convey the sense that you cared enough to
put on something nice.
conservative. This is one time when your clothes should not call
attention to you! If you do decide to wear a dress or skirt, it
shouldn't be too short. Cleavage and bare shoulders won't really
convey the right message, either. (Of course, it's March, so I'd
expect you to want to stay as covered as possible anyway!)
muted colors. Darkish ones are best, and although no one would fault
you for wearing black, it's not required. Gray or navy would also be
good choices. Even a white or light-colored blouse would be fine...but
putting a dressy, darker jacket over it might not be a bad idea.
the makeup and jewelry understated. (I'll never forget going to a
family funeral and listening to my mother comment about a cousin,
"What, is she looking to pick up a date for Saturday night?")
Since I can't go shopping with you, my advice: if you're at a store and can't decide if something is appropriate, find a saleswoman - I think in this case, an older one would be better - and just ask! If what you're considering isn't the best choice, she may just be able to save you the time of hunting around and point you toward something that would be perfect.
again in the advice given about funerals that we should consider “showing
respect,” in this case to the grandmother-in-law’s life.
realize that we can chase our tails around and around on this subject and
the one we finally manage to bite might be ourselves. I am not advocating a
dress code for church; however, I am advocating for modesty. And it is
possible that our tendency to “dress down” in the present age could very
well be a reflection of our lack of respect for not only God but also for
individuals and institutions.
of the keys to a sensible response to this issue is found in the passage
quoted at the beginning of the article (Romans 12:1-2). We are to conform to
the Lord and his word and not to the standards of the world. We are
constantly bombarded by the world to follow its lead and accept its
standards of modesty. We must be strong and make it our aim to be
transformed by the renewing of our minds with the mind of Christ.
Things We Want Our Daughters to Know
1. Measure your self-worth by Christ’s standards, not by the world’s.
a. The world will tell you your entire life that you are only worthy of notice if you are skinny or pretty or have lots of friends or a boyfriend, or lots of money or the right clothes. None of those things have substance. Pretty fades, friends come and go, fashion changes and money will never make you happy. The only way to measure your true self-worth is by Christ’s standards.
b. As you get older you will unfortunately be exposed to Christians and non-Christians who can only feel good about themselves by making you feel worse about yourself. They will tease you and bully you and be mean and hateful. Their words will hurt you. If we could take that pain away from you, we would. But we can’t. So we will tell you now and for the rest of your life that you are beautiful inside and out. Nothing else matters except drawing closer to God every day. He will give you the strength and the confidence that when someone says or does something hurtful you will be able to stand up and say that you are a child of God and He loves you and nothing anyone says or does can ever take that away from you!
c. Don’t believe the lies Satan will try to whisper in your ear. You are God’s, and nothing else will ever matter more than that.
2. One of the lies you will begin to hear sooner than we would like is that you can only be pretty if you dress a certain way. This way usually involves showing a lot of skin. This is a lie. First of all, true beauty is found on the inside. When you have Christ living in you, you will be filled with peace and joy and love and kindness. You will glow with an inner beauty that other girls will see and want for themselves. We want you to understand that your body is a powerful tool that can be used in many different ways. Wearing clothing that makes boys notice you because you are showing a lot of skin doesn’t make them notice you for anything except your body, and you are so much more than just how you look. Not to mention that if you cause someone to sin by triggering them to have lustful thoughts because of the way you dress, you are responsible for that and God will hold you accountable for it. You are beautiful, intelligent, funny, kind and caring. That is what you should want people to see when they look at you, not just the clothes that you are wearing.
3. Right now you are young enough that we can still get away with choosing your friends. We’re the ones driving you to and from their houses. But in a few years you will have the option of choosing your friends for yourself. We cannot tell you enough how important it is to choose your friends wisely. Surround yourself with people who will help you in your walk with God, not turn you away from the path. Surround yourself with friends who will love you for exactly who you are, not those who will try and change you into what they think you should be. Choose friends that you know would never try to talk you into doing something you know you shouldn’t just because “everyone else is doing it”. Everyone else is not doing it, and by choosing the right friends, you can avoid the temptation and lures of sin.
4. We understand that everything you are exposed to today is telling you that you need to like boys and have lots of boyfriends because that is what everyone else is doing. This is another lie. It is perfectly OK to have boys who are just your friends. Boys are kind of cool sometimes. They look at the world totally different than girls do. They’re fun to be around. But you don’t have to have a boyfriend right away. When you start dating you will find that every time you have a boyfriend and you break up, a little piece of your heart will go with him. It hurts and it doesn’t get any easier the more times it happens. If we could take that pain away from you also we would. But we can’t. That pain is something that only you can bear. We want you to go through that pain as little as possible. This means that you should be picky when choosing the boys you give your heart to. Consider very carefully what kind of boy he is. Does he strive to live for Christ every day like you do? Is he the kind of boy who acts the way he should even when there aren’t any adults around? Is he kind and considerate to everyone else he comes in contact with, regardless of age or ability? Does he treat you and other girls with respect and deference? Is he the kind of boy that you would like to someday have as a husband? If the answer is no to any of these questions then he is not worth your time and he is not worthy of your heart. Hold fast to the idea of what you want your future husband to be and don’t settle for anything less.
5. Find joy in being a woman. God made you different than men for a reason. Relish those differences. The world will constantly try to tell you that you are just as good as a man and you can do everything a man does and you have to go out there and prove it. You don’t have to prove anything! God made you different. You are more compassionate, you empathize with others more. God gave you a nurturing spirit and a capacity for love that most men cannot comprehend. There is nothing wrong with being a woman and there is certainly nothing wrong with acting like one. You do not have to go to college and have a career and work for the rest of your life just because “they” say so. If that is what you want to do, good. But none of that matters to God, and if He calls you to be a wife and mother that is just as good as having a career outside of the home. As long as you are walking in step with what God is calling you to do, what the world has to say means nothing.
6. Right now in your youth and innocence you have a compassion for others that makes us so proud of you. Never lose that! It is so easy to become callus and uncaring as you get older. Adults often turn a blind eye when they see someone hurting because they have become so absorbed in their own lives. That is not what God wants for us. Jesus saw others who were in pain and He helped them. This is what you should strive to be like. Always remember the words to your favorite song: “Give me your eyes for just one second, give me your eyes so I can see. Everything that I keep missing, give me your love for humanity. Give me your arms for the broken hearted, ones that are far beyond my reach. Give me your heart for the ones forgotten, Give me your eyes so I can see.”
7. We love how you are a sponge right now when it comes to learning about God. Your excitement about studying, your love of singing, the way you soak up everything that anyone says about the Bible. We want to you always keep that love of God’s word. It is so easy to let your faith become stale and old. Never stop studying the word, you’ll never know enough. Stay close to God, let him enfold you in his embrace and fill you with his Spirit and He will guide your paths for the rest of your life.
8. We will always love you. You are part of us and that can never be changed, even if sometimes you might wish that it could. You can never do anything that would make us stop loving you. We will love you and be praying for you every day for the rest of our lives. But as much as we love you, God loves you even more. There is nothing you have done or will ever do that will make Him turn his back on you. Even when you stumble, even when you fall, even if you turn your back on Him, He will always be waiting with open arms to welcome you back.
9. None of this is easy. Satan will always be trying to turn you away from these truths, because he doesn’t want you to draw near to God. But hold fast. It will all be worth it in the end.
...Bryan & Anita Christmas
you're feeling sad and lonely,
seems nothing you can do,
take courage and remember,
is someone needing you.
were created for a purpose,
a part in God's great plan,
ye one another's burdens,
fulfill Christ's law to man.
you father, son, or daughter?
a work no one else can do.
you husband, wife, or mother?
is some needing you.
are many sad and lonely,
discouraged not a few,
a little cheer are needing,
there's someone needing you.
needs your faith and courage;
needs your love and prayers;
needs your inspiration,
to help their cross to bear.
not think your work is ended,
is much that you can do.
as long as you're on earth,
is someone needing you.
Volume 30 -
Number 5 - Sept/Oct 2011
BC is published every other month. Send all inquiries, address
changes and subscriptions to the editor:
Scott Gage, PO Box 3425, Fayetteville, AR
72702-3425 Voice & Fax 479-521-6809